Sunday, 10 November 2019

8th November

Another lovely day, very calm with sunny spells but pretty chilly as befits the time of year; most species enjoyed a slight increase in numbers due both to slight coverage improvement and some new birds coming though; totals included 2 Merlin, a Grey Plover, 6 Skylark, 2 Waxwings – one at the Obs first thing and another single south down the island at lunchtime, 25 Robins, 23 Fieldfare, 7 Song Thrush, 98 Redwing, a Chiffchaff, 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs still, a Brambling, 3 Siskin, 68 Twite, a good 53 Snow Buntings and 5 Reed Buntings.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

7th November

A very different day with a very cold, brisk NNE wind cutting right through you and some nasty little hail / rain showers early in the morning; the Siberian Rubythroat was seen briefly at Antabreck again early in the morning but unfortunately couldn’t be relocated afterwards for a visiting birder on the lunchtime plane and wasn’t seen again.   Other birds through the day included 10 Pink-footed Geese, single Merlin and Peregrine, a Grey Plover, a Jack Snipe, 11 Robins, 6 Song Thrush, 50 Redwing, 4 Fieldfare, a single remaining Siberian Chiffchaff, 60 Twite and 2 Snow Buntings.

Twite (and a Sparrow!)

6th November

A lovely day, almost flat calm with varying cloud cover, great to be out in the field; the undoubted highlight of the day (and autumn) was a wonderful female SIBERIAN RUBYTHROAT found in the garden at Purtabreck by Pete Donnelly as he had a cup-of-tea and gazed out of the window, it had disappeared by the time everyone else rocked up but within the hour it had been re-found next door at Antabreck and showed well to everyone – the [some might say overdue] first for the island!   Other birds through the day included the adult Black-throated Diver in Nouster again, the drake Green-winged Teal still, a Hen Harrier, a huge female Peregrine, single Grey Plover and Woodcock, a bit of a late influx of 17+ Meadow Pipits, 18 Robins, 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs – one at Ancum Willows and a new one in Funny Park, 2 Brambling, 74 Twite, a Common Redpoll and 8 Snow Buntings.

Siberian Rubythroat                              Simon Davies

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

5th November

Not a bad day with moderate and decreasing NNE winds, remaining dry; most of yesterday’s Blackbirds and other Thrushes had departed overnight leaving a quieter day in the field but birds seen did include 4 Hen Harriers, 4 Grey Plover, 4 Woodcock, 6 Skylark, 10 Meadow Pipits, 21 Robins, 38 Fieldfare, 13 Song Thrush, 167 Redwing, a Blackcap, 4 Siberian Chiffchaffs still (including a new bird at Howar), 3 Brambling, a Common Redpoll and 26 Snow Buntings.

Common Redpoll

Monday, 4 November 2019

4th November

A slight improvement again with lighter NNE winds, remaining dry and some obvious new arrivals across the island; totals comprised 8 Herons, single Whooper Swan and Pink-footed Goose, the Green-winged Teal still, at least 4 Hen Harriers, 6 Woodcock, 7 Skylark, at least 4 Waxwings around the Obs including one seen heading south out to sea, 10 Robins, 119 Blackbirds (an obvious arrival in the south of the island, mainly comprising adult birds, 54 Fieldfare, 9 Song Thrush, 210 Redwing, 2 Blackcaps, 3 Siberian Chiffchaffs – two at Scotsha and one in Ancum Willows, 3 Brambling, 2 Siskins and a Common Redpoll.



3rd November

Still moderately breezy with the wind again in the NE but infinitely better than yesterday, remaining dry and birdable; the days birds included 2 Black-throated Divers in Nouster – an adult and a first-year (the first ones since May), a single adult Whooper Swan, the Green-winged Teal still, 4 Hen Harriers, 2 Merlin, a Woodcock, a Black-tailed Godwit, 390+ Herring Gulls, 2 Waxwings south over the airfield, 7 Robins, 80 Blackbird, 40 Fieldfare, 9 Song Thrush, 147 Redwing, 6 Brambling and 2 Snow Buntings.


Sunday, 3 November 2019

2nd November

A shocker of a day with a blazing easterly wind and almost constant, stinging rain making any forays out into the field a bit of a mission but after the disappointing rugby, a couple of brave souls headed out to count the new arrivals; birds included 2 Whooper Swans, a Hen Harrier, a Woodcock, a huge build-up of storm-driven Gulls including 730+ Herrings and 545+ Great Black-backs, 2 Waxwings around the Obs, 14 Robins, 88 Blackbirds, an increased 285+ Fieldfares (highest count of the autumn), 20 Song Thrush, 215 Redwing, a Blackcap, 4 Brambling and 7 Snow Buntings.


Saturday, 2 November 2019

1st November

Moderately breezy throughout wind the wind finally working its way round into the east with the odd spot of rain thrown in, maybe to give us a last few new birds over the coming week; an almost certain Coue’s Arctic Redpoll was briefly near the Obs with three Common Redpolls in the morning before flying off towards Nouster.   Other birds included the Green-winged Teal, 3 Hen Harriers, a Merlin, 2 Peregrines, 2 Jack Snipe, 7 Woodcock, 21 Robins, the Ring Ouzel still at Holland, 12 Fieldfare, 22 Song Thrush, 141 Redwing, the Mistle Thrush still around Funny Park, a Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaffs, 3 Siberian Chiffchaffs – two at the north end and one in Ancum Willows, a Brambling, 18 Linnets, 5 Siskin, 43 Twite and a Snow Bunting. 

Friday, 1 November 2019

31st October

Calm again first thing but the southerly wind steadily picked up through the day becoming breezy by the evening and maybe moving into the east a little bit; some increased coverage produced some increased numbers with hints of a few new bits still on the move, perhaps indicating the autumn is not quite over yet!   Birds seen through the day included 10 Red-throated Divers, 6 Great-northern Divers, a bit of movement over the sea with a Sooty Shearwater, 4 Common Scoter, a juvenile Pomarine Skua, 5 Little Auks and 3 Puffins, 8 Herons, 312 Wigeon, 8 Pintail, 112 Teal, a massive influx of 104 Tufted Ducks – the second highest island count, probably involving a roaming flock from Sanday rather than actual migrants, 31 Long-tailed Ducks (highest count of the autumn), 3 Hen Harriers, 4 Merlin, 3 Woodcock, 28 Rock Pipits, 14 Robins, the Holland Ring Ouzel still, 8 Song Thrush, 145 Redwing, a Mistle Thrush, 3 Siberian Chiffchaffs (new birds, caught in Holland), 3 Brambling, 66 Siskin and 7 Snow Buntings.

Siberian Chiffchaff

30th October

Another nice and calm day, overcast and dry but with few new arrivals; totals comprised 6 Red-throated Divers, 3 Herons, single Whooper Swan and Pink-footed Goose, the Green-winged Teal still, a Hen Harrier, 2 Merlin, a Peregrine, 2 Woodcock, 2 Short-eared Owls, 10 Robins, a Ring Ouzel still at Holland, 5 Song Thrush, 66 Redwing, 2 Blackcap, a Chiffchaff, 3 Siberian Chiffchaffs, 2 Brambling, 2 Greenfinches, 11 Siskin, 65 Twite, a Common Redpoll and a Snow Bunting.

Water Rails

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

29th October

A gorgeous day, bright and sunny with a feather-light NNE wind, a joy to be wandering around in the field after struggling so long in the strong winds; after the strong winds there was always going to be a movement over the sea and so it proved as totals included 17 Red-throated Divers, 9 Great-northern Divers, 10 Sooty Shearwaters, 11 Manx Shearwaters, 24 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Goldeneye, 8 Red-breasted Mergansers, a juvenile Pomarine Skua, a good 61 Little Auks and 18 Puffins.   There was a nice selection across the land as well without being amazing with birds of note comprising 4 Herons, the Green-winged Teal still, 3 Hen Harriers, 2 Merlin, a Woodcock, a Short-eared Owl, 23 Robins, 9 Fieldfare, 10 Song Thrush, 116 Redwing, a Mistle Thrush, a Blackcap, 5 Chiffchaff, a bit of an arrival 6 Siberian Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest, 3 Brambling, a Siskin, 36 Twite, 9 Common Redpoll and a Snow Bunting.

Siberian Chiffchaff

28th October

Lighter winds than yesterday, brighter as well, not bad all-in-all; birds seen through the day included 3 Herons, 4 Whooper Swans, 279 Wigeon, the Green-winged Teal still, 17 Shoveler, 9 Long-tailed Ducks, 12 Red-breasted Mergansers, 3 Hen Harriers, 3 Merlin, a Grey Plover, 72 Purple Sandpipers, a Jack Snipe, 21 Robins, a Ring Ouzel at Holland, 10 Song Thrush, 221 Redwing, a Mistle Thrush, 2 Blackcap, a Chiffchaff, 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs – Obs and Scotsha, the first Rook of the autumn by Scottigar, 11 Brambling, 18 Siskin, 72 Twite, 16 Common Redpolls, the male Hawfinch again round the Obs and 2 Snow Buntings.


27th October

Windy again from the north bringing a succession of nasty showers sweeping through; there were some good highlights on offer though with an adult White-billed Diver past the seawatch hide, a 1cy Glaucous Gull also at the top end, a very late Swallow seen belting south ahead of a squall and a Siberian Chiffchaff in Bewan garden.   Other bits included a single Whooper Swan, 3 Hen Harriers, single Merlin and Peregrine, 203 Redwings, 2 Common Redpolls and 13 Snow Buntings.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

26th October

A nicer day, bright with much lighter winds but after the annual Harvest Home dinner and dance, observations were again limited (excuses, excuses!); a Red-breasted Flycatcher at Lurand was a bit of a surprise, not sure where that came from while other birds included a Merlin, 16 Robins, 10 Song Thrush, 225 Redwing, 20 Brambling, 4 Siskin, 100 Linnets, 40 Twite, 5 Common Redpolls, the male Hawfinch still around the Obs and 3 Snow Buntings.


25th October

Largely dry but a blazing, gale force southerly wind was pretty restricting and observations were limited but birds seen did include 4 Whooper Swans, 11 Long-tailed Ducks, 17 Red-breasted Mergansers, single Grey Plover, Knot, Jack Snipe and Black-tailed Godwit, a late Arctic Skua chasing Common Gulls off The Links, 145 Redwing, 3 Siskins, a Common Redpoll and 3 Snow Buntings.

Friday, 25 October 2019

24th October

We kept the very strong southerly wind but it remained bright and sunny throughout; a bit more effort in the field produced a few birds but little new as totals included 4 Great-northern Divers, 15 Whooper Swans (including three juveniles), 254 Wigeon, the Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen, 11 Long-tailed Ducks, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, 2 Hen Harriers, a Merlin, a Woodcock, 17 Rock Pipits, a Dunnock, 40 Robins, 19 Song Thrush, 525 Redwing, 3 Mistle Thrush, 3 Chiffchaff, 3 Goldcrest, a Chaffinch, 43 Brambling, 4 Siskin, 6 Common Redpoll, the female Hawfinch still around the Obs, munching her way through the Rosa and 6 Snow Buntings.

Messy eater

Whooper Swans

Thursday, 24 October 2019

23rd October

Still very wet and windy through the morning keeping folks indoors but there was a weather window of a few hours from early lunchtime before rain came back in late afternoon; coverage was limited but birds of note did include 3 Whooper Swans in off at Westness, a Merlin, a 1cy Glaucous Gull off Senness (first of the autumn), still 20+ Robins and 590+ Redwing, a Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Siskins and a Snow Bunting.   Also of note was a freshly dead Storm Petrel at Nouster Pier.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

22nd October

A horrible day with strong SSW winds and driving rain pretty much throughout; the limited observations suggested another arrival of Redwings, especially at the north end of the island with c1,160 counted in the fields.   Other birds seen comprised a Grey Plover, 2 Jack Snipe, a few Robins still, 2 Blackcaps and the male Hawfinch still around the Obs.

Snipe and Jack Snipe

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

21st October

Still windy, although from the SSW this time; there were limited new arrivals as totals included 3 Hen Harriers, 2 Merlin, 51 Dunlin, a Jack Snipe, a Woodcock, a single Little Auk past the Lighthouse, 51 Robins, a Ring Ouzel, 108 Song Thrush, 641 Redwing, 4 Mistle Thrush, 5 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, the Siberian Chiffchaff still at Holland, 3 Goldcrest, 14 Brambling, a further increase to 22 Common Redpolls, 2 Hawfinches still roaming between Holland and the Obs, 35 Snow Buntings and a Yellowhammer still.

Siberian Chiffchaff

Monday, 21 October 2019

20th October

A difficult day in the field with a moderately strong and pretty cold northerly wind cutting through you after a few hours stomping around; there were still birds to be had though despite coverage being slightly down on the last few days, totals included 2 Sooty Shearwaters and a Bonxie off the Lighthouse, 9 Herons, 173 Wigeon, an increase in duck off The Links with 11 Long-tailed Duck, a Common Scoter, 8 Red-breasted Merganser and best of all a Goosander (only the second of the year), 3 Hen Harriers, a Sparrowhawk, single Merlin and Peregrine, 2 Grey Plover, a Waxwing hanging around Holland House (the first of the autumn), 56 Robins, 2 Redstart still, a Wheatear, a Ring Ouzel, 48 Song Thrush, 205 Redwing, a good 7 Mistle Thrush, 7 Chiffchaff, 36 Brambling, 2 Siskin, an increased 19 Common Redpolls, 2 Hawfinches still, 3 Lapland Bunting, 33 Snow Bunting and a Yellowhammer still.


Sunday, 20 October 2019

19th October

A different kind of day with an increasing cold, brisk northerly wind dominating proceedings bringing some nasty little showers sweeping across the island from mid-afternoon.   There were limited new arrivals but still plenty of birds scattered throughout making it worthwhile to spend time in the field; totals included 6 Great-northern Divers, single Manx Shearwater and Arctic Skua off the Lighthouse, 10 Herons, the Green-winged Teal on Gretchen, 2 Hen Harriers, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Merlin, 2 Grey Plover, single Knot, Woodcock and Black-tailed Godwit, a Grey Wagtail, a White Wagtail, 91 Robins, 3 Redstarts, a Whinchat, a Ring Ouzel, 95 Song Thrush, 410 Redwing, 4 Mistle Thrush, 8 Blackcap, 13 Chiffchaffs, 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs at Holland and Ancum, 5 Goldcrest, a Chaffinch, 86 Brambling, 3 Siskin, 2 Common Redpoll, the 2 Hawfinch still, 12 Snow Buntings and a new Yellowhammer.


Saturday, 19 October 2019

18th October

Still good, pleasant conditions with the ENE wind slightly increased and picking up towards the evening; numbers of common migrants were again reduced as the clear conditions overnight encouraged lots of birds to head off.   There were some new things to be found but we’re still feeling a bit hard-done-by with our lack of a bit of quality in our log; totals included 11 Red-throated Divers, 3 Great-northern Divers, 6 Long-tailed Ducks, 9 Red-breasted Mergansers, 2 Hen Harriers, 3 Merlin, a big female Peregrine, a Woodcock, 2 alba Wagtails, 91 Robins, a Black Redstart, a Redstart, 2 Wheatears, 27 Fieldfare, 110 Song Thrush, 700 Redwings, a Mistle Thrush, yet another Eastern Lesser Whitethroat caught in Holland (that’s eight we’ve caught now this autumn!), 11 Blackcap, 18 Chiffchaff, yesterday’s Siberian Chiffchaff still, 7 Goldcrest, 73 Brambling, 9 Siskin, 7 Common Redpoll, the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll re-trapped at roost in Holland, now 2 Hawfinches (the long-staying male and a new female at the Obs), 7 Snow Buntings and 1-2 Yellowhammers with birds seen at Ancum and Nether Linney – new for the year.

Eastern Lesser Whitethroat - these last two have been much greyer than the typical blythi were caught at the start of the month, with this one being long-winged.

17th October

A gorgeous day, very calm, bright and sunny with plenty of birds still across the island but slightly reduced numbers from yesterday’s big arrival; still fun in the field with the fine conditions and birds round every corner making it great to be out with totals including the Green-winged Teal still, 3 Hen Harriers, 2 Merlin, single Jack Snipe and Black-tailed Godwits, a Short-eared Owl, 3 late Swallows, 205 Robins, 2 Ring Ouzels, 106 Blackbird, 58 Fieldfare, 236 Song Thrush, 2,250 Redwing, 2 Mistle Thrush, yesterday’s Reed Warbler, another Eastern Lesser Whitethroat trapped at Holland, a Garden Warbler, 22 Blackcap, 31 Chiffchaff, a Siberian Chiffchaff trapped at Ancum, 13 Goldcrest, 93 Brambling, 5 Siskin, 10 Common Redpoll, the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll still, the Hawfinch still around Holland and 6 Snow Buntings.


Wednesday, 16 October 2019

16th October

A fantastic day with birds everywhere, massive flocks of Thrushes moving across the island throughout the day; the huge rolling flocks of Redwings filling every field, coming in off the sea and dropping vertically out of the sky was something else!   No real rarities were unearthed but it didn’t matter one jot with everyone just revelling in the spectacle unfolding in front of them; totals (largely underestimates) comprised 11 Herons, 3 Hen Harriers, 2 Merlin, 3 Jack Snipe, 283 Snipe, 13 Woodcock, 5 Short-eared Owls, 320 Robins, 2 Black Redstarts, 3 Redstarts, a Wheatear, 11 Ring Ouzels, 315 Blackbirds, 257 Fieldfare, 1,197 Song Thrush, 10,977 Redwing, 2 Mistle Thrushes, single late Reed Warbler, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler, 43 Blackcap, 38 Chiffchaff, 39 Goldcrest, 133 Brambling, 17 Siskin, 7 Common Redpoll, the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll popping back up at Nether Linney, a Hawfinch flying around and eventually caught in Holland, 14 Snow Buntings and 8 Reed Buntings.    It was a brilliant day for the ringers as a total of 381 birds were processed through the day – an excellent total for the island. 

Migration at its best!

15th October

A decent day with a moderate easterly based wind and plenty of dry, pleasant conditions to enjoy your birding; the rarity highlight of the day was a bit of a kick in the guts as a dead 1cy BROWN SHRIKE was picked up off the road near Holland House, having been freshly hit by a car – certainly not how we wanted to get our second record of this seemingly increasing eastern mega.   There were birds arriving right through the day with repeated checks of the same areas yielding increased numbers every time – really exciting birding, we couldn’t pull out another high quality rare but some good totals included 9 Herons, 202 Wigeon, 63 Teal, the drake Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen, 23 Shoveler, 3 Hen Harriers, 3 Merlin, 2 Grey Plover, a Woodcock, 20 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Short-eared Owls, 157+ Robins, a Black Redstart, 2 Redstarts, a Whinchat, a Wheatear, a Ring Ouzel, 50 Blackbird, 17 Fieldfare, 93 Song Thrush, 230 Redwing, an eastern Lesser Whitethroat, 20 Blackcap, 3 Yellow-browed Warblers, 22 Chiffchaff, the first Siberian Chiffchaff of the year, 35 Goldcrests, the Red-backed Shrike again at Barrenha, 11 Brambling, a Greenfinch, 3 Siskin, 13 Common Redpoll, a Hawfinch whizzing around (first of the autumn), a Tree Sparrow and 77 Snow Buntings.

Brown Shrike wing

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

14th October

Still lovely and calm, very pleasant to be out and about but it has to be said that we do feel slightly hard-done-by with quality birds all around us and hardly any new arrivals here!   Our meagre totals comprised 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Merlin, a further influx to 23 Black-tailed Godwits, a Short-eared Owl, 17 Robins, 2 Wheatears, 10 Fieldfare, 20 Song Thrush, 143 Redwing, a new Eastern Lesser Whitethroat at the Beacon, 4 Blackcap, a Yellow-browed Warbler at the north end, 9 Chiffchaff, 5 Goldcrest, 5 Bramblings, a Goldfinch, 3 Siskin, a Common Redpoll and a good 94 Snow Buntings.   On a sadder note a juvenile Osprey was picked up from under a wind turbine in the north of the island after having struck the blades.

Look at them talons!

Monday, 14 October 2019

13th October

Another lovely, calm day, largely bright and dry but with a few spots of rain to give us some hope of something dropping in but unfortunately, we couldn’t compete with next door!   Birds unearthed included the regularly returning drake Green-winged Teal back on Gretchen (or rather he has finally moulted enough for us to be sure its him, its probably been here for a while already), a big influx of 82+ Tufted Ducks on Brides in amongst which was a single Scaup, 2 Hen Harriers, a Merlin, a Ruff, an arrival of 14+ Black-tailed Godwits, a Short-eared Owl, a Grey Wagtail, 17 Robins, 7 Fieldfare, 110 Redwing, the Eastern Lesser Whitethroat still at Holland, 4 Blackcap, a Yellow-browed Warbler on the coast by Gretchen (first one since the 6th), 5 Chiffchaff, 5 Goldcrest, a/the Red-backed Shrike at Barrenha – it’s unclear whether it was a new bird or the long-staying individual last seen in that area on the 6th, 3 Chaffinches, 3 Brambling, the first 2 Greenfinches of the autumn, 3 Common Redpolls, the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll re-trapped in Holland, a Lapland Bunting and 22 Snow Buntings.


Sunday, 13 October 2019

12th October

Lovely and calm through the day with the bright conditions making it a joy to be out in the field, not big arrival weather but still a good selection of common migrants with enough of a turnover of birds to keep your enthusiasm going.   Totals included 4 Herons, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, 3 Hen Harriers, 2 Merlins, a Jack Snipe, a Short-eared Owl, the Shorelark again on the beach at Howar, 110 Meadow Pipits, 44 Robins, 2 Redstarts, a Whinchat, 5 Wheatears, 11 Fieldfare, 38 Song Thrush, 185 Redwing, the Eastern Lesser Whitethroat still, 3 Blackcap, 9 Chiffchaff, 8 Goldcrest, the Great Grey Shrike still roving the south of the island, 3 Chaffinches, 11 Brambling, 2 Siskin, still 180 Linnets, 6 Common Redpolls, a Lesser Redpoll trapped in Holland (the first of the autumn), a Lapland Bunting and 79 Snow Buntings.

Short-eared Owl

Saturday, 12 October 2019

11th October

A lovely calm day, only marred by a few hefty showers scattered throughout, most species enjoyed notable increases due to a combination of new arrivals, birds coming out of hiding in the calm weather and a rise in observer’s enthusiasm as it felt very promising; the highlights though were the same again with the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll still showing well, the Grey-headed Wagtail popping up again and the mobile Great Grey Shrike still whizzing around.   Some good totals for the log included 18 Red-throated Divers, 5 Great-northern Divers, 9 Herons, 5 Pintail, 6 Long-tailed Ducks, 3 Goldeneye, 4 Red-breasted Mergansers, 3 Hen Harriers, a Sparrowhawk (a British control caught at Ancum), a Merlin, 2 Peregrines, 3 Grey Plover, a Ruff, 3 Jack Snipe, 226 Snipe, a Woodcock, the Black-tailed Godwit with 26 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Woodpigeon, a Swallow, 130 Meadow Pipits, 21 Rock Pipits, 2 Grey Wagtails, 2 Dunnocks, 51 Robins, a Black Redstart, a Redstart, a Stonechat, 9 Wheatears, 42 Fieldfare, 53 Song Thrush, 159 Redwing, the Eastern Lesser Whitethroat still, 3 Blackcap, 15 Chiffchaff, 16 Goldcrest, 7 Chaffinches, 9 Brambling, the first Goldfinch of the autumn, a Siskin, 2 Common Redpolls, a Lapland Bunting, a notable influx of 93+ Snow Buntings and 13 Reed Buntings.

Arctic Redpoll dwarfing a Common Redpoll

Friday, 11 October 2019

10th October

Predominantly another rough day with a strong westerly wind and quite a few showers whipping through but it began to ease off through the afternoon, leading up to a (hopefully) calmer few days ahead.   Highlights through the day included the Little Gull again along the coast between Brides and Nouster, the Shorelark again around Kirbest and the Great Grey Shrike still zooming all over the place.   Totals comprised 9 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great-northern Divers, 4 Herons, a family party of 4 Whooper Swans, 167 Wigeon, 13 Shoveler, single Long-tailed Duck, Goldeneye and Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Hen Harriers, a Merlin, 3 Grey Plover, a single Black-tailed Godwit with 22 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Puffin past the Lighthouse, a Woodpigeon, a Swallow, 8 Robins, a Stonechat, 6 Wheatears, a Ring Ouzel, 7 Fieldfare, 9 Song Thrush, 78 Redwing, a Mistle Thrush, single Eastern Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest, 3 Chaffinches, 3 Brambling and 12 Snow Buntings.

The long-staying Eastern Lesser Whitethroat

Thursday, 10 October 2019

9th October

A rough, very windy morning with frequent showers giving way to a not-so-rough afternoon with slightly fewer showers and some bright spells but still tough in the field; highlights comprised the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll still up at Nether Linney, the Great Grey Shrike still bombing around the island and a juvenile Little Gull feeding in the surf at Brides – only the second of the year.    There were some new birds to be had though, keeping us going out and about as totals included a Great-northern Diver past the Lighthouse (unusually scarce this autumn so far), 6 Heron, 128 Wigeon, 133 Teal, 3 Pintail, 8 Shoveler, 2 Long-tailed Ducks, the first Goldeneye of the autumn, 2 Hen Harriers, a Grey Plover, 2 Jack Snipe, 92 Snipe, a Woodpigeon, a Short-eared Owl, 2 Swallows, 24 Rock Pipits, 80 Meadow Pipits, 14 Robins, 9 Wheatears, 2 Ring Ouzels, 8 Fieldfares, 33 Song Thrush, 247 Redwing, the first Mistle Thrush of the autumn, the Eastern Lesser Whitethroat still lingering in Holland, 3 Blackcap, 5 Goldcrest, 5 Chaffinches, 3 Brambling, 5 Siskin, 2 Common Redpolls, a Lapland Bunting, 21 Snow Buntings and 13 Reed Buntings.

Little Gull                                                James Wilson

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

8th October

Lighter SSW winds through the day but it was still blustery; the highlights were the same as yesterday with the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll still around Nether Linney and the Great Grey Shrike was around the south of the island being very mobile and eventually finding a net in Holland.   Other totals included 11 Herons, 3 Scaup at sea off Torness, a drake Long-tailed Duck off The Links, a Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Hen Harriers, single Grey Plover, Black-tailed Godwit and Ruff, a Woodpigeon, 2 Short-eared Owls, 2 Grey Wagtails, a Dunnock, 32 Robins, a new Black Redstart, 2 Redstarts, a Whinchat, 13 Wheatears, a Ring Ouzel, 21 Fieldfares, 47 Song Thrush, 180 Redwing, an Eastern Lesser Whitethroat still in Holland, a Garden Warbler, 4 Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff, 8 Goldcrest, 10 Chaffinches, 4 Brambling, 9 Siskin, 4 Lapland Buntings, 22 Snow Buntings and 5 Reed Buntings.


Tuesday, 8 October 2019

7th October

A very windy start giving way to an apocalyptic few hours, late morning when the wind picked up and brought heavy, driving rain confining everyone back in the Obs but it brightened up in the afternoon and the still very strong wind moved from the SE into the south.   Most of the day’s sightings came in the afternoon and included the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll again up by Nether Linney and the Great Grey Shrike sheltering in Holland.   The nice range of other birds comprised 6 Herons, 6 Jack Snipe, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Woodpigeon, 4 Short-eared Owls, 16 Rock Pipits, 5 Grey Wagtails, a Dunnock, 30 Robins, a Redstart, 3 Wheatears, 2 Ring Ouzels, 13 Fieldfare, 60 Song Thrush, 277 Redwing, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaffs, 15 Goldcrest, 2 Chaffinches, 4 Brambling, 2 Common Redpoll, 2 Lapland Buntings and 25 Snow Buntings.

Short-eared Owl

Monday, 7 October 2019

6th October

Tough birding conditions unless you stuck to the sheltered west side with the very strong easterly wind pushing birds and birders onto the coast, there were a few showers overnight and a sharp one just at dawn but the day remained dry and bright – just what we wanted.   While there wasn’t a huge arrival of birds, along the west coast it was great birding with migrants all the way up; scarcities included a Great Grey Shrike on Torness and later down at the airstrip, the Shorelark again in Kirbest, the Grey-headed Wagtail at Neven, one of the Red-backed Shrikes still at Hooking and the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll again at Nether Linney.   Good totals through the day comprised 8 Herons, 2 Hen Harriers, a Grey Plover, 5 Jack Snipe, 3 Woodcock, 3 Woodpigeons, 2 Short-eared Owls, 22 Rock Pipits, 3 Grey Wagtails (the first of the autumn), a Dunnock, 30 Robins, a Black Redstart (first since July), 2 Redstarts, 2 Whinchats, a Stonechat, 9 Wheatears, the first 3 Ring Ouzels of the autumn, 12 Fieldfare, 70 Song Thrush, 317 Redwing, a Reed Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, a Whitethroat, 7 Chiffchaff, 45 Goldcrest, 4 Chaffinches, 6 Brambling, 2 Common Redpoll, 2 Lapland Buntings, 20 Snow Bunting and 3 Reed Bunting.

Great Grey Shrike

Sunday, 6 October 2019

5th October

Largely dry and bright again with an increasing, blustery ENE wind and some much desired showers moving in just after dark, ramping up the anticipation for tomorrow; most of the highlights were again, lingering birds with the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll relocating to Nether Linney, the Grey-headed Wagtail at Garso, a single Yellow-browed Warbler at Lenswick, the Shorelark again in Nouster / Kirbest and a juvenile Long-tailed Skua which came in over Westness.   Other birds included 3 Herons, a single Whooper Swan south, 2 Hen Harrier, 2 Merlin, a Grey Plover, 6 Jack Snipe, the first 2 Woodcock of the autumn, 2 Short-eared Owls, 3 Swallows, 9 Robins, a Whinchat, 9 Wheatears, 5 Fieldfare, 26 Song Thrush, 121 Redwing, 2 Garden Warblers, 8 Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler, 35 Goldcrest, 7 Chaffinches, 2 Brambling, a Lapland Bunting and 18 Snow Buntings.


Saturday, 5 October 2019

4th October

A very pleasant day to be out and about, plenty of bright sunshine and a moderate ENE breeze, perhaps not ideal for lots of grounded migrants but nice to be in the field where there was a sprinkling of new birds across the island to keep you interested.   The day’s scarcities were all long-staying birds with the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll seen briefly near the Obs, the male Grey-headed Wagtail again by Neven, the Shorelark reappearing in Nouster, 4 Yellow-browed Warblers new in and the 2 Red-backed Shrikes seen again at Hooking and near Holland.   Other totals comprised 11 Herons, 129 Wigeon, 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Merlin, 2 Grey Plover, 5 Jack Snipe, 67 Skylark, a Swallow, 151 Meadow Pipits, 19 Rock Pipits, a Dunnock, 11 Robins, 5 Redstarts, a Whinchat, 7 Wheatears, 4 Fieldfare, 11 Song Thrush, 195 Redwing, 3 Lesser Whitethroats (including two eastern birds trapped at Holland), a Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, 10 Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff, 24 Goldcrest, 5 Chaffinches, a Brambling, 6 Common Redpolls and 43 Snow Buntings.   Also of note was a late Hummingbird Hawkmoth in Holland.

'Eastern' Lesser Whitethroat, probably Siberian

Friday, 4 October 2019

3rd October

Not a bad day with the wind easing off significantly and slowly moving into the ENE and plenty of bright spells; the land was fairly quiet but with the wind dying back and moving round the sea was very profitable as totals included 3,650+ Fulmars, 43 Sooty Shearwaters, 15 Manx Shearwaters, the first Scaup of the year, the first Long-tailed Duck of the autumn, a juvenile Pomarine Skua, a fine adult Long-tailed Skua, 14 Bonxies, 2,450+ Kittiwakes, 2 Little Auks, an excellent total of 85 Puffins (good for this late in the year) and 400+ large Auk sp.   As mentioned the land was quieter but a trickle of new things to give us some hope for the coming days with 2 Hen Harriers, single Kestrel and Merlin, a Jack Snipe, a Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Robins, 3 Redstarts, 5 Fieldfares, 42 Redwing, 3 Lesser Whitethroats (including an eastern bird trapped in Ancum Willows), 2 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Goldcrest, 6 Ravens (the first immigrants of the autumn), 4 Chaffinches, the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll still at the back of Nouster, 2 Lapland Buntings and 4 Snow Buntings.

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll                         Dante Shepherd

Thursday, 3 October 2019

2nd October

A similar day to yesterday, largely dry with only a couple of showers and a brisk, cold NNW breeze; pretty much all of the noteworthy birds were leftovers from the last week with the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll still at the back of Nouster but sometimes elusive and the Red-backed Shrike still around Holland.   Other birds included 7 Red-throated Divers, 4 Sooty and a Manx Shearwater, 3 Heron, a Pintail, 79 Teal, 8 Shoveler, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Hen Harrier, a Black-tailed Godwit, the late Arctic Tern still lingering in the north, 2 Swallows, 2 Redstarts, a Whinchat, 6 Wheatears, 2 Fieldfare, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, a Chaffinch and 3 Snow Buntings.


Wednesday, 2 October 2019

1st October

A tough day in the field with a brisk, cold NNW wind bringing a few sharp little showers sweeping across the island; there were still a couple of lingering highlights, most notably the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll which was re-found late in the afternoon feeding at the back of Nouster Bay with a Red-backed Shrike still around Holland.   Other birds of note seen through the day comprised 5 Red-throated Divers, 8 Sooty Shearwaters and 7 Manx Shearwaters past the Lighthouse, 4 Herons, a Pintail and 8 Shoveler new in, single Hen Harrier and Kestrel, a Black-tailed Godwit, a late Arctic Tern past the Lighthouse, a Woodpigeon, 3 Redstart, 4 Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff, a Goldcrest, a Chaffinch and 27 Snow Buntings.

Still some insect interest

30th September

A different day with a brisk, cold NNW wind and a few showers in the morning, brightening up and slightly easing in the afternoon.   There was again a reduction in the numbers of migrants across the island with pretty much the only new bird being an awesome HORNEMANN’S ARCTIC REDPOLL trapped at Holland House in the morning; most of the scarcities were still in place with 2 Barred Warblers still (Sandback and Holland), 2 Red-backed Shrikes still (Holland and Phisligar), the Grey-headed Wagtail on the beach at Sandback but no Yellow-browed Warblers.   Other totals included 3 Herons, the first 5 Whooper Swans of the autumn, the 3 Quail again in the same field at Kirbest, a Hen Harrier, 2 Kestrels, 2 Merlins, 3 Grey Plover, a Long-eared Owl at Holland, 5 Swallows, a Tree Pipit, 11 Rock Pipit, 13 Robins, 4 Redstarts, 2 Whinchats, 10 Wheatears, a Fieldfare, 12 Song Thrush, 13 Redwing, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 6 Blackcap, 9 Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler, 5 Goldcrest, 8 Chaffinches, a Lapland Bunting, 3 Snow Buntings and 8 Reed Warblers. 

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll

Monday, 30 September 2019

29th September

Still good conditions, bright and dry but the we lost the east out of the wind which picked up a touch and moved into the north; there was again though a reduction in migrant numbers but still a good spread of birds and a sprinkling of scarcities.   The highlight for one person was a CITRINE WAGTAIL seen in flight and heard several times around Holland whilst other highlights included the male Grey-headed Wagtail again, 2 Barred Warblers – the Quoybanks bird still and a new one seen at Holland, 4 Yellow-browed Warblers, 2 Red-backed Shrikes – birds trapped at The Obs and at Ancum (one of which is presumably the long-staying bird but I don’t know which!) and the Shorelark again at Bewan – again we’re presuming it’s the over-summering bird but it hasn’t been seen for three weeks…   

Other migrant totals comprised 8 Herons, 142 Wigeon, 141 Teal, single Hen Harrier, Kestrel and Peregrine, 3 Merlins, a Ruff, 6 Jack Snipe, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Woodpigeons, a Long-eared Owl seen at Ancum at dusk, 2 Short-eared Owl, 2 Tree Pipits, 39 Robins, 19 Redstarts, 3 Whinchats, 46 Wheatear, 69 Song Thrush, 51 Redwing, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, 3 Garden Warbler, 6 Blackcap, 17 Chiffchaff, 6 Willow Warblers, 10 Goldcrest, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, a Pied Flycatcher, 10 Chaffinches, 13 Reed Buntings, a Lapland Bunting and an influx of 32 Snow Buntings.    

Also of note during a look offshore were 3 Sooty Shearwaters, a Manx Shearwater and a Puffin while a late Hummingbird Hawkmoth was at Holland.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

28th September

Another brilliant day in the field with light NNE winds and varying cloud cover plus a few drizzly spells to make things feel exciting, there were perhaps fewer birds than yesterday (a clear night with a good Northern Lights display accounted for that) but with a notable influx of birders and ringers, the totals sometimes didn’t reflect that!   Today’s highlights included a Richard’s Pipit flushed out of Veracott garden first thing and not seen afterwards, a male Grey-headed Wagtail which came into roost at Ancum, a Rustic Bunting at Sandar, 7 Yellow-browed Warblers, the Holland Red-breasted Flycatcher and the mobile Red-backed Shrike back on the west coast.   Other totals included 11 Red-throated Divers, 12 Herons, 104 Pink-footed Geese, 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Kestrels, a Merlin, 3 Quail still present at Kirbest (from the breeding efforts this year), 3 Ruff, 4 Jack Snipe, a Woodpigeon, 4 Short-eared Owls, another late Swift, 46 Skylarks, 10 Swallows, 5 Tree Pipits, 10 Rock Pipits, a Dunnock, 42 Robins, 18 Redstarts, 5 Whinchat, 70 Wheatears, 112 Song Thrushes, 56 Redwing, 6 Lesser Whitethroat, a Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warblers, 11 Blackcap, 11 Chiffchaff, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Pied Flycatchers, 14 Chaffinches, 10 Lapland Buntings, 16 Snow Buntings and 13 Reed Buntings.

Rustic Bunting                                           Dante Shepherd

Friday, 27 September 2019

27th September

A wonderful day after yesterday’s blitzkrieg, light ESE winds and some spells of sunshine with some brilliant migrant totals, probably made up of new arrivals and birds emerging from under whatever stone they had been hiding and enhanced by some increased coverage.   Scarcities comprised an excellent total of 16 Yellow-browed Warblers, 2 Red-breasted Flycatchers (Holland and Doo Geo), the Barred Warbler again in the north and presumably yesterday’s Red-backed Shrike moving over to Hooking.   The rest of the counts consisted of 5 Herons, 40 Barnacle Geese, 2 Hen Harriers, a Sparrowhawk, 4 Kestrels, single Grey Plover, Little Stint and Ruff, 2 Jack Snipe, 3 Woodpigeons, a Short-eared Owl, 10 Tree Pipits, 380 Meadow Pipits, 9 Rock Pipits, 3 Dunnocks (the first of the year), 89 Robins, 19 Redstarts, 3 Whinchats, 84 Wheatears, 4 Fieldfares, 190 Song Thrush, 83 Redwing, 6 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroats, 18 Blackcap, 29 Chiffchaff, 11 Willow Warblers, 6 Goldcrest, 4 Spotted Flycatchers, 3 Pied Flycatchers, 13 Chaffinches, 3 Lapland Buntings, a Snow Bunting and 18 Reed Buntings.


Thursday, 26 September 2019

26th September

Most of the day was horrible!   Driving rain and a blazing strong ESE wind but around 4pm it almost miraculously brightened up with the wind dropping off dramatically, even allowing some nets to be opened at Holland in the evening; a couple of brave souls were out most of the day though, naturally concentrating on the sheltered west coast, racking up some good totals with plenty of new birds unearthed.   Scarcities today comprised a Red-backed Shrike at Doo Geo, 4 Yellow-browed Warblers (three up the west coast and one caught in Holland in the evening) and the Holland Red-breasted Flycatcher finally getting its ring.   The rest of the totals included 7 Herons, 9 Barnacle Geese, 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Sparrowhawks, 2 Kestrels, a Merlin, a Jack Snipe, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a Woodpigeon, a Short-eared Owl, 12 Swallows, 2 Tree Pipits, 8 Rock Pipits, 28 Robins, 14 Redstarts, a Whinchat, 53 Wheatears, a Fieldfare, 76 Song Thrush, 35 Redwing, 3 Lesser Whitethroats (including another, very different eastern-type caught in Holland), a Garden Warbler, 14 Chiffchaffs, 4 Willow Warblers, 5 Goldcrest, 2 Spotted Flycatchers (the long overdue first for the autumn!), a Pied Flycatcher, 12 Chaffinches, the first Brambling of the autumn and 8 Lapland Buntings. 

Red-breasted Flycatcher