Monday, 8 May 2017

After a very memorable spell stretching back to the last day of April, with great numbers of many summer migrants and a few rarities, it felt a fair amount quieter today. Highlights came in the form of a Hobby that moved North through the island and a Little Egret briefly on the Narrows, the former being the first record of the year for this just-about annual species.

There were still good counts of 46 Willow Warblers, 44 Wheatears and 28 Sedge Warblers amongst the grounded migrants, while otherwise fare was thin on the ground; nine Chiffchaffs, five White Wagtails on Solfach, an excellent five Garden Warblers, four Spotted Flycatchers, three Blackcaps and a single Lesser Whitethroat on the South End. A Fieldfare in the Withies in the morning was rather unseasonal.

Swallow passage has been good recently, with another 294 logged today. The first eight days of May have seen a minimum of 2530 Swallows pass through the island, a rate of 316 per day! And with this species moving in small but steady numbers all through the day, this is definitely under-representing the true numbers, by how much we can't be certain. Alongside them today were 48 House Martins, 17 Sand Martins and a single Swift. Other visible migration today consisted of 11 Lesser Redpolls, four Siskins, four Jackdaws, two Tree Pipits, two Flava Wagtails and singles of Rook and Kestrel.

Scopes to the sea yielded rather more rewards than have been seen of late, most spectacular being a season high of 889 Manx Shearwaters. A total of 40 Black-headed Gulls moving through was by far our highest count of the year so far (this species never reaching the same levels of ubiquity in spring as in autumn), while a first-summer Common Gull also headed south. The first 13 Arctic Terns of the year moved through very early in the morning, with a single Sandwich Tern not long afterwards. Small numbers of the regular seabirds included 24 Gannets moving through in both directions.

May is a god month to catch up with waders here, and once again we were treated to some good sightings today. The bulk was formed by 20 Dunlins, ten Ringed Plovers, ten Whimbrels and eight Turnstones, with three Curlews, three Sanderlings, two Grey Plovers, two Common Sandpipers and a Bar-tailed Godwit to cap it off. Overall not as spectacular as the last few days have been (and no mind-blowing ringing recoveries!) but still a good days birding.

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