Wednesday, 28 October 2009

28th October

Undoubtedly one of the best days of the autumn with a good selection of migrants, and another good arrival of thrushes with 491 blackbird, 1046 fieldfare, 238 redwing, 23 song thrush and a ring ouzel. Woodcock were also in good numbers with 45, mist netting boosted a few totals such as 17 robin, 8 chiffchaff, 8 goldcrest and 15 blackcap. Single willow warblers were at Gravity still and Nether Linnay, with a little Bunting also at that site. 120 twite are now in the Obs' bird crop, 220 snow bunting is a good count and the goldfinch was seen at Westness. Singles of both long and short-eared owl were seen, the stock dove was still present as were 2 jackdaw, and 4 black-redstarts were scattered around. The day was finished off nicely when the island's 4th record of green-winged teal was found on Gretchen Loch, and a richard's pipit at Ancum.

Little Bunting & Green-winged teal

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

27th October

Very quiet with hardly any thrushes left. 3 rook flew over in the morning, a black redstart was at Twingness and the jackdaw was seen again. Migrants included 8 woodcock, 4 goldcrest, 7 chiffchaff, 20 robin, a lesser whitethroat and 2 blackcap. A grey plover was on the Links, a collective total of 104 twite is the best for many years and bird of the day went to a goldfinch at Rue.

26th October

2 shelduck appeared on Gretchen Loch, 6 pink-footed geese were amongst greylag flocks and still present were the jackdaw, stock dove, 3 woodpigeon and now 2 black redstarts by the Obs'. A much calmer day than of late no doubt lead to an increase in smaller migrants with 33 robin, 3 dunnock, 6 chiffchaff and 3 goldcrest. A ring ouzel was at the north end and other thrushes included 276 fieldfare, 20 song thrush, and 233 redwing. 16 woodcock were logged, a very late wood sandpiper was at West Beach and 6 jack snipe were booted from around Bridesness.

An assortment of chiffchaffs

25th October

6 whooper were still on Gretchen Loch, the yellowhammer still at Nether Linnay and 1 stock dove remains. A grey wagtail and black redstart were around Twingness, and thrushes included 208 blackbird, 557 fieldfare, 22 song thrush and 339 redwing. 5 brambling were in the Obs' bird crop and other bits consisted a dunnock, 19 robin, 5 blackcap, 4 chiffchaff and 2 goldcrest.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

24th October

A slightly quieter day with redwing the only thrush in larger numbers with 563, goldeneye and long-eared owl are both firsts of the autumn and the first yellowhammer of the year was at Nether Linnay. 7 whooper swans were new on Gretchen Loch, the twite flock in the Obs' crop is now at 80+ birds and 3 woodpigeon and 2 stock dove are still present. There were more robins today with 25 logged, 16 woodcock were seen and the sparrowhawk, 5 blackcaps, dunnock and lesser whitethroat were in Holland.


23rd October

The sparrowhawk, a goldcrest, 4 blackcap, lesser whitethroat and 3 chiffchaff were at Holland, woodcock were still in good numbers with 42 and 5 jack snipe were seen. A jackdaw and 3 stock doves are both uncommon island records, 4 woodpigeon were in the south and 19 robins is an increase. Thrushes consisted 249 blackbird, 1028 fieldfare, 39 song thrush, and 332 redwing, and 15 long-tailed ducks were scattered around the island.

22nd October

A fresh arrival of birds today but conditions were far from helpful. Most notable increases were woodcock with 45, and blackbird with 472, whilst other thrushes consisted 2 ring ouzel, 670 fieldfare, 29 song thrush and 990 redwing. Small migrants were still in short supply with a blackcap and yellow-browed warbler along the west dyke, the dunnock at Holland, 10 robin and a meally redpoll. As always with strong winds gull flocks scattered across the island included 1630 herring gulls and 504 great black-backed gulls.

21st October

Disappointingly quiet given the conditions with fewer thrushes and just singles of dunnock, robin, lesser whitethroat and goldcrest. The only new arrival was a redstart at Gue Park.


20th October

Thrushes were still fairly abundant with 500 fieldfare, 359 redwing, 64 blackbird and a song thrush, but smaller migrants are still thin on the ground with just 5 robin, a lesser whitethroat, 3 blackcap, 2 chiffchaff, a willow warbler and a goldcrest. Once again 8 hen harriers went to roost at Hooking Loch, and 3 meally redpoll and 2 jack snipe were present.

Friday, 23 October 2009

19th October

A similar cast to recent days with the bluethroat and tree pipit still at Gravity, and the whinchat still by Scotsha. A short-toed lark was discovered amongst skylarks at Kirbest, with 2 lapland buntings there also. 23 brambling was the only real increase, with 1 woodcock, 4 blackcap, 4 robin, lesser whitethroat, 2 greenfinch and 5 common redpoll also noted. 2 sooty shearwater were seen from the north end and 8 hen harrier went to roost at Hooking Loch.

Common Redpoll sp.

Monday, 19 October 2009

18th October

A new arrival of thrushes consisted mostly fieldfare with 766, as well as 229 redwing and 3 song thrush. A first winter CITRINE WAGTAIL found at Garso was the undoubted highlight, and a total of 8 hen harriers going to roost at Hooking Loch is well worth a mention. Other notable sightings were 3 meally redpoll and a tree pipit.

17th October

One or two new migrants included a late whinchat at Scotsha, a stonechat at Howar, and a sparrowhawk trapped at Holland. The day livened up when a little egret was spotted flying over Hooking Loch heading south. This is a long overdue first for the island and was unfortunately not seen again despite much effort. In search of the egret another HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL was discovered at Kirbest, 5 common redpoll of sorts were also seen and the bluethroat remains. 2 new blackcaps and a lesser whitethroat were trapped at Holland, 51 twite were in the Obs' bird crop and long-tailed ducks in Linklet bay had risen to 24.

Common Redpoll (rostrata)

16th October

Little of note today but for the bluethroat at Gravity, and most migrants were in lower numbers with just 4 each of goldcrest and chiffchaff, 3 blackcap and 4 robin. 3 north western redpolls were seen and 6 long-tailed ducks were in Linklet Bay.

15th October

Redwings had increased a little with 348, a short-eared owl at Breck is amazingly the first sighting this autumn, and a bluethroat is at Sangar. Finches in the Obs' bird crop consisted 36 linnet, 31 twite and 11 brambling, a willow warbler and a garden warbler were trapped at Holland and other bits included 1 dunnock, 6 robin, 4 lesser whitethroat, 2 blackcap and 8 goldcrest.

14th October

Migrants appeared to be dropping in through the day with more thrushes present, 76 blackbird, 218 fieldfare, 6 song thrush, and 216 redwing. Holland gardens held a yellow-browed warbler plus the majority of small migrants with 6 robin, 3 blackcap, 5 chiffchaff, 5 goldcrest. 6 woodcock were logged, a late tree pipit was by the Kirk and single woodpigeon and meally redpoll were trapped. 2 jack snipe were at Westness and finches included 6 brambling, 1 greenfinch, and a chaffinch.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

13th October

There were clearly new birds in but with heavy rain all day birding was near impossible! Fieldfare were more abundant with 142 logged, plus 1 ring ouzel, 55 redwing and a song thrush. A jack snipe was in Kirbest Mire and small passerines consisted 7 goldcrest, 2 blackcap, 2 robin, 2 dunnock and a chiffchaff.

Monday, 12 October 2009

12th October

A fine and calm day with a light scattering of new migrants, small twite flocks were heading south with a day total of 49 and snow buntings were up with at least 179. Netting at Holland boosted common migrant numbers which were 48 redwing, 5 song thrush, 27 fieldfare, 18 goldcrest, 5 chiffchaff, 5 blackcap, 4 dunnock, a redstart, 9 robin, 4 brambling, 5 chaffinch and 6 greenfinch, whilst scarce migrants included a bluethroat at Sangar and a common rosefinch at Rue. Late afternoon produced the highlight when a LANCEOLATED WARBLER was found near the Observatory, the nearby heligoland trap was literally held together and the bird was consequently trapped and processed representing the 2nd North Ronaldsay record. Golden plover numbers remain reasonably high with 600 today and 2 north western redpolls were hanging around the Obs'.

Lanceolated Warbler

11th October

No sign of the kite today but still a fair few migrants, though thrushes were less abundant with 366 redwing, 16 song thrush, just 9 fieldfare and a ring ouzel. A yellow-browed warbler was at Cott Banks, an eastern chiffchaff was by the Obs' late afternoon and a woodcock was at the surgery. 2 male hen harriers were present during the day and other migrants consisted 2 woodpigeon, 1 dunnock, 9 robin, a redstart, 7 blackcap, 1 willow warbler, 8 goldcrest, 4 chaffinch, 2 brambling, 6 greenfinch and 25 twite.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

10th October

A fresh south easterly wind was a long awaited autumn first and finally produced some birds! The vast majority being thrushes with 3155 redwing, 126 song thrush, 50 blackbird, 56 fieldfare and 7 ring ouzels. The first woodcock was seen by Kirbest, a grey wagtail flew through, then in the afternoon a surprise find at Nether Linnay was North Ronaldsay's first ever red kite. Other migrant totals were 6 grey heron, 6 robin, 3 blackcap, a redstart, 4 chiffchaff, 7 goldcrest, 3 chaffinch, 10 brambling and a greenfinch.

Red Kite - 1st North Ronaldsay record

9th October

Bird of the day was a frustratingly brief view of a red-breasted flycatcher type at the Surgery, with a common redpoll there too. A male hen harrier was floating around, the yellow browed warbler was still at Bridesness and 4 jack snipe were in Kirbest Mire. A robin, 6 redwing, 2 chiffchaff and a fieldfare were in Holland.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

8th October

At Kirbest Mire 3 jack snipe were seen, and 188 snipe logged is the highest total so far this autumn. A chiffchaff was in Holland and just singles of redwing, song thrush and fielfare were noted. Yet again a HORNEMAN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL was seen, this time over at Hooking with 2 rostrata common redpolls, and makes you wonder just how many individuals have been involved here so far this October!?

7th October

An oddly quiet day following yesterday's arrival, with just 8 redwing and sadly no eyebrowed thrush. 3 jack snipe were at Westness, a garden warbler was at the surgery other migrants of note included just 2 robin, 1 song thrush, 2 brambling, single willow warbler and chiffchaff, and 65 snow and 1 lapland bunting.

6th October

The EYEBROWED THRUSH was soon located in the morning despite a good southward passage of redwings from first light, with 1700 through by 9am. It showed well early morning, but soon became mobile as the weather worsened and was last seen early afternoon. A grey wagtail flew south, autumn firsts included 4 ring ouzel, 3 brambling, and a long-tailed duck and 3 jack snipe were around Bridesness. Redwings were well scattered with a conservative 556 grounded birds logged, a yellow-browed warbler was by Brides Loch, a chiffchaff and blackcap in East Loch Park and 9 song thrushes. A HORNEMAN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL was seen at the north end, by Rue, and 2 great northern divers flew over.

Click HERE for a video of the Eyebrowed Thrush.

Monday, 5 October 2009

5th October

An EYEBROWED THRUSH seen briefly mid morning by Holland House was thankfully relocated near the Observatory later in the day, where it showed well until dark and becomes the first record for North Ronaldsay. Amazingly the only other thrushes besides blackbirds today were a fieldfare, a song thrush and 3 redwing. 4 barnacle geese were by The Kirk, a hen harrier was seen and trapped at Holland were 2 rostrata common redpolls, a chiffchaff and a willow warbler.

Eyebrowed Thrush

4th October

Very little of note with the 2 rostrata common redpolls still at the Surgery and a 3rd at Greenwall. The chaffinch was still at Nether Linnay, 3 redwing were around Holland and a yellow-browed warbler was found fresh dead along the east dyke.

3rd October

2 rostrata common redpolls were in the surgery garden and at Holland were 2 robins, a single chiffchaff and willow warbler. 2 HORNEMAN'S ARCTIC REDPOLLS were in Nether Linnay area, with a chaffinch, lesser whitethroat and goldcrest also there. 21 sooty shearwater passed at sea and 5 lapland buntings were seen.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

2nd October

A new HORNEMAN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL was seen coming in with 8 north western redpolls at West Beach, before residing in the Obs' bird crop, and the wryneck was still hanging on at Neven. Calm weather again produced some good seawatching mid-day with 1471 fulmar including 13 blue, 73 sooty shearwater, 1 large shearwater sp., 76 manx shearwater, 2 adult pomarine skuas and 705 kittiwakes in 2 hours. The redstart was again at Ancum, 4 lapland bunting were at Westness and 3 greenfinch in Holland, other birds on note included 11 red-throated and 2 great northern divers in Linklet Bay, 101 snow bunting, 2 willow warbler, a chiffchaff, a blackcap and single redwing and song thrush.

Friday, 2 October 2009

1st October

A quiet day really but the wryneck appeared again at Neven, a robin, a willow warbler and a chiffchaff were in Holland, a lapland bunting was by Bewan the rostrata common redpoll still on the Links. 2 grey plover were at Bridesness, 2 merlin and a peregrine were seen and seawatching produced a pomarine skua and 27 sooty shearwater of note.