Tuesday, 11 December 2018

11th December

The wind switched round into the SSE while remaining brisk and cold; a little seawatch produced a Great Skua past the Lighthouse (the first one since October and somewhat surprisingly the first December record I could find) along with 130 Auk sp. in twenty minutes.   Other birds seen around the lochs included 3 Mute Swans, 8 Gadwall, 5 Pintail, 10 Shoveler, 4 Goldeneye, a Hen Harrier, a Merlin, 4 Ruff still, 135 Common Gulls, a Robin, 3 Fieldfare, 9 Redwing and 19 Snow Buntings on the beach at Brides.



Monday, 10 December 2018

10th December

Not a bad day with lighter NNW winds and no showers; it was quiet out in the field but a walk along the coast from The Obs to The Links produced 8 Red-throated Divers, a Great-northern Diver, 2 Herons, 23 Long-tailed Duck, the Kestrel, 235 Golden Plover, 40 Sanderling, 108 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Black-headed Gulls, 110 Common Gulls, 13 Rock Pipits, a Robin, 4 Fieldfare, a Song Thrush, 9 Redwing, 6 Chaffinches still, 19 Twite and 102 Snow Buntings.

Snow Buntings and Sanderling

Sunday, 9 December 2018

9th December

We kept the brisk, cold NNW wind but far fewer showers came through; coverage was limited to a few hours spent walking round the Obs / Holland / Kirbest which produced the drake Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen, 12 Shoveler, a Goldeneye south at sea, a Hen Harrier, a big, young female Peregrine (the first of the month), 10 Skylarks, 5 Rock Pipit, 6 Fieldfare, 8 Redwing, 60 Twite, 4 Common Redpolls still, 10 Snow Buntings and 4 Reed Buntings.


Saturday, 8 December 2018

8th December

The wind had switched to a brisk NW bringing regular, nasty showers sweeping across the island; little look around Brides and the north end produced 7 Great-northern Divers, a Heron, 3 Mute Swans, a Whooper Swan, a different adult Eurasian White-fronted Goose opposite Rue, 12 Shoveler, 6 Goldeneye (highest count since the spring), the drake Smew still at Bewan, 6 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Hen Harrier, 4 Ruff still, 29 Bar-tailed Godwits and a total of 98 Snow Buntings with several flocks roaming around.

White-fronted Goose

Red-breasted Merganser

Friday, 7 December 2018

7th December

A brisk southerly wind through the day but it remained largely dry with some bright sunshine in the afternoon; a walk round the coast from the Obs to Brides and then to The Links produced good numbers of birds which included 270 Wigeon, 115 Teal, 22 Tufted Duck, 20 Long-tailed Ducks, a female Common Scoter off Stromness Point, 2 Goldeneye, good totals of 121 Ringed Plover and 81 Dunlin on The Links, 4 Ruff and 2 Knot with Golden Plover at Cauldhaim, a Woodcock in Holland, 3 Black-headed Gulls (the first ones this month), a good build-up of Gulls including 130 Common Gulls, 460 Herring Gulls and 365 Great Black-backed Gulls.

                Across the land birds of note comprised 9 Skylarks, a Meadow Pipit, 9 Rock Pipits, 7 Fieldfares, 24 Redwing, 3 Common Redpolls still with 71 Twite in Kirbest, at least 93 Snow Buntings spread out along the coast and 3 Reed Buntings.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

6th December

Persistent rain through the morning and early afternoon limited observations to barely an hour between the rain [kind of] stopping and dusk falling, so a van safari of the lochs produced the highlight of the returning drake Smew on Bewan (presumably the drake that was first seen in November 2016 and that has been returning each winter since).   Other birds included 3 Mute Swans (a new adult plus the pair from the 4th), 3 Whooper Swans (two adults and a juvenile), 9 Shoveler, 26 Tufted Duck (the highest count since the spring), 4 Goldeneye, 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Kestrels, a Merlin, a Knot and the 5 Ruff with 150 Redshank, 13 Fieldfare, 26 Redwing and 22 Snow Buntings at Brides.

Merlin                                            Simon Davies

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

5th December

Another lovely, stunning day with hardly a breath of wind and plenty of sunshine, there was even a hint of some late visible migration going on with a flock of 82 Snow Buntings at the north end later seen flying south out at sea with 5 Skylark and a Meadow Pipit also coming in off the sea from the north.   Other birds included 2 Heron, 2 Whooper Swans, 9 Gadwall, 3 Goldeneye, a Hen Harrier, 2 Kestrels, 2 Merlin, 68 Oystercatchers, 120 Purple Sandpipers, a Woodcock at Holland House, 6 Fieldfare, 32 Redwing, 5 Chaffinches and a Common Redpoll.

Hooded Crow

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

4th December

A good birding day, no doubt helped by the almost flat calm conditions, although light rain persisted through the afternoon; the highlights included an adult European White-fronted Goose with Greylags near Hooking (new for the year), a group of 5 Ruff feeding with Redshank near Waterhouse (the first December record for the island) and a Black-throated Diver in Nouster.

                Other birds included 12 Red-throated Divers, 26 Great-northern Divers (highest total since May), 2 Mute Swans (the first ones since the breeding pair left at the start of July), 2 Whooper Swans, 2 Pink-footed Geese, 248 Wigeon, 7 Gadwall, 139 Teal, the Green-winged Teal still, 9 Pintail, 25 Long-tailed Duck, 3 Goldeneye, 6 Red-breasted Mergansers, 280 Golden Plover, 19 Bar-tailed Godwits and a Black-tailed Godwit (first one since October).

                Landbirds of note comprised single Hen Harrier, Merlin and Kestrel, 7 Rock Pipits, a Robin, 3 Fieldfare, 6 Redwing, 3 Chaffinches, 36 Twite, 29 Snow Buntings and 3 Reed Buntings.

Black-tailed Godwit

Monday, 3 December 2018

2nd December

A glorious day, almost flat calm and plenty of bright sunshine; unfortunately, sightings were limited to first thing in the morning before the boat came in, the highlight being a pod of 5+ ORCA, seen distantly from the Obs as they went north past Stromness Point towards Brides (the first December record as far I can see!).   Birds round the Obs included a Kestrel, a single Pink-footed Goose with the Greylags in Loch Park, 3 Great-northern Divers, a Song Thrush, the 7 Chaffinches still and 20 Snow Buntings.

This smart Blue Fulmar was the highlight of the boat trip to Kirkwall

Saturday, 1 December 2018

1st December

Slightly lighter winds through the day but with some longer spells of rain; birds seen during a walk round the southern part of the island included 3 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great-northern Divers, 2 Herons, 10 Whooper Swans (two family parties), the drake Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen where there were also 23 Shoveler (the highest count of the year), 12 Skylark, a Meadow Pipit, a Song Thrush, 7 Chaffinches still at the Obs, a Snow Bunting and a few birds still in the Kirbest sacrificial crop comprising 24 Twite, 7 Common Redpolls and 8 Reed Buntings.

Whooper Swan

Common Redpoll

28th - 30th November

A rough few days with the wind switching back into the SW and picking up to gale force 8 for most of time, bringing heavy, stinging, driving rain for much of the time; coverage was understandably reduced (back down to one observer with little motivation to get out in the field!); wildfowl totals on the 30th included 4 Whooper Swans (three adults and a juvenile), 10 Gadwall, 4 Pintail, 16 Shoveler, 16 Tufted Duck, 4 Goldeneye and 5 Red-breasted Mergansers while the rough weather brought an influx of 550+ Herring Gulls and 270+ Great Black-backed Gull.   One of the lingering Kestrels was still present on the 28th and two Hen Harriers were still floating around on the 30th – one of which caught a Moorhen opposite the Post Office.



Tuesday, 27 November 2018

27th November

Not a bad day, bright and dry but the SE wind kept rising steadily and ominously throughout; not too much to mention but birds of note did include the Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, single Hen Harrier, Merlin and Kestrel, 6 Meadow Pipits, 4 Rock Pipits, 12 Robins, 10 Fieldfare, 2 Song Thrush and 2 Chaffinches.

Monday, 26 November 2018

25th and 26th November

Still super light winds over the past couple of days so we concentrated on catching some of the remaining birds that are frequenting our sacrificial crops which include flocks of 27 Skylark, 80 Twite, 7 Common Redpolls, a Linnet, 10 Chaffinches, 10 Reed Buntings and 51 Snow Buntings.   New arrivals are unsurprisingly thin on the ground at this time of year as totals included 13 Red-throated Divers, 11 Great-northern Divers, 13 Gadwall, 14 Pintail, 7 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Hen Harrier, 2 Kestrels, a Merlin, 2 Woodcock, 4 Meadow Pipits, 11 Rock Pipits, 3 Robins and 3 Song Thrush.

Common Redpoll

Reed Bunting

Sunday, 25 November 2018

24th November

Another fine day with light easterly winds and only a couple of showers; there was little new across the island but it was still pleasant to get out in the field and of note were a Hen Harrier, a Long-eared Owl seen at first light at Holland, 12 Meadow Pipits, 17 Rock Pipits, 9 Robins, 23 Fieldfare, 4 Song Thrush, 35 Redwing, 9 Chaffinches, 2 Greenfinches at The Obs, 76 Twite, 49 Snow Buntings and 7 Reed Buntings.

                Also of note were 5 Red-throated Divers, 8 Herons, the Green-winged Teal, 7 Long-tailed Ducks, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, 56 Oystercatchers, 111 Purple Sandpipers, 28 Bar-tailed Godwits and a Little Auk off Westness.

Long-tailed Duck

Friday, 23 November 2018

23rd November

Even lighter easterly winds through the day but there were frequent showers which persisted right through the day; the day’s highlight were 4 Long-eared Owls in Holland House gardens at first light with two of them finding their way into mist-nets (an excellent twelve have been ringed this year so far, plus a Norwegian control).   Other birds across the land included a Hen Harrier, a Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 194 Golden Plover, a Woodcock, 8 Skylark, 2 Meadow Pipits, 3 Rock Pipits, 6 Robins, 25 Fieldfare, 4 Song Thrush, 42 Redwing, 2 Blackcaps, 10 Chaffinches, an excellent 128 Twite (the highest day count since October 2014), 4 Common Redpoll, 20 Snow Buntings and 6 Reed Buntings.

                Other totals included 3 Red-throated Diver, a Great-northern Diver, 7 Herons, the 6 Whooper Swans, the Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen, 9 Pintail, 8 Shoveler and a Goldeneye.

Part of the Twite flock

Thursday, 22 November 2018

22nd November

Lighter winds through the day but they were still very cold and from the ESE bringing the occasional shower in with them; the highlight was a juvenile RED-NECKED GREBE in Nouster (despite two records last year, only the seventh record for the island!).   Other totals generated by some good coverage included 12 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great-northern Divers, 6 Whooper Swans, 255 Wigeon, 61 Mallard, 14 Pintail, 19 Long-tailed Duck, 9 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Grey Plover, 188 Purple Sandpipers, 47 Dunlin, 131 Redshank and a decent influx of Gulls comprising 211 Common Gulls, 454 Herring Gulls and 197 Great Black-backed Gulls.

                Across the land there was also a nice selection of birds, mainly lingering stuff but a few new bits as totals included 2 Hen Harriers, a Kestrel, a Merlin, 2 Woodcock, 2 Long-eared Owls caught in Holland (a new bird and a re-trap from 2nd October), 15 Skylarks, 5 Meadow Pipits, 6 Rock Pipits, 3 Robins, 76 Blackbird, 28 Fieldfare, 10 Song Thrush, 70 Redwings, a Blackcap, a Chiffchaff, 9 Chaffinch, a Brambling, 93 Twite, 5 Common Redpolls, 19 Snow Buntings and 11 Reed Buntings.

Red-necked Grebe                                   Simon Davies

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

21st November

A tough day in the field with a blazing force 8, cold ENE wind and the occasional shower whipping through; our efforts were concentrated on the sheltered west side of the island but it was fairly quiet as migrants just included a Kestrel, a Merlin, a Woodcock, a Woodpigeon, a Long-eared Owl flying round the Obs at dusk, 4 Meadow Pipits, 11 Rock Pipits, 6 Robins, 8 Song Thrushes and 28 Snow Buntings.   Other birds of note comprised 3 Red-throated Divers, 4 Herons, 2 Pink-footed Geese, a female Common Scoter past Trolla, a Goldeneye, 7 Pintail and 9 Gadwall.

Hen Harrier

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

20th November

More promising conditions, calm first thing with an increasing, very cold straight easterly wind and extensive cloud cover; despite the lateness of the season the weather produced a little flurry of new migrants across the island which included an adult female Peregrine, 2 Woodcock, a Woodpigeon, a Long-eared Owl trapped at Holland at dawn, 23 Skylarks, 12 Meadow Pipits, 10 Rock Pipits, 16 Robins, a Black Redstart at Moo Geo, 93 Blackbirds, 7 Song Thrushes, a Mistle Thrush, 2 Chiffchaffs, 4 Chaffinches, 3 Greenfinches, a Common Redpoll, an increase to 94+ Snow Buntings and 5 Reed Buntings.

                Other birds included 5 Red-throated Divers, a Great-northern Diver, 16 Long-tailed Ducks, 2 Hen Harriers, the long staying Kestrel, a Merlin, 4 Knot and a juvenile Glaucous Gull on rocks off Torness.

Glaucous Gull                                    Simon Davies

Monday, 19 November 2018

19th November

A good feeling day with a brisk SE wind and extensive cloud cover; some increased coverage with the return of some more eyes, the highlight being the Hume’s Warbler which reappeared at Holland, calling loudly and seen briefly again at dusk and a female Velvet Scoter with a group of 7 Common Scoter off Brides (the first of the year).   There was a good selection of land birds seen including a Long-eared Owl flushed from in front of T4, 2 Merlin, 6 Woodcock, 12 Skylark, 2 Meadow Pipits, 5 Rock Pipits, 3 Robins, a Song Thrush, 7 Chaffinch, a Brambling, 85 Twite in the Kirbest crop, 7 Common Redpolls (three at Kirbest and four near Brides), 49 Snow Buntings and 10 Reed Buntings.

                Other birds included an exceptionally late Manx Shearwater passing the seawatch hide, 7 Red-throated Divers, a Great-northern Diver, 5 Herons, the four Pink-footed Geese, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, 62 Sanderling, 49 Dunlin, 14 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Grey Plover (one on The Links and two in Nouster) and a Little Auk falling prey to a Great Black-backed Gull just off the north end.

Velvet Scoter                                         Simon Davies

Common Redpoll                            Simon Davies

18th November

A much brighter day with almost totally clear skies but we kept the strong SSE winds; a few hours spent out in the field up at the north end of the island was quiet with 2 Little Auks on the sea close into the foghorn the highlight.   Other birds included 13 Red-throated Divers, 7 Herons, the 5 Pink-footed Geese still, 8 Gadwall, 10 Pintail, 2 Goldeneye, a Jack Snipe, 3 Robins, 120 Fieldfare, 45 Twite and 35 Snow Buntings.

Pink-footed Goose

Sunday, 18 November 2018

17th November

A very different day with a strong SE wind, low cloud and general murk (really, where was this earlier in the autumn?); there seemed to be a trickle of birds moving south down the west coast including 232 Fieldfare, 125 Redwing, a Mistle Thrush (only the second of the autumn), 2 Common Redpoll and a few Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls at sea.

                Other totals through the day up the west coast and a little look at the other lochs included 2 Red-throated Divers, a Great-northern Diver, the 5 Pink-footed Geese, the Barnacle Goose, 16 Gadwall, the Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen, 15 Pintail, 9 Shoveler, 13 Tufted Duck, 4 Goldeneye, a Hen Harrier, 3 Merlin, 3 Woodcock, 2 Robins, 75 Blackbird, 4 Song Thrush, a Blackcap, 7 Chaffinches, a Brambling, a Linnet, 35 Twite, and 25 Snow Buntings.

Big, pale Common Redpoll from yesterday                Simon Davies

16th November

A gorgeous day with very light SSW winds and almost wall to wall sunshine; we were unfortunately back down to a single observer but efforts with the nets at Holland really produced the goods as the island’s second HUME’S WARBLER was heard calling shortly after dawn and caught soon after, it was still present in the evening, calling frequently again just at dusk.

                Other birds through the day around the southern end of the island with a little look around Torness, Lenswick and Westness included 2 Red-throated Divers, 5 Herons, 5 Pink-footed Geese, the Barnacle Goose, the Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen, 2 Goldeneye south past Trinley (very scarce so far this autumn), 2 Hen Harriers, single Merlin and Kestrel, a Woodcock, a Black-headed Gull, 7 Meadow Pipits, 6 Rock Pipits, 4 Robins, a Song Thrush, a Chiffchaff, 5 Chaffinches, a Brambling, 4 Linnets, 26 Twite, a Common Redpoll and 3 Snow Buntings.

Hume's Warbler                        Simon Davies

Thursday, 15 November 2018

15th November

Back to the bright and sunny conditions we’ve enjoyed of late, it was almost flat calm at first light but the SSW wind gradually but steadily increased through the day becoming a strong force 6-7 by the afternoon; some good coverage produced some improved counts from across the island including 7 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great-northern Divers, 5 Herons, single Whooper Swan and Pink-footed Goose with 1,055 Greylag Geese, 420 Wigeon, 5 Gadwall, 129 Teal, 45 Mallard, 11 Pintail, 20 Long-tailed Ducks, 11 Red-breasted Mergansers, 124 Ringed Plover, 261 Golden Plover, 101 Lapwing, 8 Knot, 84 Sanderling, 40 Purple Sandpipers, 68 Dunlin, 92 Snipe, 28 Bar-tailed Godwits, 66 Curlew, 101 Redshank, 172 Turnstone, a Black-headed Gull, 177 Common Gulls and 155 Great Black-backed Gulls.

                It was quieter on the land but birds did include 16 Skylark, 6 Meadow Pipits, 21 Rock Pipits, a White Wagtail on the beach at Howar (the first alba Wagtail of any denomination since 29th October), a Robin, 92 Fieldfare, a Song Thrush, 102 Redwing, a Goldcrest, 11 Chaffinches, 82 Twite, 32 Snow Buntings and 8 Reed Buntings.


Wednesday, 14 November 2018

14th November

Limited coverage through the day which was a bit damp and dreary with a moderate SW wind and little spells of drizzle every so often; the days highlights consisted of an adult Iceland Gull on Bewan, a Black Redstart at the Kirk and a notable increase to 87 Twite.

                Other totals through the day included 5 Red-throated Divers, a Great-northern Diver, 2 Heron, the Barnacle Goose, the Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen, 12 Pintail, a Hen Harrier, a Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 6 Skylarks, 7 Rock Pipits, 2 Robins, 2 Song Thrush, a Chiffchaff (one of the summering birds from Holland still here!), 6 Chaffinches, a Linnet and a Snow Bunting.


Tuesday, 13 November 2018

13th November

Fine weather again being almost flat calm at first light with the southerly wind slowly increasing through the day and with observer numbers back up to two it was no surprise that there were a few new birds seen which included the only Mistle Thrush of the autumn so far at Howar, 6 Blackcaps, a Rook (only the second record of the autumn) and 2 Greenfinches.   Other birds across the land included the male Hen Harrier, a Merlin, a Kestrel, 2 Jack Snipe, a Woodcock, 5 Meadow Pipits, 11 Rock Pipits, 7 Robins, 57 Blackbirds, 40 Fieldfare, 3 Song Thrush, 127 Redwing, a Linnet, 22 Twite, a Common Redpoll, 14 Snow Buntings and 10 Reed Buntings.

                Also of note were 7 Red-throated Diver, 3 Great-northern Divers, 2 Herons, the Whooper Swan, the Barnacle Goose, 338 Wigeon, 165 Teal and 4 Black-headed Gulls.


Monday, 12 November 2018

12th November

Another lovely day with light to moderate southerly winds and lots of bright, unbroken sunshine; it was very pleasant out in the field but there were few new birds with raptors the highlight in the fine weather comprising 3 Hen Harriers (a near-adult male and two first years), a young male Peregrine, a Kestrel and a Merlin all being seen on multiple occasions as they dashed around while the main oddity was a late Sooty Shearwater close in off The Links.

                Other totals through the day with time spent around The Obs, Hooking and Brides census routes included 9 Red-throated Diver, 4 Herons, 6 Whooper Swans (a family party of five south and the lone bird still on Gretchen – which may be unable to fly), the 5 Pink-footed Geese, 275 Wigeon, 12 Gadwall, 6 Pintail, 18 Tufted Ducks, 18 Long-tailed Duck, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, a single Ruff in fields near Holland, a Woodcock, 18 Bar-tailed Godwits, 14 Skylark, 10 Meadow Pipits, 8 Rock Pipit, a Robin, 4 Chaffinch, a Brambling, a Greenfinch, 4 Linnets, a notably increased 60 Twite (with several flocks seen heading south), 4 Common Redpolls, 2 Snow Bunting and 4 Reed Buntings.

Hen Harrier



Sunday, 11 November 2018

11th November

A lovely day with light SSE winds and plenty of bright sunshine; a walk round the south end of the island first thing produced the usual array of birds including 16 Red-throated Divers, 3 Great-northern Divers, single Whooper Swan, Pink-footed Goose and Barnacle Goose with the Greylags, the Green-winged Teal on Gretchen, 3 Pintail, a Kestrel, 9 Meadow Pipits (including seven out to the south), a Chiffchaff, 9 Chaffinches, a Brambling, 36 Twite and 15 Snow Buntings.   After the Remembrance ceremony at the Memorial birds seen during a walk round Lenswick and Westness comprised 5 Herons, a Hen Harrier, a Jack Snipe, 14 Skylark, 16 Rock Pipits, another Brambling and 4 Reed Buntings.

                It was very calm by the evening so I opened the nets at Holland where a surprising selection of new birds included a Long-eared Owl, a Woodpigeon (a very young one with no neck patch), a Woodcock, 3 Robins, 3 Blackcap and a Greenfinch.


Saturday, 10 November 2018

10th November

A much better day with far lighter SSE winds and the sun coming out in the afternoon; walked round the north and south ends of the island and managed to open some nets at Holland in the evening, there was a good selection of birds but nothing really new; totals included 7 Red-throated Divers, a Great-northern Diver, 4 Herons, a Whooper Swan, the 5 Pink-footed Geese and the Barnacle Goose with 822 Greylags, 14 Gadwall, the Green-winged Teal on Gretchen, 8 Pintail, a drake Goldeneye at Brides, 2 Hen Harriers, single Sparrowhawk and Kestrel, a Jack Snipe, 5 Woodcock, 2 Black-headed Gulls, 285 Herring Gulls (big flock at the top end again), 6 Skylark, 2 Robins, 86 Blackbird, 187 Fieldfare, 4 Song Thrush, 223 Redwing, a lingering Chiffchaff in Holland where there was also a Goldcrest, 8 Chaffinch, a Brambling, 30 Twite, 2 Common Redpoll and 21 Snow Buntings.


Friday, 9 November 2018

9th November

A difficult day with a blazing force 8 SSE wind but I walked around Hooking and Brides, concentrating on the coast at high tide (with a little look up at Bewan later as well) and the main feature was a good build-up of Gulls in the stormy weather including a smart 3cy Kumlien’s Gull feeding in the surf at Brides (not an age I’m very familiar with) in amongst totals of 190 Common Gulls, 516 Herring Gulls and 270 Great Black-backed Gulls.

                Other birds included a Red-throated Diver, 2 Great-northern Divers, the Barnacle Goose (which has a white darvic ring – YUB was ringed on Islay in 2013), 14 Long-tailed Ducks, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Hen Harrier, 2 Merlin, increased totals of 138 Ringed Plover and 45 Dunlin with big flocks on The Links, a Jack Snipe, 2 Black-headed Gulls, 11 Rock Pipits, a Robin, 62 Fieldfare, 95 Redwing, a Jackdaw by the lighthouse, a single Common Redpoll at Holland and 7 Snow Buntings.

(Excuse the first person narrative but I'm the only observer at the moment!)

Kumlien's Gull                              Simon Davies

Thursday, 8 November 2018

8th November

A much nicer day with lighter SE winds and plenty of bright, unbroken sunshine; unfortunately, due to other commitments (drinking in Kirkwall!) coverage was limited to the afternoon and just around the Obs and Holland but included a Whooper Swan, 5 Pink-footed Geese with the Greylags, the Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen where there was also a drake Goldeneye (only the second of the autumn), single Hen Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Merlin, 2 Ruff in fields near Holland – first ones since mid-October and only the fourth November record, 4 Woodcock, a Black-headed Gull, 3 Meadow Pipits, 35 Blackbirds (including a Danish control bird trapped at Holland at dusk), 42 Fieldfare, 2 Song Thrush, 55 Redwing, 2 Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff, 6 Chaffinches, a Brambling, 35 Twite and a Common Redpoll.


Another Woodcock picture!

7th November

More promising conditions through the day as we kept the strong SE winds and combined it with low cloud, murk and a few drops of rain (where were these conditions a month ago?!); there was a small selection of new birds across the island including a decent arrival of Thrushes as totals included 2 Hen Harriers, a Kestrel, 2 Merlin (including a new adult male), 5 Woodcock, 5 Meadow Pipits,4 Rock Pipits, 5 Robins, 80 Blackbird, 257 Fieldfare, 4 Song Thrush, 177 Redwing, a Blackcap, 2 Jackdaws, 6 Chaffinches, 3 Linnets, 42 Twite, 19 Common Redpolls and 28 Snow Buntings.

                Other counts of note comprised 2 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great-northern Divers, 5 Herons, 2 Whooper Swans, the Barnacle Goose, 253 Wigeon, 8 Gadwall, 160 Teal, 80 Mallard, 15 Pintail, 9 Shoveler, 16 Tufted Duck and 5 Red-breasted Mergansers.

Woodcock in off

6th November

A rough day with strong SE winds but it remained largely dry; it was quiet out in the field despite the good feeling conditions with the day’s highlights comprising a Whooper Swan, a new Barnacle Goose with the Greylags, the Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen, 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Knot up the west coast, 7 Woodcock, a Meadow Pipit, 8 Rock Pipits, 2 Robins, 64 Blackbirds, 83 Fieldfares, 4 Song Thrush, 129 Redwing, 2 Chaffinches, 2 Linnets, 30 Twite and 19 Snow Buntings.

Woodcock                                    Simon Davies

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

5th November

The southerly winds dropped right off through the day, almost becoming still for a spell, unfortunately through light but very persistent rain moved in a few hours after dawn which never stopped at all until dark; the days highlight was an almost certain Coue’s Arctic Redpoll at Ancum with 21 Common Redpolls – all the features seemed to fit apart from perhaps too much streaking on the rump.   There were a few new birds through the day including a Kestrel, 5 Woodcock, 8 Meadow Pipits, 3 Robins, 65 Blackbirds, 76 Fieldfares, 2 Song Thrush, 160 Redwing, 2 Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff, 5 Chaffinches, a Brambling, 16 Twite, 5 Snow Bunting and a Yellowhammer at Holland.

                Also of note were 3 Herons, 2 Whooper Swans, 185 Wigeon, 10 Gadwall, 9 Pintail and a Grey Plover.

Coue's Arctic Redpoll                           Simon Davies