Tuesday, 13 November 2018

NORTH RONALDSAY - 13th November

Fine weather again being almost flat calm at first light so I opened the nets at Holland which produced 4 Blackcaps, 2 Robins and a Woodcock while 2 Greenfinches and a Common Redpoll came out of roost.   A walk round the northern census route was then quiet albeit pleasant in the sunny conditions as birds of note just included the male Hen Harrier, 2 Jack Snipe, 7 Red-throated Divers, 14 Pintail, 10 Gadwall, 140 Wigeon, a Merlin and 10 Twite heading south.


NORTH RONALDSAY - 12th November

Another lovely day with light to moderate southerly winds and lots of bright, unbroken sunshine; it was very pleasant out in the field but there were few new birds with raptors the highlight in the fine weather comprising 3 Hen Harriers (a near-adult male and two first years), a young male Peregrine, a Kestrel and a Merlin all being seen on multiple occasions as they dashed around while the main oddity was a late Sooty Shearwater close in off The Links.

                Other totals through the day with time spent around The Obs, Hooking and Brides census routes included 9 Red-throated Diver, 4 Herons, 6 Whooper Swans (a family party of five south and the lone bird still on Gretchen – which may be unable to fly), the 5 Pink-footed Geese, 275 Wigeon, 12 Gadwall, 6 Pintail, 18 Tufted Ducks, 18 Long-tailed Duck, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, a single Ruff in fields near Holland, a Woodcock, 18 Bar-tailed Godwits, 14 Skylark, 10 Meadow Pipits, 8 Rock Pipit, a Robin, 4 Chaffinch, a Brambling, a Greenfinch, 4 Linnets, a notably increased 60 Twite (with several flocks seen heading south), 4 Common Redpolls, 2 Snow Bunting and 4 Reed Buntings.

Hen Harrier


NORTH RONALDSAY - 11th November

A lovely day with light SSE winds and plenty of bright sunshine; a walk round the south end of the island first thing produced the usual array of birds including 16 Red-throated Divers, 3 Great-northern Divers, single Whooper Swan, Pink-footed Goose and Barnacle Goose with the Greylags, the Green-winged Teal on Gretchen, 3 Pintail, a Kestrel, 9 Meadow Pipits (including seven out to the south), a Chiffchaff, 9 Chaffinches, a Brambling, 36 Twite and 15 Snow Buntings.   After the Remembrance ceremony at the Memorial birds seen during a walk round Lenswick and Westness comprised 5 Herons, a Hen Harrier, a Jack Snipe, 14 Skylark, 16 Rock Pipits, another Brambling and 4 Reed Buntings.

                It was very calm by the evening so I opened the nets at Holland where a surprising selection of new birds included a Long-eared Owl, a Woodpigeon (a very young one with no neck patch), a Woodcock, 3 Robins, 3 Blackcap and a Greenfinch.




NORTH RONALDSAY - 10th November

A much better day with far lighter SSE winds and the sun coming out in the afternoon; walked round the north and south ends of the island and managed to open some nets at Holland in the evening, there was a good selection of birds but nothing really new; totals included 7 Red-throated Divers, a Great-northern Diver, 4 Herons, a Whooper Swan, the 5 Pink-footed Geese and the Barnacle Goose with 822 Greylags, 14 Gadwall, the Green-winged Teal on Gretchen, 8 Pintail, a drake Goldeneye at Brides, 2 Hen Harriers, single Sparrowhawk and Kestrel, a Jack Snipe, 5 Woodcock, 2 Black-headed Gulls, 285 Herring Gulls (big flock at the top end again), 6 Skylark, 2 Robins, 86 Blackbird, 187 Fieldfare, 4 Song Thrush, 223 Redwing, a lingering Chiffchaff in Holland where there was also a Goldcrest, 8 Chaffinch, a Brambling, 30 Twite, 2 Common Redpoll and 21 Snow Buntings.

Green-winged Teal


Friday, 9 November 2018

NORTH RONALDSAY - 9th November

A difficult day with a blazing force 8 SSE wind but I walked around Hooking and Brides, concentrating on the coast at high tide (with a little look up at Bewan later as well) and the main feature was a good build-up of Gulls in the stormy weather including a smart 3cy Kumlien’s Gull feeding in the surf at Brides (not an age I’m very familiar with) in amongst totals of 190 Common Gulls, 516 Herring Gulls and 270 Great Black-backed Gulls.

                Other birds included a Red-throated Diver, 2 Great-northern Divers, the Barnacle Goose (which has a white darvic ring – YUB was ringed on Islay in 2013), 14 Long-tailed Ducks, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Hen Harrier, 2 Merlin, increased totals of 138 Ringed Plover and 45 Dunlin with big flocks on The Links, a Jack Snipe, 2 Black-headed Gulls, 11 Rock Pipits, a Robin, 62 Fieldfare, 95 Redwing, a Jackdaw by the lighthouse, a single Common Redpoll at Holland and 7 Snow Buntings.

Kumlien's Gull

Barnacle Goose

NORTH RONALDSAY - 8th November

A much nicer day with lighter SE winds and plenty of bright, unbroken sunshine; unfortunately, due to other commitments (drinking in Kirkwall!) coverage was limited to the afternoon and just around the Obs and Holland but included a Whooper Swan, 5 Pink-footed Geese with the Greylags, the Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen where there was also a drake Goldeneye (only the second of the autumn), single Hen Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Merlin, 2 Ruff in fields near Holland – first ones since mid-October and only the fourth November record, 4 Woodcock, a Black-headed Gull, 3 Meadow Pipits, 35 Blackbirds (including a Danish control bird trapped at Holland at dusk), 42 Fieldfare, 2 Song Thrush, 55 Redwing, 2 Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff, 6 Chaffinches, a Brambling, 35 Twite and a Common Redpoll.



NORTH RONALDSAY - 7th November

More promising conditions through the day as we kept the strong SE winds and combined it with low cloud, murk and a few drops of rain (where were these conditions a month ago?!); there was a small selection of new birds across the island including a decent arrival of Thrushes as totals included 2 Hen Harriers, a Kestrel, 2 Merlin (including a new adult male), 5 Woodcock, 5 Meadow Pipits,4 Rock Pipits, 5 Robins, 80 Blackbird, 257 Fieldfare, 4 Song Thrush, 177 Redwing, a Blackcap, 2 Jackdaws, 6 Chaffinches, 3 Linnets, 42 Twite, 19 Common Redpolls and 28 Snow Buntings.

                Other counts of note comprised 2 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great-northern Divers, 5 Herons, 2 Whooper Swans, the Barnacle Goose, 253 Wigeon, 8 Gadwall, 160 Teal, 80 Mallard, 15 Pintail, 9 Shoveler, 16 Tufted Duck and 5 Red-breasted Mergansers.