Overcast with light, spitting rain throughout most of the 30th with a seawatch first thing fairly quiet just producing 4 Manx Shearwaters, a Storm Petrel and a steady stream of Guillemots carrying fish towards Westray and Papa Westray. The 2 Red-necked Phalaropes were still spinning around on Gretchen while a Ruff was new in with 112 Golden Plover and a big flock of 83 Lapwing at Brides.
The Black-throated Diver was again in Nouster Bay with a Red-throated Diver, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers and a Heron while a new brood of fledgling Twite appeared out of nowhere at Rue – two pairs have bred on the island this year.
Arctic Skua chick
It was a glorious, sunny, calm morning on the 1st but this soon gave way to thick cloud, spots of rain and a blazing force 7 wind by the afternoon; the 2 Red-necked Phalaropes were still on Gretchen but did spend long periods elsewhere and there was another influx of 262 Golden Plover with flocks spread around the island with 25 Bar-tailed Godwits on The Links. Two Common Redpolls were the only new passerine migrants and a Heron flew in from the south attacked by every Arctic Tern in the south of the island.
Breeding wise, at least 15 Sand Martin burrows were counted along The Links with at least 3-4 seemingly active and 24 birds seen, there were still 110+ Black-headed Gull fledglings lingering around Hooking but a large proportion of the adults have already dispersed off island and there were 3 Dunlin fledglings in Loch Park. Ringing wise the most interesting event was a control Rock Dove which we caught at Holland and was subsequently found to have been ringed as a chick on Fair Isle in 2015 – our first off island recovery as they are not really your typical migrant although we often see birds coming in off the sea and there is an obvious influx in the autumn.
Snipe chicks are awesome!
This big, ominous Submarine was actually the highlight of the 1st! photos Simon Davies