The 19th was a lovely day, warmish and calmish with a couple of additions to the year list to mention as there were 2 Whimbrel – singles on the west coast and at Brides and a single Pale-bellied Brent Goose also on the coast at Brides; the day’s other highlights included another Siberian Chiffchaff trapped at the Obs (a British control bird), the Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen and the pair of Garganey still on Ancum.
Wader passage was prominent with 222 Redshank the most obvious with several, very noisy migrant flocks passing through along with 3 Black-tailed Godwits and 314 Turnstone; the usual two pairs of Bonxies were back on territory along the west coast as well as a returning Arctic Skua – a distinctive dark phase bird with an obvious notch in its wing that has been returning for at least several years now.
Siberian Chiffchaff, photo Simon Davies
Landbirds included a Sparrowhawk, an eared-Owl sp. seen briefly at dusk, a Swallow, 236 Meadow Pipits, a White Wagtail, a Robin, 20 Wheatears, 25 Redwings, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Willow Warblers, 2 Rook, 2 Bramblings and a good roost count of 260 Linnets at Holland.
The following day was the exact opposite with a strong westerly wind bringing with it sheets of low cloud and drizzle which drifted in and out throughout; migrants predictably took a hit in the damp conditions as landbirds included a Merlin, 7 Sand Martins, 40 Wheatears, a Fieldfare and 5 Snow Buntings.
Seven Pink-footed Geese near the Obs and a Grey Plover on The Links were the only other birds of note through this quiet day while 395 Black-headed Gulls were counted around the Lochs all settling down to breed – counts will soon become much more difficult as they are swallowed by the growing Irises.
Returning Arctic Skua, photo Larissa Simulik
First Whimbrel of the year, photo Larissa Simulik
Twite, photo Simon Davies