Saturday, 30 August 2014

Getting better...

28th-29th August
The wind has stayed in the east for the last couple of days, with heavy rain overnight on 28th/29th and again from late afternoon on 29th. With the strong, gusty conditions on 28th, birding was a bit trickier as a lot of the birds present were staying sheltered in dense rose bushes, but there were a few new bits and pieces in, although the highlights of 2 Barred Warblers, 3 Common Rosefinch and a Wood Warbler were all probably lingerers. Kestrels had increased to 4, Pied Flycatchers to 11 and the first Whinchat of the autumn was seen, whilst the consolation for those on a choppy Good Shepherd crossing (it is smooth and pleasant sometimes, honest!), was around 20 White-beaked Dolphins about 6 miles north of Fair Isle.
A couple of Barred Warblers have been lingering around the crofts, often showing well at times. (photo: Alex Penn)
A sunny start to 29th saw a totally blank 7am trap round, with that score equalled two hours later, however it soon became apparent that there were actually new birds in, with the walk to Chalet producing 10 Willow Warblers and then 2 Wrynecks following each other around the Chalet garden, whilst the Common Rosefinch and Wood Warbler were both still present at the same site. By the end of census, 5 Wrynecks had been found, with a new Barred Warbler joining two lingering birds. There were also the first two Sparrowhawk of the autumn and the first Common Tern and Carrion Crow of the month, with increases noted for Willow Warbler (47), Garden Warbler (7), Whinchat (2) and Rock Pipit (293) amongst others. There was also a Reed Warbler, Swift  and 2 Fieldfare to add to the haul.
It was a quiet autumn for Wrynecks in 2013 (with just one recorded), but 2014 has already seen 8 in this season.
An obvious increase in waders was particularly notable around the Skadan and it produced the first Little Stint of the year late in the day, with a Whimbrel also amongst the larger numbers of commoner species.
A little hint for how the 30th will go, with the rain easing off just before 7am and the wind also dropping, so it looks like really promising conditions. There are at least a couple of Willow Warblers around the Obs and morning traps produced Reed, Garden and 2 Willow Warblers (as well as Rock Pipit and 3 Fulmars!), so it suggests we could be in for a good day…

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