A few showers in the morning of the 8th gave way to a pretty nice day until persistent rain arrived mid-afternoon; there were again 3 Red-necked Phalaropes on Gretchen which, based on plumages were all different to the birds that have been present this last week showing an amazing turnover of birds in this fantastic Phalarope year. The first 2 returning Purple Sandpipers of the ‘autumn’ were along the west coast along with 38 Knot, 71 Dunlin, 37 Redshank and a further increase to 525 Golden Plover.
The Black-throated Diver was once again in the bay and a single Storm Petrel was offshore while on the land a new migrant Sedge Warbler was caught at Holland where there were also 6 Collared Doves and 12 Sand Martins whizzing around.
Overcast and breezy in the morning of the 9th gave way to a breezy and sunny afternoon and there were notable influxes of a range of species; as mentioned in the last post there was another huge arrival of 4,340+ Arctic Terns (including 3,000 at Bewan and 900 at Trinley) – an early date for such high numbers, perhaps indicating a poor breeding season elsewhere. This big influx of Arctic Terns produced the day’s undoubted highlight with a stunning adult summer WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERN found late in the evening at Ancum with a big flock of Arctics – unfortunately it only hung around for a few minutes and therefore only showed to one fortunate observer (a well earnt reward for still being out in the field at 10pm!). A count of 267 Dunlin (204 on the beach at Westness) also represented a big arrival as did 701 Golden Plover (with 478 near Holland).
Some more quality was added with a Quail flushed from Trebb, a female Garganey on Ancum (an over-summering bird but there has been no evidence of any successful breeding), still 3 Red-necked Phalaropes on Gretchen and the Black-throated Diver remained. Waders continued to show a good turnover of birds as counts comprised 83 Knot, 4 Purple Sandpipers, single Black-tailed Godwit and Whimbrel and 74 Turnstone.
Other little bits included single Red-throated and Great-northern Divers, a Heron which came in from the north, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, 4 Sandwich Terns and 39 Sand Martins including a fledged juvenile.
Two of the new Red-necked Phalaropes, both distinctive birds
Many Wheatear fledglings are out and about, photos Simon Davies