Sunday, 23 October 2016

A brisk wind today ensured all were wrapped up in many layers whilst out and about dreaming of the summer sun. If you could sit still long enough it was apparent a decent movement of Gulls were heading north up the West Coast in the first few hours after dawn. The year’s first real passage of Black-headed Gulls dominated with 1025 past in total but hidden amongst the flocks were 11 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 97 Common Gulls, one 1st winter Little Gull, and most interestingly, 83 Mediterranean Gulls. This latter count becomes a new island record hot on the heels of the previous record of 61 on 13th October 2014. Considering the species dramatic increase in the UK in recent years it shouldn’t be too surprising if a count into three figures is recorded sometime in the near future.

More thrushes inland today included 38 Blackbirds, eight Fieldfares, five Song Thrushes, 36 Redwings, and another Mistle Thrush whilst warbler tallies totalled three Blackcaps, one Yellow-browed Warbler, two Chiffchaffs, one Willow Warbler, 29 Goldcrests, and one Firecrest.

A morning’s passage overhead was limited to three Skylarks, 45 Chaffinches, two Bramblings, and one Siskin with the exception of a single mixed flock of 240 Jackdaws and nine Rooks heading south. Today’s Starling total included 238 birds heading in seemingly all directions so perhaps an undercount of actual numbers present. The highlight of the afternoon went to the Snow Bunting found on the South End being the first record of this species this year.

Singles of Wigeon and Teal are appropriate considering the time of the year whilst ten Common Scoters were moving offshore. A Kestrel, Merlin, and two Sparrowhawks linger, perhaps thinking about over-wintering on the island? Lastly, three Water Rails continue a good run of records for this species, with waders represented today by one Dunlin, five Snipes, and a surprise Lapwing.

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