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

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

9th September

Another nice day with a moderate NW breeze which eased off slightly towards the evening; a decent spread of migrants across the island showed some small increases in numbers including the first 3 Rock Pipits of the autumn, 4 Whinchats, yesterday’s Barred Warbler still at Sandback, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Garden Warblers, 10 Willow Warblers, 3 Goldcrest and 5 Pied Flycatchers.   Other birds of note comprised 3 Herons, a Hen Harrier, 2 Kestrels, 2 Merlin, a Peregrine, a Grey Plover, 2 Ruff, a Black-tailed Godwit and the Shorelark still at Trolla.

Golden Plover

Sunday, 8 September 2019

8th September

Bright and sunny throughout but the southerly wind increased steadily, rapidly becoming a hinderance in the field even though it was clear there were some good birds to be found; migrants comprised 5 Whinchats, 110+ Wheatears, a Barred Warbler at Sandback (the second of the year), 16 Willow Warblers, a Goldcrest, 4 Pied Flycatchers and a Common Rosefinch at Senness (the first of the autumn).   Other little bits included 87 Teal, single Hen Harrier and Peregrine, a Black-tailed Godwit and the Shorelark still around the Lighthouse.


7th September

Bright and dry throughout the day with a brisk NW dominating until the evening when the wind dropped off to practically nothing producing a stunning picture-postcard evening; there was a nice spread of new migrants across the island, perhaps hinting at things to come, highlighted by a juvenile Red-backed Shrike at Cursiter (our first of the autumn) along with a Short-eared Owl, 6 Sand Martins, 65 alba Wagtails, 3 Whinchats, 73 Wheatears, a Lesser Whitethroat, 13 Willow Warblers, a Pied Flycatcher and a Lapland Bunting.   There was still some action offshore including 9 Red-throated Divers, 3,165 Fulmars, 31 Sooty Shearwaters and 10 Manx Shearwaters while other birds of note comprised a Hen Harrier, 2 Peregrines and 21 Knot.

Pied Flycatcher and Wheatear

Saturday, 7 September 2019

6th September

After a few squalls swept through early morning it was a dry and bright day with a brisk westerly breeze moving into the north by the evening; todays seawatching totals comprised 7 Red-throated Divers, 1,044 Fulmars, 37 Sooty Shearwaters, 6 Manx Shearwaters and 185 Auk sp.   Other birds included single Merlin and Peregrine, 108 Ringed Plover, 12 Bar-tailed Godwits, 26 Sand Martins, 2 Whinchats, 97 Wheatears, a Whitethroat and a Willow Warbler.


Friday, 6 September 2019

5th September

A nice day only marred by a few light showers on the moderate westerly wind until some very heavy rain arrived at dusk; the pick of the birds were again on the sea, highlighted by a lovely adult SABINE’S GULL floating past the seawatch hide late afternoon (always a scarce bird on here, with the last one in 2013).   Other seawatching totals comprised 3 Red-throated Divers, 2,069 Fulmars, 97 Sooty Shearwaters, 12 Manx Shearwaters, a Storm Petrel and 14 Bonxies.   Also unearthed today were 4 Herons, 79 Teal, 750 Golden Plover, a Grey Plover, 52 Knot, a Black-tailed Godwit, the Shorelark back up at Trolla, 29 Sand Martins, 110 Swallows, 100 Wheatears and a slight increase in passerines with a Whinchat, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Whitethroat and 12 Willow Warblers. 

Lesser Whitethroat

Thursday, 5 September 2019

4th September

A decent first half to the day with moderate WSW winds and bright conditions, it gradually deteriorated though eventually cumulating into a blazing north-westerly and driving rain by mid-afternoon; more seawatching producing the totals of 1,062 Fulmars, 31 Sooty Shearwaters, 23 Manx Shearwaters, 20 Bonxies, 80 Kittiwakes and the super early Little Auk seen again off the Beacon.   Other birds through the day comprised 4 Herons, 41 Wigeon, the first Sparrowhawk of the autumn, 2 Merlin, 817 Golden Plover, 192 Lapwing, the Shorelark making a rare foray down to Gretchen, 24 Sand Martins, 96 Swallows, a Whinchat, 87 Wheatears and 3 Willow Warblers. 


Wednesday, 4 September 2019

3rd September

A stunning start to the day, super flat calm, clear and sunny but the wind gradually picked up, eventually bringing some heavy rain by late afternoon; the pick of the birds were again on the sea with the highlight being a very early, surprise Little Auk (unsurprisingly our earliest ever!) along with 8 Sooty Shearwaters, the first Great-northern Diver since July and 4 Risso’s Dolphins.   Other birds included 3 Herons, the first 4 Pink-footed Geese of the autumn, single Hen Harrier and Peregrine, a Grey Plover, 148 Knot, 3 Whinchat, the Barred Warbler glimpsed briefly at Holland, single Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat and 3 Willow Warblers.


Tuesday, 3 September 2019

2nd September

Not a bad day all in all, with a moderate westerly wind and some sunshine but with a few hours of rain in the afternoon before clearing up again to produce a fine evening; most of the interest was offshore during the morning with a couple of hours producing the best totals so far this autumn including 105 Sooty Shearwaters, 124 Manx Shearwaters, a Storm Petrel, 200 Kittiwakes, 500 Auk sp. and a Minke Whale.   The passage was short lived though with subsequent watches drawing a Shearwater blank, although a Basking Shark was lingering off the Lighthouse in the afternoon – our second of the year.   Other birds of note comprised 2 Herons, an influx of 28 Wigeon, a Hen Harrier, 735 Golden Plover, 234 Lapwing, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, the Shorelark again at Westness, a Whinchat, 168+ Wheatears, a Whitethroat and 4 Willow Warblers.

alba Wagtail

Monday, 2 September 2019

1st September

We pretty much wrote off the 31st with hard, driving rain pretty much throughout the day but the 1st was much nicer, consisting of light / moderate SW winds, a bit of sunshine becoming calmer by the evening.   A decent spread of migrants across the island included 4 Sooty and 1 Manx Shearwater off the Lighthouse, 8 Herons, 112 Teal, 7 Pintail, 10 Shoveler, single Hen Harrier and Peregrine, a Grey Plover, 78 Ringed Plover, 88 Knot, 4 Ruff, the Shorelark again on Torness, 22 Sand Martins, 285+ Meadow Pipits, a Whinchat, 202+ Wheatears, the Barred Warbler re-trapped in Holland (first caught on 25th August), 4 Willow Warblers and the first 2 Lapland Buntings of the autumn.

This Wheatear on Torness made us stop, very pale looking with a suspiciously Isabelline-like tail but we just couldn't take that final step with it as it had dark underwings, buffy supercillium and forehead and too much colour on the just didn't feel like an Isabelline.