Monday, 24 October 2011

Here we go...

The wind has been strong from the south and the highlights have sometimes been hard to come by, although it’s still been an enjoyable few days. A wintery feel has been provided by the 1st-winter Iceland Gull (20th – 21st) and three Glaucous Gulls (two first-winters and an adult), with several small groups of Snow Buntings totalling over 80 birds (other lingering buntings included up to 3 Lapland Buntings and the Yellowhammer at the Obs). Some summer visitors seem to have finally left, with Bonxies having now departed the island (although one was seen over Buness yesterday). Not many other seabirds were reported, although two Little Auks were off South Light yesterday.
Having eluded me in the nets a few days ago, then taking the micky out of me in the Vaadal trap and escaping just over my shoulder, I finally caught the Sparrowhawk in the Gully trap yesterday morning! Another couple of interesting birds to grace the ringing chits have been a Scaup (caught on a garden pond at the Haa) and a Jack Snipe caught on a dazzling trip last night.
Jack Snipe, so named because of the old English word 'Jack' meaning 'really, really cute'.
Some birds arrived despite the less than ideal conditions, with an impressive thrush fall including 985 Fieldfares and over 160 Redwing and a late Garden Warbler was seen at Easter Lother (on 21st). With the forecast still looking good for this week, the 23rd started to show some hints of an arrival, with a Yellow-browed Warbler, Black Redstart (at the wonderfully named Busta Skank), an increase of Blackcaps (from 2 to 34), 4 Chiffchaff, a Long-eared Owl (from 22nd), 98 Blackbirds and a few more Woodcock, Mealy Redpoll and Brambling. A Common Rosefinch lingered until the 22nd, but we’re all waiting to see what the strong south-easterly winds will bring (apart from a coating of salt spray on the Obs windows!).

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