Sunday, 3 January 2016

A very contrasting day weather wise started with quite a damp morning which added to an already waterlogged island. As the day progressed conditions eased and we were treated to a beautiful afternoon of calm winds and sunshine.

Presumably the same Firecrest from the previous day had now moved slightly further south and was now inhabiting a scrubby area south of the chapel, although frustratingly for the observer it kept itself well concealed, only occasionally emitting a short 'buzzy' call and snippets of its buzzy ascending song. The north end and the plantation in particular were extremely quiet otherwise, with a brief appearance put in by a Sparrowhawk as it sped into the trees, a Blue Tit, and a handful of the resident Robins, Wrens and Dunnocks.

The same could be said throughout the lowlands, the observatory garden and the area around the farm. A Snipe was flushed from around one of the ponds, a Water Rail "squealed" from the depths of the vegetation in the withies, a Goldcrest and Goldfinch were seen at the observatory and a male Stonechat on the fence rows below the farm. However, views of two Ravens displaying above the island and a Peregrine skimming the mountainside was quite pleasant in the afternoon sun.

A pair of Ravens together in the afternoon performing their dramatic tumbling and "croaking" display
Further south the usual groups of Herring and Greater Black-backed Gulls gathered around the pools that had formed on the narrows but were today joined by five Redshanks and a Shelduck. Occupying the seaweed washed up in the bays and amongst the rocks were 27 Rock Pipits, 14 Turnstones, 14 Choughs, 54 Curlews and one Whimbrel. Just out of one of the bays a flock of 12 Black-headed Gulls passed by accompanied by a very smart first winter Mediterranean Gull which passed by.

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