Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Light drizzle but calm northerly winds made for a change during the most part of the day and new migrants, although not in any great numbers, were present on the island.

A Pied Flycatcher caught during a mornings ringing session was a pleasant surprise, favouring the shelter of the Willows around the plantation, with a second bird later being discovered on the South End. Amongst the vegetation on the island nine Chiffchaffs, two Willow Warblers, nine Goldcrests, a Reed Warbler and a Blackcap made the most of the breaks in the showers to feed franticly before the next patch of drizzle made them withdraw into cover once again. A couple of the more common and sometimes overlooked species showed signs of perhaps small influxes as 16 Dunnocks, 19 Robins and 11 Blackbirds were counted. 

Pipits scattered around the island totalled 32 Meadow Pipits and 26 Rock Pipits, whilst Wagtails amounted to just two Pied Wagtails, seven White Wagtails and seven unidentified Alba Wagtails which passed overhead. Migrating Hirundines were also present as 64 Swallows and a single House Martin headed mostly in a northerly direction through the island. A Water Rail was new in and skulked in the Withies, a male and female Sparrowhawk, single Common Buzzard, two Little Owls, three Chaffinches and 99 Linnets were also seen.

Plenty of waders are still passing through the island in good numbers, most notable arrivals were 17 Common Snipe, both passing overhead and flushed from waterlogged patches of the island along with a single Knot off the South End. Around the Narrows 41 Oystercatchers, six Ringed Plovers, six Dunlins, one Bar-tailed Godwit, six Whimbrels, 51 Curlews, nine Redshanks and 58 Turnstones were noted.

Gull numbers have dropped significantly over the past weeks when counts into the hundreds were common place, but they are still passing and residing in small numbers around the island. An adult Mediterranean Gull passing by the north end was the first to be recorded in some time and was a nice addition for the day. Other smaller Gulls included four Black-headed Gulls, a surprisingly low sum of just 20 Kittiwakes, and of the larger Gulls, four Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 11 Herring Gulls and ten Greater Black-backed Gulls.

Greater-black Backed Gulls are the most numerous large gull at the moment!
Arctic Skuas, numbering six today and a Great Skua spent the day passing off the west coast and occasionally harassing the local Kittiwakes. Another small passage of Common Scoters amounted to 25, whilst six Fulmars, 21 Manx Shearwaters, 43 Gannets, 52 Razorbills and two Sandwich Terns were also spotted.  

Non avian sightings of interest in and around the waters of the island included six Risso's Dolphins breaking the rolling swell, 122 Grey Seals, including three pups and most interesting of all a small whale which breached a couple of times just off the North End was most than likely a Minke Whale.

Unsurprisingly due to the rain and strong northerly winds which picked up in the afternoon very little Lepidoptera was reported. However continuing a fantastic run of Convulvulous Hawk Moths were two more pristine individuals found around the Observatory garden, an additional third individual was observed coming in off the sea! Their very good condition perhaps indicating these individuals may not have traveled a particularly large distance as some do. Two Speckled Woods, a Red Admiral, Hummingbird Hawk Moth and Migrant Hawker were also present.

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