15th-23rd March

 It's been a few days of getting back into the swing of things and working on our bird report, I think its safe to say we've had every variety of weather you can think of over the last nine days but more excitingly, a few birds, nothing major yet but Spring is clearly dragging itself closer!

The most notable increases in species have come in the shape of Rock Pipits, Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails with numbers going from single figure odds and ends to double figure counts all-round. Rock Pipits especially with over 25 birds in the bay near Westness on 21st. A single Risso's Dolphin was seen off Dennishead on 16th while the 17th saw us a break a record count, not something I thought would happen in March, but 25 Woodpigeons were enough, 22 in a flock around Holland, two at Lurand and one near Cursitter, breaking that previous record set in 2016. The 19th bought a Black Redstart around the Pier and the following day, the first of really good settled weather, saw the first Stonechat of 2023 along with a lone 'Albifrons' White-fronted Goose just North of Antabreck along with eight Black-tailed Godwits on Ancum and a Woodcock in the Ancum Willows.

The 23rd was another good day of weather and added no fewer than three species to the obs year list, a Goldfinch was present briefly in Holland as was a Long-eared Owl discovered in the late afternoon as nets went up and because the nets went up, we had a visit from some Linnets, they seem to go hand in hand here! The 23rd was rounded off by a superb showing of the Aurora Borealis, while not the strongest display seeing the whole night sky washed in that ghostly cloud was special.

Inbetween all this we had a few days of blustery wet and windy weather, I managed to get the car stuck in the mud up by Tor Ness.... again, we got a few nets up in Holland after two aborted attempts but otherwise, as mentioned before, its been all hands to the pump trying to get the bulk of the bird report out the way before the real migration starts! With Tom and Maddy arriving on Sunday the obs will seem a bit livelier and with improved coverage we'll hopefully start finding some more migrants.  

                                   Aurora Borealis over Lurand with Venus and Crescent moon
                                   Black Redstart
                                    'albifrons' White-fronted Goose