Monday, 11 December 2017

NORTH RONALDSAY - 11th December

A lovely day with light northerly winds and plenty of sunshine (still cold though!); a productive two hour seawatch first thing comprised a Black-throated Diver with 9 Great-northern Divers and 3 Red-throated Divers, 922 Fulmars (with 11 Blue ones including a very dark, almost black looking individual!), 45 Kittiwakes, 6 Puffins, a single Little Auk and 3,431 Auk sp.   Other birds in the north included 14 Snow Buntings, 4 Goldeneye and 5 Pintail.

                The Common Redpoll reappeared at The Lurn (presumably it will try and overwinter now) along with 4 more Snow Buntings, 2 Great-northern Divers and 8 Tysties.


Long-tailed Ducks

Sunday, 10 December 2017

NORTH RONALDSAY - 10th December

The wind mercifully died down from mid-morning becoming very pleasant in the afternoon; I walked round the coast from Gretchen all the way to The Links where birds included 10 Great-northern Divers, 6 Red-throated Divers, 3 Herons, an adult Whooper Swan by Brides, 35 Long-tailed Ducks, a female Common Scoter which flew past Nouster, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, the wintering Grey Plover, 65 Ringed Plovers, 64 Sanderling, 84 Dunlin, 255 Purple Sandpipers and a Black-headed Gull.   Passerines which came out of the woodwork in the calm weather included 69 Snow Buntings, single Song Thrush and Fieldfare, 11 Redwings, 3 Skylarks, 6 Robins, 4 Meadow Pipits, 12 Rock Pipits and the Chaffinch still around Nouster.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

NORTH RONALDSAY - 9th December

Still very windy with huge waves and long, heavy snow and hail showers; spent a few hours at the top end where the highlights were 3 Glaucous Gulls (two juveniles and a different adult) and a juvenile Iceland Gull (which may have had some kumlieni in there somewhere).   Other birds included 32 Snow Buntings, an increased 7 Goldeneye, 10 Pintail, 22 Bar-tailed Godwits and 21 Curlew.

Juvenile Glaucous Gull

Adult Glaucous Gull

Great Black-backed Gull in the waves

Iceland Gull

NORTH RONALDSAY - 8th December

Incredibly rough weather due to ‘Storm Caroline’ produced a decent, if tricky night of dazzling as I managed to catch a range of birds including 6 Common Gulls, 8 Turnstone, 4 Sanderling, 2 Purple Sandpipers and a Redshank, it was extremely wild out there allowing to walk in amongst flocks of roosting Gulls searching in vain for something unusual and to pick up Turnstone and Purple Sandpipers by hand as they just crouched there!   I could have caught much more but I became choosy, walking past many things looking for more interesting stuff but had to give up as I literally couldn’t stand up around the north end let alone control the net or catch birds safely!

                The day was still very windy with frequent snow and hail showers sweeping through but there were plenty of birds around the coast from the Obs to Brides (where it was vaguely sheltered) with the only highlights being 2 Glaucous Gulls (an adult and a juvenile) off Brides and the Grey Plover still along that coast.

Glaucous Gull

Red-breasted Mergansers

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

NORTH RONALDSAY - 5th December

Wet and windy throughout but the shrinking moon and increasing wind and rain produced a good night’s dazzling with a Water Rail caught in Loch Park and a female Teal caught at Bewan along with 3 Ringed Plovers, a Turnstone and 2 Snipe.


Water Rail

Sunday, 3 December 2017

NORTH RONALDSAY - 3rd December

Dry with a brisk NW wind, I walked round the coast from the Obs to Brides with the highlight being a very distinctive big Gull which flew past me in Nouster which showed many characteristics of a second winter American Herring Gull (we’ll see what becomes of it anyway!).   Other birds included 14 Snow Buntings, 210+ Common Gulls feeding in the surf, 3 Pintail, 12 Shoveler, 15 Tufted Duck, 7 Gadwall, 5 Meadow Pipits, 2 Robins and 7 Redwings.

                A little walk round the coast by the Obs in the afternoon then produced 32 Snow Buntings, the one remaining Common Redpoll in the sheep pund still, 320+ Golden Plover, just one Great-northern Diver and the adult female Hen Harrier drifting across Loch Park.

Possible American Herring Gull

Common Redpoll

Pink-footed Goose

Friday, 1 December 2017

NORTH RONALDSAY - 1st December

A big change in the weather with the winds swinging back into the west and dying down to almost nothing for a while but the change brought waves of mist, murk and drizzle which drifted in and out through the day; a seawatch first thing before the weather closed in produced a Sooty Shearwater, 526 Fulmars (with one Blue one), 6 Great-northern Divers, 65 Gannets, 18 Kittiwakes and single Little Auk and Puffin with 674 Auk sp.   There were then 13 Pintail, 17 Gadwall and a Merlin around Bewan.

                Other birds included a Water Rail around the Obs, still one Common Redpoll on the coast at The Lurn and 2 Pink-footed Geese by Holland before a look round Southness / Brides produced a Fieldfare, 7 Redwings, 4 Meadow Pipits, 2 Skylarks and 2 more Pintail while offshore there were 6 Red-breasted Mergansers and 9 Long-tailed Ducks.