Tuesday, 17 October 2017

15th and 16th October

Windy again on the 15th but it was a decent day in the field with an excellent arrival of 168+ Whooper Swans the main feature, birds arrived through the day and by the end of the day there were 160 roosting on Ancum; other wildfowl included 785 Greylag Geese on the move, 198 Wigeon and the Green-winged Teal still.  

                The day’s other highlights included the Buff-breasted Sandpiper still on The Links, the Red-breasted Flycatcher and Siberian Chiffchaff in Holland, the Arctic Peregrine again and a late adult Arctic Tern in Linklet Bay while other migrants comprised 412+ Redwings, 4 Swallows, 6 Robins, 27 Wheatears, 3 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest, 7 Chaffinches, 5 Bramblings, a Lapland Bunting and an increased 22 Snow Buntings.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper,   Simon Davies

                The wind mercifully and wonderfully dropped off to almost nothing overnight and swung round into the east by lunchtime producing a brilliant day out and about but then almost as instantly, the wind picked up to force 8 with rain by late afternoon.   As yesterday, the record breaking total of 267 Whooper Swans was the main feature of the day with big flocks roosting on Ancum and Brides before noisily and brilliantly making their way further south; other wildfowl included 42 Barnacle Geese, a Pintail, 75 Tufted Duck, 6 Long-tailed Ducks, 7 Red-breasted Mergansers and the first 3 Goldeneye of the autumn.

                Scarcities through the day included the Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Red-breasted Flycatcher and Barred Warbler all still in place, the first Black Redstart of the autumn and randomly, an Ocean Sunfish drifting past The Lurn!   Landbirds were mainly lingering birds with a Kestrel, 2 Merlins, 17 Rock Pipits, a Grey Wagtail, 5 Robins, a Dunnock, a late Whinchat, 14 Wheatears, 500+ Redwings, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 6 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, 3 Willow Warblers, 3 Chaffinches, 15 Bramblings, 5 Lapland Buntings, 6 Snow Buntings and a flyover Crossbill.   The pick of the waders comprised 32 Black-tailed Godwits still, a Jack Snipe, 78 Sanderling and 3 Ruff.

Whooper Swans,   Simon Davies

Sunday, 15 October 2017

14th October

Similar conditions again with a strong S/SW wind and occasional spells of rain therefore it was no surprise that most of the day’s highlights consisted of long-staying birds with the Dusky Warbler seen again in Holland along with a Siberian Chiffchaff, the Short-toed Lark still, the Buff-breasted Sandpiper again on The Links, the Barred Warbler still in Haskie Thistles and the Arctic Peregrine still bombing around the north end.

                Other passerines were thin on the ground with 4 Swallows, a Robin, 23 Wheatears, 4 Song Thrushes, 150 Redwings, a Garden Warbler, 3 Blackcaps, a Chaffinch, 2 Bramblings, 2 Siskins, a Common Redpoll and a Lapland Bunting.   There were some good wildfowl highlights with a big influx of at least 76 Whooper Swans and 131 Pink-footed Geese along with the Green-winged Teal and a Pintail on Gretchen, 4 Long-tailed Ducks, 2 Common Scoter and a Red-breasted Merganser.

                Birds offshore included a Black-throated Diver, 3 Great-northern Divers, 2 Great Skuas, 134 Kittiwakes and 573 Auk sp. passing the seawatching hide while notable wader counts comprised 2 Grey Plovers, 40 Dunlin, 14 Ruff and a Jack Snipe.

Great Skua


Photos Simon Davies

Saturday, 14 October 2017

12th and 13th October

Strong winds again but dry on the 12th and a few birds in sheltered spots on the east coast of the island, a Bluethroat was found at Sandback (possibly the same bird from Senness on the 9th), a new, better looking Arctic Peregrine type was at the north end, the Short-toed Lark and Red-breasted Flycatcher were still present and an unstreaked Acrocephalus Warbler seen briefly on the beach near Hooking potentially was the Blyth’s Reed Warbler from the 7th (or a new one!).

                Other landbird migrants have begun to decrease but did include a Merlin, 6 Swallows, a Dunnock, 2 Robins, a Whinchat still, 16 Wheatears, 54 Redwings and single Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap and Goldcrest.   Also of note were 6 new Whooper Swans joining the family party of 5, a flock of 24 Barnacle Geese south, the Scaup still, 15 Ruff, 3 Jack Snipe and 19 Bar-tailed Godwits.

                Strong SSW winds continued to blast across the island on the 13th but there were long spells of sunshine and most of the day’s highlights came from a short seawatch in the afternoon with one definite adult Pomarine Skua past along with 3 other Skua sp. (which probably were also Pomarines), 2 Great Skuas, a late Manx Shearwater and 70 Kittiwakes.   Passerines were again thin on the ground with the exception of an influx of 120 Redwings along with the Red-breasted Flycatcher still, single Dunnock and Robin, 14 Wheatears, a Blackcap, a Chaffinch and a Lapland Bunting.

                Other birds of note included 11 Whooper Swans again (with a darvic ringed bird apparently ringed at Slimbridge), 35 Pink-footed Geese, 4 Long-tailed Ducks, 2 Merlins (fighting over a Meadow Pipit at the seawatch hide), a Peregrine and 3 Jack Snipe.

Rock Pipit,   Simon Davies

Friday, 13 October 2017

11th October

Not a bad day really with a moderate westerly breeze and it kept largely dry; the Dusky Warbler was re-trapped in Holland during the morning along with the Red-breasted Flycatcher still and a new Yellow-browed Warbler while elsewhere the Short-toed Lark was still present and a Siberian Chiffchaff was in Ancum Willows.

                Other migrants included 9 Robins, 20 Wheatears, 4 Song Thrushes, 9 Redwings, single Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler, 4 Blackcaps, 7 Chiffchaffs, 2 Goldcrests, 2 Goldfinches and a Lapland Bunting.   Some decent wader totals comprised a Little Stint in amongst 42 Purple Sandpipers, 64 Dunlin, 98 Ringed Plover, 3 Ruff, 3 Jack Snipe and 317 Snipe while the Whooper Swan family, the Scaup and 5 Red-breasted Mergansers were still present.

Black-tailed Godwit


Photos Simon Davies

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

10th October

A very brisk SW wind with a handful of nasty showers (but some long periods of bright sunshine) made things tricky in the field but there was again, a great selection of birds across the island; the highlight was a surprise DUSKY WARBLER, found in front of one of our Heligoland traps and easily caught mid-afternoon while other lingering scarcities included the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll roaming around the middle of the island, the Buff-breasted Sandpiper now on The Links and the Barred Warbler still in Haskie Thistles.

                A little influx of at least 12 Jack Snipe was the other main feature of the day along with migrants such as a Sparrowhawk, a Kestrel, a Peregrine, a Dunnock, 7 Robins, 2 Redstarts, a Whinchat, 12 Song Thrushes, 23 Redwing, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 6 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, a Goldcrest, 9 Chaffinches, 2 Bramblings, 2 Goldfinches which came into roost at Holland, 2 Siskins, 2 Lapland Buntings and 2 Snow Buntings.

                Along the sheltered side of the island birds on the sea included 13 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great-northern Divers, 2 drake Long-tailed Ducks and 5 Red-breasted Mergansers while the Whooper Swan family showed no more signs of wanting to leave.

Dusky Warbler,   photo Simon Davies

Sparrowhawk,   photo Simon Davies

Jack Snipe,   photo Bryony Baker

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

9th October

After a night of heavy rain, we hoped the amazing Robin would be re-found around the Obs near where it was released but despite all of us searching every conceivable scrap of cover there was unfortunately no sign, scuppering the potential big twitch that was brewing.   The wind had switched round to the SW but remained fairly light with still a good array of scarcities across the island, the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll was eventually found again, a Bluethroat was new at Senness, a good looking Arctic Peregrine type flew in off the sea, the Buff-breasted Sandpiper was re-found near the Short-toed Lark, the Barred Warbler still at Haskie and the Red-breasted Flycatcher still at Holland.

                Other land migrants included a small influx of 75 Redwings and 8 Fieldfares, a Ring Ouzel, 60 Skylarks, a Swallow, a Grey Wagtail, a Dunnock, 14 Robins, 4 Redstarts, a Whinchat, 39 Wheatears, 8 Song Thrushes, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 9 Blackcaps, 6 Chiffchaffs, 3 Goldcrests, 8 Chaffinches, 4 Bramblings, 5 Redpolls, 3 Lapland Buntings and a Snow Bunting.

                Also of note were 10 Red-throated and 3 Great-northern Divers, single Sooty Shearwater and Great Skua offshore, the Whooper Swan family, seen to head off out to sea but eventually returning a short time later, the Green-winged Teal and Scaup still, a ringtail Hen Harrier, another 2 Peregrines, a Kestrel, 2 Grey Plovers and counts of 84 Sanderling and 69 Purple Sandpipers.

Arctic/Tundra Peregrine type

Photos George Gay

Monday, 9 October 2017

8th October

An awesome feeling day with the merest waft of a ENE breeze and varying amounts of cloud and drizzle drifting in and out, it was however fairly quiet until a stunning HORNEMANN’S ARCTIC REDPOLL was found feeding with a small, mixed group of other assorted Redpolls on Thistles at Westness mid-afternoon.   We were very happy with this cracking addition to the year list when, late afternoon two of our volunteers (Tom Gale and Lewis Hooper) saw a black and white looking bird dart into the open front door of a disused croft at Southness and when they went to investigate they found it fluttering against a window trying to get out.   Being bird ringers, they grabbed the bird and were stunned to find that it was a beautiful shade of blue rather than black, the penny soon dropped that they were actually holding a heart-stoppingly fantastic, adult male SIBERIAN BLUE ROBIN – it was soon put in a bird bag and taken back to the Obs where it was ringed, admired and released into one of our bird crops where it showed briefly before disappearing into the vegetation…you couldn’t even write it!!

                Other migrants through the day (as if anyone cares!) included the lingering Short-toed Lark, Barred Warbler and Red-breasted Flycatcher along with a Short-eared Owl, 6 Swallows, a Grey Wagtail, 10 Robins, 6 Redstarts, 3 Whinchat, a Stonechat, 25 Wheatears, 17 Redwings, a Lesser Whitethroat, 8 Blackcaps, 2 Yellow-browed Warblers, 8 Chiffchaffs, 2 Willow Warblers, 2 Goldcrests, a Spotted Flycatcher, 8 Chaffinches, 3 Bramblings, 2 Siskins, 3 Lapland Buntings and 9 Snow Buntings.

                Other little bits of note comprised 14 Red-throated and 8 Great-northern Divers on the calm sea, the family of 5 Whooper Swans, the Green-winged Teal and Scaup still, 8 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Peregrine, 4 Pintail, 2 Grey Plover, a Little Stint, 74 Purple Sandpipers and 52 Black-tailed Godwits.

Siberian Blue Robin

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll

Photos Simon Davies

7th October

We kept the lightish winds from yesterday which slowly but surely swung from the west to the NE but we gained long periods of heavy, wet drizzle; there was no sign of any of yesterday’s unconfirmed birds but our second Buff-breasted Sandpiper of the year was found in fields at Lochend and our third Blyth’s Reed Warbler of the year was identified retrospectively from photos in the Haskie Thistle fields while the Short-toed Lark was still at Nether Breck, the Barred Warbler was still present and the Red-breasted Flycatcher was still in Holland.

                Migrant totals today included a 2 Kestrels, a Merlin, Short-eared Owl, 16 Swallows, a Tree Pipit, 32 Rock Pipits, 11 Robins, 4 Redstarts, 2 Whinchats, 57 Wheatears, 4 Song Thrushes, 24 Redwings, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 13 Blackcaps, a Yellow-browed Warbler, 12 Chiffchaffs, 4 Willow Warblers, 2 Goldcrests, 2 Bramblings, 29 Chaffinches, 13 Lapland Buntings and 10 Snow Buntings.

                A two-hour seawatch produced 12 Sooty Shearwaters, a late Manx Shearwater, 547 Fulmars, 6 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great-northern Divers, 2 Great Skuas and a late ‘Commic’ Tern while wildfowl included the Green-winged Teal, the Scaup, 7 Whooper Swans, a Long-tailed Duck and 6 Red-breasted Mergansers.   Waders continued to be prominent with the picks being 939 Golden Plover, a Little Stint, 17 Ruff, a Woodcock, 51 Black-tailed Godwits and 339 Turnstone.

Yellow-browed Warbler


Photos Simon Davies

Saturday, 7 October 2017

6th October

The terrible, soul destroying winds of the last week mercifully began to die down overnight and by mid-morning they had calmed down to leave a very pleasant day with some good birds scattered across the island – it could however have been so much better with a trio of possibles that just couldn’t be confirmed, a flyover Crossbill sp. was potentially a Parrot, a probable Red-throated Pipit at Southness couldn’t be re-found and while we were looking for that a big, white, deep sounding Redpoll sp. flew over which was almost certainly an Arctic of some description….watch this space!

                As for the birds that were found, a Short-toed Lark at Sandar was the highlight along with 2 Barred Warblers (the Obs bird and a new one at Haskie) and the Red-breasted Flycatcher still in Holland; other migrant totals comprised a mix of lingering birds and new ones popping out of the woodwork with 2 Peregrines, a Kestrel, 13 Swallows, a Tree Pipit, 31 Rock Pipits, 12 Robins, 2 Redstarts, 2 Whinchats, 29 Wheatears, 17 Song Thrushes, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 18 Blackcaps, a Yellow-browed Warbler, 9 Chiffchaffs, 5 Willow Warblers, 3 Goldcrests, a Spotted Flycatcher, 23 Chaffinches, 17 Brambling, 2 Siskin, 12 Lapland Bunting and 9 Snow Buntings.

                The drake Green-winged Teal was again on Gretchen along with 89 Teal, 4 Pintail, the Scaup, 2 Barnacle Geese and the family party of Whooper Swans on Brides, 6 each of Red-throated and Great-northern Divers were offshore and some wader counts included another influx of 60 Black-tailed Godwits, 428 Golden Plover, 109 Lapwings and 33 Purple Sandpipers.

Short-toed Lark


Photos Simon Davies

Friday, 6 October 2017

4th and 5th October

The horrendous weather continued to batter the island throughout the 4th but there were marginally fewer of the nasty squalls in the afternoon so most folks waited to carry out their census routes; 15 Whooper Swans (including two family parties) were on the lochs along with 262 Pink-footed Geese while other waterbirds and waders comprised 9 Red-throated Divers, a Great-northern Diver, 4 Herons, the Scaup still, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Grey Plover, 3 Jack Snipe and 15 Black-tailed Godwits.

                Some lingering scarcities were unearthed including 2 Barred Warblers (Obs and Holland), the Red-breasted Flycatcher still in Holland and a Little Bunting re-found in the Nether Linney stubble field.   A Stonechat was also new at Greenwall while other migrants sheltering across the island included a Woodpigeon, 12 Swallows, a Tree Pipit, a Grey Wagtail, a Dunnock, 8 Robins, 5 Redstarts, a Whinchat, 28 Wheatears, 20 Song Thrushes, 4 Redwings, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, 4 Blackcaps, 2 Yellow-browed Warblers, 8 Chiffchaffs, 3 Willow Warblers, 3 Goldcrests, 19 Chaffinches, 7 Bramblings, a Siskin, 6 Lapland Buntings and the Yellowhammer still.

Whooper Swans

                We yet again, kept the blazing NW wind and vicious squalls on the 5th (which is becoming very tiresome in truth!); the numbers of lingering migrants are slowly decreasing and with no new arrivals detected the time spent in the field is slowly becoming quieter but todays totals did include the Barred Warbler still around the Obs, a Kestrel, a Woodpigeon, 11 Swallows, 2 Robins, 3 Redstarts, a Fieldfare, 5 Song Thrushes, single Blackcap, Yellow-browed Warbler, Goldcrest and Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Chiffchaffs, 9 Chaffinches, 6 Brambling, 3 Lapland Buntings and a Snow Bunting.

                There was still a family party of Whooper Swans on Brides while the Scaup was still on Ancum, 8 Red-throated and 2 Great-northern Divers were offshore and an excellent count of 246 Cormorants was made.

Kestrel enjoying the wind!

Photos George Gay

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

3rd October

Extremely strong westerly winds blasted the island throughout the day bringing regular, nasty showers but despite these difficult conditions some good effort was put in out in the field and there were some good birds out there; a moulting adult Slavonian Grebe was in Nouster Bay (only the second of the year), the juvenile Scaup was again on Ancum and the first Barnacle Goose of the autumn passed over with 229 Pink-footed Geese while waders included 3 Grey Plover, single Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper, 38 Ruff and 2 Jack Snipe.

                Migrants that have been trapped here during this spell of rough weather today included the Barred Warbler at the Obs (it finally made its way into a Heligoland trap this afternoon!), the Red-breasted Flycatcher still in Holland, a Woodpigeon, 10 Swallow, a Tree Pipit, 25 Rock Pipits, a Grey Wagtail, 13 Robins, 6 Redstarts, a Whinchat, 42 Wheatears, 34 Song Thrushes, 3 Redwings, a Grasshopper Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Blackcap, a Yellow-browed Warbler, 7 Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler, 2 Goldcrests, 6 Chaffinches, 13 Brambling, 2 Siskins, 6 Snow Buntings and the Yellowhammer still.


Black Guillemot

photos Simon Davies

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

1st and 2nd October

The wind dropped off overnight to leave a pleasant morning on the 1st - well for a few hours anyway as it picked up rapidly through the morning to reach force 7 by lunchtime!   A moulting drake Green-winged Teal was picked out on Gretchen (probably the returning bird from the last couple of winters) and was in the company of a late juvenile Garganey while lingering scarcities today just comprised an Olive-backed Pipit at Longar and the Red-breasted Flycatcher re-trapped in Holland.

                With the gap in the weather overnight and the first few hours of the morning it was no surprise that the numbers of grounded migrants were slightly reduced from the last few days but totals did include a Woodpigeon, a House Martin, 13 Swallows, 13 Robins, 26 Wheatears, 4 Fieldfares, 26 Song Thrushes, 3 Redwings, a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warblers, 12 Blackcap, a Yellow-browed Warbler, 22 Chiffchaffs, 8 Willow Warblers, 2 Goldcrest, 3 Spotted Flycatchers, 16 Chaffinches, 3 Brambling, 10 Siskins, a Common Redpoll, 6 Lapland Buntings and the Yellowhammer again.


                A very windy morning on the 2nd gave way to an extremely windy afternoon with a blazing SW wind bringing frequent and vicious showers whipping across the island; needless to say, it made any time spent in the field very challenging but many people did brave the conditions and produced a variety of birds with the first notable passage of 559 Pink-footed Geese of special mention with the first Scaup of the year on Ancum, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, the juvenile Garganey still, 2 Red-throated Divers, a Great-northern Diver, 4 Little Stints and a Grey Plover.

                The selection of grounded migrants consisted of lingering birds with unsurprisingly no new arrivals detected but did include a Barred Warbler still around the Obs, a Woodpigeon, 4 Swallows, a Tree Pipit, a Dunnock, 6 Robins, 6 Redstarts, a Whinchat, 32 Wheatears, a Fieldfare, 32 Song Thrushes, 4 Redwings, 4 Blackcaps, a Yellow-browed Warbler, 12 Chiffchaffs, 3 Willow Warblers, 2 Goldcrests, a Spotted Flycatcher, 21 Chaffinches, 3 Bramblings, 3 Siskins, a Lapland Bunting, 6 Snow Buntings and the Yellowhammer again.

photos Simon Davies

Sunday, 1 October 2017

30th September

There was a lot more south in the still strong wind through the day, slightly changing the position of all the sheltered spots to check but also meaning that there was some more visible migration over the island with a few Pink-footed Geese, waders and Skylarks the most obvious species on the move.   There was again, a great selection of scarcities on show throughout the day with a knackered looking Osprey flushed from long grass by the Mill, from where it flew down to Nouster and flopped down on the beach again, the Rustic Bunting again by the lighthouse, the Marsh Warbler still near the Obs, a Barred Warbler around the traps at the Obs, a Red-breasted Flycatcher trapped in Holland in the evening, 2 Little Buntings still, a Siberian Chiffchaff trapped in Holland in the morning and always scarce on here – the first Yellowhammer of the year at Nether Linney.

Spotted Flycatcher

                Plenty of other migrants were spread across the island in sheltered spots which included 2 Woodpigeons, a Collared Dove, a Short-eared Owl, 2 House Martins, 33 Swallows, 315 Meadow Pipits, 25 Rock Pipits, 2 Grey Wagtails, 60 alba Wagtails, 34 Robins, 21 Redstarts, 2 Whinchats, 77 Wheatears, a Ring Ouzel, 4 Fieldfares, 93 Song Thrushes, 34 Redwings, 2 Grasshopper Warblers, 8 Lesser Whitethroats, 5 Garden Warblers, 27 Blackcaps, 5 Yellow-browed Warblers, 35 Chiffchaffs, 8 Willow Warblers, 4 Goldcrest, 6 Spotted Flycatchers, 59 Chaffinches, 27 Bramblings, the first Goldfinch of the autumn, 4 Common Redpolls, 16 Lapland Buntings, 6 Snow Buntings and with some migrants joining the post-breeding flocks, 29 Reed Buntings.

                Some slightly increased wader counts included 4 Little Stints, a Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Grey Plover, 74 Dunlin, 50 Ruff, 2 Jack Snipe and a Woodcock while 2 Kestrels and a Merlin dashed around and 8 Red-throated and 2 Great-northern Divers lingered offshore.

Red-breasted Flycatcher

Siberian Chiffchaff

Photos Simon Davies

Saturday, 30 September 2017

29th September

Another similar day with dry conditions and a very strong SE wind blazing across the island so there were still plenty of birds to be seen, concentrated on the sheltered western side; scarcities were again well represented with a Rustic Bunting found hopping around the lighthouse in the morning (and apparently joined by a second bird briefly in the afternoon!), the Blyth’s Reed Warbler re-trapped in Holland early evening, at least 2 Olive-backed Pipits still (Obs and Nether Linney, with another couple of possibles seen), a new Red-breasted Flycatcher at Greenwall, a Common Rosefinch and 3-4 Little Buntings littered around the place.

                The long roll call of other migrants included 2 Woodpigeons, 4 Tree Pipits, a flava Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtails, a Dunnock, 35 Robins, 29 Redstarts, a Whinchat, a Stonechat (seen briefly so we were unable to get any more details on it), 70 Wheatears, 3 Fieldfares, a big influx of 124 Song Thrushes, 28 Redwings, a Grasshopper Warbler, 5 Lesser Whitethroats, 3 Garden Warblers, 23 Blackcaps, 6 Yellow-browed Warblers, 31 Chiffchaffs, 11 Willow Warblers, 5 Goldcrest, 6 Spotted Flycatchers, 29 Chaffinches, 17 Bramblings, 9 Siskins, 6 Mealy Redpolls, 7 Lapland Buntings and 4 Snow Buntings.

                Our focus was certainly looking for grounded migrants along walls and in sheltered spots but a few other bits were seen including 6 Red-throated Divers and a Great-northern Diver offshore, a single Pintail with a good count of 332 Wigeon, 2 Sparrowhawks and 3 Kestrels floating around and single Little Stint, Jack Snipe and Woodcock in amongst good numbers of lingering Ruff, Black-tailed Godwits and other waders.

Rustic Bunting

Spotted Flycatcher and Blackcap

Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaffs and a Tree Pipit

Snow Bunting

Pictures Simon Davies

Friday, 29 September 2017

27th and 28th September

Dry again on the 27th with the marvellous, brisk, SE winds still sweeping across the island; there was a trickle of new arrivals with a few more scarcities to keep us on our toes, these included 2 Olive-backed Pipits – one at Sangar and one expertly coaxed into a Heligoland trap at the Obs, a Marsh Warbler near the pier, the Red-breasted Flycatcher again around Senness/Garso and a Common Rosefinch at Westness.

                The day’s commoner migrants totals comprised a flava Wagtail at Garso, 2 Grey Wagtails, 8 Robins, 8 Redstarts, 50 Wheatears, 31 Song Thrushes, 15 Redwings, single Sedge and Reed Warblers, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, a Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warblers, 8 Blackcaps, 4 Yellow-browed Warblers, 7 Chiffchaffs, 16 Willow Warblers, 5 Goldcrests, 5 Spotted Flycatchers, 10 Chaffinches, 18 Bramblings, 3 Lapland Buntings, 5 Snow Buntings and a Woodpigeon.

                Other little bits included the first Woodcock of the autumn at the back of Nouster, 15 Herons, 2 Kestrels, 2 Grey Plovers, a Curlew Sandpiper, the Wood Sandpiper on Gretchen again and a single Common Tern offshore.

Redstart,   Simon Davies

                A long spell of rain moved across the island in the small hours of the 28th, lingering until lunchtime all the while driven through by the strong SE wind, giving us all a massive sense of anticipation and while there was a noticeable and varied arrival of common birds, the day’s scarcities largely consisted of long-staying individuals with 2 Olive-backed Pipits still (one at North Manse was probably the original bird from the 24th and the Obs bird was still present), the Ortolan Bunting re-found near Gretchen, the Red-breasted Flycatcher at Senness, a Barred Warbler at Trolla (which was probably a new bird), a Little Bunting at Lenswick (possibly a new bird as well) and the Marsh Warbler still skulking round Twingness.

The excellent array of common migrants spread over the island included the first Ring Ouzel, Fieldfare (3) and Siskin (5) of the autumn along with 4 Kestrels, 3 Jack Snipe, the Wood Sandpiper again, a Common Sandpiper (the first one since July), 2 Woodpigeons, 2 Tree Pipits, a Grey Wagtail, 31 Robins, 16 Redstarts, a Whinchat, 57 Song Thrushes, 20 Redwings, a Grasshopper Warbler, 4 Lesser Whitethroats, a Garden Warbler, 8 Blackcaps, 4 Yellow-browed Warblers, 13 Chiffchaffs, 5 Willow Warblers, 6 Goldcrest, 9 Spotted Flycatchers, 4 Chaffinch, 8 Brambling, 6 Lapland Buntings and 4 Snow Buntings.

Olive-backed Pipit,   Simon Davies

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

25th and 26th September

Another good-looking day on the 25th with spitting rain through until mid-morning driven across the island by the brisk SE wind; there was a steady arrival of new passerines with bits and pieces trickling in throughout the day, the highlights being our first Red-breasted Flycatcher of the year at the south end of The Links, a Bluethroat at Southness, a Common Rosefinch at the top end and 4 Yellow-browed Warblers.   Other migrant totals included 2 Robins, 2 Redstarts, 2 Whinchats, 65 Wheatears, 5 Song Thrushes, 2 Redwing, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, 4 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, 6 Willow Warblers, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, a Pied Flycatcher, 4 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling, 2 Common Redpolls, 2 Lapland Buntings and 3 Snow Buntings.

                Six Red-throated Divers, a Great-northern Diver, a single Manx Shearwater and our first 2 Red-breasted Mergansers of the autumn were offshore while an influx of 415 Great Black-backed Gulls and a few big, dark, ugly argentatus Herring Gulls was noteworthy.   Two Kestrels were also present along with a Grey Plover, a Little Stint, 2 Curlew Sandpipers, a Jack Snipe with 225 Snipe and 30 Black-tailed Godwits.

Red-breasted Flycatcher,   Simon Davies

                The SE wind continued to blaze across the island on the 26th with spells of mist and murk coming and going but with it staying largely dry it was an awesome day in the field with plenty of new arrivals including some quality birds thrown in.   It started well with a BLYTH’S REED WARBLER trapped at Holland, closely followed by an ‘Eastern’ Lesser Whitethroat (presumably a blythi bird – to be confirmed either way later on I hope!) and then the day’s highlight of a cracking SIBERIAN STONECHAT found along the northern edge of the airstrip which showed well for a short time before disappearing.

                The supporting cast of a/the Olive-backed Pipit near Holland, a Richard’s Pipit around Ancum (first of the year), a Red-breasted Flycatcher at Garso, the Bluethroat again at Southness, a Little Bunting at Rue, an Ortolan Bunting at Gretchen and 10 Yellow-browed Warblers made for a fantastic day.

                The long list of other migrants included 2 Woodpigeons, a Short-eared Owl, 2 Grey Wagtails, a Dunnock, 8 Robins, 5 Redstarts, a Whinchat, 69 Wheatears, 33 Song Thrushes, 34 Redwings, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, 9 Blackcap, 8 Chiffchaffs, 9 Willow Warblers, 6 Goldcrests, 4 Spotted Flycatchers, 7 Chaffinches, 7 Bramblings and 3 Snow Buntings.   Other little bits of note included 9 Herons, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, 2 Kestrels, a Wood Sandpiper briefly at Gretchen, a late Arctic Tern, 400 Linnets coming into roost and a bit of an influx of 20 Red Admirals – autumn has kicked off in style now!!
Blyth's Reed Warbler,   Simon Davies

Siberian Stonechat,   Simon Davies