Friday 14 October 2011

October rolls on, but when will we get some easterlies?

A few days since a roundup, so I’ll just give you some of the facts in what has been a few days dominated by continued westerly winds:
The female Lesser Scaup remained on Buness until 9th, it was trapped and ringed on 7th allowing the special experience of seeing this species in the hand (note that the reports that the bird was reidentified as a Scaup have nothing to do with FIBO and have come as a bit of a puzzle to us). A Citrine Wagtail was at the Walli Burn on 10th, a quite late record after a good year for this species.
Note to British Birds: Knot playing Twister.
A large arrival of thrushes on 9th saw counts of 2892 Redwing, 156 Fieldfare, 78 Song Thrush, 59 Blackbird and a Ring Ouzel, although few other species were involved in the fall. Other passerine migrants were generally quite thin on the ground, with two Yellow-browed Warblers and a Barred Warbler (8th), Hawfinch (trapped at the Obs on 9th), a Spotted Flycatcher until10th, the first autumn Reed Bunting (from 9th), Crossbill (11th), a lingering Flava wagtail, a couple of Greenfinch and a smattering of Lesser and Common Redpolls. Small flocks of Snow Bunting and Lapland Bunting remained scattered across the island, a Short-eared Owl was seen (10th - 11th), there were ringtail Hen Harriers on 6th – 9th and 12th and a Water Rail in the Gully that continued to evade capture.
Wildfowl passage included over 80 Barnacle Geese (10th), Pintail (9th), 3 Velvet Scoter (11th), a few Long-tailed Ducks and a Goldeneye.
This Whooper Swan (Yellow E6F) was ringed at Martin Mere WWT in February 2010 and seen at Welney WWT in winter 2010/2011 before stopping at Setter yesterday. Thanks to the WWT for the very fast feedback on this bird.
Other sightings offshore included Grey Phalarope (11th), Great Northern Diver (12th), Slavonian Grebe, a couple of Arctic Skua, three Arctic Terns (10th), Little Auks (one on 9th and 6 on 10th), Glaucous Gull (8th) and 12 ‘Blue’ Fulmars.
Lots of Fulmars were passing Buness today including birds in various shades of 'grey' and 'blue'.
Birds, or trying to find them, has taken up a lot of our time, but the end of the season is rapidly approaching so a few other jobs are needing to be done. Rob, currently Domestic Volunteer at FIBO (but also seabird researcher and stand in warden this year and holder of various other posts at the Obs in recent years) is heading off for the winter soon, so this Saturday will see his leaving do, although I'm not sure I'll post any of the pictures (it depends on whether I'm the only one who turns up in fancy dress!). We've also taken part in the last Sheep Hill of the season, which was good fun as ever and a bit of an eye-opener for some of our visitors (I'll not say where they are wardens of, but maybe they've been working with seals for too long) who hadn't realised sheep could move so fast!
Will poised and ready for some sheep action.

All going to plan so far, but the sheep seemed to suss out the first timers and made a break for it inbetween them!

Unsurprisingly, the Short-toed Lark disappeared from the Sheep Cru, but the Lapland Bunting remained for the day - it's even in this picture if you look closely.

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