A pleasant day with plenty of sunshine and a moderate southerly breeze on the 17th although the wind had dropped to almost nothing by the evening; there was still no real signs of any grounded passerines through the day but it was an enjoyable day in the field with some early autumn passage noted including 169 Swallows, 41 Sand Martins and 5 Swifts south (mainly down the west coast) while other landbirds also showed some increases with 130 Meadow Pipits, 7 Ravens (including 3 seen heading off south), a Short-eared Owl, 2 Sparrowhawks and a Peregrine.
Obviously waders also had a good day with the Buff-breasted Sandpiper still present on The Links, 181 Ringed Plover, 854 Golden Plover, a Grey Plover, 162 Lapwings, 115 Sanderling, 2 Little Stints on Gretchen, 18 Purple Sandpipers, 5 Ruff, 47 Black-tailed Godwits (roosted on Gretchen overnight), 109 Curlew, 192 Redshank, 2 Greenshank, single Wood and Green Sandpipers and 237 Turnstone with mixed flocks seen heading south. Other waterbirds also showed signs of passage with notable influxes of 94 Mallard, 61 Teal and 21 Shoveler along with 5 Gadwall and 3 Herons.
Kittiwake at the pier
A calm day on the 18th with the light breeze coming mainly from the east, sunny in the morning, the cloud built through the day with the promised rain not arriving until late evening; the day was most notable for the first ‘proper’ grounded migrant of the autumn with a juvenile Whinchat seen near Lenswick – not a big rarity but a bird that brings with it much promise!
Other birds seen through this quieter day included the Buff-breasted Sandpiper still, 2 Short-eared Owls, 1,275 Golden Plover, 21 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Whimbrel, 3 Greenshank, good numbers of loafing Great Skuas still (including one which killed a Mallard), a single Swift and a decent post-breeding flock of 12 Reed Buntings at Peckhole while 40 Storm Petrels were caught overnight.
Little Grebe chick at Brides
Some of the Fulmar chicks are looking like they'll be off soon
Photos Simon Davies