Despite the forecast, we woke up to a calm, bright day with just a light NE wind. The seemingly perfect conditions did indeed bring birds in, with several additions to the year list. A Great Grey Shrike headed the cast, with the other birds new to 2012 being Hen Harrier (a ringtail that flew north just before lunch), Swallow, Tree Pipit, Arctic Skua and Barnacle Goose (five of the latter went south).
Having been seen by Susannah from the minibus this morning, the Great Grey Shrike was able to be enjoyed be the whole team later when it was trapped in the Plantation. It was also found to have killed a Robin and hung its body in the Plantation.
A general increase in migrants saw counts of: 1 Grey Heron , 2 Woodcock, 7 Woodpigeon, Long-eared Owl, 2 Short-eared Owl, Goldcrest, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, 5 Blackcap, 27 Blackbird, 20 Fieldfare, 34 Song Thrush, 37 Redwing, 24 Robin, 2 Black Redstart, 65 Wheatear , 4 Dunnock, 3 White Wagtail, 270 Meadow Pipit, 18 Brambling (14 of which were caught by Becki in an impressive session in the Obs mistnets),1 Siskin, a flyover Redpoll sp. and 2 Lapland Bunting. A movement of gulls also saw an Iceland Gull and five Lesser-black-backed Gulls along with good numbers of Common Gulls. Finally, despite all the comings and goings, the Green-winged Teal remained on Da Water.
We also saw the arrival of Sammy, our new Ranger, on the morning flight (having been spared a crossing on the Good Shepherd by the high seas yesterday cancelling the sailing) as the team nears completion and the start of the visitor season gets ever closer. Speaking of which, several weeks are now fully booked for this year, although there are still gaps in most months. A few cancellations have also resulted in some rooms becoming available in the 'peak' period, including a couple for five nights from 19th September (and one room from 18th for six nights), one room from 26th-28th (3 nights) September and one room from 1st-4th October (5 nights), whilst there are now two spaces in the dormitory room from 28th September throughout October.