We're back! Winter Update and Recent Sightings to 3rd March

 It's a very long time since I last sat down to write an NRBO blog update, a lot has happened and there hasn't been a lot of birdy news to sink our teeth into yet, although we have already broken a totals record this year! 

Last post was sometime in November, after this birds really slackend off, volunteers and staff disappeared for the winter and in came the worst winter seen in Northern Isle for many years! Instead of moaning about the bad weather, which caused significant damage to the slates on the observatory roof, smashed a window, laid waste to the hide at Gretchen and unfortunately knocked Diane (George's mum) off her feet and broke her arm! It's been a good winter break broken bones aside and the 2023 Bird Report is currently in production and we're excited for the spring ahead. Thankfully Di is well on the mend! 

In cheerier news Alison managed to get away on a very well deserved holiday to Costa Rica with Gav, her sister Susan and brother-in-law Paul. They spent just under two weeks travelling around the country and saw well over 300 species of birds! George and Maddy (the new AW for 2024) went away to the Azores for a week, finding the Azores 12th (I'll need to double check that!) Gull-billed Tern and plenty of other goodies and the George and Tom joined forces and went out to Sweden for a week, nearly got frostbite but did see such goodies as Hawk Owl, Pygmy Owl and Ural Owl. 

In bird news on the island its been a predictable start to the year with nothing too exciting happening yet, that said we had a Goosander on a puddle outside of the Farmhouse at Holland on 3rd Jan, multiple Glaucous Gulls, the first Pied Wagtails, Woodpigeon, Short-eared Owl and Sparrowhawk of the year. A winter plumaged White-billed Diver was seen from the North end on 12th February, a drake Scaup (an absentee from 2023!) was in Nouster on 27th February and today (3rd March) saw us break the record total for Stonechat, a massive 22 were seen between, the obs, Cursitter, Holland, Greenwall, Quoybanks and Rue. 

With the year list now sat on 82 and spring fast approaching things are very slowly looking better and we're excited for the season ahead. I'll put some holiday photos from various places along with some island bird pics just add some colour to the blog! 

Goosander - Paul Gay
                                         Yellow-throated Toucan, Costa Rica - Alison Duncan 

                                             Northern Hawk-Owl, Sweden - George Gay
                                               Eurasian Pygmy Owl, Sweden - George Gay
                                                               Glaucous Gull - George Gay