Friday, 2 June 2017

31st May and 1st June

A windy start on the 31st but this calmed down through the day to practically nothing by the evening; the day’s highlight was another immaculately plumaged female Red-necked Phalarope bobbing around on Gretchen in the afternoon where there was also a summer plumaged Little Stint.  Other little bits included a slightly unseasonal 2nd year Iceland Gull at Senness, a Little Tern again in Nouster investigating the Arctic Tern colony, the lingering Barnacle Goose at Bewan, a late Redwing and a new Blackcap trapped in Holland while wader totals still included 98 Knot, 188 Sanderling, 2 Purple Sandpipers and single Bar-tailed Godwit and Whimbrel.

That moment when your song comes on! (or maybe, that moment when 4 interloping Shelduck try and land on your loch..)   photo Simon Davies

                With the wind back in the east and overcast conditions the 1st of the month felt good so for once it was a welcome surprise to be proved right when a Short-toed Lark was found in a ploughed field just south of Holland (a field, to be fair that had been crying out for something good!); it ended up being very elusive though being seen only a few times though the day.   The same field later in the evening, as it was being rolled, then held a very dark and diminutive Lesser Black-backed Gull which showed many features of a near adult Baltic Gull.

                The rest of the day’s noteworthy birds included the Little Stint still on Gretchen, male and female Ruff, a Heron heading north, 5 Collared Doves, 7 Sand Martins, lingering Garden Warbler and Chiffchaff, a new Spotted Flycatcher and lingering Barnacle Goose, Redwing and Chaffinch.
Baltic-type Gull, I imagine that's all it will ever go down as!   photo Simon Davies

There's a handful of 1st summer Arctic Terns in each flock at the moment which show amazing variability in plumage and bill colour, there was one just down the beach with a red bill and almost no black cap!

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