Sunday, 30 July 2017


Got back in the afternoon from a night in Kirkwall to a nice, sunny day; had a little look around Bewan where there were 59 Knot (including a yellow flagged individual which took ages to read!), 30+ Dunlin and c300 Arctic Terns.   There was a Green Sandpiper, a Red-necked Phalarope and 10 Teal on Gretchen in the evening.

Black Guillemots

Colour ringed Knot - ringed at Porsanger at the top of Norway in 2007, it has been re-sighted there every year since as well as a few sightings in The Netherlands.   This is the first time its been seen across this side of the North Sea

Purple Sandpiper

Wednesday, 26 July 2017


Bright through the morning with a brisk easterly breeze, there was a single Red-necked Phalarope still on Gretchen before a walk up the west coast census route produced not much with just 6 Whimbrel and 6 Arctic Skuas of note including the breeding pair on Torness with their one chick still going – pretty much fully feathered but it is a bit skinny.   Heavy rain and strong wind hits just after lunchtime, pretty much ending the day.

Arctic Skua chick

Fulmar chicks


Overcast and calm throughout with a few brief spells of drizzle through the day, we failed to catch many Black Guillemots first thing with a Red-necked Phalarope still on Gretchen and 6 Arctic Skuas patrolling the coast with single Red-throated and Black-throated Divers in Nouster.

Walked round the Hooking census route in a couple of instalments where birds included 9 Black-tailed Godwits, 133 Sanderling, 128 Lapwings, 113 Redshank, a Swift over the loch and at least 5 fledgling Arctic Terns at the North Links colony.

Very young Arctic Tern fledgling

Curlew seeing off a Great Black-backed Gull

Juvenile Sedge Warbler from a few days ago


Overcast throughout the day with spells of light drizzle coming and going; I had a seawatch for an hour first thing which produced 2 Manx Shearwaters, a Storm Petrel and 103 Puffins before a walk round the Brides census route didn’t produce too much with just the Black-throated Diver, 71 Dunlin, 36 Sanderling, 57 Curlew and the 4 Collared Doves of note.

                The drizzly afternoon dropped a few waders in with a juvenile Wood Sandpiper at Cauldhame the highlight along with a few bits of Gretchen including a Little Stint and 11 Black-tailed Godwits.

Wood Sandpiper


Black-tailed Godwits

Great Black-backed Gull fledgling


Pleasant throughout with a brisk northerly wind; nets at Holland first thing produced juvenile Swallow and Sedge Warbler before birds around the Obs census route included 2 Red-necked Phalaropes still and the Black-throated Diver again along with 425 Golden Plover, 7 Dunlin, 16 Sanderling and 5 Arctic Skuas still hammering the Tysties bringing fish into their colonies.

                Not much else through the day but I managed to catch some Fulmars in Nouster and amongst the re-traps was a bird originally ringed in 1995.

Juvenile Arctic Tern

Rocks (and a Purple Sandpiper)

More Arctic Skua v Black Guillemot action

Monday, 24 July 2017


Similar day again, bright and sunny but with a brisk easterly breeze, went up to the north end and Westness first thing where there were plenty of birds but again, nothing really different; wader totals included 360 Oystercatchers, 273 Dunlin, 5 Whimbrel, 51 Knot and c50 Curlew while a Heron came in off the sea from the north and there were the usual c2,000 Arctic Terns (more on the rocks at Iris Taing than at Bewan!).

                Went around the coast from The Lurn to the airstrip late morning to ring some more Tystie chicks with the 2 Red-necked Phalaropes still on Gretchen where there were also 2 Greenshank, 300+ Golden Plover and 2 Swifts.

1st summer Arctic Tern


Sunday, 23 July 2017


A fine day but pretty breezy, I walked round the middle census route first thing where there were plenty of birds with some good wader counts but nothing really different; waders included 27 Purple Sandpipers (on Trinley), 228+ Dunlin, 6 Sanderling, 35 Turnstone, 115+ Redshank, 220+ Oystercatchers, 3 Whimbrel and 6 Bar-tailed Godwits while 195+ Common Gulls were also in the fields and 3 Herons were at Ancum.

                Cleaned up a few last Arctic Tern chicks in the afternoon (c10 have fledged – a poor year!) as well as ringing the single Arctic Skua chick on Torness while 2 Greenshank flew over Grind – my first of the autumn.

The Arctic Skua chick is now ringed

This Ringed Plover chick was on the airfield

Arctic Tern


Sedge Warbler

Even when you're fully grown and fledged, Bonxies will still get you, as this Shelduckling found out!

Knot and Dunlin

Painted Lady

Thursday, 20 July 2017


A horrible day with thick fog, low cloud, drizzle and spells of heavier rain pretty much throughout; there was just a single Red-necked Phalarope left on Gretchen along with 11 Dunlin, 14 Teal and 4 Shoveler.   A look round the top end was quiet with fewer Terns and waders with just c50 Dunlin, 22 Knot and 8 Bar-tailed Godwits of note while a Swift was hawking low over Garso.

Sand Martin




Reed Bunting