Thursday, 3 August 2017

1st and 2nd August

Beautiful, calm and sunny again on the 1st with the nets at Holland first thing providing the first surprise of the day with a juvenile Goldcrest trapped early on – it hadn’t quite finished its post-juvenile moult so it hadn’t come too far, just from elsewhere in Orkney you would suspect; also in the gardens were a Willow Warbler and a Common Redpoll while just below Holland an almost fully grown Dunlin was running happily down the middle of the road – proof that a second pair of Dunlin bred successfully on the island in the Loch Park / East Loch Park area.

Dunlin chick

                The second surprise of the day came later on when some of the volunteers took a lighthouse tour and when at the top, the first bird they saw was the adult White-winged Black Tern flying in to Bewan after its jaunt up to Fair Isle but typically it soon disappeared and was not seen again – there are far fewer Arctic Terns present now for it to hang around with than when it was last here.  

Other birds of note included the Black-throated Diver still in Nouster, the first Merlin of the autumn up the west coast, 550 Golden Plover, 39 Knot, 7 Black-tailed Godwits, the first fresh juvenile Kittiwake lingering off Torness, 2 Collared Doves and at least 5 Swifts.

The 2nd was (if possible) an even better day with wall to wall sunshine and hardly a breath of wind; the many eyes and calm seas produced the highlights of the day with 2 Orcas seen off Seal Skerry which cruised round the coast to the Beacon then out to sea and included a huge bull and later in the day a pod of 12-15 Risso’s Dolphins frolicked off the west coast.

Birdwise it was a bit quieter in the fine conditions with two small Water Rail chicks showing well next to the Ancum hide perhaps the highlight while other totals included 2 Herons, 580 Golden Plover, 12 Bar-tailed Godwits, 8 Whimbrel, a Greenshank and at least 3 Swifts.

Our Arctic Skua chick is now flying!

The Water Rail chicks at Ancum are not yet!

and this Kittiwake has been for a while!
photos Simon Davies

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