Monday, 29 April 2019

29th April

A beautiful day with pretty much wall-to-wall sunshine and a light (but surprisingly chilly) SE breeze; the clear and obvious highlight came in the evening when by a very convoluted route involving blurry photos on the island Whatsapp, then an independent discovery, then a confusing conversation where it was thought by the Obs that they were discussing the photo, when in fact they were actually watching the bird and finally a mad drive up to the Lighthouse to get fabulous views of a lovely MOURNING DOVE on the grass outside the CafĂ© – an awesome island first!   It was very approachable, seeming very tired but it had disappeared by dusk, hopefully to be re-found tomorrow.

                There was a similar spread of other migrants across the island compared to previous days but did include a fine adult summer plumaged White-billed Diver off Trinley Point – a typical time of year for them on here.   Other totals comprised a flock of 8 Barnacle Geese north, the two drake Garganey still, a Jack Snipe at Ancum, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Arctic Skuas (including the well known dark phase breeding bird ‘Notchy’), a Short-eared Owl, 2 Tree Pipits, 2 White Wagtails, a Dunnock, 23 Robins, a Black Redstart, a Redstart, 70 Wheatears, 8 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Blackcaps, 23 Chiffchaff, 14 Willow Warblers, 2 Rook, 11 Brambling and the first Butterfly of the year – a Red Admiral at Holland.

Mourning Dove                                   Simon Davies

28th April

A lovely day with a light easterly breeze throughout, cloudy in the morning but brightening up in the afternoon to produce a stunning evening; it was a good day’s birding without being jam-packed full of migrants as totals included two drake Garganey on Hooking still, a Sparrowhawk, a Merlin, a late Jack Snipe on Hooking (only the third of the year), a Whimbrel, a Collared Dove, the first 2 House Martins of the year, a brilliant total of 90 Sand Martin commuting between Hooking and The Links (by far the record island count – previously 66!), a Tree Pipit caught at the Obs in the evening, 15 Robins, a Redstart, 58 Wheatears, a Ring Ouzel, an influx of 33 Fieldfares, 4 Song Thrush, a Redwing, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 6 Blackcap, 15 Chiffchaff, 9 Willow Warblers, the Yellow-browed Warbler which reappeared at Ancum Willows, an influx of 13 Carrion Crows and 13 Brambling.

                Other little bits included 13 Great-northern Divers, a Heron, the 3 Pink-footed Geese which reappeared by The Mill (last seen on the 21st), 10 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Water Rail at Ancum and 2 Sandwich Terns.

Tree Pipit

Sunday, 28 April 2019

27th April

Overcast through the day with a brisk easterly breeze in the morning gradually easing off to become very calm by the evening; there was a nice mix of species across the island today as totals included 3 Herons, two drake Garganey on Hooking, 3 Sparrowhawks, a Kestrel, a Merlin, 2 Whimbrel, a Greenshank at Westness, 2 Woodpigeons, 62 Sand Martins, 11 Swallows, a Dunnock, 24 Robins, 64 Wheatears, 8 Fieldfare, 7 Song Thrush, a Redwing, the first 2 Whitethroats of the year at Westness, 4 Lesser Whitethroats, 5 Blackcaps, 22 Chiffchaff, 18 Willow Warblers, a Carrion Crow, 13 Bramblings, a Common Redpoll and 4 Reed Buntings.

There's a particularly photogenic Merlin around the south of the island at the moment!

Friday, 26 April 2019

26th April

Back to our default settings of late with a brisk SE wind and plenty of bright sunshine; there were generally fewer birds around than yesterday although coverage was down with Becky leaving after six weeks loyal service and a funeral gathering at the Obs taking up a large part of the day.   There were still migrants around though as totals from the south of the island and up the west coast included 2 Kestrels, a Merlin, a Grey Plover, 3 Woodpigeons, a Dunnock, 20 Robins, 50 Wheatears, 3 Ring Ouzels, 8 Song Thrush, a Redwing, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, 15 Chiffchaffs, 11 Willow Warblers, the unseasonal Yellow-browed Warbler still at Upper Linney, a Rook and 17 Bramblings.

Migrants up the west coast - Lesser Whitethroat, Phylloscs, Ring Ouzel and Kestrel

25th April

The ESE winds continued but slightly lighter than yesterday but it was a very different morning with low cloud, mist and murk, degenerating into a spell of rain mid-morning, it then brightened up to become a bright, sunny afternoon; year-ticks kept coming as befits the time of year and conditions, highlighted by the islands first ever spring Yellow-browed Warbler along the west coast near Veracott along with a Pied Flycatcher at The Lurn and 2 Grasshopper Warblers at the north end – Lighthouse Punds and Vincoin.

                Other totals across the island included a Hen Harrier, 3 Sparrowhawks, up to 5 Kestrels, 4 Woodpigeons, 22 Swallows, 3 Dunnocks, 26 Robins, 60 Wheatears, a Ring Ouzel at Holland, 2 Fieldfare, 9 Song Thrush, 4 Redwing, 8 Lesser Whitethroats, 6 Blackcaps, 46 Chiffchaff, 15 Willow Warblers, a Goldcrest, a Carrion Crow, a Chaffinch, 11 Brambling and another increase to 320+ Linnets roosting at Holland in the evening.  

Grasshopper Warbler

Thursday, 25 April 2019

24th April

Another similar day with hazy sunshine, although it clouded over during the afternoon with the blasting SE or ESE wind making it a battle out in the field; there was a good spread of new arrivals though to make the battle worthwhile, especially on the sheltered west coast, new for the year was a male Whinchat at Lenswick, a Lesser Whitethroat by the Obs and a long overdue Ring Ouzel also near the Obs.

                Other totals comprised 2 Sparrowhawks, 2 Kestrels, a Merlin, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, a Collared Dove, a Long-eared Owl on the coast by the airstrip, 57 Sand Martins, 11 Swallows, a White Wagtail, 2 Dunnocks, 24 Robins, a Redstart, 69 Wheatears, a little influx of Thrushes with 5 Fieldfares, 12 Song Thrush and a Redwing, 26 Chiffchaff, 7 Willow Warblers, 2 Blackcap, a Goldcrest, a Chaffinch, 7 Brambling and a Snow Bunting.



The Fulmars were enjoying the wind

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

23rd April

Hazy sunshine throughout but the blazing strong SE wind blasting across the island made things difficult in the field; so far we’re not up there with our near-neighbours to the north but we battled away in the wind to produce 2 Sparrowhawks, single Woodpigeon and Collared Dove, a Short-eared Owl, 38+ Sand Martins, 6 Swallows, 2 Dunnocks, 8 Robins, 37 Wheatears, single Song Thrush and Redwing, 2 Blackcaps, 13 Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler and a Brambling.   Also lingering were the drake Goldeneye on Brides and a Snow Bunting at the pier.


Tuesday, 23 April 2019

22nd April

Wall to wall sunshine and a brisk SE wind; there wasn’t too much around but there were a few year ticks with a Tree Pipit behind T4, an Arctic Skua back on Torness (a pale phase bird, possibly one of the breeding birds), a Short-eared Owl at Nether Linney – long overdue and three Common Scoters past the Lighthouse in the afternoon.

                Migrant totals included 2 Sparrowhawks, a Grey Plover, a Whimbrel, a year’s high count of 513 Black-headed Gulls, 4 Woodpigeons, 65 Sand Martins (a good influx, only just short of the island record), 21 Swallows, 27 Robins, 2 Stonechats, an increased 124 Wheatears, 4 Fieldfares, a Song Thrush, 4 Redwing, a Blackcap, 13 Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warbler, a Rook, 5 Carrion Crows north, a Chaffinch, 3 Brambling and a Goldfinch.

Short-eared Owl

Monday, 22 April 2019

21st April

Amazingly flat calm first thing with the overnight light rain slowly petering out by mid-morning leaving some misty, murky, low cloud lingering until lunchtime when the wind, now back in the SE picked up to around force 3-4 by the evening.   There were a few new arrivals across the island, no new species but most things increased in numbers as totals included 2 Sparrowhawks, a Merlin, 6 Sandwich Terns, 2 Woodpigeons, a Collared Dove, 20 Sand Martins, 10 Swallows, a White Wagtail, 24 Robins, a Black Redstart, a Stonechat, 75 Wheatears, 2 Song Thrush, 2 Redwing, 2 Blackcap, 15 Chiffchaffs, 6 Willow Warblers, 3 Rooks, 2 Chaffinches, a good flock of 26 Bramblings at Holland, 2 Goldfinches and 2 Common Redpolls.

                Lingering birds included 2 Pintail, a single Long-tailed Duck, 14 Red-breasted Mergansers and 2 Snow Buntings still by the pier.

Brambling and Sparrowhawk

20th April

Still bright and sunny but the wind had switched round into the SSW which eventually brought some light rain by the evening; the only real effect of the wind change was on the sea where an hour’s watch in the morning produced the first 2 Manx Shearwaters of the year along with a decent passage of 180+ Kittiwakes and 9 Great Skuas.

                There was a general reduction in the number of migrants across the island as totals comprised the Canada Goose again on Hooking, 3 Garganey also on Hooking (all three were drakes this time though), a Sparrowhawk, a Merlin, a Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Doves, 12 Sand Martins, 15 Swallows, 150 Meadow Pipits, a Dunnock, 37 Robins, 73 Wheatears, a Blackcap, 13 Chiffchaffs, 8 Willow Warblers, 4 Goldcrests, 2 Jackdaws, a Rook, 2 Chaffinches, 2 Brambling and a Goldfinch.

Still a couple of Goldcrests hanging around

Friday, 19 April 2019

19th April

Hazy sunshine again and we kept the strong SSE wind that has dominated for seemingly ages now – all set to change tomorrow though!   The steady turnover of birds continued with today’s highlights comprising 2 Whimbrel over the Obs, a Common Sandpiper at Lenswick and a random Canada Goose (only the fourth ever April record!) seen at many points across the island all new for the year.  

                There was a general increase in ‘summer’ migrants including 87+ Wheatears, a Blackcap and 9 Willow Warblers along with other totals consisting of 2 Sparrowhawks, a Merlin, a Collared Dove, 22 Sand Martins (with birds back at their breeding colony on The Links), 4 Swallows, 350+ Meadow Pipits, 4 Dunnocks, 57 Robins, a Black Redstart, a Stonechat, a Song Thrush, 7 Redwing, 21 Chiffchaff, 5 Goldcrests, a Jackdaw, 2 Chaffinches, 2 Brambling, a Goldfinch and a single lingering Snow Bunting.

                Other birds of note included 2 Herons, 2 Pintail, the drake Goldeneye still, 122 Sanderling, 2 Black-tailed Godwits and 10 Sandwich Terns messing around on Gretchen.

Common Sandpiper

18th April

Yet again similar conditions but sunny and warm(ish) with the wind maybe easing a touch; it was pleasant to be out and about with a couple of unusual highlights consisting of a male Goshawk which zoomed south, low over the Lighthouse but couldn’t be relocated (the thirteenth for the island) and a male Bluethroat near Vincoin which was not a white-spotted as the time of year would suggest but a red-spotted – a good few weeks earlier than would be expected and by far the earliest for the island (previous earliest was 8th May).

                An array of other migrants included 3 Sparrowhawks, a Kestrel, a Merlin, a Grey Plover, at least 12 Sandwich Terns, 4 Woodpigeons, c200 Skylarks, a notable influx of hirundines including 29+ Sand Martins and 6+ Swallows, 400+ Meadow Pipits, 7 Dunnocks, 70 Robins, 2 Black Redstarts, 53+ Wheatears, 5 Song Thrush, 5 Redwing, the overdue first Blackcap of the year, 25 Chiffchaffs, 4 Willow Warblers, 3 Goldcrests, 3 Jackdaws, a Carrion Crow and a hybrid in amongst a handful of migrant Hooded Crows, 2 Chaffinches, 3 Brambling, an increase to 190+ Linnets, a Common Redpoll and the four Snow Buntings still.


Several high flocks of Curlews went north in the fine conditions

Thursday, 18 April 2019

17th April

Similar again but the SE wind was maybe a touch lighter than of late with largely clear skies but again that may have been wishful thinking; there was a hint of some raptor passage through the day with the day’s highlight being a 2cy White-tailed Eagle which flew north over Ancum, reached Garso before U-turning and heading back south down the island and straight back out to Sanday (our third of the spring!) two Sparrowhawks, a Kestrel and a few Curlew flocks also went north.

                There wasn’t too much different across the land but there was a general increase in most species creating a busy day in the field as totals included 3 Woodpigeons, the first Sand Martin of the year at Westbeach, 161 Skylarks, 7 Rock Pipits, a Grey Wagtail, 2 White Wagtails, 56 Pied Wagtails, 10 Dunnocks, 90 Robins, 2 Black Redstarts, yesterday’s Redstart still, 54 Wheatears, 4 Fieldfares, 11 Song Thrush, 4 Redwing, 51 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, 6 Goldcrest, 2 Rooks, 3 Chaffinches, 3 Brambling, 4 Snow Buntings and 5 Reed Buntings.

                Other bits of note comprised 3 Herons, 14 Shelduck, 4 Pintail, 15 Shoveler, the Goldeneye still, 7 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Hen Harrier, a Merlin, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 6 Bonxies and 8 Sandwich Terns with pairs seen mating at Gretchen (however, they do this most springs and rarely follow through).

White-tailed Eagle

Snow Buntings

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

16th April

Yet again bright and breezy but the strong SE wind felt a touch warmer than of late – or maybe that was just wishful thinking however, there was a spread of new migrant arrivals across the island; the day’s highlights consisted of the first Redstart of the year – a male at Westbeach (the earliest island record by five days), the first Swallow of the year past the Kirk, a Long-eared Owl in Holland, the first Greenshank of the year at Westness (also an early record) and the first Carrion Crow of the year at the Obs.

                Other totals included a Sparrowhawk, 3 Woodpigeons, 2 Dunnocks, 18 Robins, a Black Redstart on Torness, 17 Wheatears, a Fieldfare, 2 Song Thrush, 3 Redwing, 13 Chiffchaff, 3 Goldcrest, a Jackdaw, 2 Chaffinches, a Common Redpoll and 4 Snow Buntings.   Also of note were a Pink-footed Goose, 13 Shelduck, 2 Pintail, a drake Goldeneye still lingering on Brides, 7 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Bonxies and 4 Sandwich Terns.


Black Redstart

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

15th April

Same same again with the very strong, cold SE wind not doing much for migrant arrivals; there was a bit of an increase in non-passerines though with the first 3 Garganey of the year on Hooking – two drakes and a duck, a good total of 53 Tufted Ducks (the highest count of the year so far), 5 Black-tailed Godwits, 7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls including an intermedius-type bird and 8 Sandwich Terns.

                Landbird migrant totals were unimpressive and comprised a Merlin, a Woodpigeon, a Collared Dove, 4 Rock Pipits including a littoralis bird, 22 Robins, 22 Wheatears, a Fieldfare, a Song Thrush, 5 Redwing, 6 Chiffchaff, 8 Goldcrest, a Jackdaw, a Chaffinch, a Common Redpoll and 4 Snow Buntings.


intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull

Monday, 15 April 2019

14th April

A similar day again with a strong, cold SE wind scouring the island and plenty of bright sunshine; migrant numbers were down compared to recent days but the first Willow Warbler of the year made it through and was along the road by the airstrip.   Other totals included a young female Peregrine which killed a Gadwall on Torness, a Dunnock, 19 Robins, 14 Wheatears, a Redwing, 4 Chiffchaffs and 3 Goldcrests.   Also of note were 3 Pink-footed Geese, 2 Pintail, a Goldeneye, 6 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Hen Harrier and 4 Great Skuas.

Fighting Chiffchaffs

Sunday, 14 April 2019

13th April

Bright and breezy with a brisk, cold SE wind and plenty of clear sunshine; the small number of migrants through the day comprised 2 Grey Plovers, a Sandwich Tern, 6 Dunnocks, 27 Robins, 13 Wheatears, 2 Song Thrush, 4 Redwing, 11 Chiffchaff, 11 Goldcrest and 3 Snow Buntings.


Saturday, 13 April 2019

12th April

Still nice and calm first thing but a brisk south-easterly sprang up out of nowhere after a few hours prematurely ending the ringing at Holland; the highlights though were catching another Long-eared Owl – this time a British control and three Fieldfares with good numbers of the usual migrants.

                The NE / ENE / E winds we’ve experienced of late have been all very well but today the wind had a much more southerly element to it producing a fresh wave of new birds across the island and a fresh injection of enthusiasm around the Obs.   Migrant totals included 3 Sparrowhawks, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 4 Woodpigeons, 151 Skylarks, 7 Dunnocks, 32 Robins, 29 Wheatears, 50+ Blackbirds (the first little influx of spring migrants), 9 Fieldfares – the first ones for two weeks, 4 Song Thrush, 46+ Redwing, 6 Chiffchaff, 11 Goldcrests, 2 Rook, 3 Chaffinches, 4 Brambling, a Siskin and a Common Redpoll.

Long-eared Owl


Friday, 12 April 2019

11th April

Super flat-calm first thing so we took advantage to undertake a whole-island Black Guillemot count and the resulting total of 921 was an excellent return – the previous island record count being 841 in 2017.   There was a dramatic increase in productivity in 2013 after many years of very few chicks managing to fledge so we are starting to recruit breeding age adults from this period around now.

                A similar spread of migrants across the island to previous days comprised 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Sparrowhawks, a Merlin in off the sea, 4 Woodpigeons, a Long-eared Owl trapped in Holland at dusk, 125 Skylarks, 2 Dunnocks, 49 Robins, the Black Redstart, 21 Wheatear, a Song Thrush, 5 Redwing, 7 Chiffchaff, 7 Goldcrest, 2 Chaffinches, 4 Common Redpolls, a Siskin, an increase to 115 Linnets, 17 Snow Buntings and 6 Reed Buntings.

                Other little bits included 13 Great-northern Divers, 2 Herons, 2 Barnacle Geese, 11 Shelduck, an influx of 41 Tufted Ducks, 2 Long-tailed Ducks, 9 Red-breasted Mergansers, 9 Black-tailed Godwits and 2 Great Skuas.

Black Guillemots

Thursday, 11 April 2019

10th April

Nice and calm through the day becoming almost still by the evening but overcast; migrant totals across the island included a Sparrowhawk trapped at Holland in the evening, a Kestrel, 5 Woodpigeons, a White Wagtail, 4 Dunnocks, 35 Robins, a male Black Redstart at Holland, 19 Wheatears, 7 Song Thrush, 6 Redwing, a Mistle Thrush, 10 Chiffchaffs, 5 Goldcrest, a Jackdaw, 3 Chaffinches, a Siskin, a Common Redpoll and 14 Snow Buntings.

                Other bits of note comprised 18 Great-northern Divers, 2 Barnacle Geese, the drake Green-winged Teal on Gretchen again, a Grey Plover, 176 Purple Sandpipers, 17 Bar-tailed Godwits, 63 Curlew including several flocks heading north and 5 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.


Wednesday, 10 April 2019

9th April

Similar again but the easterly wind gradually eased off through the day; migrant totals included a Woodcock in Holland, 6 Woodpigeons, 156 Skylark, 150 Meadow Pipits, a Grey Wagtail up the west side, 43 Pied Wagtails, 38 Robins, a Black Redstart at Holland, 2 Stonechats, 12 Wheatears, 2 Song Thrush, 8 Redwing, 6 Chiffchaff, 7 Goldcrest, 3 Chaffinches, a Siskin, 3 Common Redpolls, one of yesterday’s Hawfinches re-trapped at Holland and 5 Snow Buntings.

                Other birds comprised 7 Great-northern Divers, 2 Pink-footed Geese, 2 Barnacle Geese, a Ruff, a Black-tailed Godwit and some good Curlew passage with 50+ heading north super high up all calling to each other as they went.

Snow Bunting

Monday, 8 April 2019

8th April

Very similar conditions to yesterday, dry but with the brisk, chilly NE wind still sweeping across the island; the spread of migrants today comprised 2 Water Rails (in random places, indicating that they were indeed migrants), 6 Woodpigeons, a Collared Dove, 226 Skylarks, 127 Meadow Pipits, 7 Rock Pipits, 2 Dunnocks, 30 Robins, 4 Stonechats, 17 Wheatears, 6 Song Thrush, 23 Redwing, a Mistle Thrush, 7 Chiffchaff, 7 Goldcrests, 5 Chaffinches, a notable increase to 88+ Linnets, 2 Common Redpolls, 7 Snow Buntings and the elusive male Lapland Bunting popping back up at Sandar.

                Other birds of note included 5 Herons, the surprise reappearance of the drake Green-winged Teal on Gretchen (we thought he’d finally headed off as he hadn’t been seen for 4 days), 2 Merlin, a Grey Plover at Howar (first one since February), 73 Sanderling (much improved count) and 2 Black-tailed Godwits.

                An exciting end to the day with the evening mist-netting session at Holland House producing two fantastic Hawfinches while a Long-eared Owl was also floating around the gardens.


7th April

Not a bad day, although the chilly NE wind was a touch too brisk to call it pleasant!   The trickle of early spring migrants continued with the day’s highlights comprising a male Hawfinch briefly on the lawn at Lurand and the first Grey Wagtail of the year on the west coast at Doo Geo.   Other migrants across the land included 5 Woodpigeons, 165 Skylark, 75 Meadow Pipits, 41 Pied Wagtails, 2 Dunnocks, 36 Robins, 9 Wheatears, 3 Song Thrush, 11 Redwing, a Mistle Thrush, 4 Chiffchaffs, 5 Goldcrest, 2 Chaffinches and a little influx of 17 Snow Buntings up the west coast.

                Also of note were 9 Great-northern Divers, a Hen Harrier, 402 Golden Plover and 3 Great Skuas back causing trouble.

Hawfinch                                          Alison Duncan

Saturday, 6 April 2019

6th April

A nice calm start to the day but a brisk, chilly NE wind soon sprung up for the rest of the day; there was a small turnover of birds from yesterday with a similar array of species just in smaller numbers, although a chunk of the day was taken up with sheep punding.   Totals included a Woodcock, 7 Woodpigeons, 181 Skylark, the first Collared Dove of the year bombing round the island, 4 Dunnocks, 42 Robins, 16 Wheatears, 2 Song Thrushes, 32 Redwing, 11 Chiffchaffs, 6 Goldcrest, 3 Chaffinches, a new Common Redpoll and 3 Snow Buntings.

                Other birds included 2 Herons, 9 Shelduck, 230 Wigeon, 106 Teal, 7 Pintail, 32 Tufted Duck, a Goldeneye, a Hen Harrier, 2 Merlin and a Great Skua.

Common Redpoll

5th April

A brilliant day, pretty much flat calm throughout but overcast and a spell of light rain for a couple of hours from mid-morning; there was a great spread of migrants right across the island, with the highest concentrations around the Obs and Holland where totals included 6 Woodpigeons, a Long-eared Owl trapped in Holland at dusk, 182 Skylarks, an increase to 250+ Meadow Pipits, the first 2 White Wagtails of the year, 50+ Pied Wagtails, 8 Dunnocks, 80 Robins, the first Black Redstart of the year at Lochend, 3 Stonechats, 22 Wheatears, 11 Song Thrush, 36 Redwings, the first Mistle Thrush of the year at the Kirk, 18 Chiffchaffs, 14 Goldcrests, a Rook, 4 Chaffinches, 2 Brambling, a Siskin, 80 Linnets, 14 Twite, a Common Redpoll (one of the wintering birds), 6 Snow Buntings and 12 Reed Buntings.

                Other birds included 6 Great-northern Divers, a Heron, 8 Shelduck, 247 Wigeon (a slight increase), 5 Pintail, 16 Shoveler, a Goldeneye, 19 Red-breasted Mergansers, 313 Golden Plover, 90 Snipe, 24 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 2 Sandwich Terns.


Thursday, 4 April 2019

4th April

Not a bad day, largely overcast with a brisk ENE wind eventually swinging round into the east and dropping slightly in the afternoon when there was a brief spell of light rain; the trickle of typical early spring migrants continued without becoming too busy as totals included 80 Meadow Pipits, 34 Pied Wagtails, 5 Dunnocks, 29 Robins (by far the highest count of the year so far), 4 Stonechats, 8 Wheatears, 52 Blackbirds, 3 Song Thrush, 28 Redwing, 2 Chiffchaffs, 5 Goldcrests, 6 Chaffinches, the overdue first Brambling of the year, a Siskin and 5 Snow Buntings.

                Other bits included 3 Herons, 3 Pink-footed Geese still, the drake Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen, 2 Merlin, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, the 2 Woodpigeons and 34 Linnets.

Merlin picking Daffs

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

3rd April

A shocker of a day with a blazing strong northerly wind gradually swinging round into the NE bringing heavy, driving, stinging rain pretty much throughout, the rain became more intermittent from mid-afternoon allowing a few new birds to emerge; there was a scattering of migrants evident by the end of the day including a Long-eared Owl on the coast at The Lurn, a Siskin at the Obs and 4 Dunnocks – all new for the year, along with a Heron in off, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Woodpigeons, 11 Robins, a male Stonechat in Loch Park, 4 Wheatears, 4 Song Thrushes, 20 Redwing, a Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrests and 4 Chaffinches.

                Other birds of note comprised 8 Great-northern Divers, 3 Pink-footed Geese, the drake Green-winged Teal, 5 Long-tailed Duck, 16 Red-breasted Mergansers, single Hen Harrier and Merlin, a Great Skua, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a Snow Bunting still.


Tuesday, 2 April 2019

2nd April

A decent morning after a very wet night, calm and overcast with the light wind slowly moving round into the north but becoming strong again by the afternoon bringing more rain through the afternoon; little new was found with the day’s highlights consisting of 3 Ruff at Claypows, the male Lapland Bunting again at Sandar and the drake Green-winged Teal hanging on at Gretchen.   Other totals included 11 Great-northern Divers, 3 Herons, 3 Pink-footed Geese, 5 Pintail, 6 Shoveler, a Goldeneye, 150+ Snipe, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 290+ Skylarks, 39 Pied Wagtails, 5 Wheatears, a further increase to 47 Redwing, a Chiffchaff, a Goldcrest, a Chaffinch and 2 Snow Buntings. 


Monday, 1 April 2019

1st April

Bright, with a moderate southerly wind in the morning but the wind steadily picked up through the day to become very strong by the evening bringing some heavy rain; new birds continue to trickle in but with no large-scale arrivals yet.   Migrant totals included a Great Skua, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Woodpigeon, 115 Skylarks, 80 Meadow Pipits, 25 Pied Wagtails, a Robin, 4 Wheatears, 18 Redwings (the first small arrival of the spring – Thrush passage has been non-existent this spring so far), 2 Chiffchaffs. 2 Goldcrests, a Jackdaw and 38 Linnets.

                Other birds of note comprised 3 Pink-footed Geese, the Green-winged Teal still, 12 Shoveler, a Hen Harrier and 2 Water Rails.

Golden Plovers are starting to look [more] beautiful

31st March

Wondrously and blessedly calm through the morning but the nets at Holland first thing were quiet; there was a dribble of migrants which filtered in through the day which included a Sparrowhawk at Holland, a Bonxie at the top end, 2 Sandwich Terns, 2 Robins, 2 Wheatears, 6 Redwings, a Chiffchaff, a Goldcrest, 3 Jackdaws, a Rook, a Greenfinch and a further increase to 50+ Linnets.    Lingering birds comprised 3 Pink-footed Geese, the drake Green-winged Teal still (he’s already stayed a week longer than last year) and a single Snow Bunting. 

Icelandic Redwing