Monday, 4 January 2016

Census today provided very little in terms of numbers and diversity of species but instead was a chance to appreciate the small details that may be overlooked on days of vigorous counting of hundreds of migrating birds.

Out at sea very few numbers of birds passed, however a flyby Great Northern Diver, close views of a hand full of passing auks (some of them in stunning winter plumage with their striking black and white facial patterns) and a single Fulmar effortlessly cruising over the now calm sea were satisfaction enough.

Along the west coast a couple of pairs of the resident breeding Choughs were picking through the short grasses in search of food, momentarily stopping to contact each other with a flick of their wings and distinctive "chiach" call. A small flock of 11 Linnets perched momonterily on the surrounding fence lines and Oystercatchers noisily patrolled the coastal rocks where a single Rock Pipit was seen.

A change in habitat with a walk through the centre of the island also proved to be quiet, a Peregrine stooped overhead heading out to sea in pursuit of prey, the roaming Hooded Crow was seen moving in the direction of the narrows from the mountain and a Song Thrush made its presence know with a clatter of wings and its muted "sip" call as it darted out of one gorse bushes and into the next.

As the afternoon drew on another Song Thrush was seen around a garden at the north end, not long after the characteristic "pew" flight call of a Siskin was heard as it dropped into the garden where it briefly perched. Possibly a young male with muted colours to its yellow plumage and the beginings of a  black crown (all be it a patchy one) starting to show through.  

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