29th May - 1st June
The last few days have seen the westerly winds finally ease off (a bit...), although it has generally remained slow going in terms of migration. Despite the lack of quantity, there have been some nice highlights to keep us ticking over.
29th started with the Surf Scoter remaining on the sea off Neven. A Spotted Flycatcher was new in at Greenwall and a brief flyover Pectoral Sandpiper at Garso was a great addition to the year list, although unfortunately could not be refound - it could well be the same individual as the bird seen on Sanday on 30th. Other wader totals included 293 Ringed Plovers (mostly on the Links), 226 Turnstone (a decrease on previous days), a Common Sandpiper and 45 Dunlin. 30th saw 5 Barnacale Geese present at Nether Linnay, 20 Shelducks around the island with breeding birds boosted by some birds arriving, 5 Wood Pigeons, and a Dunnock present at Holland House. There was a slight increase in Chiffchaffs with 5 seen, mostly at Holland.
A Red-breasted Flycatcher was caught in T1 early in the morning on 31st. The Surf Scoter was no longer present, although this was made up for by 2 White-tailed Eagles, which flew south down the island. Other highlights included 2 Grey Wagtails, a Dunnock and a new Spotted Flycatcher. The day concluded with 2 Little Stints discovered at Ancum, which were the first of the year.
The first day of June was a lovely calm day, although didn't produce anything too extraordinary. A Black Redstart at Greenwall, a littoralis Rock Pipit and a Spotted Flycatcher were the day's highlights, along with 6 Manx Shearwaters which flew past the Sea-watch Hide in the evening.
With a high pressure system remaining stubbornly in place over us it seems unlikely that we're going to receive any sizeable arrivals of birds in the immediate future. However, early June is a/ time when anything can turn up at anytime so we'll remain hopeful for some quality over the next few days! There is a hint of easterly in the wind currently so who knows what will be in store... Away from migration, the breeding season is ticking over and the last few days have seen our first Eider and Shelduck chicks seen swimming about. Warm and calm conditions this afternoon allowed us to do a sweep of Loch Park ringing wader chicks, with a few more Lapwing chicks found.