Tuesday, 18 October 2016
The right time of the year, right wind direction and strength can produce some incredible passage past the island out at sea as migrating birds are pushed closer in shore, today those few elements came together for a great spectacle. Gannets, although not the most numerous species passing, headed south continually throughout the day in fantastic numbers and by the end of the day 898 were counted. The first Fulmars in weeks made headway, cruising over the monstrous swell along with a Sooty Shearwater and seven Manx Shearwaters as auks also powered south, mostly Razorbills of which a respectable 2,433 were logged, intermingled in the flocks were small numbers of Guillemots amounting to 73. Skuas also moved through, even though as October progresses skuas become more and more scarce decent counts totalled three Pomarine Skuas, six Arctic Skuas and four Great Skuas. Amongst the flurry of seabirds gulls passed and fed along the running currents and tidelines. Mixed flocks moved around the island, mostly comprising of Kittiwakes, of which 4,068 were logged but decent numbers of other species were also present. These were 384 Black-headed Gulls picked out amongst the masses of Kittiwakes, 15 Mediterranean Gulls most of which were adults, 53 Common Gulls, nine Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 55 Herring Gulls and a fantastic movement of 44 Greater Black-backed Gulls. A passage of pale bellied Brent Geese occurred off the West Coast as six were recorded, additional passage came in the form of summer plumaged Great Northern Diver traveling north, juvenile Little Gull, Black Tern, 18 Golden Plovers and 45 Common Scoters.
Whilst there was a lot of movement out at sea very little moved inland but some species had increased by small margins. Goldcrests were fairly abundant with 43 counted flitting restlessly amongst the trees around the island and with them a single Blackcap. The Yellow-browed Warbler remained in the Withies and six Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler and Firecrest were additional warblers. Thrushes, although still around, resided in smaller numbers with 13 Blackbirds, a Song Thrush and ten Redwings were logged. Minimal finch passage was detected as groups passed overhead mostly consisting of 35 Goldfinches, whilst four Chaffinches, five Linnets and two Redpolls were also recorded. A late House Martin bombed north and other notable sightings included three Grey Herons, two Merlins, three Water Rails, four Skylarks, three Grey Wagtails, 116 Starlings and a Reed Bunting.
Presumably the same Bar-tailed Godwit held its presence around the Narrows along with a Dunlin, three additional birds passing by the North Hide, 34 Turnstones, 11 Redshanks and 37 Oystercatchers. Elsewhere a Jack Snipe, six Snipes, 48 Curlews and two Whimbrels made up the numbers.