Thursday, 11 January 2018

8th-10th January

With winter ticking along nicely and birds slowly adding themselves to the year list it’s been a topsy-turvy few days in content and weather wise.
The 8th was much the same as the previous two days, a second Glaucous Gull of the year, this time a 1st Winter or 2nd Calendar Year (whichever you prefer) was loafing around Bewan with other Gulls.
A flock of Snow Buntings were seen feeding in the fields that surround South Ness and a short sea-watch provided the first Great Northern Diver of 2018 and a probable White-billed Diver that showed all the characteristics of White-billed but in fading light it cannot be a certainty.
Poor weather on the 9th and having a few jobs to do lead to very little in the way of birding being done. The highlight being a large count of Great Black-backed Gull and Herring Gulls posting totals of 188 and 112 respectively, the biggest surprise was a lack of white-wingers.
Weather improved considerably on the 10th, a pair of Pink-footed Geese kicked things off, one in East Loch Park and one behind the Kirbest Myre. Gull numbers were still high following rough weather and Great Black-backed and Herring Gulls were joined on the Links by yet another Glaucous Gull.
A clear increase in Redwing numbers was evident, numbers rising to an impressive 41 and Fieldfares seemed to stay steady at around 13 birds. Another Great Northern Diver was joined by 17 Long-tailed Ducks off the Links, 3 Robins were dotted around the island and the Chaffinch that has spent the winter around the obs croft was lingering at T4.

The biggest surprise of the year (all 10 days of it) was the appearance of 7 Common Cranes at Nether Linnay! They’re not a usual visitor to the island and caused a small-scale twitch! The birds were eventually flushed by curious cattle and flew South towards Sanday. Not a bad start to 2018!

Common Cranes 

Common Cranes shortly after being investigated by the Cows

1w Glaucous Gull at Bewan

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