Wednesday, 20 September 2017

NORTH RONALDSAY - 20th September

The wind finally swung round into the SE but it wasn’t coming from that far away so the northern census route was amazingly quiet again with no grounded passerine migrants; birds seen though included 10 Rock Pipits, 28 Purple Sandpipers, 51 Wigeon, single Arctic Tern and Arctic Skua offshore and 3 Knot.   A bit of a walk round Hooking in the afternoon before rain moved in produced a Wood Sandpiper, 2 Merlins and a Lesser Whitethroat at Scotsha while there was a Goldcrest and a Robin at the Obs giving some slight encouragement.

NORTH RONALDSAY - 19th September

A pleasant day with the light wind still in the NW; the day started well at the nets at Holland with the highlight being a cracking young female Bluethroat with a calling Yellow-browed Warbler, a Common Rosefinch which took off to the north, a Garden Warbler, a Blackcap and 3 Willow Warblers also in the garden.

                The middle census route in the afternoon sunshine was disappointingly quiet with no grounded migrants at all but other birds included single Merlin and Kestrel, a flyover Redpoll sp. 34 Wigeon, 11 Shoveler, 10 Gadwall, 38 Teal and 9 Black-tailed Godwits.


Sunday, 17 September 2017

NORTH RONALDSAY - 17th September

A lovely day with the much lighter northerly breeze eventually swinging round to the NE as promised; the nets at Holland first thing produced an adult Marsh Warbler (an extremely fat bird with a score of 7 and which weighed 19.4g!!), yesterday’s Barred Warbler again, 3 Willow Warblers and a Peregrine overhead chasing Golden Plovers.

                I caught my first Yellow-browed Warbler of the year at the Obs before heading out to the Hooking census route which was pretty quiet with just a Mealy Redpoll, a Lapland Bunting, a Willow Warbler and a Goldcrest in the gardens, a Grey Plover, 30 Black-tailed Godwits and 16 Bar-tailed Godwits on The Links and 75 Teal, 17 Shoveler, 11 Gadwall and 12 Tufted Ducks on the loch.

Marsh Warbler

Barred Warbler

Yellow-browed Warbler

Pied Wagtail

NORTH RONALDSAY - 16th September

The NW wind remained but there were very few showers and plenty of sunshine with a few new birds around; I caught a Barred Warbler in T1 in the morning where there was also a Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Lapland Buntings overhead.   The Bridesness census route was then fairly quiet with single Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff the only migrants along with a Grey Plover, 5 Herons and a Rock Pipit.

                Opened the nets at Holland in the evening where I caught another Barred Warbler, 2 Blackcaps and 3 Willow Warblers while a House Martin was flying round with the Swallows.



Bar-tailed Godwit

NORTH RONALDSAY - 15th September

A very similar day with a strong NW wind and regular showers so again, it was tough in the field with hardly anything to mention around the Obs census route with 6 Rock Pipits and 10 Purple Sandpipers around the sheltered coast at The Lurn and 2 Red-throated Divers in Nouster.

Colour ringed Shag off The Lurn


Ringed Plover

NORTH RONALDSAY - 14th September

A tough day with a very strong NW wind and very frequent showers coming through so the northern census route didn’t produce too much with 2 Curlew Sandpipers and a Little Stint on Bewan the highlights while 4 Sooty Shearwaters and 70+ Kittiwakes were offshore with a decent count of 1,406+ Golden Plovers in the fields on the way up to and on census.

Little Stint

Thursday, 14 September 2017

NORTH RONALDSAY - 13th September

A lovely day, bright with a light NW breeze with the highlights around the middle census route consisting of a flyover Common Rosefinch at Phisligar, a very flighty Barred Warbler around Burray/Brigg and a Wood Sandpiper which dropped into Ancum.   Other birds included more excellent counts of 81 Ruff and 94 Black-tailed Godwits (in E and on Cauldhame Flash), 70 Mallard, 24 Teal, 12 Shoveler, at least 6 Water Rails running around Ancum, a Reed Warbler, 3 Willow Warblers and 7 Lapland Buntings.

Reed Warbler


Tuesday, 12 September 2017

NORTH RONALDSAY - 11th September

Hard, driving rain from first thing right through to mid-afternoon put a dampener on things really but when it did clear the totals weren’t too bad in the Hooking census area with the Marsh Harrier drifting around again, a Grey Plover on The Links, an excellent 61 Black-tailed Godwits and 50 Ruff on the now very flooded fields at Cauldhame, a Kestrel and 5 Willow Warblers.

Purple skies

NORTH RONALDSAY - 10th September

A bit of a seawatch first thing in calm and cloudy conditions produced 28 Sooty Shearwaters, 3 Manx Shearwaters, 400 Gannets, 125 Razorbills, a Puffin and 5+ Risso’s Dolphins before I opened the nets at Holland for a couple of hours which only produced a young Swallow but the first Dunnock of the autumn was in the garden.   The Brides census route was then quiet as persistent but light rain moved in with the Marsh Harrier hunting over the Irises again the only real thing of note.

Tystie and Kitt

Hooded Crow

Colour ringed Common Gull from last year

NORTH RONALDSAY - 9th September

Not a bad morning with light westerly winds but nets were empty and then the Obs census was also pretty quiet with no real grounded migrants just some wader counts roosting at high tide including 19 Purple Sandpipers, 78 Turnstone, 23 Ringed Plovers, 16 Sanderling, single Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, 30 Curlew and a Whimbrel while a Sparrowhawk circled high over Nouster.

NORTH RONALDSAY - 8th September

After morning drizzle passed through it was a stunning, warm, sunny day with the nets first thing producing just re-trap birds including Lesser Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and 3 Willow Warblers before birds around the northern census route included a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Lapland Bunting, a flava Wagtail by the Beacon (probably a Blue-headed), 2 Goldcrests, a Willow Warbler, a summer plumaged Great-northern Diver offshore, 11 Black-tailed Godwits and a notable influx of 65 Wheatears.

                There was a Fulmar stranding in the traditional field at Brides in the afternoon and we ringed 77 new birds along with a re-trap that was ringed as a chick in 2014.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

NORTH RONALDSAY - 7th September

A decent morning with a light southerly breeze and birds around the middle census route included a/the Marsh Harrier quartering Ancum, 2 Whinchats, a Willow Warbler, 9 Herons, 62 Teal, 3 Gadwall, 21 Wigeon and 4 Black-tailed Godwits.   Rain moved in by lunchtime and lingered on and off for the rest of the afternoon which brought the day’s highlight as a cracking ARCTIC WARBLER was trapped in T1 early evening – an awesome ringing tick!

Arctic Warbler

and to compare, the Greenish Warbler from last month

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

NORTH RONALDSAY - 6th September

A miserable morning with the moderate S wind bringing wave after wave of drizzly rain but it brightened up by lunchtime to leave a nice, sunny afternoon; birds up the west coast included a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper on Westbeach, at least 3 Lapland Buntings around the Nether Linney stubble field and c400 Golden Plover on Torness with 5 Knot, 20 Dunlin and 55 Turnstone.   A look on The Links in the afternoon produced another 2 Lapland Buntings, 17 Bar-tailed Godwits and 120 Sanderling.

Curlew Sandpiper

Lapland Bunting

Juvenile Sanderling

and some more colour ringed adults

NORTH RONALDSAY - 5th September

The wind had died away dramatically but switched round to the south leaving a pleasant day; birds around the Hooking census route included a juvenile Marsh Harrier (been present for a few days but this is the first time I’ve caught up with it), a Sparrowhawk, 9 Black-tailed Godwits, 19 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Ruff, 81 Sanderling, 69 Ringed Plover, 8 Wigeon and good numbers of Meadow Pipits and alba Wagtails.   There was a Garden Warbler at the Obs and the first Lesser Whitethroat of the autumn at Holland on my way through.

                After a heavy rainstorm mid-afternoon I walked around the Brides area where migrants comprised a Reed Warbler and a Whinchat around Southness and a flock of 16 Wigeon came in.

NORTH RONALDSAY - 4th September

A dreadful day with a blazing force 7-8 SE wind combined with constant, heavy, driving rain for much of the day, not clearing up until the evening; I went out round the Brides census area in the afternoon when it was still raining where birds included the first Whitethroat of the autumn in Holland, 2 Greenshank on Brides, 9 Black-tailed Godwits, a Ruff, 33 Teal and 6 Shoveler.



NORTH RONALDSAY - 2nd September

Overcast through the morning with a moderate SW wind again so I had a three hour seawatch first thing which produced 122 Sooty Shearwaters, 13 Manx Shearwaters, a Red-throated Diver, 3 Arctic Skuas, 5 Bonxies, 813 Kittiwakes, 5 Arctic Terns, 8 Puffins and 280 Razorbills before a walk round the northern census route produced very little with just a handful of the usual waders.

                Another couple of hours seawatching in the afternoon really paid off as at 15:50 an awesome [presumed] FEA’S PETREL bombed past in big sweeping arcs, it was pretty far out but there was no mistaking the flight action even if limited details on the bird could be picked out!   A steady stream of Sooty and Manx Shearwaters also went through giving day totals of 337 Sooty Shearwaters and 45 Manx Shearwaters.

Adult and juvenile Purple Sandpiper

Another Purple Sandpiper



Black-tailed Godwit

Juvenile Twite