Heavy, persistent rain lingered across the island until late morning on the 15th delayed proceedings but it brightened up into a lovely, sunny afternoon; despite the rain and poor visibility 13 Manx Shearwaters and 2 Storm Petrels passed the seawatch hide but it generally wasn’t until the afternoon that people got out into the field. Unsurprisingly, waders dominated the day’s log with the Buff-breasted Sandpiper still on The Links while other totals comprised 720 Golden Plover, 3 Ruff, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Whimbrel, 123 Curlew, 185 Redshank, a Green Sandpiper and 263 Turnstone with added interest coming from a Norwegian colour flagged Ringed Plover which, after being ringed in Norway in September 2016 was seen on North Ronaldsay shortly afterwards, so this is the second autumn in a row that it has been seen here.
There are still some Arctic Terns remaining, some of which have juveniles in tow, so are still aggressive!
Other little bits included a Heron, still 63 Arctic Terns (including several juveniles, either from here or further north), 3 Collared Doves still in Holland, a single Swift and good roost totals of 160 Linnets and 1,140 Starlings.
Pleasant throughout the day on the 16th although the southerly wind gradually increased to become very strong by the evening; waders today included a few new odds and ends in amongst the larger flocks with 1 or 2 Wood Sandpipers, a Green Sandpiper, 14 Black-tailed Godwits, 4 Ruff and a Grey Plover while 850 Golden Plover and 110 Lapwings were in the fields around the Obs.
A big, juvenile female Peregrine was cruising around, 30 Teal on Ancum was a notable influx, 10 Sand Martins were over Gretchen and a distinctive, dark, melanistic Heron which came in off the sea caused a few pulses to race and maybe was the same individual that was seen last autumn.
Its been a tough breeding season but now its time to relax!
Black Guillemots are starting to moult now that their breeding season is over
Photos Simon Davies