Tuesday, 13 November 2018

13th November

Fine weather again being almost flat calm at first light with the southerly wind slowly increasing through the day and with observer numbers back up to two it was no surprise that there were a few new birds seen which included the only Mistle Thrush of the autumn so far at Howar, 6 Blackcaps, a Rook (only the second record of the autumn) and 2 Greenfinches.   Other birds across the land included the male Hen Harrier, a Merlin, a Kestrel, 2 Jack Snipe, a Woodcock, 5 Meadow Pipits, 11 Rock Pipits, 7 Robins, 57 Blackbirds, 40 Fieldfare, 3 Song Thrush, 127 Redwing, a Linnet, 22 Twite, a Common Redpoll, 14 Snow Buntings and 10 Reed Buntings.

                Also of note were 7 Red-throated Diver, 3 Great-northern Divers, 2 Herons, the Whooper Swan, the Barnacle Goose, 338 Wigeon, 165 Teal and 4 Black-headed Gulls.


Monday, 12 November 2018

12th November

Another lovely day with light to moderate southerly winds and lots of bright, unbroken sunshine; it was very pleasant out in the field but there were few new birds with raptors the highlight in the fine weather comprising 3 Hen Harriers (a near-adult male and two first years), a young male Peregrine, a Kestrel and a Merlin all being seen on multiple occasions as they dashed around while the main oddity was a late Sooty Shearwater close in off The Links.

                Other totals through the day with time spent around The Obs, Hooking and Brides census routes included 9 Red-throated Diver, 4 Herons, 6 Whooper Swans (a family party of five south and the lone bird still on Gretchen – which may be unable to fly), the 5 Pink-footed Geese, 275 Wigeon, 12 Gadwall, 6 Pintail, 18 Tufted Ducks, 18 Long-tailed Duck, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, a single Ruff in fields near Holland, a Woodcock, 18 Bar-tailed Godwits, 14 Skylark, 10 Meadow Pipits, 8 Rock Pipit, a Robin, 4 Chaffinch, a Brambling, a Greenfinch, 4 Linnets, a notably increased 60 Twite (with several flocks seen heading south), 4 Common Redpolls, 2 Snow Bunting and 4 Reed Buntings.

Hen Harrier



Sunday, 11 November 2018

11th November

A lovely day with light SSE winds and plenty of bright sunshine; a walk round the south end of the island first thing produced the usual array of birds including 16 Red-throated Divers, 3 Great-northern Divers, single Whooper Swan, Pink-footed Goose and Barnacle Goose with the Greylags, the Green-winged Teal on Gretchen, 3 Pintail, a Kestrel, 9 Meadow Pipits (including seven out to the south), a Chiffchaff, 9 Chaffinches, a Brambling, 36 Twite and 15 Snow Buntings.   After the Remembrance ceremony at the Memorial birds seen during a walk round Lenswick and Westness comprised 5 Herons, a Hen Harrier, a Jack Snipe, 14 Skylark, 16 Rock Pipits, another Brambling and 4 Reed Buntings.

                It was very calm by the evening so I opened the nets at Holland where a surprising selection of new birds included a Long-eared Owl, a Woodpigeon (a very young one with no neck patch), a Woodcock, 3 Robins, 3 Blackcap and a Greenfinch.


Saturday, 10 November 2018

10th November

A much better day with far lighter SSE winds and the sun coming out in the afternoon; walked round the north and south ends of the island and managed to open some nets at Holland in the evening, there was a good selection of birds but nothing really new; totals included 7 Red-throated Divers, a Great-northern Diver, 4 Herons, a Whooper Swan, the 5 Pink-footed Geese and the Barnacle Goose with 822 Greylags, 14 Gadwall, the Green-winged Teal on Gretchen, 8 Pintail, a drake Goldeneye at Brides, 2 Hen Harriers, single Sparrowhawk and Kestrel, a Jack Snipe, 5 Woodcock, 2 Black-headed Gulls, 285 Herring Gulls (big flock at the top end again), 6 Skylark, 2 Robins, 86 Blackbird, 187 Fieldfare, 4 Song Thrush, 223 Redwing, a lingering Chiffchaff in Holland where there was also a Goldcrest, 8 Chaffinch, a Brambling, 30 Twite, 2 Common Redpoll and 21 Snow Buntings.


Friday, 9 November 2018

9th November

A difficult day with a blazing force 8 SSE wind but I walked around Hooking and Brides, concentrating on the coast at high tide (with a little look up at Bewan later as well) and the main feature was a good build-up of Gulls in the stormy weather including a smart 3cy Kumlien’s Gull feeding in the surf at Brides (not an age I’m very familiar with) in amongst totals of 190 Common Gulls, 516 Herring Gulls and 270 Great Black-backed Gulls.

                Other birds included a Red-throated Diver, 2 Great-northern Divers, the Barnacle Goose (which has a white darvic ring – YUB was ringed on Islay in 2013), 14 Long-tailed Ducks, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Hen Harrier, 2 Merlin, increased totals of 138 Ringed Plover and 45 Dunlin with big flocks on The Links, a Jack Snipe, 2 Black-headed Gulls, 11 Rock Pipits, a Robin, 62 Fieldfare, 95 Redwing, a Jackdaw by the lighthouse, a single Common Redpoll at Holland and 7 Snow Buntings.

(Excuse the first person narrative but I'm the only observer at the moment!)

Kumlien's Gull                              Simon Davies

Thursday, 8 November 2018

8th November

A much nicer day with lighter SE winds and plenty of bright, unbroken sunshine; unfortunately, due to other commitments (drinking in Kirkwall!) coverage was limited to the afternoon and just around the Obs and Holland but included a Whooper Swan, 5 Pink-footed Geese with the Greylags, the Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen where there was also a drake Goldeneye (only the second of the autumn), single Hen Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Merlin, 2 Ruff in fields near Holland – first ones since mid-October and only the fourth November record, 4 Woodcock, a Black-headed Gull, 3 Meadow Pipits, 35 Blackbirds (including a Danish control bird trapped at Holland at dusk), 42 Fieldfare, 2 Song Thrush, 55 Redwing, 2 Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff, 6 Chaffinches, a Brambling, 35 Twite and a Common Redpoll.


Another Woodcock picture!

7th November

More promising conditions through the day as we kept the strong SE winds and combined it with low cloud, murk and a few drops of rain (where were these conditions a month ago?!); there was a small selection of new birds across the island including a decent arrival of Thrushes as totals included 2 Hen Harriers, a Kestrel, 2 Merlin (including a new adult male), 5 Woodcock, 5 Meadow Pipits,4 Rock Pipits, 5 Robins, 80 Blackbird, 257 Fieldfare, 4 Song Thrush, 177 Redwing, a Blackcap, 2 Jackdaws, 6 Chaffinches, 3 Linnets, 42 Twite, 19 Common Redpolls and 28 Snow Buntings.

                Other counts of note comprised 2 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great-northern Divers, 5 Herons, 2 Whooper Swans, the Barnacle Goose, 253 Wigeon, 8 Gadwall, 160 Teal, 80 Mallard, 15 Pintail, 9 Shoveler, 16 Tufted Duck and 5 Red-breasted Mergansers.

Woodcock in off

6th November

A rough day with strong SE winds but it remained largely dry; it was quiet out in the field despite the good feeling conditions with the day’s highlights comprising a Whooper Swan, a new Barnacle Goose with the Greylags, the Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen, 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Knot up the west coast, 7 Woodcock, a Meadow Pipit, 8 Rock Pipits, 2 Robins, 64 Blackbirds, 83 Fieldfares, 4 Song Thrush, 129 Redwing, 2 Chaffinches, 2 Linnets, 30 Twite and 19 Snow Buntings.

Woodcock                                    Simon Davies

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

5th November

The southerly winds dropped right off through the day, almost becoming still for a spell, unfortunately through light but very persistent rain moved in a few hours after dawn which never stopped at all until dark; the days highlight was an almost certain Coue’s Arctic Redpoll at Ancum with 21 Common Redpolls – all the features seemed to fit apart from perhaps too much streaking on the rump.   There were a few new birds through the day including a Kestrel, 5 Woodcock, 8 Meadow Pipits, 3 Robins, 65 Blackbirds, 76 Fieldfares, 2 Song Thrush, 160 Redwing, 2 Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff, 5 Chaffinches, a Brambling, 16 Twite, 5 Snow Bunting and a Yellowhammer at Holland.

                Also of note were 3 Herons, 2 Whooper Swans, 185 Wigeon, 10 Gadwall, 9 Pintail and a Grey Plover.

Coue's Arctic Redpoll                           Simon Davies

Monday, 5 November 2018

4th November

We kept the strong southerly winds but there was more sunshine with long spells of clear skies; Gulls were again obvious with a smart juvenile Kumilen’s Gull the highlight, first at Westness, then on rocks at Lenswick, then in Nouster in the afternoon while other totals included 75 Common Gulls, 177 Herring Gulls and 142 Great Black-backed Gulls.   Other birds of note comprised 6 Herons, a Whooper Swan, the Green-winged Teal still, 12 Pintail and single Grey Plover and Knot with 111 Purple Sandpipers.

                The land was quieter with just 2 Merlin, 60 Blackbirds, 44 Fieldfare, 76 Redwing, 2 Chiffchaffs, 9 Chaffinches, a Brambling and 25 Twite to mention.

Kumlien's Gull                                         George Gay

Sunday, 4 November 2018

3rd November

A very strong southerly wind and heavy cloud replaced the fine conditions but it remained largely dry throughout the day; the main feature of the day was a big arrival and southerly passage of Gulls comprising 732+ Great Black-backed Gulls, 385+ Herring Gulls and 156 Common Gulls in amongst which were 2 Glaucous Gulls – both first year birds.   Other totals included 8 Red-throated Divers, 4 Great-northern Divers, 2 Whooper Swans, 185 Wigeon, 163 Teal, the Green-winged Teal still, 62 Mallard, 8 Pintail, 13 Shoveler, 15 Tufted Duck, 12 Long-tailed Duck, the long overdue first Goldeneye of the autumn, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers and 591 Golden Plover.

                On the land, migrants comprised 3 Hen Harriers (including the adult male still), a Merlin, a Jack Snipe, 5 Woodcock, a Woodpigeon, 64 Fieldfare, a Song Thrush, 73 Redwing, 2 Jackdaw, 19 Chaffinches, 4 Brambling, 41 Twite, 22 Common Redpoll, a Lesser Redpoll and 8 Snow Buntings.

Glaucous Gull                                     Simon Davies

2nd November

Another nice, sunny day with the light SW wind still; a couple of new arrivals included an adult male Hen Harrier at Brides, a new Long-eared Owl trapped in Holland and another Lesser Redpoll, also trapped in Holland.   Other birds across the land comprised a big female Peregrine, 3 Robins, a Wheatear hanging on, 10 Meadow Pipits, 58 Fieldfare, 79 Redwing, a Goldcrest, 2 Jackdaws, 5 Chaffinches, a Brambling, a Greenfinch, 42 Twite, 4 Common Redpoll, 18 Snow Buntings, a Lapland Bunting and 8 Reed Bunting.

                Also of note were 8 Red-throated Divers, a notable influx of 28 Long-tailed Ducks, 4 Red-breasted Mergansers and a Grey Plover.

Snow Bunting

Friday, 2 November 2018

1st November

Once the early morning rain had moved through it was another fine day with light SW winds still and some long spells of sunshine; there was the odd new bird found through the day with a trickle of Finches noted on the move which included 11 Chaffinches, 2 Brambling, 2 Greenfinches, a Goldfinch, an increase to 57 Twite, 14 Common Redpoll and a single Lesser Redpoll trapped at Ancum as it came into roost.   Other birds across the island included 2 Hen Harriers, a Kestrel, 2 Woodcock, a Woodpigeon, a Short-eared Owl, a Wheatear, 30 Fieldfare, 57 Redwing, 2 Goldcrest, a Jackdaw, a Lapland Bunting and 6 Snow Buntings.

                Other totals of note on the first day of the month comprised 8 Red-throated Divers, a Black-throated Diver in Nouster, a Great-northern Diver, 5 Herons, 4 Whooper Swans, 216 Wigeon, 10 Gadwall, 116 Teal, the Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen, 46 Mallard, 13 Pintail, 12 Long-tailed Duck, 9 Red-breasted Mergansers, 364 Golden Plover and a Grey Plover.


Migrant Wren (on the right), desperate times!

31st October

A fine day with light SW winds and largely clear skies; as a result there were few new grounded migrants (the phrase ‘its too nice’ was heard on multiple occasions) with totals comprising 2 Hen Harriers, 3 Merlin, a Peregrine, 3 Woodcock, 18 Skylark, 16 Meadow Pipit, 20 Rock Pipits, 5 Robins, a Wheatear, 56 Fieldfare, 15 Song Thrush, 109 Redwing, 3 Goldcrest, 7 Chaffinches, 6 Brambling, 21 Twite, 49 Common Redpolls still and 4 Snow Buntings.

                Other birds of note included 9 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great-northern Divers, 4 Herons, 12 Pintail, a Grey Plover and 2 Jack Snipe.


Tuesday, 30 October 2018

30th October

A decent day with the wind still bang in the east but much lighter than yesterday and plenty of bright sunshine encouraging folks to spend some long hours in the field; yet again the main feature and talking point of the day was the mesmerising array of very pale Common Redpolls across the island with at least 53 scattered around in small flocks, in amongst which was at least one bird that was scrutinised in depth and was probably a Coue’s Arctic Redpoll but not everyone was convinced so it will unfortunately have to be left – just give up and walk away!
                The other two highlights consisted of a lovely female Northern Bullfinch trapped at Holland in the evening where, shortly afterwards a Long-eared Owl was also caught and was found to be bearing a Norwegian ring.   Across the island other migrants comprised 2 Hen Harriers, 3 Merlin (with two seen hunting cooperatively around Ancum), 2 Kestrels, a Peregrine, 11 Woodcock, 29 Skylark, 33 Meadow Pipits, 16 Rock Pipits, 5 Robins, the Whinchat still, a Wheatear, 68 Blackbirds, an increase to 73 Fieldfare, 11 Song Thrush, 92 Redwing, a Chiffchaff, 6 Goldcrests, 2 Jackdaws, 11 Chaffinches, 9 Brambling, 21 Twite and 5 Snow Buntings.

Redpolls, there may or may not be an Arctic in there somewhere

Monday, 29 October 2018

29th October

The wind stayed in the SE but had picked up into a vicious force 7 with some nasty hail showers sweeping across the island especially in the morning and late afternoon; there was a sprinkling of new birds but it was hardly busy (maybe even a tad disappointing considering the promising conditions) with the main feature and talking point being at least 11 Common Redpolls, most of which were very distinctive, very pale individuals and one was seen well enough by one observer to confidently claim a white snowball of a HORNEMANN’S ARCTIC REDPOLL along a random wall near Brides Loch.

                Other migrant totals across the island included 2 Hen Harriers, a Kestrel, 4 Merlin, 16 Woodcock, a Woodpigeon, 33 Skylark, 20 Rock Pipits, 22 Meadow Pipits, a Pied Wagtail, 3 Robins, 76 Blackbirds. 12 Fieldfares, 2 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff, 8 Goldcrests, 15 Chaffinches, 20 Brambling, 33 Twite and 29 Snow Buntings.

                Also of note were 5 Red-throated Divers, 5 Great-northern Divers, 5 Herons, 2 Whooper Swans, 331 Wigeon, the Green-winged Teal, 15 Tufted Duck, a drake Scaup briefly on Brides Loch (only the second record of the year), a Grey Plover and 3 Jack Snipe.

Common Redpolls


Sunday, 28 October 2018

28th October

A glorious change in the weather to extremely light winds which swung round into the east and plenty of bright sunshine but it was still very cold!   There were not massive numbers of migrants across the island but there were a few highlights to be had through the day including a Bluethroat near the South Links, lingering Yellow Wagtail and Whinchat, a Siberian Chiffchaff trapped at Ancum and a big, pale Redpoll sp. seen near T5 but not quite well enough to confirm it as a Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll.

                Other migrants on the land included 2 Hen Harriers, 3 Kestrels, single Merlin and Peregrine, 2 Woodcock, 48 Skylark, 55 Meadow Pipits, 19 Rock Pipits, 2 Pied Wagtails, 9 Robins, 3 Wheatears, 5 Chiffchaffs, 4 Goldcrests, 15 Chaffinches, 17 Brambling, 27 Twite, a Lapland Bunting, 7 Reed Buntings and a big influx of 128+ Snow Buntings.

                A busy hour’s seawatch at first light produced 3,329 Fulmars, 8 Little Auks (plus another which flew down the centre of the island later in the day) and 2 Puffins while other birds of note comprised 3 Red-throated Divers, 5 Great-northern Divers, 6 Herons, 2 Whooper Swans, an increase to 975 Greylag Geese, 2 Barnacle Geese, 192 Wigeon, the Green-winged Teal still, 7 Pintail, 12 Long-tailed Ducks, 2 Common Scoter and 4 Red-breasted Mergansers.

Bluethroat                                       Simon Davies

Whinchat                                           Simon Davies

Siberian Chiffchaff                         Simon Davies

Saturday, 27 October 2018

27th October

A similar day with the cold, strong northerly wind bringing more nasty hail / rain showers throughout; there was a steady stream of Fulmars offshore through the day with rates varying from 200 per hour in the morning to an impressive 1,890 per hour in the late afternoon, other birds noted offshore included 5 Red-throated Divers, 3 Great-northern Divers, 5 Sooty Shearwaters, 5 Long-tailed Ducks, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, 3 Great Skuas and the first Glaucous Gull of the autumn.

                Across the land, migrants included 2 Yellow Wagtails (the Trolla bird still present and a new 1st winter western-type at Howar), a Woodcock, 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Kestrels, 19 Meadow Pipits, 13 Rock Pipits, 3 Robins, a Wheatear, 2 Fieldfare, 3 Song Thrush, 74 Redwing, single Blackcap and Chiffchaff, 14 Chaffinch, 3 Brambling, 4 Twite, 26 Snow Buntings and 10 Reed Bunting while 2 Grey Plover were in Nouster.

Yellow Wagtail

Friday, 26 October 2018

26th October

A change in the wind as it became a strong, very cold northerly which cut right through you bringing frequent and nasty hail / rain showers through the day but it was bright and sunny in between; some attention was paid to the sea in response to the change in wind direction and we were rewarded with the first Little Auk of the autumn along with a Black-throated Diver, a Blue Fulmar and 2 Puffins.

                It was hard work on the land as migrants included 2 Hen Harriers, 3 Kestrels, the Yellow Wagtail still at Trolla, 12 Rock Pipits, 31 Meadow Pipits, the Whinchat by South Gravity still, 93 Redwing, a flock of 9 Jackdaws south (only the second record this autumn), 12 Chaffinches, 26 Bramblings, 14 Twite, 2 Common Redpolls at Holland and a single Snow Bunting.

                Other birds of note comprised a lost looking juvenile Whooper Swan, 470 Greylag Geese, 214 Wigeon, 123 Teal, the Green-winged Teal still, 5 Pintail, 538 Golden Plover, 70 Lapwing, 86 Redshank, 62 Curlew and 3 Black-headed Gulls.

Common Redpoll

Green-winged Teal

Thursday, 25 October 2018

25th October

A much nicer day with lighter WNW winds, wet in the morning with plenty of showers sweeping across the island but a drier and brighter afternoon; a handful of new birds dug up included a 1st winter Yellow Wagtail at Trolla (one of the western races) and a Common Redpoll at Senness along with the Great Grey Shrike still and the Green-winged Teal again on Gretchen.

                Other migrants across the island included 3 Hen Harriers, single Kestrel and Merlin, a Short-eared Owl, 46 Meadow Pipits, 23 Rock Pipits, a Pied Wagtail, a Dunnock, 11 Robins, 3 Wheatears, 270 Redwing, 17 Chaffinches, 44 Brambling, 8 Twite, a Lapland Bunting and 34 Snow Buntings.

                Also of note were 4 Long-tailed Ducks, 7 Red-breasted Mergansers, 5 Jack Snipe and 230 Snipe.

Yellow Wagtail

Great Grey Shrike

24th October

A dreadful day with rain and very strong winds blighting the attempts to get out in the field so unsurprisingly the tally for the day was on the small side; birds included 2 Red-throated Divers, a Great-northern Diver, 2 Heron, 247 Wigeon, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Hen Harrier, a Kestrel, a Merlin, a Black-headed Gull, 34 Meadow Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtails, the lingering Whinchat still, a Wheatear, 141 Redwing and 24 Snow Buntings. 

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

23rd October

A dreadful day after a worse night with a blazing WNW wind and almost constant driving rain filled squalls whipping across the island; the magic Northern Isles date of the 23rd did produce a quality, if tricky bird with an apparent EASTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL briefly hopping up on a wall in front of one lucky observer before promptly disappearing again and then two hours later reappearing around the edge of Brides Loch allowing someone else to see it before disappearing again in the atrocious conditions.

                Other birds seen through the day included the Great Grey Shrike at Ancum again, a selection of wildfowl comprising 8 Whooper Swans, 9 Pink-footed Geese, 2 Barnacle Geese and an increase to 16 Tufted Ducks, 4 Herons, 2 Hen Harriers, a Kestrel, 3 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Wheatears, 150+ Redwings, 10 Chaffinches, 15 Brambling and 9 Snow Buntings.

Eastern Yellow Wagtail                            George Gay

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

22nd October

Very strong winds throughout the day with a dryish start before heavy, persistent, driving rain moved in by late morning effectively ending the fieldwork; there were a few little bits unearthed before the rains came with the Great Grey Shrike at Holland, the Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen, a juvenile Dark-bellied Brent Goose which flew south down The Links, a female Common Scoter off The Links and a late, lingering Whinchat still near South Gravity.   Other birds across the land included a Hen Harrier, a Kestrel, a Pied Wagtail, 3 Robins, 6 Song Thrush, 79 Redwing, a Chiffchaff, 13 Chaffinches, 42 Brambling and 8 Snow Buntings.

                Also of note were 3 Red-throated Divers, 3 Great-northern Divers, a Heron and 16 Whooper Swans.

Golden Plover

Monday, 22 October 2018

21st October

A rough day with a strong SW wind and a very wet morning but some sunshine in the afternoon; there were a couple of surprise reappearances through the day with the Little Egret found again walking down a track at Southness before flying off and disappearing almost immediately – god knows where its been since it was last seen on the 12th (is it even the same bird?) and the ringed Common Rosefinch seen again near Brides – it was ringed at Holland on the 6th and last seen on the 14th.

                Other migrants across the land included 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Kestrels, 4 Merlin, 49 Skylark, 9 Robins, the Redstart still up at the Lighthouse, 5 Wheatears, 198 Redwing, 7 Song Thrush, 17 Chaffinch, 24 Brambling, 16 Twite, 3 Snow Buntings, the 4 Yellowhammers still and 10 Reed Buntings.

                Also of note were 7 Red-throated Divers, 5 Great-northern Divers, 14 Pink-footed Geese, 2 Barnacle Geese and 7 Pintail with single Arctic Skua and Bonxie offshore.

Snow Bunting


Sunday, 21 October 2018

20th October

Still a tad breezy but a decent day to be out and about although a long night at the Harvest Home last night reduced efforts in the field somewhat!   The day’s highlights comprised a very late Yellow Wagtail over the Obs (it’ll go down as a flava ssp. but it just sounded like a ‘normal’ Yellow Wagtail with no eastern hints in the call) and the returning drake Green-winged Teal of Gretchen – its probably been present for the last few weeks but is now well on its moulting way, revealing its main features allowing us to confirm its presence for yet another winter.

                Migrants across the land included 2 Hen Harriers, single Sparrowhawk, Merlin and Kestrel, 3 Wheatears, a further reduced 132 Redwing, single Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers, 23 Chaffinches, 44 Brambling and the 4 Yellowhammers still at Kirbest.

                Other bits of note were 4 Herons, 234 Wigeon, 5 Pintail, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, 602 Golden Plover and a Grey Plover with 9 Puffins and a Bonxie offshore during an hour’s seawatch.

Green-winged Teal                              Simon Davies

19th October

A bit breezier through the day than of late with ever dwindling numbers of migrants left over from the arrivals in the last week; totals across the land did include 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Merlin, 2 Kestrels, a Redstart lingering at the Lighthouse, 5 Wheatears, 37 Song Thrush, 222 Redwing, 3 Blackcap, a Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler, 3 Goldcrest, 50 Chaffinches, 107 Brambling and 34 Snow Buntings.

                Other birds of note comprised 11 Red-throated Divers, a Slavonian Grebe at Westness, 3 Herons, 4 Whooper Swans, a Jack Snipe, 3 Black-tailed Godwits and an Arctic Skua and 2 Bonxies offshore.

Redwing, Song Thrush and Willow Warbler

Saturday, 20 October 2018

18th October

Another good day in the field with lightish SW winds and only the occasional spell of drizzle; the main feature of the daywas an impressive passage of Redwings with 2,200+ moving across the island in big rolling waves as flocks of 2-300 settled briefly in the fields while the flock behind them moved through then they would take their turn and head slowly south.   Other migrants across the land included 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Kestrels, 2 Merlins, a new Long-eared Owl trapped in Holland, 85 Skylarks, 93 Meadow Pipits, 16 Robins, a late Whinchat hanging on, 5 Wheatears, 35 Song Thrush, 3 Blackcap, a Chiffchaff, 3 Goldcrest, the Great Grey Shrike still, the first 3 Rooks of the autumn, 51 Chaffinch, 165 Brambling, 23 Snow Bunting and 2 Yellowhammers.

                Also of note was a decent movement of wildfowl including 91 Whooper Swans, 70 Pink-footed Geese, 1,125 Greylag Geese, 12 Barnacle Geese, 10 Red-breasted Mergansers and most noteworthy, 2 Shelduck which flew down The Links – only the fifth ever October record and the first since mid-July!

Whooper Swans

Golden Plover