Monday, 21 January 2013

20th January

The Obs from South Haven, where a quick beach comb produced a cuttlefish bone but nothing else of note.
The strong east and south east winds of the last few days abated and this morning was calm, cold and rather pleasant, with just a light dusting of snow on the hills and a few frozen puddles. It appears that a lot of the Fieldfares have cleared out, but there were still plenty of Blackbirds and a slight increase in Redwing. Three each of Lapwing and Golden Plover, a Woodcock, an increase in Curlew (around 30 were noted) and an Oystercatcher (the first of the year) were possibly signs of birds fleeing harsher conditions further south. There hasn’t been a big increase in wildfowl, although during the last few days there have been a couple each of Wigeon and Teal, along with single Long-tailed Duck, Goldeneye, Common Scoter and Red-breasted Merganser, so at least there’s been some variety and the Greenland White-fronted Goose also remains, although the Greylag flock has yet to pull in anything else.
A Ring-billed Gull that turned up on Shetland at Scalloway recently was shown from photographs to be a different bird to ours and that was confirmed without doubt this morning when I watched our Ring-billed Gull floating around the fields at Setter whilst the Scalloway bird was seen at the same time in its usual place.
The wintering female Great Tit (which is currently spending much of its time at Burkle) now sports a shiny new FIBO ring as Del took advantage of the calm conditions to get a bit of mist-netting done, but the Heligoland traps have been very quiet as is usual for this time of year. Sadly, the wintering Robin at the Obs seems to have disappeared, so our Big Garden Birdwatch list is likely to be down to four species, unless this next batch of SE gales bring in any surprises.
The sun setting behind one of the island wind turbines. I'll try to get some pictures of birds for the next blog update!

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