|Pectoral Sandpiper GG|
Sunday, 12 July 2020
Thursday, 9 July 2020
|Arctic Skua GG|
|Great White Egret GG|
|Little Gull in disguise GG|
Sunday, 5 July 2020
The 4th was a little bit on the birding front, the adult Little Gull was back at Westness being beaten up by the nesting Black-headed Gulls. A eclipse drake Wigeon was on Garso briefly but the stand out bird of the day came after a phone call from Isobel at Hooking describing
"a large white bird with the Herons on the loch"
A mad dash down to Hooking revealed the bird to be the islands 5th record of Great White Egret. A very welcome surprise to all of us!
|Little Gull making a quick escape! GG|
|Great Skua chick, its still a chick....just GG|
Thursday, 2 July 2020
|Volucella bombylans GG|
|There's still plenty of Kittiwakes around! GG|
Monday, 29 June 2020
|American Golden Plover GG|
|Hummingbird Hawkmoth GG|
Friday, 26 June 2020
|American Golden Plover (top RJB. Bottom GG)|
|Common Scoter hiding between the swell GG|
Tuesday, 23 June 2020
Saturday, 20 June 2020
|A rather fog bound Little Tern GG |
Wednesday, 17 June 2020
|Surely we'll get a Rosy any day now....right?|
Sunday, 14 June 2020
|Common Rosefinch GG|
Friday, 12 June 2020
|Common Rosefinch GG|
|Common Rosefinch GG|
Thursday, 11 June 2020
The spell of Easterlies that was forecast finally arrived but it's not produced much thus far, but there's still plenty of time for something. The 8th was again a day to look at on paper, in reality it was quite frustrating. A lone Whimbrel was heard near Westness. It was Holland that again produced with our third Garden Warbler of the Spring and the Marsh Warbler remained holding it's territory in a Rosa-rugosa bush. A Lesser Redpoll was at Upper Linnay feeding around the garden, another Red-backed Shrike was on the fences between Senness and Dennishill and finally a pod of 30+ Risso's Dolphins spent morning in the firth (see video below, credit Gavin Woodbridge).
The 9th saw a continuation of weird goose migration month, following the 16 Canada Geese in late May a lone bird was on Ancum, if this wasn't odd enough it was joined by two Snow Geese of highly suspicious origins. The Marsh Warbler remained and a Chiffchaff was in Ancum Willows. A female Common Scoter spent most of the day on Brides. Our search for a Rosy Starling continued in vain, its led to good Starling counts though with 1561 counted throughout the island. Lastly the last few days have seen waders begin to return with 90 Lapwing, 89 Knot, 16 Dunlin, a lone Black-tailed Godwit, 17 Bar-tailed Godwits, 33 Curlew and 32 Turnstone. Surely it's only a matter of time until a rarer waders hits the island.
|Snow Geese GG|
Monday, 8 June 2020
|I said they weren't great...|
|...and I wasn't wrong|
Saturday, 6 June 2020
The strange late Spring goose migration continued with a lone Pink-footed Goose on Garso sitting amongst the Greylags. A couple of Manx Shearwaters were again seen buzzing past the North end of the island and a lone Blackcap was near the lighthouse.
A Dunnock remained in the gardens at Holland as did one of the Marsh Warblers and the female Red-backed Shrike was at Ancum still.
The 5th was as we expected completely awful weather wise, a driving Northerly gale was peppered with bouts of long showers. Not nice.
The weathered cleared up a little towards the end of the day but the birding highlights came during deliveries of Fish and Chips from the Observatory to the islands hungry inhabitants, a superb scheme funded by the North Ronaldsay Trust! The first highlight was the Red-backed Shrike seen at Ancum again. The second was a far bigger surprise! Having finished the last delivery of fish and chips and ringing a brood of Lapwing chicks that had made their way into the road, George and Gav flushed a pale Lark from the side of the road near Milldam, the birded landed a bit further up the field so they pulled alongside it only to let a out a torrent of appalling language followed by the words
I'll let you fill in the blanks if you want too! We've both never been delivery drivers before but if it's this good we'll do it again!
|Short-toed Lark GG|
|Short-toed Lark GG|
|Pink-footed Goose GG|
Thursday, 4 June 2020
After the previous days events the morning was spent corresponding with different folk in the birding community to try and get further with the identification of our Green/Greenish Warbler. The consensus was pretty clear from most of the people I spoke to and doing more research ourselves we felt a little more confident too, that said we're still deciding to wait for DNA; why rush when you don't have too?!
The 2nd saw the winds switch into a more Northerly position and with it the birds dried up a little too. The suspects from the previous day remained however, both Marsh Warblers were singing in Holland, now about 20ft apart giving one another earfuls of song!
The 3rd saw the winds intensify slightly and Holland would offer up almost all the days highlights!
Wednesday, 3 June 2020
A new month but the same weather. The Easterlies continued but they were greeted in the morning by thick bank of fog that coated the island. Always good migrant weather!
The morning however was quite quiet, nets turned up a few bits, the previous days Marsh Warbler still being rather vocal as was a Willow Warbler giving the gardens a bit of morning life. A brood of three Redshank chicks were ringed near Gretchen, always a bonus to get Redshank chicks, they’re notoriously hard to track down as ex-assistant warden Mark Warren would testify!
It was the afternoon that really got the ball rolling though, another Willow Warbler and two Lesser Whitethroat were added to the day totals as was a Chiffchaff and a Little Tern.
The first highlight came in the shape of our third Red-backed Shrike of the year at North Manse, another rather smart looking female.
However, it was the evening nets session that stole show and by some way!
Firstly, a second Marsh Warbler, initially heard singing was trapped in the South-East corner of the garden. Things however turned up a notch when a wing-barred Phyllosc was trapped at about 21:45, the bird initially thought to be a Greenish Warbler seemed to show a lot of features that would make it a very strong candidate for the much rarer GREEN WARBLER! An overall yellowish wash, yellow orbital ring and certain biometrics all make for a strong case in its favour. However, the bird dropped a few feathers, and these will give us a definitive answer at a later date. So, bearing this in mind we felt it’s best not to jump the gun and we’ll wait until the folk at Aberdeen University work their magic and we'll bide our time until they do as such, jumping the gun would be foolhardy, especially with a bird thats quite fresh to the forefront of British Ornithology. If the bird proves to be the much rarer Green Warbler it will be the 7th British Record, but we may have to wait a while on this one.
|Green/Greenish Warbler RJB|
|Green/Greenish Warbler AED|
|Red-backed Shrike GG|
With the winds still set into the East and still a general lack of scarce migrants we felt something had to give, be it our barren run or the staffs resolve! A duo of Lesser Whitethroats were seen, one at Bridesness and one around Holland sparking early hope of a vagrant, these were followed by an island record count of epic proportions… labelled by Rael as ‘the worst record count ever’ 16 Canada Geese were hanging around the Greylags on Garso before making their way South towards Kirbest. Garso wasn’t all bad though, a 1st Summer Little Gull made up for the presence of the Canada Geese! Two Spotted Flycatchers, on at Holland and one in the Ancum Willows bolstered the migrant totals as did 3 Lesser Redpoll. Our second Swift of 2020 was a welcome sight but represents a really Spring for the species up here. The bird of the day however was more than welcomed, a cracking bit singing led us to the first Marsh Warbler of the year singing away in the gardens before it eventually found its way into a mist net. Finally, something to sink our teeth into a bit and shake the feeling of being left out! A slight tweak to the wind direction and the knowledge we’d probably wake up to misty conditions left us excited for the day ahead.
|Marsh Warbler GG|
|Canada Geese RJB|
Sunday, 31 May 2020
Thursday, 28 May 2020
|Curlew Sandpiper GG|