A calm start on the 31st but the SE wind picked up through the day; it was quiet for new arrivals but some decent counts included 29 Knot, 104 Dunlin, 2 Whimbrel, 1,465 Arctic Terns and an excellent 47 Sand Martins which comprised good numbers of local fledglings. The Black Redstart was still around Holland where there was also a Willow Warbler, a flyover Heron and the Hummingbird Hawkmoth again.
The first day of autumn was a good one, with light winds and variable cloud cover and a nice selection of birds across the island; a Roseate Tern flew past Brides (probably one of the birds from a few days ago), the first Peregrine of the autumn – a monster juvenile female, flew south over the Obs, the first Short-eared Owl of the autumn was at Westness and the first Woodpigeon of the autumn came in off the sea at the north end.
More good wader counts through the day included 303 Lapwings, 545 Golden Plover, 178 Dunlin, 17 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Whimbrel and a Green Sandpiper while other little bits comprised 3 Herons, a Kestrel, probably the same juvenile Cuckoo, 4 Swifts, the 2 over-summering Fieldfares which popped up again and 2 Willow Warblers.
The theme continued on the 2nd with another great day in the field with the obvious highlight being 2 juvenile MEDITERRANEAN GULLS feeding in recently cut fields near Holland House, the two birds were not seen together but identified as different birds through photographs – the first records since 2009 and the first juveniles for the island. The bare fields also attracted big numbers of other birds including 354 Common Gulls, 8 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 21 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Ruff, 2 Whimbrel and 1,120 Golden Plover.
The days other main feature was some very mobile (or multiple!) Roseate Terns, as shortly after two were seen together on the rocks at Bridesness, one was seen feeding off The Links with Arctic Terns and a single Common Tern and then shortly after that, one was seen flying south over The Lurn to join a big feeding flock offshore there….they’ll just go down as two birds though! Other birds included a Great-northern Diver in Nouster, a Blue Fulmar and a Sooty Shearwater off the north end, the juvenile Cuckoo again, the Short-eared Owl again, a good total of 18 Swifts (by far the highest count of the year), 5 Willow Warblers and a Pied Flycatcher.
75 Storm Petrels were trapped overnight with a Leach’s Petrel flying and calling round the nets but not getting caught.
Mediterranean Gull Simon Davies
Sand Martin Simon Davies