Wednesday, 16 November 2016

15th - 16th November, White-wingers!

Winter is well underway with temperatures dropping and a cold wind sweeping over the island.  A strong breeze has made birding tough but the sheltered bays on the east side of the island have offered a great opportunity to find concentrated flocks of waders and gulls.  Highlights for the 15th include 4 Red-throated Divers, Great Northern Diver, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and 2 Black Guillemots.  Waterfowl numbers remain high with 163 Wigeon, 33 Teal, Green-winged Teal, 13 Shoveler, 4 Tufted Duck, 101 Eider and 23 Long-tailed Ducks in the southern portion of the island.  Birds of prey are also about with the Northern Harrier, Hen Harrier and Merlin all still lingering.  Nouster Bay alone had much to offer with the strandline attracting a huge number of birds including 100's Starlings, the majority of the 678 Sanderling currently inhabiting the east coast, 122 Common Gulls, 14 Herring Gulls, 43 Great Black-backed Gulls and best of all a smart juvenile Iceland Gull!  Remaining passerines include 7 Blackbirds, 11 Fieldfares, 8 Redwings and 10 Snow Buntings frequenting the coast at Bride's Loch.  It was also a surprise to see the Glossy Ibis drop in at Bride's Loch to have a wash.

The 16th November brought with it our second white-winger in two days, this time a stunning juvenile Glaucous Gull which flew west past Trinley, later resurfacing in Nouster.  203 Wigeon, 29 Teal, 13 Mallard and a Whooper Swan represent the waterfowl highlights whilst noteworthy high counts come from the Nouster and Bride's area include 55 Lapwing, 90 Purple Sandpipers, 23 Curlew and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers.  Finally, 13 Blackbirds, 12 Fieldfares, 8 Redwings, 6 Snow Buntings and 2 Robins cover the selection of passerines.

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