Saturday, 9 September 2017

Seawatching was, for the most part, the order of the day today, with a good selection of species. It was a pretty good day for skua passage, with 13 Great Skuas, nine Arctic Skuas and five Pomarine Skuas heading south, plus one distant Skua sp. Our first Leach's Petrel of the year also headed south past the North End, seen well by two observers in the morning. A Little Tern south off the North End was also our first record this year of a less than annual species. There was a sustained southbound passage of 1952 Kittiwakes, 680 Manx Shearwaters, 487 Gannets and 294 Razorbills, our largest counts of the autumn so far for the latter two species.  There was also an obvious passage of 44 Sandwich Terns, with five Arctic Terns also logged. Other species logged on a good day for diversity included 48 Fulmars, 12 Guillemots, nine Black-headed Gulls and two each of Common and Mediterranean Gulls.

Also noted on seawatching were our first six Ruffs of the year heading south, the highlight of a small selection of waders that also included a Golden Plover in the North-west Fields. The best of the rest of a modest selection were 16 Redshanks, three Curlews, five Dunlins and a Whimbrel. Meanwhile two decent raptors were noted, a female Merlin in/off at the South End on a very stormy morning, and the third Osprey of the year headed south over the Mountain when it calmed down in the afternoon.

By about 16:00 the stormy fronts had moved through the island, and it was clear that a decent selection of passerines had been grounded. 48 Goldcrests and 42 Chiffchaffs were the bulk of passage, with just four Willow Warblers, thus marking it as the first day of autumn where Chiffchaff was the commoner species. A good count of 14 Blackcaps was also logged, with two Whitethroats and a Sedge Warbler the rest of the species logged. 17 Robins and two Wheatears were the only chats grounded, with 18 White Wagtails also present. Overhead 29 alba Wagtails and four Grey Wagtails moved through.

Little Owl, Ephraim Perfect; Ephraim's Bird Blog

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