A mix of weather through these couple of days with the wind constantly in the SE but ranging from strong to almost flat calm and some long but welcome spells of rain; a little influx of insects on the 28th was noteworthy and included a Hummingbird Hawkmoth at Burray along with 10+ Painted Ladies, 20+ Red Admirals and 50+ Silver Y’s. Birdwise, the first Common Sandpiper of the autumn was near the airstrip with 30 Knot and a Whimbrel the other wader highlights, a build-up of Arctic Terns included a huge flock of 2,500+ on Torness and a female-type Black Redstart was a surprise around the Obs.
Bright and sunny on the 29th with a very strong SE wind produced a few highlights including 6 Swifts in off the sea on the west side, the first juvenile Willow Warbler of the autumn at Bewan and the first juvenile Ruff of the autumn on Ancum along with 2 Herons, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel and the Black Redstart again.
There were some notable influxes on the 30th in response to the SE breeze slackening off to almost nothing in the morning; waders were very obvious as totals included 150 Oystercatchers, a big arrival of 1,350+ Golden Plover, 81 Knot (including a Norwegian colour flagged bird), 35 Sanderling, 28 Purple Sandpipers, an influx to 360 Dunlin, 24 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Whimbrel, 69 Curlew, 114 Redshank and 139 Turnstone. A big arrival of 5,050+ Arctic Terns was also noted with huge flocks roosting in a few spots round the island and included many of our local juveniles mingled in with the hordes.
Other little bits included 3 Swifts, 9 Sedge Warblers with dispersing juveniles in odd places, 3 Willow Warblers, the first Pied Flycatcher of the autumn (like Fair Isle, only the fourth July record!), another Hummingbird Hawkmoth at Holland and the first Peacock of the year at Vincoin.
Heron annoying the Terns
Hummingbird Hawkmoth Simon Davies