9th-15th January

It has been a busy time with many guests at the observatory.  Writing the report and general upkeep is consuming most of our time and with precious few staff it is a struggle to invest much of our time in the field birding.  Strong winds battering the island also make the task of counting and identifying birds as they are buffeted about a great deal harder.  However, three days of bird counting were achieved by one hardy staff member.

Highlights from the 9th include 4 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great Northern Divers, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers and a Tystie.  Wildfowl included modest totals of 73 Wigeon, Goldeneye, 3 Long-tailed Ducks.  An assortment of other noteworthy species included the lingering female Hen Harrier, 2 Peregrines, 61 Purple Sandpipers, 15 Snipe and a single Woodcock.

Highlights from the 12th included 5 Red-throated Divers, 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Mute Swan, 3 Whooper Swans, 8 Goldeneye and rather surprising a bonus Pomarine Skua seen on an hours seawatch from Dennis Head.

The 15th was dedicated to a WeBS (Wetland Bird Survey) count.  Wildfowl totals from the entire island amounted to a impressive total of 1399 birds including 15 species represented by: 2 Mute Swans, 2 Whooper Swans, 2 Pink-footed Geese, 834 Greylag Geese, 284 Wigeon, 4 Gadwall, 121 Teal, 91 Mallard, 16 Pintail, 11 Shoveler, 17 Tufted Duck, 9 Eider, 2 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Goldeneye and 2 Red-breasted Merganser.  Additional waterbirds included singles of Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, 14 Moorhen and 27 Coot.  Wader totals came to 14 Oystercatchers, 13 Ringed Plover, 218 Golden Plover, 44 Lapwing, 37 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Dunlin, 1 Jack Snipe, 16 Snipe, 37 Curlew, 23 Redshank, 53 Turnstone.  An assortment of other species: 1 Merlin, 12 Rock Doves, 6 Rock Pipits, 3 Robins, 1 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing, 164 Starling and 9 Twite.