Sunday, 24 October 2021

20th-24th October

Whilst unfortunately there has been no repeat of the easterlies from earlier in the week, reasonable numbers of late autumn migrants have remained on the island during the subsequent days, along with a trickle of new arrivals including some quality scarcities. 

The 20th was a rather quiet day, with a Sparrowhawk being the only notable highlight among the remaining thrushes and Goldcrests. The following day was a similar story, although a Shelduck at Ancum along with several hundred Redwing around the east side of the island was enough to keep us going. 

The Green-winged Teal was seen again on Gretchen Loch on the 22nd, although it wasn't until the evening that the standout highlight of the day was found, with a smart Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll trapped at Holland. This perhaps wasn't a complete surprise given the recent run of northerlies, although a fine addition to the year list nevertheless. A morning seawatch on the 23rd was rather challenging in the freshening southerly wind, with birds passing quickly at distance. Counts included 24 Sooty Shearwaters, 2 Little Auks and 2 Arctic Skuas. On the land, a Mealy Redpoll and a trickle of Redwings and Robins were the only sightings of note.

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll (George Gay)

An overdue addition to the year list was discovered on the 24th, with a Little Bunting being found in the observatory oat crop. No doubt the almost complete lack of easterlies this autumn have played a large part in the poor turnout for this species in 2021, along with many other expected eastern migrants (e.g. Yellow-browed Warbler). The bunting theme was to continue shortly afterwards as another year tick was discovered in the form of a Yellowhammer, found in the Rosa rugosa bushes in T4 next to the oat crop. Best of the rest included 2 "North-western" Redpolls at Holland and 11 Long-tailed Ducks in Linklet Bay. Whilst it's late on in the season now, we're optimistic for the upcoming week and the general feeling is we might be able to squeeze in some last minute finds if we're lucky! 

Long-tailed Ducks (Tom Gale)

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