Sunday, 7 January 2018

6th-7th January

The 6th saw the return of two obs staff members and an increase in coverage of the island.
Fieldfare numbers remained high with 15 birds in various locations, the bulk of them being in the fields the surround South Ness. Numbers of Redwings also stayed very similar as they were prior to the new year.
Wildfowl numbers have been fairly typical for this time of year, the pair of Mute Swans have been joined by up to 3 Whooper Swans.
Unsurprisingly wintering Greylag numbers are well into the hundreds, the 6th saw 421 counted and the 7th saw 367 dotted around in small flocks.
The Duck side of things proved to be slightly more exciting, 15 Pintail, 11 Tufted Ducks, 31 Mallard, 132 Wigeon, 7 Goldeneye, 71 Teal and 6 Gadwall were joined by the overwintering Green-winged Teal that is still spending its time on Gretchen.
Wader numbers have been low, 27 Bar-tailed Godwits being the highlight, Purple Sandpipers posted a respectful 198, the bulk of which have been feeding on washed up piles of tangles at Westness.
A few wintering Robins have set up around the island, 3 of which are around Holland House.
It seems as though the large numbers of Snow Buntings have all but moved on with only one bird being seen over the two-day period.
The ringtail Hen Harrier is still terrorising the islands ducks and waders as it cruises around.
Finally, Gull numbers have been unexpectedly low all barring Common Gulls, with numbers over 100 on both dates, but low numbers of large Gulls have meant there have been very little in the way of white-wingers to sift through, just a lone adult Glaucous Gull at Bewan on the 6th.
With windier conditions on the way we’re hoping for a few more year ticks!

A Fieldfare being unusually obliging

Adult Glaucous Gull with other Gulls

      Ringtail Hen Harrier at sunrise 

All photos George Gay  

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