Mixed conditions again over these past three days with a bright and breezy 22nd seeing the first really obvious returning wader flocks which included 44 Golden Plover, a Whimbrel, 7 Knot and 17 Bar-tailed Godwits.
The 23rd however, was a horrible day with a blasting westerly wind bringing nasty showers whipping in through the morning and then persistent and heavy, misty, murky, drizzly, foggy awfulness through the afternoon; all of the days interest came up at the north end where thousands of seabirds gathered on and offshore with conservative totals including 2,197 Kittiwakes (huge flocks came ashore when the worst weather came in during the afternoon), 800 Arctic Terns, 1,167+ Puffins (in 1.5 hrs), 1,700 large Auks (also in 1.5 hrs), 20 Arctic Skuas, 340 Gannets, 2 Storm Petrels, 11 Manx Shearwaters and 3 Red-throated Divers.
It changed again on the 24th but this time for the better as it was a lovely day with acres of bright sunshine and an easing wind; the previous days rough weather took its toll though as three out of the four Swallow broods we were due to ring today were unfortunately dead in the nest and the Raven chicks didn’t survive the westerly gales – although their nest was only a couple of metres above the high tide mark on the west coast ☹
Out and about though a first summer Little Gull was bobbing around on Hooking Loch with 40+ Black-headed Gull fledglings, a Willow Warbler that was re-trapped at the Obs had originally been ringed on the 8th and good numbers of previously failed Arctic Terns re-laying at a number of sites.
Kittiwakes at the foghorn
First summer Arctic Tern being photobombed by a Fulmar