Tuesday, 22 October 2019

21st October

Still windy, although from the SSW this time; there were limited new arrivals as totals included 3 Hen Harriers, 2 Merlin, 51 Dunlin, a Jack Snipe, a Woodcock, a single Little Auk past the Lighthouse, 51 Robins, a Ring Ouzel, 108 Song Thrush, 641 Redwing, 4 Mistle Thrush, 5 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, the Siberian Chiffchaff still at Holland, 3 Goldcrest, 14 Brambling, a further increase to 22 Common Redpolls, 2 Hawfinches still roaming between Holland and the Obs, 35 Snow Buntings and a Yellowhammer still.

Siberian Chiffchaff

Monday, 21 October 2019

20th October

A difficult day in the field with a moderately strong and pretty cold northerly wind cutting through you after a few hours stomping around; there were still birds to be had though despite coverage being slightly down on the last few days, totals included 2 Sooty Shearwaters and a Bonxie off the Lighthouse, 9 Herons, 173 Wigeon, an increase in duck off The Links with 11 Long-tailed Duck, a Common Scoter, 8 Red-breasted Merganser and best of all a Goosander (only the second of the year), 3 Hen Harriers, a Sparrowhawk, single Merlin and Peregrine, 2 Grey Plover, a Waxwing hanging around Holland House (the first of the autumn), 56 Robins, 2 Redstart still, a Wheatear, a Ring Ouzel, 48 Song Thrush, 205 Redwing, a good 7 Mistle Thrush, 7 Chiffchaff, 36 Brambling, 2 Siskin, an increased 19 Common Redpolls, 2 Hawfinches still, 3 Lapland Bunting, 33 Snow Bunting and a Yellowhammer still.


Sunday, 20 October 2019

19th October

A different kind of day with an increasing cold, brisk northerly wind dominating proceedings bringing some nasty little showers sweeping across the island from mid-afternoon.   There were limited new arrivals but still plenty of birds scattered throughout making it worthwhile to spend time in the field; totals included 6 Great-northern Divers, single Manx Shearwater and Arctic Skua off the Lighthouse, 10 Herons, the Green-winged Teal on Gretchen, 2 Hen Harriers, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Merlin, 2 Grey Plover, single Knot, Woodcock and Black-tailed Godwit, a Grey Wagtail, a White Wagtail, 91 Robins, 3 Redstarts, a Whinchat, a Ring Ouzel, 95 Song Thrush, 410 Redwing, 4 Mistle Thrush, 8 Blackcap, 13 Chiffchaffs, 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs at Holland and Ancum, 5 Goldcrest, a Chaffinch, 86 Brambling, 3 Siskin, 2 Common Redpoll, the 2 Hawfinch still, 12 Snow Buntings and a new Yellowhammer.


Saturday, 19 October 2019

18th October

Still good, pleasant conditions with the ENE wind slightly increased and picking up towards the evening; numbers of common migrants were again reduced as the clear conditions overnight encouraged lots of birds to head off.   There were some new things to be found but we’re still feeling a bit hard-done-by with our lack of a bit of quality in our log; totals included 11 Red-throated Divers, 3 Great-northern Divers, 6 Long-tailed Ducks, 9 Red-breasted Mergansers, 2 Hen Harriers, 3 Merlin, a big female Peregrine, a Woodcock, 2 alba Wagtails, 91 Robins, a Black Redstart, a Redstart, 2 Wheatears, 27 Fieldfare, 110 Song Thrush, 700 Redwings, a Mistle Thrush, yet another Eastern Lesser Whitethroat caught in Holland (that’s eight we’ve caught now this autumn!), 11 Blackcap, 18 Chiffchaff, yesterday’s Siberian Chiffchaff still, 7 Goldcrest, 73 Brambling, 9 Siskin, 7 Common Redpoll, the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll re-trapped at roost in Holland, now 2 Hawfinches (the long-staying male and a new female at the Obs), 7 Snow Buntings and 1-2 Yellowhammers with birds seen at Ancum and Nether Linney – new for the year.

Eastern Lesser Whitethroat - these last two have been much greyer than the typical blythi were caught at the start of the month, with this one being long-winged.

17th October

A gorgeous day, very calm, bright and sunny with plenty of birds still across the island but slightly reduced numbers from yesterday’s big arrival; still fun in the field with the fine conditions and birds round every corner making it great to be out with totals including the Green-winged Teal still, 3 Hen Harriers, 2 Merlin, single Jack Snipe and Black-tailed Godwits, a Short-eared Owl, 3 late Swallows, 205 Robins, 2 Ring Ouzels, 106 Blackbird, 58 Fieldfare, 236 Song Thrush, 2,250 Redwing, 2 Mistle Thrush, yesterday’s Reed Warbler, another Eastern Lesser Whitethroat trapped at Holland, a Garden Warbler, 22 Blackcap, 31 Chiffchaff, a Siberian Chiffchaff trapped at Ancum, 13 Goldcrest, 93 Brambling, 5 Siskin, 10 Common Redpoll, the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll still, the Hawfinch still around Holland and 6 Snow Buntings.


Wednesday, 16 October 2019

16th October

A fantastic day with birds everywhere, massive flocks of Thrushes moving across the island throughout the day; the huge rolling flocks of Redwings filling every field, coming in off the sea and dropping vertically out of the sky was something else!   No real rarities were unearthed but it didn’t matter one jot with everyone just revelling in the spectacle unfolding in front of them; totals (largely underestimates) comprised 11 Herons, 3 Hen Harriers, 2 Merlin, 3 Jack Snipe, 283 Snipe, 13 Woodcock, 5 Short-eared Owls, 320 Robins, 2 Black Redstarts, 3 Redstarts, a Wheatear, 11 Ring Ouzels, 315 Blackbirds, 257 Fieldfare, 1,197 Song Thrush, 10,977 Redwing, 2 Mistle Thrushes, single late Reed Warbler, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler, 43 Blackcap, 38 Chiffchaff, 39 Goldcrest, 133 Brambling, 17 Siskin, 7 Common Redpoll, the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll popping back up at Nether Linney, a Hawfinch flying around and eventually caught in Holland, 14 Snow Buntings and 8 Reed Buntings.    It was a brilliant day for the ringers as a total of 381 birds were processed through the day – an excellent total for the island. 

Migration at its best!

15th October

A decent day with a moderate easterly based wind and plenty of dry, pleasant conditions to enjoy your birding; the rarity highlight of the day was a bit of a kick in the guts as a dead 1cy BROWN SHRIKE was picked up off the road near Holland House, having been freshly hit by a car – certainly not how we wanted to get our second record of this seemingly increasing eastern mega.   There were birds arriving right through the day with repeated checks of the same areas yielding increased numbers every time – really exciting birding, we couldn’t pull out another high quality rare but some good totals included 9 Herons, 202 Wigeon, 63 Teal, the drake Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen, 23 Shoveler, 3 Hen Harriers, 3 Merlin, 2 Grey Plover, a Woodcock, 20 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Short-eared Owls, 157+ Robins, a Black Redstart, 2 Redstarts, a Whinchat, a Wheatear, a Ring Ouzel, 50 Blackbird, 17 Fieldfare, 93 Song Thrush, 230 Redwing, an eastern Lesser Whitethroat, 20 Blackcap, 3 Yellow-browed Warblers, 22 Chiffchaff, the first Siberian Chiffchaff of the year, 35 Goldcrests, the Red-backed Shrike again at Barrenha, 11 Brambling, a Greenfinch, 3 Siskin, 13 Common Redpoll, a Hawfinch whizzing around (first of the autumn), a Tree Sparrow and 77 Snow Buntings.

Brown Shrike wing

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

14th October

Still lovely and calm, very pleasant to be out and about but it has to be said that we do feel slightly hard-done-by with quality birds all around us and hardly any new arrivals here!   Our meagre totals comprised 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Merlin, a further influx to 23 Black-tailed Godwits, a Short-eared Owl, 17 Robins, 2 Wheatears, 10 Fieldfare, 20 Song Thrush, 143 Redwing, a new Eastern Lesser Whitethroat at the Beacon, 4 Blackcap, a Yellow-browed Warbler at the north end, 9 Chiffchaff, 5 Goldcrest, 5 Bramblings, a Goldfinch, 3 Siskin, a Common Redpoll and a good 94 Snow Buntings.   On a sadder note a juvenile Osprey was picked up from under a wind turbine in the north of the island after having struck the blades.

Look at them talons!

Monday, 14 October 2019

13th October

Another lovely, calm day, largely bright and dry but with a few spots of rain to give us some hope of something dropping in but unfortunately, we couldn’t compete with next door!   Birds unearthed included the regularly returning drake Green-winged Teal back on Gretchen (or rather he has finally moulted enough for us to be sure its him, its probably been here for a while already), a big influx of 82+ Tufted Ducks on Brides in amongst which was a single Scaup, 2 Hen Harriers, a Merlin, a Ruff, an arrival of 14+ Black-tailed Godwits, a Short-eared Owl, a Grey Wagtail, 17 Robins, 7 Fieldfare, 110 Redwing, the Eastern Lesser Whitethroat still at Holland, 4 Blackcap, a Yellow-browed Warbler on the coast by Gretchen (first one since the 6th), 5 Chiffchaff, 5 Goldcrest, a/the Red-backed Shrike at Barrenha – it’s unclear whether it was a new bird or the long-staying individual last seen in that area on the 6th, 3 Chaffinches, 3 Brambling, the first 2 Greenfinches of the autumn, 3 Common Redpolls, the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll re-trapped in Holland, a Lapland Bunting and 22 Snow Buntings.


Sunday, 13 October 2019

12th October

Lovely and calm through the day with the bright conditions making it a joy to be out in the field, not big arrival weather but still a good selection of common migrants with enough of a turnover of birds to keep your enthusiasm going.   Totals included 4 Herons, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, 3 Hen Harriers, 2 Merlins, a Jack Snipe, a Short-eared Owl, the Shorelark again on the beach at Howar, 110 Meadow Pipits, 44 Robins, 2 Redstarts, a Whinchat, 5 Wheatears, 11 Fieldfare, 38 Song Thrush, 185 Redwing, the Eastern Lesser Whitethroat still, 3 Blackcap, 9 Chiffchaff, 8 Goldcrest, the Great Grey Shrike still roving the south of the island, 3 Chaffinches, 11 Brambling, 2 Siskin, still 180 Linnets, 6 Common Redpolls, a Lesser Redpoll trapped in Holland (the first of the autumn), a Lapland Bunting and 79 Snow Buntings.

Short-eared Owl

Saturday, 12 October 2019

11th October

A lovely calm day, only marred by a few hefty showers scattered throughout, most species enjoyed notable increases due to a combination of new arrivals, birds coming out of hiding in the calm weather and a rise in observer’s enthusiasm as it felt very promising; the highlights though were the same again with the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll still showing well, the Grey-headed Wagtail popping up again and the mobile Great Grey Shrike still whizzing around.   Some good totals for the log included 18 Red-throated Divers, 5 Great-northern Divers, 9 Herons, 5 Pintail, 6 Long-tailed Ducks, 3 Goldeneye, 4 Red-breasted Mergansers, 3 Hen Harriers, a Sparrowhawk (a British control caught at Ancum), a Merlin, 2 Peregrines, 3 Grey Plover, a Ruff, 3 Jack Snipe, 226 Snipe, a Woodcock, the Black-tailed Godwit with 26 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Woodpigeon, a Swallow, 130 Meadow Pipits, 21 Rock Pipits, 2 Grey Wagtails, 2 Dunnocks, 51 Robins, a Black Redstart, a Redstart, a Stonechat, 9 Wheatears, 42 Fieldfare, 53 Song Thrush, 159 Redwing, the Eastern Lesser Whitethroat still, 3 Blackcap, 15 Chiffchaff, 16 Goldcrest, 7 Chaffinches, 9 Brambling, the first Goldfinch of the autumn, a Siskin, 2 Common Redpolls, a Lapland Bunting, a notable influx of 93+ Snow Buntings and 13 Reed Buntings.

Arctic Redpoll dwarfing a Common Redpoll

Friday, 11 October 2019

10th October

Predominantly another rough day with a strong westerly wind and quite a few showers whipping through but it began to ease off through the afternoon, leading up to a (hopefully) calmer few days ahead.   Highlights through the day included the Little Gull again along the coast between Brides and Nouster, the Shorelark again around Kirbest and the Great Grey Shrike still zooming all over the place.   Totals comprised 9 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great-northern Divers, 4 Herons, a family party of 4 Whooper Swans, 167 Wigeon, 13 Shoveler, single Long-tailed Duck, Goldeneye and Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Hen Harriers, a Merlin, 3 Grey Plover, a single Black-tailed Godwit with 22 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Puffin past the Lighthouse, a Woodpigeon, a Swallow, 8 Robins, a Stonechat, 6 Wheatears, a Ring Ouzel, 7 Fieldfare, 9 Song Thrush, 78 Redwing, a Mistle Thrush, single Eastern Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest, 3 Chaffinches, 3 Brambling and 12 Snow Buntings.

The long-staying Eastern Lesser Whitethroat

Thursday, 10 October 2019

9th October

A rough, very windy morning with frequent showers giving way to a not-so-rough afternoon with slightly fewer showers and some bright spells but still tough in the field; highlights comprised the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll still up at Nether Linney, the Great Grey Shrike still bombing around the island and a juvenile Little Gull feeding in the surf at Brides – only the second of the year.    There were some new birds to be had though, keeping us going out and about as totals included a Great-northern Diver past the Lighthouse (unusually scarce this autumn so far), 6 Heron, 128 Wigeon, 133 Teal, 3 Pintail, 8 Shoveler, 2 Long-tailed Ducks, the first Goldeneye of the autumn, 2 Hen Harriers, a Grey Plover, 2 Jack Snipe, 92 Snipe, a Woodpigeon, a Short-eared Owl, 2 Swallows, 24 Rock Pipits, 80 Meadow Pipits, 14 Robins, 9 Wheatears, 2 Ring Ouzels, 8 Fieldfares, 33 Song Thrush, 247 Redwing, the first Mistle Thrush of the autumn, the Eastern Lesser Whitethroat still lingering in Holland, 3 Blackcap, 5 Goldcrest, 5 Chaffinches, 3 Brambling, 5 Siskin, 2 Common Redpolls, a Lapland Bunting, 21 Snow Buntings and 13 Reed Buntings.

Little Gull                                                James Wilson

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

8th October

Lighter SSW winds through the day but it was still blustery; the highlights were the same as yesterday with the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll still around Nether Linney and the Great Grey Shrike was around the south of the island being very mobile and eventually finding a net in Holland.   Other totals included 11 Herons, 3 Scaup at sea off Torness, a drake Long-tailed Duck off The Links, a Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Hen Harriers, single Grey Plover, Black-tailed Godwit and Ruff, a Woodpigeon, 2 Short-eared Owls, 2 Grey Wagtails, a Dunnock, 32 Robins, a new Black Redstart, 2 Redstarts, a Whinchat, 13 Wheatears, a Ring Ouzel, 21 Fieldfares, 47 Song Thrush, 180 Redwing, an Eastern Lesser Whitethroat still in Holland, a Garden Warbler, 4 Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff, 8 Goldcrest, 10 Chaffinches, 4 Brambling, 9 Siskin, 4 Lapland Buntings, 22 Snow Buntings and 5 Reed Buntings.


Tuesday, 8 October 2019

7th October

A very windy start giving way to an apocalyptic few hours, late morning when the wind picked up and brought heavy, driving rain confining everyone back in the Obs but it brightened up in the afternoon and the still very strong wind moved from the SE into the south.   Most of the day’s sightings came in the afternoon and included the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll again up by Nether Linney and the Great Grey Shrike sheltering in Holland.   The nice range of other birds comprised 6 Herons, 6 Jack Snipe, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Woodpigeon, 4 Short-eared Owls, 16 Rock Pipits, 5 Grey Wagtails, a Dunnock, 30 Robins, a Redstart, 3 Wheatears, 2 Ring Ouzels, 13 Fieldfare, 60 Song Thrush, 277 Redwing, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaffs, 15 Goldcrest, 2 Chaffinches, 4 Brambling, 2 Common Redpoll, 2 Lapland Buntings and 25 Snow Buntings.

Short-eared Owl

Monday, 7 October 2019

6th October

Tough birding conditions unless you stuck to the sheltered west side with the very strong easterly wind pushing birds and birders onto the coast, there were a few showers overnight and a sharp one just at dawn but the day remained dry and bright – just what we wanted.   While there wasn’t a huge arrival of birds, along the west coast it was great birding with migrants all the way up; scarcities included a Great Grey Shrike on Torness and later down at the airstrip, the Shorelark again in Kirbest, the Grey-headed Wagtail at Neven, one of the Red-backed Shrikes still at Hooking and the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll again at Nether Linney.   Good totals through the day comprised 8 Herons, 2 Hen Harriers, a Grey Plover, 5 Jack Snipe, 3 Woodcock, 3 Woodpigeons, 2 Short-eared Owls, 22 Rock Pipits, 3 Grey Wagtails (the first of the autumn), a Dunnock, 30 Robins, a Black Redstart (first since July), 2 Redstarts, 2 Whinchats, a Stonechat, 9 Wheatears, the first 3 Ring Ouzels of the autumn, 12 Fieldfare, 70 Song Thrush, 317 Redwing, a Reed Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, a Whitethroat, 7 Chiffchaff, 45 Goldcrest, 4 Chaffinches, 6 Brambling, 2 Common Redpoll, 2 Lapland Buntings, 20 Snow Bunting and 3 Reed Bunting.

Great Grey Shrike

Sunday, 6 October 2019

5th October

Largely dry and bright again with an increasing, blustery ENE wind and some much desired showers moving in just after dark, ramping up the anticipation for tomorrow; most of the highlights were again, lingering birds with the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll relocating to Nether Linney, the Grey-headed Wagtail at Garso, a single Yellow-browed Warbler at Lenswick, the Shorelark again in Nouster / Kirbest and a juvenile Long-tailed Skua which came in over Westness.   Other birds included 3 Herons, a single Whooper Swan south, 2 Hen Harrier, 2 Merlin, a Grey Plover, 6 Jack Snipe, the first 2 Woodcock of the autumn, 2 Short-eared Owls, 3 Swallows, 9 Robins, a Whinchat, 9 Wheatears, 5 Fieldfare, 26 Song Thrush, 121 Redwing, 2 Garden Warblers, 8 Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler, 35 Goldcrest, 7 Chaffinches, 2 Brambling, a Lapland Bunting and 18 Snow Buntings.


Saturday, 5 October 2019

4th October

A very pleasant day to be out and about, plenty of bright sunshine and a moderate ENE breeze, perhaps not ideal for lots of grounded migrants but nice to be in the field where there was a sprinkling of new birds across the island to keep you interested.   The day’s scarcities were all long-staying birds with the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll seen briefly near the Obs, the male Grey-headed Wagtail again by Neven, the Shorelark reappearing in Nouster, 4 Yellow-browed Warblers new in and the 2 Red-backed Shrikes seen again at Hooking and near Holland.   Other totals comprised 11 Herons, 129 Wigeon, 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Merlin, 2 Grey Plover, 5 Jack Snipe, 67 Skylark, a Swallow, 151 Meadow Pipits, 19 Rock Pipits, a Dunnock, 11 Robins, 5 Redstarts, a Whinchat, 7 Wheatears, 4 Fieldfare, 11 Song Thrush, 195 Redwing, 3 Lesser Whitethroats (including two eastern birds trapped at Holland), a Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, 10 Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff, 24 Goldcrest, 5 Chaffinches, a Brambling, 6 Common Redpolls and 43 Snow Buntings.   Also of note was a late Hummingbird Hawkmoth in Holland.

'Eastern' Lesser Whitethroat, probably Siberian

Friday, 4 October 2019

3rd October

Not a bad day with the wind easing off significantly and slowly moving into the ENE and plenty of bright spells; the land was fairly quiet but with the wind dying back and moving round the sea was very profitable as totals included 3,650+ Fulmars, 43 Sooty Shearwaters, 15 Manx Shearwaters, the first Scaup of the year, the first Long-tailed Duck of the autumn, a juvenile Pomarine Skua, a fine adult Long-tailed Skua, 14 Bonxies, 2,450+ Kittiwakes, 2 Little Auks, an excellent total of 85 Puffins (good for this late in the year) and 400+ large Auk sp.   As mentioned the land was quieter but a trickle of new things to give us some hope for the coming days with 2 Hen Harriers, single Kestrel and Merlin, a Jack Snipe, a Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Robins, 3 Redstarts, 5 Fieldfares, 42 Redwing, 3 Lesser Whitethroats (including an eastern bird trapped in Ancum Willows), 2 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Goldcrest, 6 Ravens (the first immigrants of the autumn), 4 Chaffinches, the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll still at the back of Nouster, 2 Lapland Buntings and 4 Snow Buntings.

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll                         Dante Shepherd

Thursday, 3 October 2019

2nd October

A similar day to yesterday, largely dry with only a couple of showers and a brisk, cold NNW breeze; pretty much all of the noteworthy birds were leftovers from the last week with the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll still at the back of Nouster but sometimes elusive and the Red-backed Shrike still around Holland.   Other birds included 7 Red-throated Divers, 4 Sooty and a Manx Shearwater, 3 Heron, a Pintail, 79 Teal, 8 Shoveler, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Hen Harrier, a Black-tailed Godwit, the late Arctic Tern still lingering in the north, 2 Swallows, 2 Redstarts, a Whinchat, 6 Wheatears, 2 Fieldfare, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, a Chaffinch and 3 Snow Buntings.


Wednesday, 2 October 2019

1st October

A tough day in the field with a brisk, cold NNW wind bringing a few sharp little showers sweeping across the island; there were still a couple of lingering highlights, most notably the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll which was re-found late in the afternoon feeding at the back of Nouster Bay with a Red-backed Shrike still around Holland.   Other birds of note seen through the day comprised 5 Red-throated Divers, 8 Sooty Shearwaters and 7 Manx Shearwaters past the Lighthouse, 4 Herons, a Pintail and 8 Shoveler new in, single Hen Harrier and Kestrel, a Black-tailed Godwit, a late Arctic Tern past the Lighthouse, a Woodpigeon, 3 Redstart, 4 Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff, a Goldcrest, a Chaffinch and 27 Snow Buntings.

Still some insect interest

30th September

A different day with a brisk, cold NNW wind and a few showers in the morning, brightening up and slightly easing in the afternoon.   There was again a reduction in the numbers of migrants across the island with pretty much the only new bird being an awesome HORNEMANN’S ARCTIC REDPOLL trapped at Holland House in the morning; most of the scarcities were still in place with 2 Barred Warblers still (Sandback and Holland), 2 Red-backed Shrikes still (Holland and Phisligar), the Grey-headed Wagtail on the beach at Sandback but no Yellow-browed Warblers.   Other totals included 3 Herons, the first 5 Whooper Swans of the autumn, the 3 Quail again in the same field at Kirbest, a Hen Harrier, 2 Kestrels, 2 Merlins, 3 Grey Plover, a Long-eared Owl at Holland, 5 Swallows, a Tree Pipit, 11 Rock Pipit, 13 Robins, 4 Redstarts, 2 Whinchats, 10 Wheatears, a Fieldfare, 12 Song Thrush, 13 Redwing, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 6 Blackcap, 9 Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler, 5 Goldcrest, 8 Chaffinches, a Lapland Bunting, 3 Snow Buntings and 8 Reed Warblers. 

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll

Monday, 30 September 2019

29th September

Still good conditions, bright and dry but the we lost the east out of the wind which picked up a touch and moved into the north; there was again though a reduction in migrant numbers but still a good spread of birds and a sprinkling of scarcities.   The highlight for one person was a CITRINE WAGTAIL seen in flight and heard several times around Holland whilst other highlights included the male Grey-headed Wagtail again, 2 Barred Warblers – the Quoybanks bird still and a new one seen at Holland, 4 Yellow-browed Warblers, 2 Red-backed Shrikes – birds trapped at The Obs and at Ancum (one of which is presumably the long-staying bird but I don’t know which!) and the Shorelark again at Bewan – again we’re presuming it’s the over-summering bird but it hasn’t been seen for three weeks…   

Other migrant totals comprised 8 Herons, 142 Wigeon, 141 Teal, single Hen Harrier, Kestrel and Peregrine, 3 Merlins, a Ruff, 6 Jack Snipe, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Woodpigeons, a Long-eared Owl seen at Ancum at dusk, 2 Short-eared Owl, 2 Tree Pipits, 39 Robins, 19 Redstarts, 3 Whinchats, 46 Wheatear, 69 Song Thrush, 51 Redwing, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, 3 Garden Warbler, 6 Blackcap, 17 Chiffchaff, 6 Willow Warblers, 10 Goldcrest, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, a Pied Flycatcher, 10 Chaffinches, 13 Reed Buntings, a Lapland Bunting and an influx of 32 Snow Buntings.    

Also of note during a look offshore were 3 Sooty Shearwaters, a Manx Shearwater and a Puffin while a late Hummingbird Hawkmoth was at Holland.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

28th September

Another brilliant day in the field with light NNE winds and varying cloud cover plus a few drizzly spells to make things feel exciting, there were perhaps fewer birds than yesterday (a clear night with a good Northern Lights display accounted for that) but with a notable influx of birders and ringers, the totals sometimes didn’t reflect that!   Today’s highlights included a Richard’s Pipit flushed out of Veracott garden first thing and not seen afterwards, a male Grey-headed Wagtail which came into roost at Ancum, a Rustic Bunting at Sandar, 7 Yellow-browed Warblers, the Holland Red-breasted Flycatcher and the mobile Red-backed Shrike back on the west coast.   Other totals included 11 Red-throated Divers, 12 Herons, 104 Pink-footed Geese, 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Kestrels, a Merlin, 3 Quail still present at Kirbest (from the breeding efforts this year), 3 Ruff, 4 Jack Snipe, a Woodpigeon, 4 Short-eared Owls, another late Swift, 46 Skylarks, 10 Swallows, 5 Tree Pipits, 10 Rock Pipits, a Dunnock, 42 Robins, 18 Redstarts, 5 Whinchat, 70 Wheatears, 112 Song Thrushes, 56 Redwing, 6 Lesser Whitethroat, a Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warblers, 11 Blackcap, 11 Chiffchaff, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Pied Flycatchers, 14 Chaffinches, 10 Lapland Buntings, 16 Snow Buntings and 13 Reed Buntings.

Rustic Bunting                                           Dante Shepherd

Friday, 27 September 2019

27th September

A wonderful day after yesterday’s blitzkrieg, light ESE winds and some spells of sunshine with some brilliant migrant totals, probably made up of new arrivals and birds emerging from under whatever stone they had been hiding and enhanced by some increased coverage.   Scarcities comprised an excellent total of 16 Yellow-browed Warblers, 2 Red-breasted Flycatchers (Holland and Doo Geo), the Barred Warbler again in the north and presumably yesterday’s Red-backed Shrike moving over to Hooking.   The rest of the counts consisted of 5 Herons, 40 Barnacle Geese, 2 Hen Harriers, a Sparrowhawk, 4 Kestrels, single Grey Plover, Little Stint and Ruff, 2 Jack Snipe, 3 Woodpigeons, a Short-eared Owl, 10 Tree Pipits, 380 Meadow Pipits, 9 Rock Pipits, 3 Dunnocks (the first of the year), 89 Robins, 19 Redstarts, 3 Whinchats, 84 Wheatears, 4 Fieldfares, 190 Song Thrush, 83 Redwing, 6 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroats, 18 Blackcap, 29 Chiffchaff, 11 Willow Warblers, 6 Goldcrest, 4 Spotted Flycatchers, 3 Pied Flycatchers, 13 Chaffinches, 3 Lapland Buntings, a Snow Bunting and 18 Reed Buntings.


Thursday, 26 September 2019

26th September

Most of the day was horrible!   Driving rain and a blazing strong ESE wind but around 4pm it almost miraculously brightened up with the wind dropping off dramatically, even allowing some nets to be opened at Holland in the evening; a couple of brave souls were out most of the day though, naturally concentrating on the sheltered west coast, racking up some good totals with plenty of new birds unearthed.   Scarcities today comprised a Red-backed Shrike at Doo Geo, 4 Yellow-browed Warblers (three up the west coast and one caught in Holland in the evening) and the Holland Red-breasted Flycatcher finally getting its ring.   The rest of the totals included 7 Herons, 9 Barnacle Geese, 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Sparrowhawks, 2 Kestrels, a Merlin, a Jack Snipe, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a Woodpigeon, a Short-eared Owl, 12 Swallows, 2 Tree Pipits, 8 Rock Pipits, 28 Robins, 14 Redstarts, a Whinchat, 53 Wheatears, a Fieldfare, 76 Song Thrush, 35 Redwing, 3 Lesser Whitethroats (including another, very different eastern-type caught in Holland), a Garden Warbler, 14 Chiffchaffs, 4 Willow Warblers, 5 Goldcrest, 2 Spotted Flycatchers (the long overdue first for the autumn!), a Pied Flycatcher, 12 Chaffinches, the first Brambling of the autumn and 8 Lapland Buntings. 

Red-breasted Flycatcher

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

25th September

Same again, with the strong and blustery ESE wind bringing spells of drizzle and low cloud across the island but today (compared to yesterday) was slightly clearer, slightly drier and slightly windier.   Most species experienced increases with today’s scarcities including 3 Red-breasted Flycatchers (the Holland bird, the Westness bird and a new bird at Doo Geo) and 5 Yellow-browed Warblers – mainly up the west coast.   The excellent spread of common migrants included 4 Herons, 75 Barnacle Geese, 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Sparrowhawks, 4 Kestrels, a Grey Plover, a Little Stint on Westbeach, the first Jack Snipe of the autumn, 115 Snipe, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (including a Baltic-looking juvenile), a late Swift over the Obs, 11 Swallows, 40 Skylarks, 190 Meadow Pipits, 3 Rock Pipits, 6 Robins, an excellent 21 Redstarts, 3 Whinchats, 40 Wheatears, 2 Fieldfares, 133 Song Thrushes, 47 Redwing, 3 Lesser Whitethroats (all probably eastern in origin), 2 Blackcap, 10 Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler, 7 Goldcrest, a Chaffinch, 4 Lapland Buntings and a Snow Bunting. 

Lesser Whitethroat



Tuesday, 24 September 2019

24th September

Clearer in the morning but spitting rain moved in at lunchtime and then low cloud, then more drizzle creating a very wet afternoon but all the while the lovely, brisk ESE wind continued to sweep across the island.   The highlight of the day (at least for one person) was brief views of a RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL in Holland House gardens which no one else could catch up with (anyone that’s been in the incredibly dense Fuchsia garden can testify to the frustrating viewing in there!); other scarcities included 2 Red-breasted Flycatchers – the Holland bird still and another new one at Westness, a single Yellow-browed Warbler and the Barred Warbler again.   There were some much improved migrant totals from the day which comprised 21 Pink-footed Geese, 56 Barnacle Geese, 3 Sparrowhawks, 4 Kestrels, 8 Swallows, 221 Meadow Pipits, 7 Rock Pipits, 45 alba Wagtails, 8 Redstarts, 2 Whinchat, 45 Wheatears, a Fieldfare, 74 Song Thrush, 10 Redwing, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 9 Blackcap, 9 Chiffchaffs, 8 Goldcrests, the first Chaffinch of the autumn, 5 Lapland Buntings and 2 Snow Buntings.

Monday, 23 September 2019

23rd September

Slightly clearer than yesterday first thing, almost becoming clear by late morning (still no planes though!) before the fog came back with a vengeance early afternoon all driven in by the consistently brisk force 6-7 south-easterly wind – it felt good!   There were plenty of new birds to find with the scarcities comprising 2 Red-breasted Flycatchers – yesterday’s Holland bird and a new one at Lurand, 5 Yellow-browed Warblers (three at the north end, one at the School and one at Peckhole) and the Barred Warbler still.   A good range of migrants also made their autumnal debut including 253+ Barnacle Geese, a Long-eared Owl in off the sea at Trinley, 4 Robins, 31 Song Thrush and 12 Redwing while other birds of note consisted of 4 Herons, 30 Pink-footed Geese, 2 Hen Harriers, a Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrels, 150+ Snipe, 8 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (all adults and all dark intermedius-types, unusual at this time of year), a Short-eared Owl, 260 Meadow Pipits, a Whinchat, 42 Wheatears, a Fieldfare, a Reed Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackcaps, 3 Willow Warblers, 3 Goldcrest and a Pied Flycatcher.

Red-breasted Flycatcher                              Dante Shepherd

Short-eared Owl

Hen Harrier

Sunday, 22 September 2019

22nd September

A real autumnal feeling day with low cloud / fog throughout, grounding all flights brought in by a brisk SE wind; there was a good selection of new birds but they were spread far and wide making us work for our birds, the highlights consisted of the first 2 Yellow-browed Warblers of the autumn along the coast at Grind, the first Red-breasted Flycatcher of the year at Holland, the first Snow Bunting of the autumn at the Lighthouse and the Barred Warbler still at Quoybanks / Neven.   Other birds included 6 Red-throated Divers, 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Peregrines, 5 Rock Pipits, 30 Wheatears, a Fieldfare, a Garden Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 3 Willow Warblers, a Chiffchaff, a Goldcrest and 2 Lapland Buntings.

Yellow-browed Warbler                             Dante Shepherd

21st September

Clear and sunny throughout the day with a strong SSE wind making it a bit tricky in the field; it was quiet for new birds but things of note did include single Red-throated and Great-northern Divers, 3 Herons, 4 Pink-footed Geese, a Merlin, the Barred Warbler still at Quoybanks, a Blackcap, 3 Willow Warblers, 2 Goldcrest, a Pied Flycatcher, a Common Redpoll at Kirbest and a Lapland Bunting.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

20th September

A lovely, calm, sunny, warm day with light winds which eventually swung round into the SE building up the anticipation for the week to come; there were a few highlights with a brief Buff-breasted Sandpiper seen in flight at the north end a bit frustrating while on the land the Marsh Warbler was still at Ancum Willows and a Barred Warbler at Quoybanks was possibly the bird last seen on the 10th or possibly not.   Other birds on the land included the overdue first Tree Pipit of the autumn at Holland (we still haven’t had Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher or House Martin yet either but hopefully this coming week will remedy that!), 247 Meadow Pipits, 3 Rock Pipits, 37 Wheatears, a Blackcap, the first migrant Chiffchaff of the autumn, 5 Willow Warblers, a Goldcrest and a Lapland Bunting.   Eight Pink-footed Geese were in fields by Brides and two each of Hen Harrier and Peregrine floated and zoomed around respectively. 

Marsh Warbler

19th September

A drizzly, mizzly start but it began to brighten up from mid-morning with the drizzly spells shortening and becoming less frequent through the afternoon; seawatching was hampered by the poor visibility so the large Shearwater sp. which went past early morning couldn’t be clinched although it was probably a Cory’s.   The day’s highlight was a lovely adult Long-tailed Skua which performed wonderfully in front of the seawatch hide before settling on the rocks for a few hours while offshore were 3 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great-northern Divers, 31 Sooty Shearwaters, 16 Manx Shearwaters and 5 Arctic Skuas.   Elsewhere it was pretty quiet with 2 Herons, an increase to 137 Wigeon, a Peregrine and 21 Bar-tailed Godwits.

Long-tailed Skua                                    Simon Davies

Thursday, 19 September 2019

18th September

Wondrously, blessedly calm all day with long spells of bright, warm sunshine and a light breeze generally somewhere in the easterly quadrant – heaven after the last week!   As often happens after a big blow, the seawatching was brilliant with basically an all day watch producing a GREAT SHEARWATER north at 0730, 5 Long-tailed Skuas (3 adults and 2 juveniles), a juvenile Sabine’s Gull, 2 Leach’s Petrels, a Storm Petrel, c2,000 Fulmars including at least 15 Blue individuals, 205 Sooty Shearwaters, 116 Manx Shearwaters, 5 Arctic Skuas, c2,500 Kittiwakes, a Common Tern and 13 Arctic Terns.   The land was pretty quiet but there were certainly highlights to be found with a Marsh Warbler at Ancum Willows, a late Quail flushed from Kirbest (maybe one of the lingering juveniles), 4 Herons, 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Merlins, a Kestrel, 9 Rock Pipits, 4 Whinchats, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 5 Willow Warblers, 2 Goldcrest and 5 Lapland Buntings.


Wednesday, 18 September 2019

17th September

Still very windy through the morning but by mid-afternoon the westerly gales had started to subside and by the evening it was quite pleasant, a real relief after seemingly ages stuck in the grip of the difficult conditions; there was again, a spread of common migrants which consisted of lingering birds including 2 Sand Martins, 2 Rock Pipits, 2 Whinchat, 26 Wheatears, a Blackcap, 3 Willow Warblers, a Goldcrest, a Pied Flycatcher and a Lapland Bunting.   Other birds of note comprised a Heron, a Hen Harrier, a Merlin, 2 Peregrines, 658 Golden Plover, a Grey Plover and 3 Arctic Terns still.

This Swallow certainly looked like he hadn't been enjoying the windy weather

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

16th September

The westerly wind had eased off (slightly) in the morning, making it a bit better while out and about but it picked back up to blazing again by the afternoon; a few passerines popped out in the lighter winds (probably lingering / hiding birds rather than new arrivals!) including a Barred Warbler glimpsed in Holland, 2 Whinchats, 46 Wheatears, a Garden Warbler, 6 Willow Warblers and a Northwestern-type Redpoll at Garso – which probably was new in.   Some passage offshore was dominated by a good total of 1,700 Gannets along with 4 Red-throated Divers, a Great-northern Diver, 28 Sooty Shearwaters, 10 Manx Shearwaters, 3 Arctic Skuas, 14 Bonxies and 4 Arctic Terns.   Some good totals around the island also comprised a Heron, 346 Pink-footed Geese, a Red-breasted Merganser, a Kestrel, 126 Ringed Plover, 800 Golden Plover, 230 Sanderling, 52 Purple Sandpipers, a Ruff, 49 Dunlin, 11 Black-tailed Godwit, 20 Bar-tailed Godwits and 370 Turnstone. 

Monday, 16 September 2019

15th September

Still super windy, with the blazing westerly wind dominating everyone’s conversations and making any trip out into the field a bit of a mission; there were some birds though as totals included 2 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great-northern Divers, 2 Sooty Shearwaters, a good count of 645 Pink-footed Geese with a big grounded flock at Brides, a Red-breasted Merganser, single Hen Harrier and Peregrine, 5 Black-tailed Godwits, single Arctic Tern and Arctic Skua, a Sand Martin, 25 Wheatears and 2 Lapland Buntings on The Links.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

14th September

A horrible day as we kept the blazing force 7-8 westerly wind but had almost constant driving rain thrown in to the mix; unsurprisingly there were few birding highlights for the day with a total of 380 Pink-footed Geese seen with quite a few grounded flocks in the awful weather, single Red-throated and Great-northern Divers, 2 Mute Swans (the first ones since the end of July – possibly the breeding pair returning after their summer holidays) and 2 Sand Martins of note.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

13th September

The blasting westerly wind picked up again a touch making life difficult in the field; the main feature of the day was a decent movement of 431 Pink-footed Geese, generally in small flocks.   The other highlights were offshore as well with a juvenile Pomarine Skua the pick along with a Red-throated Diver, 2 Blue Fulmars amongst the steady stream of Fulmars, 34 Sooty Shearwaters, 4 Manx Shearwaters, a Common Scoter (the first one since the spring), an Arctic Skua and 26 Bonxies.   Other little bits included a Heron, 92 Wigeon, single Merlin and Peregrine, 13 Black-tailed Godwits and single Willow Warbler and Pied Flycatcher.


Friday, 13 September 2019

12th September

Rough still, although the WSW / W wind was slightly less than yesterday, it remained difficult in the field especially with the sometimes-heavy squalls which swept through in the morning; the Little Bunting popped up again in Funny Park and showed well at times while other lingering passerines included a Tree Sparrow at Hooking (the second of the autumn) and single Lesser Whitethroat and Pied Flycatcher.   Other birds included 2 Herons, a total of 96 Pink-footed Geese south (in several flocks), influxes of 87 Wigeon and 50 Teal, the first Red-breasted Merganser since July, a Hen Harrier, 2 Kestrels, a Merlin, 119 Ringed Plover, 497 Golden Plover, single Ruff and Whimbrel, 160 Redshank, a small influx of 12 Black-headed Gulls and 30 Common Gulls, 7 Sand Martins, 51 Wheatears and 2 Lapland Buntings – Westbeach and Westness.


Thursday, 12 September 2019

11th September

Inevitably, just as we experienced our best day of the autumn so far, the wind switches into the WSW and picks up to an uncomfortable force 7-8 thus putting an end to our eastern dreams for the time being!  It was very difficult birding conditions in the strong wind and the small passerine totals consisted of lingering birds with the Red-backed Shrike still at Cursiter, 8 Willow Warblers, a Goldcrest and a Pied Flycatcher.   Other birds dug out included 2 Herons, a Merlin, an increase to 1,050 Golden Plover, 35 Knot, a Ruff, 4 Whimbrel, the juvenile Common Tern with 3 Arctic Terns lingering in Nouster and 6 Sand Martins.


Wednesday, 11 September 2019

10th September

A good start to the day with a light SSE wind and plenty of birds but after mid-afternoon the wind rapidly picked up to a very strong southerly wind bringing rain by dusk; the long list of scarcities across the island included a Common Buzzard high south (the first of the year), a Marsh Warbler trapped at Holland House, 3 Barred Warblers – Funny Park, Antabreck and the Sandback bird still, the Red-backed Shrike still at Cursiter, 2 Common Rosefinches – Funny Park and Scottigar and the first Little Bunting of the year going between the Obs and Funny Park.   Other totals comprised a Kestrel, 2 Merlins, 39 Knot, single Ruff and Black-tailed Godwit, a juvenile Common Tern on Nouster Pier, a Sand Martin, 2 Rock Pipit, a flava Wagtail in flight by The Mill, 9 Whinchat, a Reed Warbler, a Whitethroat, 4 Lesser Whitethroats, 15 Garden Warblers, 4 Blackcap, 15 Willow Warblers, a Goldcrest and 3 Pied Flycatchers.

Little Bunting                                           Dante Shepherd

Barred Warbler

Common Tern