Saturday, 24 July 2021

20th - 24th July

 Highlights from the 20th to the 24th included the two escaped Snow Goose still, a Curlew Sandpiper, 247 Golden Plover, 148 Dunlin, the Quail still, a Short-eared Owl, a Hen Harrier, 2 Rosy Starling (including a new individual which has been roaming the island widely along with the Lenswick individual).

Two juvenile Arctic Skua took flight this last week. This species is a scarce breeder on the island with a few pairs normally trying to nest each year but usually failing.

Monday, 19 July 2021

14th-19th July

 The last few days have seen a mixed batch of weather with some superbly sunny days mixed in with a couple of cooler and much windier days. Bird wise things have been predictably slow but not without highlights. The 16th saw an island wide powercut (during fish and chips no less!) that also knocked the internet out for a couple of days but we seem to be back to some level of normality now on that front! 

The main highlight of the post also came on the 16th in the shape of a rather obliging Quail, although only seen in flight on it's first day it showed superbly on the 18th giving superb views at close quarters. Elsewhere the Rosy Starling is still present and has been frequenting the shore near Lenswick and nearby fields. A steady flow of birds out to sea has seen a number of Manx and Sooty Shearwater pass the island over the past few days and with Silage well underway a trickle of returning waders are beginning to gather numbers. 

A Short-eared Owl was around Loch Park on the 18th and another sighting of Orca added a gloss to the final outlook on the days proceedings. A Storm Petrel session was the cherry cake and another 90 new birds ringed took the years total 177 new birds ringed and 7 retraps along with another Leach's Petrel. 

Tystie chicks have also taken up a large portion of our time and we've broken into triple figures and look set break another totals record which is a small success story in the gloomy world of sea-bird numbers! It's other wise very much business as usual and with a week of punding coming up its set to be quite busy at the obs! 


Wednesday, 14 July 2021

12th - 13th July

Highlights from the 12th to the 13th of July included the 2 Snow Goose still, 93 Storm Petrel, a Leach’s Petrel, a Common Sandpiper, a Curlew Sandpiper, a Hen Harrier, a Short-eared Owl, the Rosy Starling still, a Song Thrush and a Willow Warbler.

Bonxie chick

Monday, 12 July 2021

6th-11th July

 A week of mixed weather consisted mostly of either sunshine or fog saw the beginnings of the late summer wader passage begin, our first Storm Petrel session of the year and even a surprise arrival.

With silage getting going it was inevitable that there would be an increase in wader numbers as they gather to feed on fields that have been covered by vegetation for most of the Spring. A flock of 174 Oystercatchers, 190+ Golden Plovers and various other dribs and drabs have kept us on our toes for the arrival of something a bit more exciting, but it's yet to happen. A Greenshank and a Curlew Sandpiper have been the big wader highlights so far this month.

The two German escaped Snow Geese are still on Garso while the Hen Harrier from the start of the month is still lingering around the island. Elsewhere Swifts have been passing through the island in low numbers with most being seen over the obs and around Holland House. 

The main highlight of the last week has been our second Rosy Starling of the year, found on the 8th the bird was still present on the 11th with Starlings going between the beach and fields at the bottom of the Lenswick footpath. 

On a last note the moth traps have finally began to draw in numbers after a very quiet start, but it's mostly common stuff however an Oblique Carpet on the 10th was a nice highlight with under 30 records for Orkney. 

                                   Rosy Starling

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

3rd - 5th July

 Highlights from the 3rd to the 5th of July included the two Snow Goose (one of which we caught and discovered it has escaped from a zoo in northern Germany!), a Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel, a Greenshank, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 90 Golden Plover, 17 Purple Sandpiper, a Corncrake, a Swift and 2 Redpoll. 

escaped German Snow Goose and Black Guillemot chick