A little blast of NE winds and rain on the 22nd proved that the autumn is not quite over yet with a trickle of typical late migrants to keep us on our toes including 7 Woodcock, a Long-eared Owl flushed from the coast at The Lurn, 7 Robins (although these are probably lingering birds), a new Black Redstart at Torness, 4 Fieldfares, 16 Redwings, a Chiffchaff and 3 Common Redpolls.
The main feature of the day however, was a huge arrival of Gulls in the stormy conditions with at least 1,290 Hrring Gulls and 450 Great Black-backed Gulls providing the bulk while qualityincluded 6 Glaucous Gulls (slightly different age categories than Fair Isle produced with fouradults and two juveniles) and the tricky highlight of a very dark juvenile Kumlien’s Gull on The Links (although the possibility of it being a Thayer’s Gull has not been ruled out yet but opinion is swinging towards Kumlien’s). A notable increase to 36 Long-tailed Ducks was also to mention as was the adult female Hen Harrier floating around.
Pretty much all yesterday’s Gulls had disappeared as quickly as they arrived on the 23rd with much lighter winds which had swung round into the NW bringing some heavy wintery showers in the afternoon; it was a nice day to be out in the field though in the calmer conditions when landbirds included the Nouster Black Redstart still, 9 Skylark, 6 Robins, 15 Fieldfares, 2 Song Thrush, 31 Redwing, a Common Redpoll and 51 Snow Buntings.
On calmer seas some improved totals were noted with 6 Red-throated Divers, 7 Great-northern Divers, a female Common Scoter with 29 Long-tailed Ducks off Hooking (always scarce on here!), 3 Goldeneye, 10 Red-breasted Mergansers and a Little Auk in Nouster. Other wildfowl included 362 Wigeon, 23 Gadwall and 10 Pintail with a Grey Plover and 94 Dunlin the wader highlights. 9 Herons stalked the edges while the Hen Harrier nd a young male Peregrine patrolled the skies.
Kumlien's (or Thayer's) Gull, Simon Davies