Brisk easterly winds and spitting rain first thing led to a promising day with the highlight being excellent numbers of stunning waders passing though the island, forming huge flocks feeding on big piles of seaweed; the first Little Stint of the year was on Trolla but it was the numbers of commoner species that were noteworthy with 1,167 Turnstone representing a new island record count along with 75 Knot, 134 Sanderling, 227 Purple Sandpipers, 168 Dunlin, 10 Bar-tailed Godwits and 3 Whimbrel.
Landbirds were quieter although the first Spotted Flycatcher of the year pitched up late in the afternoon; other migrants included the Red-winged Blackbird (still, again, both days, will it ever leave…), 4 Sparrowhawks, a White Wagtail, a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warblers, 2 Bramblings, a Goldfinch and 2 Common Redpolls. Three Whooper Swans and 5 Pink-footed Geese reminded us of colder times in the not-so distant past.
Purple Sandpiper, photo Simon Davies
Bright and sunny the following day with a pretty strong easterly wind making things tricky in the field; waders again dominated with counts of 144 Ringed Plovers, 55 Knot, 161 Sanderling, 246 Purple Sandpipers, 135 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpipers and 832 Turnstone while an increased 316 Arctic Terns began prospecting around the isle.
Other migrants showed some slight increases in the favourable conditions as totals comprised single Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Short-eared Owl, an influx of hirundines with 142 Swallows, 4 Sand Martins and 3 House Martins, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, a Redstart, a Whitethroat, 3 Blackcaps, 7 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warblers, the Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Brambling, a Common Redpoll and 2 Goldfinches.
Turnstone included this Dutch flagged bird
We've all misjudged the waves and got wet feet before! photos Simon Davies