LATEST NEWS – 2023
Three Gadwall at the Rona crossing were only the 8th island record and first since 2017. A Long-eared Owl in the Top Garden was a first for the year. At least five Spotted Flycatchers were the only other apparent arrival.
The male Bluethroat remained and even gave bursts of song. A Spotted Flycatcher was new while there was a light hirundine passage.
A total clear out overnight however a new male Bluethroat appeared mid afternoon while the first Swifts (4) of the year flew over.
The day of the spring so far. The Icterine Warbler remained while a Red-breasted Flycatcher, and 2 male Bluethroats were found amongst a good scatter of common migrants. The highlight, however, was a Coot on the sea amongst the auks. The 11th island record and first since 1994. Black Redstart 2, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 3 Sedge Warbler, Spotted FLycatcher, Redstart 1, 3 Willow Warbler , 15 Chiffchaff, Common Redpoll 1
Almost no migrants on the isle until late afternoon when a Lesser Whitethroat and an Icterine Warbler appeared. Another of those occasions when a good bird appears almost on its own.
A Collared Dove heralded a trickle of common migrants. Common Scoter 23s, Curlew 1, Turnstone 1, Black-headed Gull 1, Wheatear 2, Chiffchaff 3, Sedge Warbler 1, Lesser Redpoll 1.
A quiet week with lingering Chiffchaffs about only migrants following a clear out after the influx on 12th May.
A cool, overcast day with a trickle of common warblers arriving and a Bluethroat. A female was trapped in the Arnott trap. Whimbrel 3, Common Scoter 33, Red-breasted Merganser 1, Manx Shearwater 1, Fieldfare 3, Whitethroat 3, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Blackcap 1, Willow Warbler 6, Chiffchaff 3, Sedge Warbler 1.
A quiet day on the isle but probably the warmest day of the year so far. Common Scoter 156, Red throated Diver 3, Kestrel 1, Sparrowhawk 1, Greylag Goose 1, Jackdaw 1.
The main excitement was a Humpback Whale seen at various points around the isle with the best views obtained by one of the tourist boats on the way from Fife. As news filtered through it appears that it has been around the isle for up to a week. A Greylag Goose on the east side of the isle was somewhat odd, otherwise a largely quiet day for new arrivals. Fieldfare 3, Blackcap 2, Lesser Whitethroat 2, Chiffchaff 4, Willow warbler 2.
Two Common Redpolls were the most notable arrival otherwise a clear, sunny day was a delight after weeks of clag. House Martin 2,SKylark 1, Whinchat 1, Redstart 1m, Fieldfare 3, Whitethroat 1, Blackcap 2, Spotted Flycatcher 1
Clearer conditions resulted in some comings and goings. Most notable was a Wood Sandpiper near the hides, the second earliest on record and 11th Spring record. A very dark headed Yellow Wagtail was seen. A smart male Black Redstart was in the same vicinity as a male Redstart and two Whinchat. Kestrel 1, Willow Warbler 4, Chiffchaff 3, Sedge Warbler 2, Lesser whitethroat 2, Fieldfare 6, Pied Flycatcher 1m, Reed Bunting 1.
Continuing thick haar made for challenging conditions. The first Common Terns (4) of the year were noted over the Beacon while a Pied Flycatcher was a new arrival. The Hoopoe remained. Sandwich Tern 2, Kestrel 1, Willow warbler 6, Chiffchaff 6, Sedge Warbler 2, Blackcap 6, Lesser Whitethroat 2, Whitethroat 4, Fieldfare 9, Spotted FLycatcher 1, Whinchat 1, Tree Pipit 1, Reed Bunting 1.
A Spotted Flycatcher was the first of the year while the Hoopoe remained. Haar dominated again but a few more migrants managed to find the isle. Kestrel 1, Dunlin 1, Golden Plover 1, Black Guillemot 1, House Martin 2, Swallow 6, Willow warbler 4, Chiffchaff 10, Whitethroat 14, Lesser Whitethroat 3, Blackcap 12, Sedge Warbler 3, Reed Warbler 1, Redstart 1m, Whinchat 1m, Wheatear 9, Fieldfare 12, Tree Pipit 1, Lesser Redpoll 1, Reed Bunting 1.
A day dominated by haar with a generally ligh SSE wind. The Hoopoe remains while a Reed Warbler was a notable spring record amongst good numbers of common migrants. Lesser Whitethroat 4, Whitethroat 6, Blackcap 7, Garden Warbler 1, Willow Warbler 5, Chiffchaff 7, Whinchat 2, Redstart 1m, Ring Ouzel 1, Song Thrush 2, Tree Pipit 1, Reed Bunting 1.
A day of freshening SE winds brought promise but very few migrants. However it did include the 16th island record of Hoopoe which moved between Altarstanes and the Main Light, the first since 2019. Also Restart 1, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Whitethroat 2, Willow Warbler 3, Chiffchaff 2.
A Grasshopper Warbler at the top of Palpitation Brae was a welcome addition to the year list after an absence in 2022. The best day of hirundine passage so far. Dunlin 1, Tree Pipit 1, Skylark 2, House Martin 14, Swallow 38, Wheatear 4, Whitethroat 3, Blackcap 1, Goldfinch 5, Linnet 3.
May on the May dawned with light westerly winds and clear skies which heralded a light hirundine passage and the first House Martin (12) of the year. Late morning brought a return to cold NE and overcast conditions but three Sandwich Terns were also year ticks. Also Common Scoter 13, Barnacle Goose 1, Sparrowhawk 1, Common Sandpiper 1, Swallow 11, Skylark 1, tree Pipit 2, Sedge Warbler 1, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Whitethroat 1, Jackdaw 2, Carrion Crow 7, Goldfinch 1, Siskin 1, Linnet 4.
Cuckoo (2), Garden Warbler and Sedge Warbler (2) were the first of the year. Also Common Scoter (9), Whimbrel (2), Tree Pipit 1, Wheatear 8, Whitethroat 2, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Blackcap 2, Willow Warbler 4, Chiffchaff 5, Fieldfare 3, Ring Ouzel 1, Linnet 12, Goldfinch 1, Siskin 1, Chaffinch 1.
First Tree Pipit of the year was along Holymans Road. Also 1 Whinchat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Siskin
Almost calm conditions brought in a few migrants with the first Yellow wagtail, Lesser Whitethroat (2) and Common Sandpiper. Also Whimbrel 1, Black-headed Gull 3, Wheatear 15, Ring Ouzel 1, Fieldfare 4, Song Thrush 2, Mistle Thrush 1, Redwing 2, Blackcap 2, Whitethroat 3, Willow Warbler 15, Chiffchaff 8, Meadow Pipit 3, Goldfinch 9, Linnet 8, Brambling 2.
Light SE with light rain brought a small number of migrants including the first Whinchat, Whitethroat and Blackcap (2) of the year. Two Sand Martin flew south (!), Wheatear increased to 7 and a Chaffinch was new
First Arctic Terns (2) of the year circled the Beacon early morning. Sparrowhawk 1, Whimbrel 1, Purple Sandpiper 5, Turnstone 12, Black-headed Gull 2, Wheatear 2, Fieldfare 2, Mistle Thrush 1, Blackbird 2, Linnet 4, Redpoll sp 1.
A Great Skua which flew over the isle was the first of the year. A male Brambling, a Goldfinch and a Linnet were new otherwise same but less from the arival on 22nd. Stonechat and Redstart remain.
Redstart and one Ring Ouzel remain along with most other migrants. A Sparrowhawk was only new arrival
Purple Sandpiper 30, Whimbrel 1, Swallow 1, Sand Martin 2, Willow warbler 2, Chiffchaff 3, Goldcrest 1, Song Thrush 2, Fieldfare 2, Mistle Thrush 1, Ring Ouzel 2, Redwing 1, Robin 13, Redstart 1m, Wheatear 4, Stonechat 1f.
Strong north east with weak front passing over mid afternoon brought a small fall with Robins looking distinctly pale and presumably of continental origin. 1 Short-eared Owl was first of the year. Swallow 2, Willow warbler 3, Chiffchaff 6, Goldcrest 2, Song Thrush 2, Fieldfare 1, Mistle Thrush 1, Redwing 3, Robin 15, Redstart 1m, Wheatear 4, Stonechat 1f, Chaffinch 1f, Brambling 1f, Siskin 1.
Male KING EIDER. First since October 1884 was seen flying west past the North Horn on a morning seawatch. Also 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Common Scoter. First Ring Ouzel of the year was around Palpitation Brae. Chiffchaff 5, Willow Warbler 1, Goldcrest 2, Dunnock 1, Wheatear 3.
A short two night stay yielded the usual selection of over-wintering birds. 76 Pink-footed Geese flew north. 1 Wigeon, 5 Teal, 9 Woodpigeon, 1 Whimbrel, 162 Curlew, 1 Woodcock, 1 Kittiwake, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Skylark 2, Wren 6, Starling 7, Blackbird 13, Redwing 4, Song Thrush 4, Robin 4, Dunnock 2, Pied Wagtail 1.
Peak counts of: Little Grebe 1, Pink-footed Goose flocks of 41, 60 & 32, Eider 25, Woodpigeon 140 (a record island count with a flock circling the isle), Whimbrel 1, Curlew 135, Woodcock 9, Little Auk 25 (on 5th), Peregrine 1, Carrion Crow 3, Wren 6, Starling 12, Blackbird 12, Redwing 9, Song Thrush 3, Robin 4, Dunnock 2.