A wild and windy few days have resulted in very little in the way of new migrants on the land but the 10th produced a spectacular sea-watch.
The 9th was a quiet affair with the highlights being the Semipalmated Plover still on the Links in the afternoon and the Baird's Sandpiper was still feeding around Bewan with 3 Curlew Sandpipers and a group of Dunlin and Knot.
Early signs of a Sooty Shearwater seen from the Links on the 10th pointed to good sea-watching conditions, things were quiet to begin with with just over 30 Sooty Shearwaters passing in the first hour but an incoming band of rain had plenty of birds in front of it. A small flurry of four Manx Shearwater was followed by a rather unexpected Balearic Shearwater; A much commoner sight in the South of England this bird represents only the 18th island record and the first of 2020. A flock of 21 Sooty Shearwaters followed the Balearic before a heavy shower ruined visibility and the sea-watch was suspended. When the sea-watching resumed it did so at quite some speed with a deluge of Sooty Shearwaters passing and eventually gathering to feed on the sea. At least 60 birds passed in the next 20 minutes before slowing up slightly, but with a large amount of birds lingering in the area it was quite some spectacle. Through the middle of all this a larger shearwater was spotted cruising through in the shape of a Great Shearwater, sadly the bird didn't hang around but for three lucky observers it made the effort more than worthwhile! Other sea-watching highlights included 2 juv Long-tailed Skuas and an adult Little Gull. The afternoon was then taking up by re-finding the Semipalmated Plover which proved to be in its favoured spot on the Links.
The 11th was plagued by strong winds and heavy downpours, highlights were limited but the absence of the Semipalmated Plover among some 130 Ringed Plover was notable. The Baird's Sandpiper remained on Bewan with at least one Curlew Sandpiper and 8 Lapland Buntings were flying around Tor Ness despite the high winds.
Things are looking interesting just after the weekend so we'll be keeping an eye on the weather for the coming days.
|Lapland Buntings GG|
|Semipalmated Plover GG|
A not great quality Great Shearwater video GG