23rd - 29th March

While birders down south seem to be enjoying the start of the summer weather, up here on North Ronaldsay it is a totally different story. The 26th was dominated by snow and hail showers, with any hopes of sun on the 27th and 28th soon dashed by heavy rain showers and poor visibility on the 29th. Despite the bad weather, a few migrants have still made it through, making us hopeful for warmer weather and some easterly winds in the spring to come.

Highlights on the 23rd included our first Goldfinch and Linnets of the year in Holland gardens, as well as our first Long-eared Owl, seen in Holland gardens whilst we put the mist nets up in anticipation of some nicer weather. A male Stonechat was also seen at Holland House.

On the 24th, our first Goldcrest of the year was seen at the obs.

The 25th was quiet, although a handful of the Woodpigeons from the record count earlier in the week were still present in the fields around Holland, though they do seem to slowly be departing or getting predated upon.

The 26th saw a full census rota completed for the first time this year with the arrival of Tom and Maddy. This added both Wheatear, Chiffchaff and Lesser Black-backed Gull to the year list. Also seen was a Hen Harrier and Jack Snipe at Ancum, a Pink-footed Goose by the Kirk, 10 Snow Bunting at various points around the coast, two Stonechat by the obs cattle grid and the Chaffinch remained in Holland Gardens still.

Another Chiffchaff arrived on the 27th, this time in the garden at Cavan, and Rook was also year ticked when 3 flew north over Westness. Two White-fronted Geese were in the fields by Howar, one Stonechat remained by the obs cattle grid, a Woodcock was flushed from T1, and the Pink-footed Goose remained with the Greylags by the Kirk.

On the 28th, our second Wheatear of the year was seen by the school, and our first Carrion Crow were also seen, with one flying south down the Links and a further two flying south over North Gravity. One White-fronted Goose remained at Howar, Goldcrest were seen in Holland and at Bewan, a Chiffchaff was at Ancum, 38 Snow Bunting were seen around the coast, and a Woodcock was flushed from T3.

The first Grey Plover of the year turned up on the Howar coast on the 29th. The White-fronted Goose also remained at Howar, joined by a Pink-footed Goose, while the Pink-footed Goose at the Kirk was still present. A Lesser Black-backed Gull was also seen feeding with Black-headed Gulls and Common Gulls at Kirbest.

Grey Plover (MEH)

Pink-footed Goose (MEH)