9th - 11th August

It seems Autumn has finally kicked off here on North Ronaldsay, signalled by the arrival of our first Willow Warblers in the pouring rain. Whilst conditions have not been the most favourable or inspiring, things have continued to tick over.
On the 9th, a juvenile Mediterranean Gull was seen on the rocks at the observatory end of Nouster beach, before it flew off round the Lurand coast in a flock of Common Gull. It seemed to favour the beach though, being seen there sporadically throughout the rest of the day.  
The 10th saw a Swift fly out south over the obs, and later in the day a rather manky looking Carrion Crow was seen lingering about, still present around the obs on the 11th as well.
The 11th started with a Woodpigeon in Nouster bay, and a Green Sandpiper at Westness. The 2 moulting adult Red-necked Phalarope were still present on Ancum, and it has been very interesting to see these birds at their different stages of moult. Our first Willow Warblers of the Autumn were found almost simultaneously, with one juvenile at North Gravity and another in the thistles at Antabreck.
Overall, there seems to be a consistent passage of waders through the island, with more Ruff being seen in fields and on Lochs, and more Whimbrel about also, with a group of 14 seen flying south on the 11th. Turnstone numbers have also increased along with Golden Plover, with counts suggesting there are just shy of 1000 individuals currently present on the island.
With our first 'proper' Autumn migrants finally moving through, the next few days look promising for more to follow. A set of easterlies forecast for over the weekend has definitely got staff more driven after a quiet summer with no seabird ringing. Now we just have to hope the forecast comes off!  

Mediterranean Gull - VB

Willow Warbler - GG