With the weather being dominated by westerlies for the past few days, decent birds have seemingly been few and far between.
The highlight on the 24th was a female Garganey seen briefly in the irises at Westness, however it vanished soon after and so have our hopes of having a breeding pair this year for now. One of the Curlew Sandpipers from the previous day remained on Ancum, and elsewhere there was a Ruff at Brides and a Grey Wagtail at Howar. During another successful evening ringing wader chicks round the island, a Short-eared Owl was seen flying round the north end.
The 25th kicked off well with an immature male Cuckoo being found round the obs, shortly followed by a Short-eared Owl flushed from T1. The Curlew Sandpiper relocated to the Links and later in the day a Grey Wagtail was seen briefly by the foghorn at the north end, with a fair few Whimbrel also being scattered round the island. However the highlight of the day came in the form of a Little Ringed Plover seen flying south down the Links. Despite much searching the bird could not be re-found, but nonetheless represents a fourth record for the island.
Sea watching dominated the 26th with good counts being put in throughout the day, highlights from stints at both Westness and from the sea-watch hide saw 3 Manx Shearwater, 1 adult Little Gull, 200 Kittiwakes, 32 Arctic Skua, 27 Great Skua, 219 Gannet and over 1000 Auk sp. Elsewhere on island Curlew Sandpiper numbers peaked with three at Ancum.
The 27th was a quiet day with a single Garden Warbler in Ancum Willows still and a Common Tern near Gretchen being the highlights.
Again, the 28th was slow, but sea watching produced good numbers to lift the overall mood, with 21 Manx Shearwater, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1040 Auk sp. and 178 Kittiwake being seen in three hours from the north end.
The weather looks a little more promising going into the weekend so we're keeping our fingers crossed and ours eyes on the forecast!