A decent day on the 26th with the brisk wind eventually swinging round into the SE during the afternoon; the main feature of the day was some good seawatching totals from the north end – the first day of the autumn with some obvious passage as birds of note included 153 Sooty Shearwaters, 108 Manx Shearwaters, a Pomarine Skua, a Storm Petrel, 7 Common Scoter, 2 Red-throated Divers and a pod of 5+ Risso’s Dolphins lingering off the beacon. Other birds across the island included 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Kestrels, a Merlin, the first 2 Grey Plovers of the autumn (an adult and a juvenile), 46 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Ruff, 5 Black-tailed Godwits and the 2 over-summering Fieldfares still in Gue Park.
Rain overnight led to a damp start to the day on the 27th but the SE wind had shifted back into the NW producing a fine, bright, sunny day; there were two obvious stand-out birds through the day, both seen by single, fortunate observers. The best came early morning with a juvenile RED-FOOTED FALCON seen briefly on wires near Ancum from where it flew over to North Manse, dropped behind a wall, never to be seen again! The other highlight was a Balearic Shearwater which flew close inshore past the seawatch hide in the evening along with 64 Manx Shearwaters and another Pomarine Skua.
The burst of south-easterly wind yesterday produced a sprinkling of migrants including a Barred Warbler at Senness, the first Lesser Whitethroat of the autumn, a Garden Warbler, 3 Willow Warblers, a Black Redstart, 3 Short-eared Owls, 3 Kestrels, 2 Hen Harriers and 2 Merlins. Other birds of note 3 Red-throated Divers, 5 Herons, 9 Wigeon, 56 Teal, 35 Mallard, 16 Knot, 169 Sanderling and 10 Black-tailed Godwit.
Barred Warbler Simon Davies