Friday, 17 February 2017

Off the West Coast a distant large looking diver, most likely a Great Northern Diver, bobbed amongst the swell, annoyingly staying too distant and immobile to positively identify. Small numbers of other birds past, most interesting being a Guillemot, of which 60 were seen today, with an orange-yellow bill pattern, it spent a while on the sea just out from the North Hide diving for food. Interestingly this uncommon colour aberration was observed on an individual occupying the breeding ledges on the East Side in 2015 and 2016! Although little else passed over the period of an hour or so two Fulmars, four Gannets, 2 Cormorants, seven Shags, a Kittiwake and two Razorbills were logged.

A nice flock of Purple Sandpipers has spent the last week or so around the Narrows, sometimes mingling with the Turnstones and Oystercatchers resting there. Today 23 individuals were present along with 66 Oystercatchers, 24 Curlews, eight Redshanks and ten Turnstones. Numbers of gulls have vastly decreased around the Narrows in recent weeks and are now predominately seen around the East Side and North End on their breeding areas, just 12 Herring Gulls and five Greater Black-backed Gulls were recorded. A juvenile Grey Heron, a pair of Shelducks, 13 Mallards and seven Rock Pipits were also in the vicinity.

The ever present Common Buzzard patrolled the northern end of the island under the close supervision of the resident corvids, two Woodpigeons wheeled around the Plantation as a Little Owl called on the side of the mountain and five Meadow Pipits in the Lowlands, a Stonechat and Song Thrush were also seen.

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