Tuesday, 23 August 2016

After a weekend of stormy weather conditions, a day of calm weather was bound to open the floodgates for migrants eager to move on to their wintering grounds. It was one of those days when the island was dripping with birds: Willow Warblers flitted from every bush and fence-line, and flycatchers sallied up from perches left, right and centre. The totals for the day's arrival of migrants was highlighted by an impressive 731 Willow Warblers and 68 Spotted Flycatchers.  Hirundine passage was notable in the early hours, consisting of 13 Sand Martins, 182 Swallows and 26 House Martins, whilst a respectable tally of other common migrants scattered around comprised eight Tree Pipits, two Yellow Wagtails, four White Wagtails, a Black Redstart, a Whinchat, 36 Wheatears, five Sedge Warblers, 10 Whitethroats, one Garden Warbler, two Blackcaps, three Chiffchaffs and six Pied Flycatchers.

Despite the calmer conditions, there was a reasonable movement of birds off the coast throughout the day too, which turned up a good count of seabirds and some accompanying scarcer migrants: two Curlew Sandpipers, eight Dunlins, 20 Black-tailed Godwits, three Pomarine Skuas, eight Arctic Skuas, 1550 Kittiwakes, seven Common Scoters, 134 Gannets, 11 Common Terns and 46 Arctic Terns.

Willow Warblers were definitely the key player in the day's arrival: a minimum of 700 were counted!

Spotted Flycatcher numbers rose to 68

juvenile Common Buzzard

A night-time Storm Petrel ringing session resulted in 14 birds being trapped, including three retraps (one of which was a control)

The first Convolvulus Hawkmoth of the year followed suite on last year's records, turning up in the catching area of the observatory's Heligoland trap. After being found early in the morning, a second moth was discovered on the door of the trap later in the day! 

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