Friday 1 June 2012

The end of spring?

The last couple of days have seen a definite change in the daily routine, with the focus switching increasingly from migrants to the breeding birds. The wind has also switched to a less than helpful light northerly, which seems to have temporarily at least scuppered our chance for a good spring to be capped with an outrageous rare. With Hartlepool scooping the headline bird again and frequent messages from my erstwhile colleagues on the Farne Islands as they enjoy an excellent run of migrants (see for pics of a cracking male Rustic Bunting today), along with a few decent birds turning up on Shetland, there's certainly been the incentive for keeping going, but the migrants have been a bit thin on the ground here.

The Wood Sandpiper at Da Water has showed well at times.
A couple of big (in the literal sense) birds that have passed through were a low flying Osprey on 30th and a female Marsh Harrier at Wester Lother on 31st. New migrants included a Wood Sandpiper on Da Water (29th-31st), the first Reed Warbler at the year (at Schoolton) from 28th-31st, Grey Wagtail (28th-29th), Ring Ouzel (29th and 31st), a lovely pair of Snow Buntings (29th) and a Redwing (30th). Lingering birds included a selection of common warblers, 3 Icterine Warblers to 30th (with none on 31st bringing an end to 11 consecutive days of sightings), a corking red male Common Rosefinch (which was trapped at the Obs on 31st), Turtle Dove (to 30th), a couple of Mealy Redpoll and Siskin, a Whinchat and up to a dozen Spotted Flycatchers. A Painted Lady was the first butterfly of the year on 28th and the moth trap has started catching a few common species.
The breeding season is slower up here than in a lot of the UK, but several species now have chicks, including Mallards with this brood seen on Da Water on Thursday.
So, not a bad selection, but lets not forget the highlights of early Junes past: Bimaculated Lark, Cretzschmar's Bunting, Citril Finch, Hermit Thrush, Yellow-rumped Warbler and Collared Pratincole are just some of the birds to have graced Fair Isle at this time of year, so let's see what happens in the next week...

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