A decent day on the 3rd with plenty of sunshine and an increasing southerly wind; the Northern Harrier showed very well as he caught a Rabbit on the airstrip while single Sparrowhawk, Merlin and Peregrine dashed around. There were at least 8 Sandwich Terns present with several pairs displaying and carrying on around Gretchen, too early to draw any conclusions but it’s been many years since they attempted to breed on the island so perhaps this will be the time…
Other migrants through the day included the first Siskin of the year over Holland, 3 Goldcrests, 3 Chiffchaffs, 6 Fieldfares, 9 Wheatears, 45 Pied Wagtails, 7 Woodpigeons and a nice flock of 7 summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwits flying around Gretchen.
Northern Harrier, photo Simon Davies
There were still long periods of bright sunshine on the 4th but the day was spoiled by the strong, increasing to a blasting, howling gale force westerly wind with vicious squalls whipping through; an early morning seawatch produced big numbers of Auks moving past the north end with at least 72 Puffins in amongst 2,833 Guillemots/Razorbills while 310 Kittiwakes also went through.
The tricky conditions didn’t stop the unexpected, out-of-the-blue day’s highlight appearing in a ditch at Cauldhame during the afternoon, with the glimpsed electric blue flash revealing itself to be a glorious KINGFISHER sheltering from the gale – the first record for the island!!
The day’s other addition to the year list was a 1st winter Marsh Harrier which flew across the road in front of the Landrover at Holland full of Obs staff on the way to twitch the Kingfisher; other migrants picked out in the wind included 3 Woodpigeons, 3 Wheatears, 19 Redwings and a Carrion Crow while the count of 456 Golden Plover was another notable increase.
Initial views of the Kingfisher, photo Simon Davies
Showed better later on, photo Larissa Simulik
Great-northern Diver, photo Simon Davies