Tuesday, 21 May 2019

20th May

Another nice, calm day with a light easterly breeze but the low cloud and fog was always lingering, occasionally drifting in and out; a few scarcities were unearthed through the day with an Icterine Warbler trapped at the Obs first thing, a fine, fully red male Common Rosefinch at Bewan House (which remained particularly elusive) and a Wood Warbler in Ancum Willows while the Eastern Subalpine Warbler was still around the Obs – when it was re-trapped it had put on 1.3g from when it was originally in the bar, not bad for a bird that only weighs 10g to start with!

                Other totals included a Heron, a Whimbrel, a Wood Sandpiper briefly on Bewan, a Collared Dove, a Short-eared Owl, 3 House Martins, 2 Robins, 5 Redstarts, a Whinchat, 7 Sedge Warblers, 8 Lesser Whitethroats, a Whitethroat, 4 Garden Warblers, 4 Chiffchaffs, 3 Willow Warblers, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Tree Sparrows and single Chaffinch and Brambling.

Icterine Warbler

Monday, 20 May 2019

19th May

Wet, low cloud and drizzle welcomed the new day , it brightened up into the afternoon but the fog was always lingering there or thereabouts, drifting in and out through the day; we kept most of yesterday’s birds with a nice arrival of common migrants thrown in to the mix, the highlights comprised the Eastern Subalpine Warbler still around the Obs, the 5 Dotterel still at Burray, 2 Bluethroats – the Viggay male again and a new young male trapped at the Obs in the evening and an adult summer White-billed Diver which flew close inshore past The Lurn.   A few year ticks were also found through the day with a Little Tern briefly in Nouster, an adult Little Gull on Brides Loch and a Swift which appeared out of the mist.

                Other totals of note consisted of a pair of Garganey, a Sparrowhawk, a Whimbrel, a Common Sandpiper, a Collared Dove, a House Martin, a Tree Pipit, 4 Robins, 10 Redstarts, 6 Whinchat, 31 Wheatears, 10 Sedge Warblers, 10 Lesser Whitethroats, a Whitethroat, 5 Garden Warbler, 2 Blackcaps, 6 Chiffchaffs, 7 Willow Warblers, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 4 Pied Flycatchers, a Tree Sparrow and a Brambling still.

Bluethroat                             Simon Davies

Little Gull                                      Molly Brown

Sunday, 19 May 2019

18th May

Calm and overcast first thing with light rain moving in at lunchtime which persisted through until late afternoon; it felt really promising, that you could bump into anything out in the field, the pick of the new birds were (in keeping with the rest of east coast today) 2 Bluethroats – both males at Viggay and Rue while the Eastern Subalpine Warbler was still around the Obs and the 5 Dotterel were still at Burray.

                Other migrant totals included a Sparrowhawk, 4 Golden Plover, a Little Stint on the beach at Nouster (the first of the year), 5 Whimbrel, a Cuckoo, a Rock Pipit, 3 Robins, 6 Sedge Warblers, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Garden Warblers, 3 Blackcaps, 4 Chiffchaff, 5 Willow Warblers, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, a Pied Flycatcher, the 3 Tree Sparrows still, 2 Bramblings including a pristine, full black-headed male and a Common Redpoll.

Bluethroat                                       Simon Davies

Saturday, 18 May 2019

17th May

Yet another gorgeous day, very calm with just a hint of an easterly breeze and wall to wall sunshine; the random, unexpected highlight of the day came at dinner time, when a cracking male EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER flew into the bar through an open door and was easily caught against the window!   There were plenty of other good birds around as well to create an excellent day in the field with an Osprey which circled the Obs before heading south and a great trip of 5 Dotterel in fields behind Burray while a Cuckoo at Holland and a Spotted Flycatcher on the coast at The Lurn being new for the year.

                Other migrant totals included a drake Pintail on Gretchen (the first one for two weeks), 2 Garganey, single Sparrowhawk and Kestrel, 2 Golden Plover, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Whimbrel, a Greenshank, a Collared Dove, a Tree Pipit, a Rock Pipit (the first one since 25th April), a Whinchat, 10 Sedge Warblers (including seven singing males), 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroats, 3 Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warblers and the three Tree Sparrows still at the Obs.

Eastern Subalpine Warbler and Osprey                  Simon Davies

Friday, 17 May 2019

16th May

Hazy sunshine throughout with the occasional cloud coming and going on the brisk and chilly SE wind; a fine adult, full-spooned Pomarine Skua which cruised past the Beacon late afternoon was the day’s highlight along with 2 Dotterel at Sangar (different individuals to yesterday’s Lighthouse birds) and the first Garden Warbler of the year in Ancum Willows.

                Other totals across the island included an increase to 290+ Ringed Plover, single Grey Plover, Greenshank and Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpipers, 67 Knot, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, big numbers of Arctic Terns feeding offshore with 945+ estimated, a Whinchat at the Obs, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, a Whitethroat and the 3 Tree Sparrows still at the Obs.

Common Sandpiper

Arctic Tern

Thursday, 16 May 2019

15th May

Nice again, bright and sunny but with a bit of a chilly SE breeze; 2 Dotterel at The Lighthouse including a lovely looking, bright female were the highlight of the day.   Other birds included 3 Garganey, single Sparrowhawk and Kestrel, Greenshank and Wood Sandpiper together on Ancum, 2 House Martins, a Tree Pipit, a Robin, a male Whinchat at The Mill (the second of the spring), 8 Sedge Warblers, a Whitethroat, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warblers, a Jackdaw, 3 Carrion Crows, 10 Hooded Crows, 3 Tree Sparrows at the Obs (also the second record of the spring), a Goldfinch at Holland and a very bright male Common Redpoll at the Obs.

Dotterel                                                Simon Davies

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

14th May

An outrageous day, flat calm, wall to wall sunshine and very warm – more akin to July / August than mid-May!   The day’s highlight was a female Marsh Harrier which flew north over Ancum in the morning and was intriguingly joined by a second, similar sized raptor in the distance by the Lighthouse but it couldn’t be pinned down.

                The spread of notable birds across the island today included a drake Garganey, a Sparrowhawk, a Black-tailed Godwit, 70 Bar-tailed Godwits, the Wood Sandpiper still on Ancum, 4 Woodpigeons, a Long-eared Owl at Purtabreck (presumably the Holland bird from two days ago), a Tree Pipit at Ancum, single Whitethroat, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, 3 Carrion Crows, a Brambling still and one each of Goldfinch and Common Redpoll.

Knot and Turnstone

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

13th May

Nice and calm again with a light SSW breeze but a touch of cloud first thing and again at the end of the day; a couple of new additions to the year list comprised a nice synchronous arrival of at least 5 Sedge Warblers including birds back singing on territory at Brides, Claypows and Ancum and a Wood Sandpiper on Ancum in the afternoon.

                Today’s scattering of migrants included a summer plumaged Black-throated Diver in Nouster, 3 Sparrowhawks, 211 Ringed Plover, 37 Knot, 269 Sanderling, 70 Purple Sandpipers, 73 Dunlin, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 675 Turnstone, 4 Woodpigeon, a Collared Dove, 55 Swallows, a House Martin, 2 White Wagtails, 2 Robins, 49 Wheatears, a Song Thrush, 2 Blackcap, a Chiffchaff, 5 Carrion Crow and single Chaffinch, Brambling and Greenfinch in Holland.

Black-tailed Godwit

Monday, 13 May 2019

12th May

Lovely, calm and sunny again first thing with a little westerly breeze springing up mid-morning which eventually swung round into the south and died away again by the afternoon; another cracking bird made up the day’s highlight with a blurry image of a female Pied Flycatcher-type on the back of a guests camera sending me scrambling to re-find it and luckily catching it almost immediately in a Heligoland trap from where it became a young female COLLARED FLYCATCHER – the third island record but we still await our first male.

                Given the fine conditions there was just a light scattering of other migrants apart from wader numbers which continue to rise toward their usual mid-May peak; birds included 3 Garganey in the Hooking area, a male Peregrine south down the west coast (the first one since mid-April), 10 Golden Plover, 17 Knot, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 72 Bar-tailed Godwits, 468 Turnstone, a Common Sandpiper, a 3cy Glaucous Gull at The Lurn, a good influx of 900+ Arctic Terns, 2 Woodpigeons, yesterday’s Long-eared Owl caught in Holland, a Short-eared Owl leaving high to the north off the top end, a House Martin, 3 Robins, 50 Wheatears, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Whitethroat, a Blackcap, a Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warblers, a Carrion Crow, a Chaffinch, 2 Brambling and 2 Common Redpolls.

Collared Flycatcher                   Simon Davies

Glaucous Gull                                  Simon Davies

Sunday, 12 May 2019

11th May

Super calm and wall to wall sunshine again although a couple of short, sharp showers overnight and in the morning probably helped drop a few migrants into the island; the obvious stand-out highlight was a brilliant SAVI’S WARBLER plucked out of a mist-net at Holland House in the morning – a first island and Orkney record!

                Other birds across the island included a drake Garganey, 5 Black-tailed Godwits, single Whimbrel and Common Sandpiper, a 3cy Iceland Gull floating up the west coast, a Long-eared Owl in Holland, a House Martin, 3 Robins, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warblers, 3 Carrion Crows, a Brambling, 8 Common Redpolls and a Lesser Redpoll (the first of the year).

Savi's Warbler                           Simon Davies

Saturday, 11 May 2019

10th May

Stunning again, literally flat calm through most of the day, making it feel very warm in the bright sunshine; the day’s two highlights consisted of a male Dotterel on Westbeach and a sub-adult White-tailed Eagle which flew in over the sea from the direction of Westray, cut across the middle of the island and presumably kept powering north – amazingly our fourth of the spring!

                Other birds included 26 Great-northern Divers, a Black-tailed Godwit, an increase to 40+ Swallows, 4 Robins, 54 Wheatears, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Willow Warblers, a Carrion Crow, a single Tree Sparrow at Holland – the first of the year, a Brambling and a Common Redpoll.

Arctic Tern

Friday, 10 May 2019

9th May

Beautifully calm and sunny again with the variable light wind still bringing a chilly edge to being out and about; there was a handful of migrants scattered around but you had to put effort in to find them which included a Woodpigeon, a Tree Pipit (a Norwegian control trapped at Holland), 2 Robins, a Whitethroat, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, 4 Willow Warblers, a Rook and 2 Brambling.

                Other little bits included 2 Manx Shearwater past the Lighthouse, a Heron, a drake Garganey, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel and 5 Arctic Skuas.


Thursday, 9 May 2019

8th May

Another lovely sunny, calm day but the slight NW wind was still pretty chilly which no doubt is still effectively blocking most spring migration; there were though, a few highlights to be had with 2 Shorelarks feeding at Trolla, a Black-throated Diver past the Beacon, at least 5 Garganey and a smart male Pied Flycatcher trapped in Holland – our second of the year.

                Other totals included 12 Great-northern Divers, a Manx Shearwater past the Beacon, 13 Knot, 400+ Turnstone, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 66 Bar-tailed Godwits, 10 Whimbrel, 300+ Arctic Terns, a White Wagtail, 7 Robins, 40+ Wheatears, a Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, a Rook, 5 Carrion Crows, 2 Brambling and a Common Redpoll.

Pied Flycatcher

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

7th May

A lovely, very calm day with a light NW wind (which was still very cold); there were still few new migrants but there was an obvious arrival of breeding birds with a big influx of 450+ Arctic Terns spread across the island but mainly comprising of 400+ feeding off the north end in the late afternoon and a good arrival of Swallows with pairs suddenly appearing around traditional breeding sites through the day.

                Migrants included 2 Garganey still, single Sparrowhawk and Kestrel, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 31 Bar-tailed Godwits, an Arctic Skua, a steady stream of Puffins passing the Lighthouse, a Short-eared Owl near Westness, 2 White Wagtails, a Dunnock, 4 Robins, a Black Redstart, 54 Wheatears, a Ring Ouzel, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, 6 Carrion Crows and 2 Brambling.

Lapwing chicks are now scurrying around the island

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

6th May

We kept the cold north-westerlies but they gradually eased through the day with fewer showers becoming very pleasant by the afternoon; there were limited new arrivals though as totals included a pair of Garganey near Hooking, 6 Knot, a much improved 264 Sanderling, 294 Purple Sandpipers, 57 Dunlin, 58 Bar-tailed Godwits (the highest count of the year so far), 5 Black-tailed Godwits, at least 14 Whimbrel, a further increase to 81+ Arctic Terns with birds all over the island now, a Woodpigeon, a White Wagtail, a Dunnock, 5 Robins, a bit of an influx of 113+ Wheatears, 2 Ring Ouzels, a Song Thrush, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Blackcap, 5 Chiffchaff and a Brambling.


Monday, 6 May 2019

5th May

The cold, strong NW wind continued to sweep across the island but there was plenty of bright sunshine and only a few, short wintery showers; most of the new arrivals involved the increasing wader numbers which are building up nicely to their mid-May peaks which today comprised 304 Purple Sandpipers, 9 Knot and 475 Turnstone along with single Whimbrel and Grey Plover.

                Other birds included 4 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Kestrel, 25 Golden Plover, 3 Sandwich Terns, an influx of 35+ Arctic Terns, a Robin, 30 Wheatears, 3 Fieldfares, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff and a Brambling.


Sunday, 5 May 2019

4th May

Still with the same airflow but the optimist in me wants to say that it was slightly less windy, slightly warmer and with slightly fewer showers than yesterday; there were a few bits to see around the island as totals included a Kestrel, a Knot, 83 Sanderling, 143 Purple Sandpipers, a Woodcock still round the Obs, 2 Sandwich Terns, a Woodpigeon, 2 Robins, 6 Fieldfare, a Song Thrush, 2 Blackcaps, 4 Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler, a Goldcrest, 2 Brambling and a Siskin.

Plenty of waders acquiring breeding plumage now like this Sanderling

Saturday, 4 May 2019

3rd May

Now firmly in the grip of a cold, strong northerly airflow bringing regular hail showers we naturally had a quiet day in the field; birds of note included 2 Pintail, a Knot on the beach at Brides (the first one since the wintering birds disappeared in mid-March), a Whimbrel, a Sandwich Tern, 2 Arctic Terns, 3 White Wagtails, 26 Wheatears and 2 Chiffchaff.


Friday, 3 May 2019

2nd May

A very different day with the wind now firmly in the NW and now very cold and very strong effectively putting a halt to any migration antics (and denting the enthusiasm of fieldworkers!) so numbers were much reduced through the day.   Totals included a Kestrel, another late Woodcock at the Obs, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel, a Sandwich Tern, 5 Woodpigeons, a Collared Dove, a White Wagtail, 11 Robins, 21 Wheatears, 5 Fieldfare, a Redwing, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 3 Blackcap, 7 Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest and a Brambling.

Fulmar lovin'

Thursday, 2 May 2019

1st May

A similar start to yesterday with almost flat calm conditions and extensive cloud cover, the wind slowly picked up through the day and switched round into the NW by the afternoon – a final end to the weeks of easterly based airflow.   The spread of migrants today included a Sparrowhawk, a late Woodcock by the Lighthouse, 4 Whimbrel, 5 Arctic Terns, a Collared Dove, a Tree Pipit, a male Blue-headed Wagtail at the Lighthouse (the first flava Wagtail of any kind this year), a White Wagtail, a Dunnock, 24 Robins, a Black Redstart, 47 Wheatears, 2 Ring Ouzels, 4 Song Thrush, 2 Redwing, a Grasshopper Warbler near the Lighthouse, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, a Whitethroat, 6 Blackcap, 21 Chiffchaff, 7 Willow Warblers, a Goldcrest, a Carrion Crow, 5 Brambling and 2 Common Redpolls.

                Other birds of note comprised an excellent total of 91 Great-northern Divers – the second highest island total after 132 in April 2009, in amongst which was an adult White-billed Diver off the Lighthouse, 2 Manx Shearwaters on the sea off Torness, 2 Pintail, 2 Goldeneye, 22 Golden Plover, 5 Black-tailed Godwits and an influx of 8+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls which appear as if by magic as soon as any ploughing starts, in amongst which was a fine adult Iceland Gull floating around the island.

One of them nice, pale Willow Warblers

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

30th April

A wonderfully calm day with complete cloud cover pretty much throughout and with the faint breeze still stuck in the east it felt very promising; unfortunately, there was no sign of yesterday’s Mourning Dove but the highlights did include a single Waxwing lingering around Holland House through the morning and a Wood Warbler along walls near the Lighthouse – the first one since 2016.

                The early morning promise didn’t really kick on and continue through the day as the numbers of migrants were generally down on yesterday but totals did include a Canada Goose on Hooking, a huge flock of exactly 100 Barnacle Geese which circled the island before heading north – by far the highest spring day count, a Sparrowhawk, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Sandwich Tern, the first Arctic Tern of the year off Bridesness, 7 Woodpigeons, 4 Collared Doves, a Tree Pipit, a White Wagtail, 13 Robins, a Redstart, 27 Wheatears, a Ring Ouzel, 3 Fieldfare, 2 Song Thrush, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, 21 Chiffchaff, 8 Willow Warblers, 2 Goldcrests, a Rook, a Chaffinch and 25 Brambling.


Monday, 29 April 2019

29th April

A beautiful day with pretty much wall-to-wall sunshine and a light (but surprisingly chilly) SE breeze; the clear and obvious highlight came in the evening when by a very convoluted route involving blurry photos on the island Whatsapp, then an independent discovery, then a confusing conversation where it was thought by the Obs that they were discussing the photo, when in fact they were actually watching the bird and finally a mad drive up to the Lighthouse to get fabulous views of a lovely MOURNING DOVE on the grass outside the CafĂ© – an awesome island first!   It was very approachable, seeming very tired but it had disappeared by dusk, hopefully to be re-found tomorrow.

                There was a similar spread of other migrants across the island compared to previous days but did include a fine adult summer plumaged White-billed Diver off Trinley Point – a typical time of year for them on here.   Other totals comprised a flock of 8 Barnacle Geese north, the two drake Garganey still, a Jack Snipe at Ancum, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Arctic Skuas (including the well known dark phase breeding bird ‘Notchy’), a Short-eared Owl, 2 Tree Pipits, 2 White Wagtails, a Dunnock, 23 Robins, a Black Redstart, a Redstart, 70 Wheatears, 8 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Blackcaps, 23 Chiffchaff, 14 Willow Warblers, 2 Rook, 11 Brambling and the first Butterfly of the year – a Red Admiral at Holland.

Mourning Dove                                   Simon Davies

28th April

A lovely day with a light easterly breeze throughout, cloudy in the morning but brightening up in the afternoon to produce a stunning evening; it was a good day’s birding without being jam-packed full of migrants as totals included two drake Garganey on Hooking still, a Sparrowhawk, a Merlin, a late Jack Snipe on Hooking (only the third of the year), a Whimbrel, a Collared Dove, the first 2 House Martins of the year, a brilliant total of 90 Sand Martin commuting between Hooking and The Links (by far the record island count – previously 66!), a Tree Pipit caught at the Obs in the evening, 15 Robins, a Redstart, 58 Wheatears, a Ring Ouzel, an influx of 33 Fieldfares, 4 Song Thrush, a Redwing, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 6 Blackcap, 15 Chiffchaff, 9 Willow Warblers, the Yellow-browed Warbler which reappeared at Ancum Willows, an influx of 13 Carrion Crows and 13 Brambling.

                Other little bits included 13 Great-northern Divers, a Heron, the 3 Pink-footed Geese which reappeared by The Mill (last seen on the 21st), 10 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Water Rail at Ancum and 2 Sandwich Terns.

Tree Pipit

Sunday, 28 April 2019

27th April

Overcast through the day with a brisk easterly breeze in the morning gradually easing off to become very calm by the evening; there was a nice mix of species across the island today as totals included 3 Herons, two drake Garganey on Hooking, 3 Sparrowhawks, a Kestrel, a Merlin, 2 Whimbrel, a Greenshank at Westness, 2 Woodpigeons, 62 Sand Martins, 11 Swallows, a Dunnock, 24 Robins, 64 Wheatears, 8 Fieldfare, 7 Song Thrush, a Redwing, the first 2 Whitethroats of the year at Westness, 4 Lesser Whitethroats, 5 Blackcaps, 22 Chiffchaff, 18 Willow Warblers, a Carrion Crow, 13 Bramblings, a Common Redpoll and 4 Reed Buntings.

There's a particularly photogenic Merlin around the south of the island at the moment!

Friday, 26 April 2019

26th April

Back to our default settings of late with a brisk SE wind and plenty of bright sunshine; there were generally fewer birds around than yesterday although coverage was down with Becky leaving after six weeks loyal service and a funeral gathering at the Obs taking up a large part of the day.   There were still migrants around though as totals from the south of the island and up the west coast included 2 Kestrels, a Merlin, a Grey Plover, 3 Woodpigeons, a Dunnock, 20 Robins, 50 Wheatears, 3 Ring Ouzels, 8 Song Thrush, a Redwing, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, 15 Chiffchaffs, 11 Willow Warblers, the unseasonal Yellow-browed Warbler still at Upper Linney, a Rook and 17 Bramblings.

Migrants up the west coast - Lesser Whitethroat, Phylloscs, Ring Ouzel and Kestrel

25th April

The ESE winds continued but slightly lighter than yesterday but it was a very different morning with low cloud, mist and murk, degenerating into a spell of rain mid-morning, it then brightened up to become a bright, sunny afternoon; year-ticks kept coming as befits the time of year and conditions, highlighted by the islands first ever spring Yellow-browed Warbler along the west coast near Veracott along with a Pied Flycatcher at The Lurn and 2 Grasshopper Warblers at the north end – Lighthouse Punds and Vincoin.

                Other totals across the island included a Hen Harrier, 3 Sparrowhawks, up to 5 Kestrels, 4 Woodpigeons, 22 Swallows, 3 Dunnocks, 26 Robins, 60 Wheatears, a Ring Ouzel at Holland, 2 Fieldfare, 9 Song Thrush, 4 Redwing, 8 Lesser Whitethroats, 6 Blackcaps, 46 Chiffchaff, 15 Willow Warblers, a Goldcrest, a Carrion Crow, a Chaffinch, 11 Brambling and another increase to 320+ Linnets roosting at Holland in the evening.  

Grasshopper Warbler

Thursday, 25 April 2019

24th April

Another similar day with hazy sunshine, although it clouded over during the afternoon with the blasting SE or ESE wind making it a battle out in the field; there was a good spread of new arrivals though to make the battle worthwhile, especially on the sheltered west coast, new for the year was a male Whinchat at Lenswick, a Lesser Whitethroat by the Obs and a long overdue Ring Ouzel also near the Obs.

                Other totals comprised 2 Sparrowhawks, 2 Kestrels, a Merlin, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, a Collared Dove, a Long-eared Owl on the coast by the airstrip, 57 Sand Martins, 11 Swallows, a White Wagtail, 2 Dunnocks, 24 Robins, a Redstart, 69 Wheatears, a little influx of Thrushes with 5 Fieldfares, 12 Song Thrush and a Redwing, 26 Chiffchaff, 7 Willow Warblers, 2 Blackcap, a Goldcrest, a Chaffinch, 7 Brambling and a Snow Bunting.



The Fulmars were enjoying the wind

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

23rd April

Hazy sunshine throughout but the blazing strong SE wind blasting across the island made things difficult in the field; so far we’re not up there with our near-neighbours to the north but we battled away in the wind to produce 2 Sparrowhawks, single Woodpigeon and Collared Dove, a Short-eared Owl, 38+ Sand Martins, 6 Swallows, 2 Dunnocks, 8 Robins, 37 Wheatears, single Song Thrush and Redwing, 2 Blackcaps, 13 Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler and a Brambling.   Also lingering were the drake Goldeneye on Brides and a Snow Bunting at the pier.


Tuesday, 23 April 2019

22nd April

Wall to wall sunshine and a brisk SE wind; there wasn’t too much around but there were a few year ticks with a Tree Pipit behind T4, an Arctic Skua back on Torness (a pale phase bird, possibly one of the breeding birds), a Short-eared Owl at Nether Linney – long overdue and three Common Scoters past the Lighthouse in the afternoon.

                Migrant totals included 2 Sparrowhawks, a Grey Plover, a Whimbrel, a year’s high count of 513 Black-headed Gulls, 4 Woodpigeons, 65 Sand Martins (a good influx, only just short of the island record), 21 Swallows, 27 Robins, 2 Stonechats, an increased 124 Wheatears, 4 Fieldfares, a Song Thrush, 4 Redwing, a Blackcap, 13 Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warbler, a Rook, 5 Carrion Crows north, a Chaffinch, 3 Brambling and a Goldfinch.

Short-eared Owl

Monday, 22 April 2019

21st April

Amazingly flat calm first thing with the overnight light rain slowly petering out by mid-morning leaving some misty, murky, low cloud lingering until lunchtime when the wind, now back in the SE picked up to around force 3-4 by the evening.   There were a few new arrivals across the island, no new species but most things increased in numbers as totals included 2 Sparrowhawks, a Merlin, 6 Sandwich Terns, 2 Woodpigeons, a Collared Dove, 20 Sand Martins, 10 Swallows, a White Wagtail, 24 Robins, a Black Redstart, a Stonechat, 75 Wheatears, 2 Song Thrush, 2 Redwing, 2 Blackcap, 15 Chiffchaffs, 6 Willow Warblers, 3 Rooks, 2 Chaffinches, a good flock of 26 Bramblings at Holland, 2 Goldfinches and 2 Common Redpolls.

                Lingering birds included 2 Pintail, a single Long-tailed Duck, 14 Red-breasted Mergansers and 2 Snow Buntings still by the pier.

Brambling and Sparrowhawk

20th April

Still bright and sunny but the wind had switched round into the SSW which eventually brought some light rain by the evening; the only real effect of the wind change was on the sea where an hour’s watch in the morning produced the first 2 Manx Shearwaters of the year along with a decent passage of 180+ Kittiwakes and 9 Great Skuas.

                There was a general reduction in the number of migrants across the island as totals comprised the Canada Goose again on Hooking, 3 Garganey also on Hooking (all three were drakes this time though), a Sparrowhawk, a Merlin, a Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Doves, 12 Sand Martins, 15 Swallows, 150 Meadow Pipits, a Dunnock, 37 Robins, 73 Wheatears, a Blackcap, 13 Chiffchaffs, 8 Willow Warblers, 4 Goldcrests, 2 Jackdaws, a Rook, 2 Chaffinches, 2 Brambling and a Goldfinch.

Still a couple of Goldcrests hanging around