Wednesday, 17 May 2017

After several dreary days, the weather at least was a considerable improvement today, mostly sunny with a fresh South-westerly breeze. It didn't bring any spectacular migration, but there was a little bit around.

Swallows picked up where they'd left off three days ago, 333 moving through today, mostly streaming south on their way to Ireland. Amongst them were 65 House Martins, 22 Sand Martins and a Swift, while two Flava Wagtails and two Tree Pipits were also heard overhead. There was a small finch passage detected today, including seven Goldfinches and three Lesser Redpolls south through the South End early in the morning (both species amounting to 11 in total with birds on the ground), and our first five Siskins for over a week. However, migrant songbirds were in short supply. Totals of 21 Wheatears and 15 Sedge Warblers will include mostly breeding birds, otherwise there were just eight Chiffchaffs, three Spotted Flycatchers and singles of Willow Warbler and Whitethroat.

Early morning sea-watching was fairly productive, with a steady stream of 401 Guillemots, 286 Kittiwakes, 250 Manx Shearwaters, 75 Razorbills and 52 Gannets. 17 Common Scoters moved north at 08:40, seven Puffins moved through all in all, and only our second Great Skua of the spring was perhaps the highlight of the day, going north off the South End at 08:00.

It was the quietest day in weeks for waders, alongside the ever-present Oystercatchers were ever-diminishing totals of six Whimbrels, two Curlews and one each of Turnstone and Ringed Plover. Otherwise, the only sighting of note was a Buzzard that drifted south over the island. In non-avian news, a good count of 204 Grey Seals was logged today, one of our highest totals of the year so far. On Pen Cristin the first two Herring Gull chicks have hatched, with many young Shags now getting to an impressive size, and two, possibly three already fledged! As expected, Guillemots and Razorbills are in excellent numbers on the cliffs, their squabbling creating a marvellous cacophony.

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