Another gorgeous day on the 30th, sunny and warm with a light easterly breeze; a huge juvenile female Peregrine was causing havoc wherever she went through the morning – the first dispersing juvenile of the autumn and a Kestrel flew south pursued by squadrons of Arctic Terns in the afternoon. Other landbirds included the 4 Collared Doves still and 2 Swifts heading south while 5 Tufted Duck on Brides perhaps included a couple of returning migrants.
Waders included a Wood Sandpiper, 2 Green Sandpipers and a Little Stint on the excellent looking Brides Loch (there’ll be something good there soon!), 551 Golden Plover and 2 Black-tailed Godwits while typically, after six weeks of constant presence and just after we spotted the geolocator there were no Phalaropes on Gretchen – we have heard that it certainly is not a Shetland ringed bird which, like most of the other geolocator projects attach the device to the birds back, so we still have no clue to the birds origin!
Tysties are bringing in bigger and bigger fish to feed their bigger and bigger chicks
A mixed bag of weather on the 31st with an overcast start with light winds and even a hint of misty fog brightening to produce a stunning, warm, sunny afternoon; the first Ruff of the autumn was at Brides while other wader counts comprised 82 Sanderling, 5 Purple Sandpipers, 113 Dunlin, 18 Bar-tailed Godwits, single Green and Common Sandpipers and at least 20 Whimbrel with an obvious afternoon passage of southbound migrants.
Other bits and bobs included a Heron, an influx of 324 Greylag Geese, 13 Teal, a single Garganey again, 2 Sandwich Terns, 5 Swifts heading south and a new Chiffchaff while overnight a Leach’s Petrel was singing away up at Bewan (without the stimulation of payback) – maybe one to watch!
In amongst the regular turnover of Sanderling there are usually a few colour ringed individuals, most regular are those, like this bird who have a lime coloured flag in the combination, indicating it was ringed next door on Sanday
Photos Simon Davies