Saturday, 12 November 2011

12th November

Wildfowl continued to bring plenty of the interest, with a real Anser bonanza enlivening a perfectly clear and sunny afternoon. At least 11 Bean Geese were the highlight, and a record count for the observatory: surprisingly, no more than 2 have ever been recorded here at the same time before. A notable count of 31 European White-fronted Geese was the highest for more than a decade, while 11 Pink-footed Geese and a single Barnacle Goose were also found among the flocks of Greylags. A drake Scaup on Ancum Loch was the best new duck of the day, the Goosander was still on Gretchen Loch, and 7 Common Scoters and 2 Whooper Swans were also seen.

It wasn't all about the quacks though, and a variety of other noteworthy species all added up to quite a satisfying day's birding. A lot of gull activity in Linklet Bay included 6 Little Gulls which, again, somewhat surprisingly, appears to be the island's highest ever count of the species. As well as slightly increased numbers of common waders, the Baird's Sandpiper was still present on the links and a Grey Phalarope was on an inland puddle. A couple of Short-eared Owls and 5 Long-eared Owls were found, and a late Pied Wagtail was the best new passerine.

The 11 Bean Geese exhibited bills of various shapes and patterns, but all were fairly stocky birds and we believe them to be of the tundra race rossicus. The only previous Bean Goose this year was a lone taiga fabalis bird that arrived in the middle of summer.

We have caught several Long-eared Owls this autumn, but none so easily as this adult male that was found sitting inside the observatory's newest Heligoland trap.

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