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.