The easterly wind had dropped off to more manageable levels on the 14th but that inevitably led to thick fog which was pretty thick in the morning, thinned out through the afternoon and came back in very thickly in the early evening; it was a good day’s birding though with a decent arrival of migrants highlighted by the first 2 Tree Pipits of the year near the Obs (four days earlier than the previous earliest arrival!), a good arrival of 17 Ring Ouzels and a record equalling 10 Mistle Thrushes – continuing the excellent spring for this species.
The rest of the days totals comprised 2 Hen Harriers (first ones since 24th March), 2 Sparrowhawks, a Woodcock, a Short-eared Owl, 200 Meadow Pipits, a littoralis Rock Pipit on Torness, 45 Pied Wagtails, a great arrival of 42 Dunnocks (the record being 66 in March 1980!), 107 Robins, a Black Redstart, 16 Wheatears, 210 Blackbirds, 165 Fieldfares, 35 Song Thrush, 49 Redwing, 2 Blackcap, 14 Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler, 5 Goldcrest, 8 Chaffinches and 12 Bramblings.
Other little bits included the Kumlien’s Gull again, a Grey Plover in Nouster, 3 Great Skuas and 3 Sandwich Terns.
Yesterday’s fog very slowly dissipated on the 15th through the day with the light easterly breeze and as visibility improved some good new birds and some increased totals made for a great day in the field; the highlights included the first Blue-headed Wagtail of the year (a nice male at Ancum) – again the earliest record by over a week, the overdue first Swallow of the year in off the sea at the north end and arguably the best being a Swiss ringed Robin trapped at the Obs late morning – the first Swiss ringed bird recovered on the island and potentially the first Swiss ringed Robin recovered in the UK!
Many species showed some real influxes from yesterday with 17 Woodcock, 22 Ring Ouzels, 77 Song Thrushes and 24 Chiffchaff all excellent mid-April figures. Other totals included a Hen Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawks, a Merlin, 7 Woodpigeons, the 2 Tree Pipits still, 3 Grey Wagtails, 39 Dunnock, 119 Robins, 3 Black Redstarts, 28 Wheatears, 6 Mistle Thrush, 3 Blackcap, 4 Willow Warblers, 4 Goldcrest, 2 Rook, 6 Chaffinches, 14 Brambling, a Siskin (a British control trapped at Holland), 2 Snow Buntings and the male Yellowhammer from the 10th which reappeared at the Obs.
Ring Ouzel and Siskin Simon Davies