|Paddyfield Warbler - MH|
|Sooty Shearwater - GG|
|Paddyfield Warbler - MH|
|Sooty Shearwater - GG|
It seems things have finally settled down on the migrant front after the short spell of easterlies a few days ago. There are still some passerine migrants about, but once again sea watching has produced the best of the lot despite what didn't look like favourable conditions for it.
The 26th was fairly quiet, with the last dregs of the previous days seemingly the only bits about. The Red-backed Shrike remained in the Bewan punds, and elsewhere there was a Common Whitethroat in the Shooting Gallery. There were still plenty of Willow Warbler about, mainly in Holland and on the west coast.
A Common Whitethroat turned up at the School House on the 27th, along with a few Swift dotted about the island. The Red-backed Shrike was also still present. A morning sea watch produced a juvenile Long-tailed Skua, along with 66 Manx Shearwater, 31 Sooty Shearwater and 1 Red-throated Diver. The good sea watching continued into the afternoon when a Cory's Shearwater was seen cruising past Dennishead, followed by a Pomarine Skua in the early evening. Also there was 60 Manx Shearwater, 28 Sooty Shearwater and 7 Storm Petrel. The calm conditions also proved good for cetaceans, with a Minke Whale being seen sporadically throughout the day, a group of c.10 Risso's Dolphin, and Harbour Porpoise being seen going north.
Cory's Shearwater - GG
The easterlies finally arrived but to our disappointment, with them came the fog. The birding started slow but we still managed to eek out some good birds despite the weather, and when it finally cleared the migrants really started to roll in, meaning overall it has been a very promising start to the autumn.
The 23rd started with the three Tree Sparrows being relocated in the Lurand pund, having moved down the coast from the Shooting Gallery. A Wood Warbler was found early on the west coast just north of Gretchen, raising hopes for what else might be lurking in the fog. The Wood Warbler later found itself in Holland Gardens and was trapped and ringed on the 24th. There was also a Pied Flycatcher at the back of South Ness, a Whinchat and Buzzard between north and south Gravity, and a Common Whitethroat at Westness. Later in the day a Grasshopper Warbler was found in the Haskie thistles and on a trip to put the moth trap out at Ancum, a Short-eared Owl was seen in the car headlights at the War Memorial.
The 24th was a much better day for migrants, with a Red-backed Shrike being found early on in the Bewan punds. There were Lesser Whitethroat in the Shooting Gallery and at North Manse, Common Whitethroat at Scottigar, Haskie and the Shooting Gallery, and a Whinchat at Ancum. A Barred Warbler was found in the Cruesbreck garden, and a very difficult to pin down acro in the Brides irises eventually turned out to be a Marsh Warbler, our third of the year. There was also a Tree Sparrow and Chiffchaff in the Shooting Gallery. Later in the day a Wryneck was found at the Old Kirk, before it disappeared into Holland garden. Despite getting the nets open quickly, it soon vanished further west and was later seen at the Old Mill. In the evening a Wood Sandpiper was seen flying around Ancum calling.
The 25th was a much clearer and sunnier day overall, meaning there was much less about as migrants started to clear out. Despite this, a Barred Warbler was found at Antabreck and the Red-backed Shrike remained in the Bewan punds. There was also a Buzzard seen flying down the Links, a Pied Flycatcher at Barrenha, Whitethroat in Ancum Willows and Loch Park, and Whinchat in Dennishill and Ancum Willows.
The American Golden Plover remains in the same field at Cott, and overall there are many more Willow Warbler about, being seen in greater numbers every day. A Kestrel has also been seen across all days, mainly between Tor Ness, Westness and Trebb. More Swift have also been seen across the island.
With some more promising easterlies forecast for later in the week, we hope the past few days are just a sign of things to come.
|Wood Warbler - AB|
|Kestrel - VB|
The weather has slowly turned more easterly over the past couple of days, but it looks like we're going to have to be patient before it starts turning things up. Even so, there has still been some interesting bits about to wet the appetite for the days to come.
The American Golden Plover was still present on the 21st in the field near Cott, as was the Little Stint on Ancum. The Buzzard is also still hanging about, being seen mostly in the Ancum area round Sangar and South Gravity. A Tree Pipit was seen at North Gravity, our first of the Autumn. Two Kestrels were seen, one at the Old Kirk and another over Bewan. Sea watching continues to produce the goods, with another addition to year list in the form of Balearic Shearwater. A Black Tern, presumably the same bird seen going north then south on the sea watch on the 20th, was seen briefly on Bewan, before it seemingly vanished out south. The biggest surprise of the day came in the evening when one of the wader traps on Gretchen manged to catch a Little Ringed Plover. Just a fifth record for the island, but second of the year, it is the first to be ringed here.
Again on the 22nd, the American Golden Plover and Little Stint were still present in their same locations, as was the Buzzard in the Ancum area. Yet another addition to the year list came when three Tree Sparrow were found at the Shooting Gallery. It proved to be a fairly good day for raptors also, with a ringtail Hen Harrier being seen at Ancum house, and a Peregrine being seen near the lighthouse. There were more Swifts about, with two in the Kirbest area, one at Holland, and potentially another individual at Ancum. A Whinchat found late in the day near Dennishill is hopefully the start of the migrants arriving in the current set of easterlies.
The weather looks good for the days ahead with both easterlies and rain forecast, a combination that always seem to do good for us. Later in the week also looks promising for more sea watching, leaving us hopeful for a repeat of last years Fea's type Petrel influx!
|Black Tern - MH|
|Little Ringed Plover - VB|
|Little Stint - GG|
|American Golden Plover - GG|
|American Golden Plover - GG|
|Reed Warbler - MH|
The last few days have been very typical in terms of expected early Autumn migrants, with more falls of common migrants and the odd scarcity thrown into the mix. The weather has been fairly favourable for sea watching too, which allowed us to add a few more species to the year list.
The 16th saw more Willow Warblers arrive on the island, with individuals seen at Scottigar and Nouster, and 2 in Holland House Gardens. The highlight however was the first Reed Warbler of the Autumn that turned up in the Beacon punds.
The 17th was the much anticipated day of sea watching, with northerly winds having finally slackened off, excitement was high for what would pass Dennishead. Things started well when a drake Velvet Scoter flew north, a nice year tick to get things going. After a small lull in Shearwater passage, more started to move through again, giving things a slightly rarer feel. This feeling soon paid off when a Great Shearwater flew close past the rocks following three Manx Shearwater, giving stunning views as it cruised by. Before the excitement of the Great Shearwater had chance to die down, a Leach's Storm Petrel was picked up flying north, adding two species to the year list in the space of two minuets. The sea remained watched for much of the day, but it seemed the morning effort wasn't to be beaten. Overall throughout the day a total of 125 Sooty Shearwater, 90 Manx Shearwater, around 50 Storm Petrel, and 3 Great Northern Diver were seen past the north end. Away from sea watching, the first Barred Warbler of the Autumn was seen in the dyke at Brides.
The 18th saw a small influx of Common Tern to the island, with 2 seen on the Links, 1 seen by the Beacon and another seen on Bewan. There was also a juvenile Mediterranean Gull sat on the rocks by the lighthouse, before it flew north. A Willow Warbler was also seen late in the day at Purtabreck, along with a Little Stint on Ancum.
As more migrants seem to be arriving, excitement for what the rest of the Autumn could bring continues to rise. The year list is also doing well, currently standing at 183.
|Barred Warbler - GG|
|Common Tern - GG|
A quieter few days with very little in the way of migrants to get our teeth into. Although better weather on 15th gave us a little hope!
Really it's been business as usual though, a Greenshank and Green Sandpiper were present on 12th, meanwhile a Woodpigeon spent the 13th-14th between Holland and the obs. Willow Warblers were at Westness, Holland and around the Lighthouse on 14th and 15th making us feel like there had to be something else out there to go after. A Kestrel has been present between Torness and Westness while two Peregrines have been seen up North and around Holland. A rather worse for wear Carrion Crow was trapped in the period and is only the third to ever be caught here.
Away from the birds three Orca were seen from Stromness Point on 12th and a Basking Shark was off Dennishead on 15th.
Hopefully things begin to take an upturn as we reach the halfway point in the month and those typical August scarcities arrive soon!
|Mediterranean Gull - VB|
|Willow Warbler - GG|
|Red-necked Phalarope - MH|
|Green Sandpiper - MH|
|Tagged Knot - VB|
|Roseate Tern - HW|