A cracking summer plumaged Black-throated Diver was in Nouster, with the advanced state of its summerness suggesting that it could be a different bird to the regular individual while other birds of note included the first 2 Pintail for a while, the drake Garganey, 19 Shoveler, 2 Sparrowhawks (including a female who thought it would be a good idea to land right next to the Ravens nest – it wasn’t!) and a Peregrine. Waders also showed some increases with counts of 70 Sanderling, 125 Purple Sandpipers, 18 Dunlin and 425 Turnstone while 13 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 170 Arctic Terns were also counted.
Dunlin having a bit of sing, photo Simon Davies
Thick fog shrouded the island first thing on the 6th (resulting in some very nervous Blackbird twitchers!) but this soon burned off leaving a lovely, sunny day albeit with an increasing, cold NE wind producing an excellent Red-winged Blackbird performance through the day. With taxiing duties and breeding wader surveys taking precedence, coverage was slightly reduced but it did seem like there had been a bit of a clear-out of migrants as totals were much reduced but did include a Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrels, 2 Ring Ouzels, a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, 9 Chiffchaffs, 5 Willow Warblers and a Brambling.
The day’s star bird though, was a stunning summer plumaged Red-necked Grebe on the sea off Quoybanks in the morning – a bit of an island mega, albeit the second of the year following one in Nouster in March. Waders also increased again, especially counts of 152 Sanderling, 66 Dunlin and 379 Turnstone.
Tree Pipit, photo Simon Davies
Redpoll sp. photo Simon Davies