Wednesday, 17 January 2018

11th-17th January

The last week has had the full spectrum of weather with wind, rain, sun, sleet, hail and snow!
It’s also provided some fairly good birds, the 11th was very quiet and the only real noteworthy birds were the first Skylark of 2018 flushed from the ploughed field South of the camping field and a Merlin that cruised into the bay a Westness.
A bird I thought we weren’t going to get on the year finally made appearance, the drake Smew that had graced the island in the final days of 2017 was seen briefly on Bewan and hasn’t been since!
Other birds of interest for the 12th a Hen Harrier at Sandar and a lone Pink-footed Goose.
The 13th and 14th were quiet also. The 1st Winter Glaucous Gull was still on the Links, a good count of 18 Goldeneye were spread out between Bewan, the Links and Brides. An early Mistle Thrush was feeding at the bottom of the fields near the shooting gallery on the 14th, the final bird of the day was a very smart drake Pochard on Bewan.
A pair of Glaucous Gulls were present on the 15th in near un-birdable winds, Black-headed Gull added itself to the year list and the Pochard remained on Bewan.  
The 16th was much calmer but a hell of a lot colder! A Woodcock in off the sea at Westness was another addition to the year list closely followed by a Red-throated Diver and 2 Great Northern Divers off the Links.

Snow on the 17th gave the island an even colder feel! Appropriately a large flock of 58 Snow Buntings were feeding round the cattle feeders in East Loch Park. The Hen Harrier was still present around the Westness area and the Pochard was still present on Bewan, finally an impressive 32 Fieldfares were dotted around the island. 
A Common Gull Mosh Pit in the Snow

"Whatever this white stuff is, I don't like it" - Hooded Crow Jan '18


The ever camera shy drake Smew

Whooper Swan in heavy snow, probably wishing it wasn't 

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