morning, with even a hint of drizzle early on and a continued light easterly
wind certainly felt good and there were clearly more birds about. Although the
species mix was generally similar to recent days, there were increases in
several species including counts of 44 Robin, 21 Dunnock, 18 Chiffchaff, 12 Goldcrest,
8 Chaffinch, 5 Wheatear, 4 Reed Bunting , 5 Woodpigeon, 12 Blackbird and 3
Redwing, whilst some commoner species showed large increases, with counts of 290
Skylark, 117 Meadow Pipit and 70 Rock Pipit. New birds in included 3 Mistle Thrush,
a new Stonechat and a Cormorant, whilst a smart male Merlin, a Black Redstart and 9
Snow Bunting were still around.
impressive haul of white-wingers included Kumlien’s, Glaucous and three Iceland
Gulls (maybe there’s hope for an Ivory Gull yet).
The most bizarre
bird of the day was one that Deryk first glimpsed at Burkle on Tuesday but which
was at Haa this morning; a female House Sparrow with a bright orange bill, brighter
legs than usual and white markings on the crown and cheeks. What is perhaps
most interesting about this aberrant bird is that it is very possibly a
migrant, as surely an individual as distinctive as that would have been noticed
over the winter if it was a local bird (the whole island House Sparrow
population is maybe only about 200-300 birds and they are mostly found at garden feeders).
towards spring were noted, with Fulmars and Rock Doves both seen copulating
(i.e. pairs of Fulmars and Rock Doves copulating, not some bizarre potential
hybrid combination that could produce chicks capable of gliding for hundreds of
miles across the ocean to eat crusts in a garden), whilst the
Peregrines were noted on the west cliffs apparently on a nest, which is great
Every day of
census so far has seen a gradual build up of birds and, with the easterly based
winds set to continue we’re hopeful for more. It was certainly good to
experience the first real feeling of a small fall this year and as the days tick on, there's an increasing chance of something even better.