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


Strong easterly wind through the day but bright and sunny; a Swift flew south over the Obs and there were still 2 Red-necked Phalaropes on Gretchen before I walked round the Hooking census route where the waders on The Links were the most notable birds with a Grey Plover, 10 Bar-tailed Godwits and an increase to 52 Sanderling the highlights.   Other birds included 20+ Sand Martins, 5 Shoveler, 8 Teal, 73 Lapwings and 40 Redshank.

                A brief whizz round a few sites in the afternoon produced 5 Whimbrel, 684+ Golden Plover, 160+ Dunlin and 12 Knot around Westness and 2,500+ Arctic Terns, 44 Knot and 60 Dunlin at Bewan.

Angry Fulmar chick

Some big Black Guillemot chicks are not far from fledging

Fledgling Wren


The wind dropped right off by early morning leaving a lovely, sunny, calm day; started off by mist-netting a few Tysties at The Lurn and then searched Westness for Tystie chicks.   Walked a bit of the Bridesness census route in the afternoon where the highlight was a Spotted Redshank heard and seen distantly over the loch, other birds included 97 Dunlin and 30 Redshank on the good looking muddy centre of Brides Loch, 204 Golden Plover and 4 Collared Doves.

Golden Plover


Sedge Warbler

Another colour ringed Shag


Still very windy but largely dry with only a couple of drizzly spells; a walk round the Obs census route in the morning produced the Black-throated Diver still in the bay and the 5 Red-necked Phalaropes still on Gretchen with the two juvenile Garganey, 4 Shoveler and 27 Dunlin.   There were then 160 Dunlin, 6 Knot, 16 Ringed Plover, 20 Turnstone and 35 Redshank at Westness before we all went back up to Bewan to get more views of the White-winged Black Tern roosting on the rocks at Bewan with the huge flock 5,000+ Arctic Terns.

                Another look at Gretchen mid-afternoon produced a Swift flying low across the loch with 12 Sand Martins and two nice summer plumaged Knot with the Dunlin flock before the White-winged Black Tern appeared out of nowhere to try and roost with the Arctic Terns but they weren’t impressed and chased it off a few times!   It did rest for 20 minutes before heading off towards Nouster.

White-winged Black Tern at Gretchen

Black Guillemot

Sunday, 16 July 2017


A windy morning gradually increasing to a very windy afternoon with some really nasty, heavy showers sweeping through; went up to Bewan first thing and finally (after two previous attempts) connected with the stunning adult summer WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERN roosting on the rocks by the Beacon with 4,000+ Arctic Terns - it was seen briefly a week ago and equally briefly last night and was only around for a short period this morning but there are thousands of Arctic Terns all over the place so it’s hard to check every flock!

                The cut fields up the island were also full of birds including 750+ Golden Plover, 459 Oystercatchers, 17 Bar-tailed Godwit and 60+ Curlew.   Didn’t really do much else until late afternoon when Gretchen was very productive as birds of note comprised the 5 Red-necked Phalaropes still, the two juvenile Garganey, an influx of 104 Dunlin and 30 Redshank, 4 Shoveler, 4 Sanderling and single Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit.

White-winged Black Tern on the rocks at Bewan

Arctic Skuas still chasing Tysties