Friday, 28 April 2017

NORTH RONALDSAY - 28th April

An awesome day with hardly any wind and plenty of sunshine; the light northerly wind gradually swung round to straight east so there was plenty of hope!   The nets at Holland first thing produced a Willow Warbler, a pair of Reed Buntings, some Starlings and Linnets and re-trap Blackcap and Goldcrest while a Swallow and a Song Thrush were also around.

                There wasn’t too much new around the middle census route with the first Ruff of the year on Ancum the highlight but there were some signs of passage with a male Merlin seen heading high north and a few Herring Gulls doing the same; other birds included the pair of Garganey on Ancum, a Chiffchaff, 5 Wheatears and 2 Bar-tailed Godwits in with the good numbers of Purple Sandpipers and Turnstone at Westness.


Garganey

Shoveler

Redshank


Skylark

Pink-footed Geese

Thursday, 27 April 2017

NORTH RONALDSAY - 27th April


Still cold and very windy but it gradually eased down through the afternoon so I left it until later to walk the west coast census route where birds included a stunning male Snow Bunting, 5 Bonxies, 2 Arctic Skuas, 22 Wheatears, a Redwing, a Great-northern Diver, 2 Red-throated Divers and a Merlin back down by the Obs.
                It had calmed down enough to open some nets at Holland in the evening where we managed to catch a Blackcap, a Chiffchaff, 2 Redwings and some Linnets; the pair of Garganey were on the scrap just north of the garden and a Swallow was flying around the buildings while a flock of 26 Redshank flew high north calling loudly.

Stunner!

Turnstone






Bonxies


Bonxie and Arctic Skua

and another Bonxie!


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

NORTH RONALDSAY - 26th April


Still cold and wintery but slightly lighter winds, more sunshine and fewer snow showers; there were some increases in numbers around the Hooking census route with 53 Wheatears on The Links along with higher wader totals including 58 Ringed Plover, 17 Dunlin, 65 Turnstone and 2 Knot (first ones since 9th March!).

                Other birds included the pair of Garganey on Hooking, 5 Black-tailed Godwits, a Whimbrel, a Snow Bunting, a 2nd year male Sparrowhawk, 2 Great-northern Divers, 2 Arctic Skuas, 2 Pink-footed Geese, 6 Redwing and a Robin in Holland.



Wheatears

Snow Bunting

Knot

Snow Bunting


Tuesday, 25 April 2017

NORTH RONALDSAY - 25th April

Another tough day to be out in the field with a blazing force 7 northerly wind and numerous snow/hail showers whipping through; I walked the Bridesness census route in the afternoon where birds included a nice flock of 24 Black-tailed Godwits, my overdue first Blackcap of the spring, 21 Pink-footed Geese, 7 Red-breasted Mergansers, 8 Gadwall, a Whimbrel, 230 Golden Plover and 10 Wheatears.




Black-tailed Godwits

and then it snowed...
Wren


Monday, 24 April 2017

NORTH RONALDSAY - 24th April

A shocking morning with a freezing cold northerly wind bringing heavy, persistent snow showers sweeping down across the island however, it brightened up in the afternoon albeit still very cold; birds around the Obs census route included the Black-throated Diver which reappeared in Nouster along with 3 Great-northern Divers, a Grey Plover seen coming in across the sea into the bay, several Bonxies and an Arctic Skua floating around, a Chiffchaff at Holland, 4 Wheatears, 2 Sandwich Terns and 510+ Golden Plover.






Eider drakes displaying and fighting

over females

Record shot of the Black-throated Diver


Turnstone


There's a really aggressive Lapwing just up the road!

Chiffchaff




Sunday, 23 April 2017

NORTH RONALDSAY - 23rd April

The wind had dropped off first thing but there were long periods of light rain; I had a two hour seawatch at first light where the highlights were my first 2 Manx Shearwaters of the year, my first 5 Arctic Skuas of the year (four dark and one light phase), 10 Bonxies and 615 Fulmars including a pretty dark Blue Fulmar.   We then climbed the Beacon to ring the three Raven chicks.

                Birds around the northern census route then included a juvenile Iceland Gull on Trolla, an increased total of 32 Wheatears, another flyover dark phase Arctic Skua, a Whimbrel and 4 Redwings before heavier rain moved in and the winds picked up again and pretty much ended the day.


Iceland Gull

Whimbrel



From six eggs to three ugly chicks!


Saturday, 22 April 2017

NORTH RONALDSAY - 22nd April

Bright conditions but we kept the very strong, cold westerly winds so the middle census route was unsurprisingly pretty quiet as birds of note included 5 Redwing, 8 Wheatears, 2 smart summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits and the usual selection of waders at Westness including Purple Sandpipers, Turnstone and Ringed Plover.


Bar-tailed Godwit