Sunday, 13 August 2017

11th and 12th August

Still breezy and overcast with a few spots of rain on the 11th with the major surprise of the day being the typically brief reappearance of the White-winged Black Tern in front of the seawatch hide to a visiting birder – with the vast majority of the Arctic Terns already departed south we naturally assumed that it had also headed off back to whence it came!   As with every blog post this summer, the rest of this one will end up with a list of wader numbers which today included 167 Oystercatchers, 1,110 Golden Plover, 63 Sanderling, 83 Dunlin, 4 Ruff, 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 136 Redshank, 2 Greenshank and 215 Turnstone.

                Other little bits of note included a couple of medium sized Little Grebe chicks which appeared on Brides Loch, 9 Manx Shearwaters offshore, a Heron, 8 Wigeon (the first ones for about a month), 5 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (very scarce over the summer) and another juvenile Stonechat at Westness.

Ruff,   photo George Gay

                Still overcast on the 12th but with much lighter winds, only a couple of brief showers and the end of the time consuming Sheep Festival we finally had the chance to concentrate on ringing the now pretty well grown Fulmar chicks spread around the island and enjoy the sights, sounds and definitely the smells of this joyful task!   There was some time for birding though and today’s wader report comprised 86 Ringed Plover on The Links (a notable increase), 1,086 Golden Plover, 135 Lapwing, 25 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Ruff, 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 29 Bar-tailed Godwits and 2 Whimbrel.

                Also seen today were a female Peregrine south past the airstrip, 4 Manx Shearwaters, a Heron, 3 Gadwall, 13 Teal, 12 Shoveler, 9 each of Arctic Skua and Great Skuas marauding about the place, a start to the post-breeding build-up of Kittiwakes roosting along the coast with 46 off The Lurn including several juveniles and 9 Sand Martins.
Twite,   photo Simon Davies

Wheatear,   photo Simon Davies

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