Still dry and bright on the 24th but with a stronger, colder SE wind as the so called ‘Beast from the East’ began to influence the island; it was a pretty quiet day’s birding though with the Kumlien’s Gull and presumably the same second winter Glaucous Gull at Brides Loch and the drake Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen. Other little, random bits included the five wintering Herons still at Westness, the single Whooper Swan, Merlin and Peregrine zooming around, 45 Fieldfares still and the Black Redstart still lingering along the south coast.
Lighter winds on the 25th and with the return of Fireman George, increased coverage led to some decent counts through the day; the highlights though, remained the same with the Kumlien’s Gull still, the Glaucous Gull back up at the north end and the drake Smew again on Bewan. With all the loch covered and calmer seas, wildfowl counts included 284 Wigeon, 18 Gadwall, 13 Pintail, 16 Shoveler, 24 Long-tailed Ducks and 4 Goldeneye along with 207 Lapwings, 102 Oystercatchers, 2 Jack Snipe and an increased 43 Bar-tailed Godwits.
Landbirds were still thin on the ground but did include 2 Peregrines, a Merlin which left to the south, over the sea towards Sanday, the Black Redstart still and a good total of 19 Rock Pipits with more of the coast walked.
Common Gull dropping shellfish onto the rocks