decent day with plenty of bright sunshine and a light westerly breeze; birds
winkled out of this slow feeling day included the Whooper Swan still, a drake
Garganey, 2 Whimbrel, a Collared Dove, a Dunnock at Holland
House (not only very late but also a British control), a female Redstart at the
airfield, the first Reed Warblerof the year at Ancum
Willows, a Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Blackcaps and 3 Chiffchaff.
A very wet and windy morning but the cold NW wind dropped
off significantly in the afternoon and the rain diminished to just the odd
light shower; there were though, signs that there were a few new landbirds
across the island as migrants included single Sparrowhawk, Merlin (the only one
of the month) and Kestrel, a Collared Dove, a Short-eared Owl at Brides, 2 Lesser
Whitethroats, a Garden Warbler, 2 Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff, a flock of 6
Jackdaws, a Redwing trapped at Holland, a Carrion Crow and the 2 Tree Sparrows.
birds included the first 4 Storm Petrelsof the year feeding off
the north end, a Heron, the lost looking single Whooper Swan and Barnacle Goose
still, 50 Knot, a Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Whimbrel, a Greenshank, 3 Common
Sandpipers along the shore from Lenswick to Westness and 8 Lesser Black-backed
Gulls.The dead Sperm Whale was still
present and showing well.
Now in the grip of some seriously cold NW winds, strong
and cutting, bringing some short, sharp hail and rain showers, especially on
the 28th; there was, unsurprisingly very little in the way of
landbird migration although waders were still obvious and looking spectacular
in their breeding finery.The highlight
was a long-dead but none the less, still impressive Sperm Whalewhich washed up on the
rocks near Westness on the 28th, we all managed to twitch it in time
just before the incoming tide was about to re-float it – wonder where it will
be tomorrow, the last one left to the south and pitched up on Sanday but with
these NW winds pushing it onshore, it’ll probably still be with us tomorrow, a
highlights over the past two days included the Whooper Swan still, a Sparrowhawk,
3 Black-tailed Godwits amongst the passage waders, the singing Corncrake again on the 28th, an impressive count
of 79 active looking Sand Martin burrows in our relatively new colony on The
Links (39 were counted last year), a Redwing, single Lesser Whitethroat, Garden
Warbler, Blackcap and Chiffchaff, the 2 Tree Sparrows at the Obs still and a
few Siskins coming through with one at Holland on the 27th and four
at the Obs on the 28th.
Another quiet day on the bird front despite the ‘good’
feeling conditions with a light ENE wind and light rain developing through the
afternoon; birds of note through the day included a late Barnacle Goose at
Ancum, 2 Whimbrel, now 2 Little Ternsin Nouster, 2 House
Martins, a Garden Warbler, 2 Blackcaps, single Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff
and the 2 Tree Sparrows still.
A quiet, average kind of day with largely overcast
conditions, the odd spot of rain and a lightish NW breeze; there wasn’t’ too
much to mention with perhaps the best moment of the day coming late afternoon
when a large portion of the 600+ Turnstone in the Bewan / Lighthouse area, all
started to call to each other and frantically preen before spiralling high into
the sky and begin to purposefully head off north still all calling to each other
– a magic migration moment!
birds through the day included 4 Manx Shearwaters past the north end, a drake
Garganey, 149 Ringed Plover, 67 Knot, 259 Sanderling, a Whimbrel, 754
Turnstone, a Little Ternin Nouster Bay, a Collared Dove, 2 Grey
Wagtails – Brides and Nouster (the first ones since early April), 2 Lesser
Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, 3 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, a Spotted Flycatcher
and the 2 Tree Sparrows still.
Persistent rain lingered from overnight through until
mid-morning but it brightened up significantly in the afternoon with sunny
spells and a light westerly breeze; the obvious highlight was a lovely female RED-FLANKED BLUETAILfound in the afternoon at Holland House, it showed
brilliantly well to all before helpfully finding its way into a mist net.
were a few more migrants around than the past couple of days but that might
just have been a factor of the improving weather with birds emerging into the
open; totals included 2 Manx Shearwaters and a Blue Fulmar off the north end,
the Whooper Swan again, 4 Garganey, a Golden Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 11 Lesser
Black-backed Gulls, a Collared Dove, a House Martin, a Rock Pipit, 7 Lesser
Whitethroat, 4 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaffs, 3 Willow Warblers, a Pied Flycatcher, 2
Carrion Crows, 2 Tree Sparrows and an influx of a few hundred Diamond Back
Another miserable, wet day with a NW wind and long
periods of rain; there were few new birds with the big flocks of brightly
coloured waders the day’s highlight, most notably the first Curlew Sandpiperof thee year on the beach at Westness while other totals
included 92 Knot, 250+ Sanderling, 90+ Dunlin, 4 Whimbrel, a Greenshank on
Ancum and a Wood Sandpiper at Cauldhame.
birds were few and far between but did include a random, unseasonal Whooper
Swan near Senness, single drake Garganey and Pintail, a Woodpigeon and singles
of Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap and Willow Warbler in the
A really different day than of late, reverting back to
proper island weather – a strong NW wind, completely overcast and long periods
of driving rain sweeping across; unsurprisingly passerine migrants all but
disappeared with waders and seawatching taking the fore with 3 Manx Shearwaters
and a summer plumaged Black-throated Diverpassing the north end in
migrant totals included a Pintail, a female Peregrine at the top end, a Grey
Plover, 336 Sanderling, 115 Purple Sandpipers, 112 Dunlin, 5 Black-tailed
Godwits, a Whimbrel, a Greenshank, a Wood Sandpiper, 478 Turnstone, a Lesser
Whitethroat and 4 Chiffchaffs.
to mention are one or maybe two Corncrakes singing intermittently
in a couple of spots on the island – a very encouraging sign!
Super calm through the day again but the merest hint of a
breeze now came from the NW which should have meant the fog disappeared but it
was so light that it was still lingering nearby, sometimes encroaching on the
island; there were limited new birds through the day with the highlights all
being long-staying birds including the Eastern Subalpine Warblerstill
at the Obs, the male Common Rosefinchtrapped at Holland in the
evening and the Wood Warblerstill at Ancum Willows.
totals included 20 Great-northern Divers, a drake Garganey, a Sparrowhawk,
further increases in wader numbers, most notably 172 Oystercatchers, 323 Ringed
Plovers, 88 Knot, 271 Sanderling, 89 Dunlin and 501 Turnstone, 8 Lesser
Black-backed Gulls, a Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Doves, a Robin, a Redstart, 4
Whinchat, 16 Sedge Warblers, 5 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Garden Warblers, 6
Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warblers, 4 Spotted Flycatchers, a Pied
Flycatcher, 2 Tree Sparrows and a Common Redpoll.
Another nice, calm day with a light easterly breeze but
the low cloud and fog was always lingering, occasionally drifting in and out; a
few scarcities were unearthed through the day with an Icterine Warblertrapped at the Obs first
thing, a fine, fully red male Common Rosefinchat Bewan House (which
remained particularly elusive) and a Wood Warblerin Ancum Willows while the
Subalpine Warblerwas still around
the Obs – when it was re-trapped it had put on 1.3g from when it was originally
in the bar, not bad for a bird that only weighs 10g to start with!
totals included a Heron, a Whimbrel, a Wood Sandpiperbriefly on Bewan, a
Collared Dove, a Short-eared Owl, 3 House Martins, 2 Robins, 5 Redstarts, a
Whinchat, 7 Sedge Warblers, 8 Lesser Whitethroats, a Whitethroat, 4 Garden
Warblers, 4 Chiffchaffs, 3 Willow Warblers, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Tree
Sparrows and single Chaffinch and Brambling.
Wet, low cloud and drizzle welcomed the new day , it
brightened up into the afternoon but the fog was always lingering there or thereabouts,
drifting in and out through the day; we kept most of yesterday’s birds with a
nice arrival of common migrants thrown in to the mix, the highlights comprised
the Eastern Subalpine
Warblerstill around the Obs, the 5 Dotterelstill at Burray, 2 Bluethroats – the Viggay
male again and a new young male trapped at the Obs in the evening and an adult
Diverwhich flew close inshore past The
Lurn.A few year ticks were also found
through the day with a Little Ternbriefly in Nouster, an
adult Little Gullon Brides Loch and a Swift
which appeared out of the mist.
totals of note consisted of a pair of Garganey, a Sparrowhawk, a Whimbrel, a
Common Sandpiper, a Collared Dove, a House Martin, a Tree Pipit, 4 Robins, 10
Redstarts, 6 Whinchat, 31 Wheatears, 10 Sedge Warblers, 10 Lesser Whitethroats,
a Whitethroat, 5 Garden Warbler, 2 Blackcaps, 6 Chiffchaffs, 7 Willow Warblers,
2 Spotted Flycatchers, 4 Pied Flycatchers, a Tree Sparrow and a Brambling
Calm and overcast first thing with light rain moving in
at lunchtime which persisted through until late afternoon; it felt really
promising, that you could bump into anything out in the field, the pick of the
new birds were (in keeping with the rest of east coast today) 2 Bluethroats– both males at Viggay and Rue while the Eastern Subalpine Warblerwas still around the Obs and the 5 Dotterelwere still at Burray.
migrant totals included a Sparrowhawk, 4 Golden Plover, a Little Stinton the beach at Nouster
(the first of the year), 5 Whimbrel, a Cuckoo, a Rock Pipit, 3 Robins, 6 Sedge
Warblers, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Garden Warblers, 3 Blackcaps, 4 Chiffchaff,
5 Willow Warblers, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, a Pied Flycatcher, the 3 Tree
Sparrows still, 2 Bramblings including a pristine, full black-headed male and a
Yet another gorgeous day, very calm with just a hint of
an easterly breeze and wall to wall sunshine; the random, unexpected highlight of
the day came at dinner time, when a cracking male EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLERflew into the bar through an open door and was easily
caught against the window!There were
plenty of other good birds around as well to create an excellent day in the
field with an Osprey which circled the Obs before heading
south and a great trip of 5 Dotterel in fields behind
Burray while a Cuckoo at Holland and a Spotted Flycatcheron the coast at The Lurn
being new for the year.
migrant totals included a drake Pintail on Gretchen (the first one for two
weeks), 2 Garganey, single Sparrowhawk and Kestrel, 2 Golden Plover, 2
Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Whimbrel, a Greenshank, a Collared Dove, a Tree Pipit,
a Rock Pipit (the first one since 25th April), a Whinchat, 10 Sedge
Warblers (including seven singing males), 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroats,
3 Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warblers and the three Tree Sparrows still at the Obs.
Hazy sunshine throughout with the occasional cloud coming
and going on the brisk and chilly SE wind; a fine adult, full-spooned Pomarine Skuawhich cruised past the Beacon late afternoon was the day’s
highlight along with 2 Dotterelat Sangar (different
individuals to yesterday’s Lighthouse birds) and the first Garden Warblerof the year in Ancum
totals across the island included an increase to 290+ Ringed Plover, single
Grey Plover, Greenshank and Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpipers, 67 Knot, 3
Black-tailed Godwits, big numbers of Arctic Terns feeding offshore with 945+
estimated, a Whinchat at the Obs, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, a Whitethroat and the 3
Tree Sparrows still at the Obs.
again, bright and sunny but with a bit of a chilly SE breeze; 2 Dotterelat The Lighthouse including a lovely looking, bright female were the
highlight of the day.Other birds
included 3 Garganey, single Sparrowhawk and Kestrel, Greenshank and Wood
Sandpiper together on Ancum, 2 House Martins, a Tree Pipit, a Robin, a male
Whinchat at The Mill (the second of the spring), 8 Sedge Warblers, a
Whitethroat, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warblers, a Jackdaw, 3 Carrion Crows, 10
Hooded Crows, 3 Tree Sparrows at the Obs (also the second record of the
spring), a Goldfinch at Holland and a very bright male Common Redpoll at the
An outrageous day, flat calm, wall to wall sunshine and
very warm – more akin to July / August than mid-May!The day’s highlight was a female Marsh Harrierwhich flew north over Ancum in the morning and was intriguingly
joined by a second, similar sized raptor in the distance by the Lighthouse but
it couldn’t be pinned down.
spread of notable birds across the island today included a drake Garganey, a
Sparrowhawk, a Black-tailed Godwit, 70 Bar-tailed Godwits, the Wood Sandpiper
still on Ancum, 4 Woodpigeons, a Long-eared Owlat Purtabreck (presumably
the Holland bird from two days ago), a Tree Pipit at Ancum, single Whitethroat,
Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, 3 Carrion Crows, a Brambling still and
one each of Goldfinch and Common Redpoll.
Nice and calm again with a light SSW breeze but a touch
of cloud first thing and again at the end of the day; a couple of new additions
to the year list comprised a nice synchronous arrival of at least 5 Sedge Warblersincluding birds back singing on territory at Brides, Claypows
and Ancum and a Wood Sandpiperon Ancum in the afternoon.
scattering of migrants included a summer plumaged Black-throated Diverin Nouster, 3
Sparrowhawks, 211 Ringed Plover, 37 Knot, 269 Sanderling, 70 Purple Sandpipers,
73 Dunlin, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 675 Turnstone, 4 Woodpigeon, a Collared
Dove, 55 Swallows, a House Martin, 2 White Wagtails, 2 Robins, 49 Wheatears, a
Song Thrush, 2 Blackcap, a Chiffchaff, 5 Carrion Crow and single Chaffinch,
Brambling and Greenfinch in Holland.
Lovely, calm and sunny again first thing with a little
westerly breeze springing up mid-morning which eventually swung round into the
south and died away again by the afternoon; another cracking bird made up the
day’s highlight with a blurry image of a female Pied Flycatcher-type on the
back of a guests camera sending me scrambling to re-find it and luckily
catching it almost immediately in a Heligoland trap from where it became a
young female COLLARED
FLYCATCHER– the third island record
but we still await our first male.
the fine conditions there was just a light scattering of other migrants apart
from wader numbers which continue to rise toward their usual mid-May peak; birds
included 3 Garganeyin the Hooking area, a male Peregrine south
down the west coast (the first one since mid-April), 10 Golden Plover, 17 Knot,
2 Black-tailed Godwits, 72 Bar-tailed Godwits, 468 Turnstone, a Common
Sandpiper, a 3cy Glaucous Gullat The Lurn, a good influx of 900+
Arctic Terns, 2 Woodpigeons, yesterday’s Long-eared Owlcaught in Holland, a
Short-eared Owl leaving high to the north off the top end, a House Martin, 3
Robins, 50 Wheatears, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Whitethroat, a Blackcap, a
Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warblers, a Carrion Crow, a Chaffinch, 2 Brambling and 2
Super calm and wall to wall sunshine again although a
couple of short, sharp showers overnight and in the morning probably helped
drop a few migrants into the island; the obvious stand-out highlight was a
WARBLERplucked out of a mist-net at
Holland House in the morning – a first island and Orkney record!
birds across the island included a drake Garganey, 5 Black-tailed Godwits, single
Whimbrel and Common Sandpiper, a 3cy Iceland Gullfloating up the west
coast, a Long-eared Owlin Holland, a House Martin, 3 Robins, a Lesser
Whitethroat, a Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warblers, 3
Carrion Crows, a Brambling, 8 Common Redpolls and a Lesser Redpoll(the first of the year).
Stunning again, literally flat calm through most of the
day, making it feel very warm in the bright sunshine; the day’s two highlights
consisted of a male Dotterel on Westbeach
and a sub-adult White-tailed Eaglewhich flew in over the sea from the direction
of Westray, cut across the middle of the island and presumably kept powering
north – amazingly our fourth of the spring!
birds included 26 Great-northern Divers, a Black-tailed Godwit, an increase to
40+ Swallows, 4 Robins, 54 Wheatears, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Willow Warblers, a Carrion
Crow, a single Tree Sparrow at Holland – the first of the
year, a Brambling and a Common Redpoll.
Beautifully calm and sunny again with the variable light
wind still bringing a chilly edge to being out and about; there was a handful
of migrants scattered around but you had to put effort in to find them which
included a Woodpigeon, a Tree Pipit (a Norwegian control trapped at Holland), 2
Robins, a Whitethroat, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, 4 Willow Warblers, a Rook
and 2 Brambling.
little bits included 2 Manx Shearwater past the Lighthouse, a Heron, a drake
Garganey, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel and 5
Another lovely sunny, calm day but the slight NW wind was
still pretty chilly which no doubt is still effectively blocking most spring
migration; there were though, a few highlights to be had with 2 Shorelarksfeeding at Trolla, a Black-throated Diverpast the Beacon, at least 5 Garganeyand a smart male Pied Flycatchertrapped in Holland – our second
of the year.
totals included 12 Great-northern Divers, a Manx Shearwater past the Beacon, 13
Knot, 400+ Turnstone, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 66 Bar-tailed Godwits, 10
Whimbrel, 300+ Arctic Terns, a White Wagtail, 7 Robins, 40+ Wheatears, a Lesser
Whitethroat, 5 Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, a Rook, 5 Carrion
Crows, 2 Brambling and a Common Redpoll.
A lovely, very calm day with a light NW wind (which was
still very cold); there were still few new migrants but there was an obvious
arrival of breeding birds with a big influx of 450+ Arctic Ternsspread across the island
but mainly comprising of 400+ feeding off the north end in the late afternoon
and a good arrival of Swallows with pairs suddenly appearing around traditional
breeding sites through the day.
included 2 Garganeystill, single Sparrowhawk and Kestrel, 3
Black-tailed Godwits, 31 Bar-tailed Godwits, an Arctic Skua, a steady stream of
Puffins passing the Lighthouse, a Short-eared Owl near Westness, 2 White
Wagtails, a Dunnock, 4 Robins, a Black Redstart, 54 Wheatears, a Ring Ouzel, 2
Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, 6 Carrion Crows and 2 Brambling.
Lapwing chicks are now scurrying around the island
We kept the cold north-westerlies but they gradually
eased through the day with fewer showers becoming very pleasant by the
afternoon; there were limited new arrivals though as totals included a pair of Garganey near Hooking, 6 Knot, a much improved 264
Sanderling, 294 Purple Sandpipers, 57 Dunlin, 58 Bar-tailed Godwits (the
highest count of the year so far), 5 Black-tailed Godwits, at least 14
Whimbrel, a further increase to 81+ Arctic Terns with birds all over the island
now, a Woodpigeon, a White Wagtail, a Dunnock, 5 Robins, a bit of an influx of 113+
Wheatears, 2 Ring Ouzels, a Song Thrush, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Blackcap, 5
Chiffchaff and a Brambling.
The cold, strong NW wind continued to sweep across the
island but there was plenty of bright sunshine and only a few, short wintery
showers; most of the new arrivals involved the increasing wader numbers which
are building up nicely to their mid-May peaks which today comprised 304 Purple
Sandpipers, 9 Knot and 475 Turnstone along with single Whimbrel and Grey Plover.
birds included 4 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Kestrel, 25 Golden Plover, 3
Sandwich Terns, an influx of 35+ Arctic Terns, a Robin, 30 Wheatears, 3
Fieldfares, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff and a Brambling.
Still with the same airflow but the optimist in me wants
to say that it was slightly less windy, slightly warmer and with slightly fewer
showers than yesterday; there were a few bits to see around the island as
totals included a Kestrel, a Knot, 83 Sanderling, 143 Purple Sandpipers, a
Woodcock still round the Obs, 2 Sandwich Terns, a Woodpigeon, 2 Robins, 6
Fieldfare, a Song Thrush, 2 Blackcaps, 4 Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler, a
Goldcrest, 2 Brambling and a Siskin.
Plenty of waders acquiring breeding plumage now like this Sanderling
Now firmly in the grip of a cold, strong northerly
airflow bringing regular hail showers we naturally had a quiet day in the
field; birds of note included 2 Pintail, a Knot on the beach at Brides (the
first one since the wintering birds disappeared in mid-March), a Whimbrel, a
Sandwich Tern, 2 Arctic Terns, 3 White Wagtails, 26 Wheatears and 2 Chiffchaff.
A very different day with the wind now firmly in the NW
and now very cold and very strong effectively putting a halt to any migration
antics (and denting the enthusiasm of fieldworkers!) so numbers were much
reduced through the day.Totals
included a Kestrel, another late Woodcock at the Obs, a Black-tailed Godwit, a
Whimbrel, a Sandwich Tern, 5 Woodpigeons, a Collared Dove, a White Wagtail, 11
Robins, 21 Wheatears, 5 Fieldfare, a Redwing, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 3
Blackcap, 7 Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest and a Brambling.
A similar start to yesterday with almost flat calm
conditions and extensive cloud cover, the wind slowly picked up through the day
and switched round into the NW by the afternoon – a final end to the weeks of
easterly based airflow.The spread of
migrants today included a Sparrowhawk, a late Woodcock by the Lighthouse, 4
Whimbrel, 5 Arctic Terns, a Collared Dove, a Tree Pipit, a male Blue-headed Wagtailat the Lighthouse (the first flava Wagtail of any kind this year), a White Wagtail, a Dunnock,
24 Robins, a Black Redstart, 47 Wheatears, 2 Ring Ouzels, 4 Song Thrush, 2
Redwing, a Grasshopper Warbler near the Lighthouse, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, a
Whitethroat, 6 Blackcap, 21 Chiffchaff, 7 Willow Warblers, a Goldcrest, a
Carrion Crow, 5 Brambling and 2 Common Redpolls.
birds of note comprised an excellent total of 91 Great-northern
the second highest island total after 132 in April 2009, in amongst which was an
Diveroff the Lighthouse, 2 Manx
Shearwaters on the sea off Torness, 2 Pintail, 2 Goldeneye, 22 Golden Plover, 5
Black-tailed Godwits and an influx of 8+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls which appear
as if by magic as soon as any ploughing starts, in amongst which was a fine
adult Iceland Gullfloating around the island.
A wonderfully calm day with complete cloud cover pretty
much throughout and with the faint breeze still stuck in the east it felt very
promising; unfortunately, there was no sign of yesterday’s Mourning Dove but
the highlights did include a single Waxwing lingering
around Holland House through the morning and a Wood Warbleralong walls near the
Lighthouse – the first one since 2016.
early morning promise didn’t really kick on and continue through the day as the
numbers of migrants were generally down on yesterday but totals did include a
Canada Goose on Hooking, a huge flock of exactly 100 Barnacle Geesewhich circled the island
before heading north – by far the highest spring day count, a Sparrowhawk, a
Black-tailed Godwit, a Sandwich Tern, the first Arctic Ternof the year off
Bridesness, 7 Woodpigeons, 4 Collared Doves, a Tree Pipit, a White Wagtail, 13
Robins, a Redstart, 27 Wheatears, a Ring Ouzel, 3 Fieldfare, 2 Song Thrush, 2
Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, 21 Chiffchaff, 8 Willow Warblers, 2 Goldcrests,
a Rook, a Chaffinch and 25 Brambling.