Sunday 16 September 2012

Cry me a River.

The westerly winds have continued, although today was at least largely dry and sunny. As the winds started to ease a bit, there were a few hints that birds were on the move. A Barred Warbler (at Skerryholm) and 3 Common Rosefinch were all possibly lingering birds, but a Willow Warbler and Blackcap trapped in the afternoon were probably new-in and added to the small numbers of lingering common migrants. One of these, a Whinchat, was trapped yesterday and found to have been ringed here in the spring. This confirmed that the various summer sightings of Whinchat were of this one lingering bird, an unusually lengthy stay on the island for this species.
One bird which didn't manage to linger for long was the River Warbler that had been trapped here on 11th September. Sadly it was found dead today by the Obs plantation, the arduous crossing of the North Sea against the westerly winds evidently proving too much for it to recover from (it was in an emaciated condition when found).
Census counts of commoner migrants today showed reasonable increases in Wheatears (to 67) and Skylarks (113), whilst there were also 14 Snow Buntings and 13 Lapland Buntings. A few Pink-feet are still on the move, with 18 today, but a far more unseasonable sighting yesterday was the Puffin circling over the Roskillie colony with a mouthful of fish!
The River Warbler in happier times (photo by Sammy Fraser).

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