Tuesday, 14 March 2023

It's been a while! - 10th-14th March

 It seems like quite a long time ago I last sat here and did a NRBO blog post, it might be a long one as you might want to know what we've all been up to and what's going on in 2023 at NRBO. So we'll cover that and then get onto the birds....and the snow.

There's been an extended leave of absence for myself, I've been away to Spain and India, done a bit of tour guiding and even watched my brother get married since I left the island in November, but I'm very pleased to be back and up to my armpits in bird report work! Alison finally managed to get a very well deserved holiday to Italy with her sister and brother-in-law and attended the BOC meeting at Thetford in Norfolk. 

As for 2023 Tom Gale will joining us in the latter parts of March to take up the AW role, while Maddy Hine will be back as a volunteer again in between uni work. Felicia will also be joining us again in the second half of 2023, they can re-introduce themselves along with anyone else we might have picked up throughout the year in a newsletter a bit further down the line. 

So I suppose it's time to get onto the birds. It's not often I arrive back to see the island covered in snow but thats exactly what happened on the evening of 9th. The 10th meant it was time to go and see what was wintering on the island. The answer, on the whole, is not a great deal but birdings been tough going, it was snowy when arrived but that was a few days old, it looked as though it was about to thaw and then we got another dump overnight on 13th, poor birds!

There's a very obvious increase in Snipe numbers with wet bits either frozen over or covered in snow there isn't much respite for them and they seem to find themselves feeding in the open, good numbers of other waders have included Purple Sandpipers, Dunlin, Sanderling and Golden Plover. Woodcock have been flushed from Holland and the obs croft in the past days and there's been a couple of Jack Snipe around too. There is course Greylag flocks everywhere but they're a little more exciting than usual, a good number of Pink-footed Geese have been hiding amongst them along with a flock of White-fronted Geese ranging in number from 15 to 18 birds. 

A number of Robins have spent the winter with two in Holland and singles around the obs, Trebb, Howar, along with the second Pied Wagtail of 2023 (the first was seen in January!), Southness and Westness. A pair of wintering Chaffinch are loitering around waiting for feeders to be filled in Holland and the Twite flock around the obs has been vocal if a little elusive. A 2CY Glaucous Gull at Bewan was a welcome surprise on 13th especially as large Gulls have been at premium. Otherwise it's very much business as usual now and we sit and wait for the Spring! 

                             White-fronted Geese (and Greylags)
                             Glaucous Gull 
                             Common Gull

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