Bird & wildlife news from 2017 

24th May

Weather: SW3-4 inc 5 mid-afternoon then SW3. Mainly clear and sunny.

Passage: Linnet 1N,

Present/arrivals: Whimbrel 1, Wheatear 4, Carrion Crow 3, Whitethroat 1, Goldcrest 1, Chiffchaff 4, Willow Warbler 1, White Wagtail 1, Woodpigeon 2, Peregrine 1imm.

 White Wagtail (Iain Bainbridge)

23rd May

Weather: SW4 decreasing 2 by evening.  Bright morning, more overcast afternoon with light rain early evening.

Most notable event was a Collared Dove calling on the Bain Trap, the first of the year.

Passage: Manx Shearwater 3N, Swallow 4N, House Martin 1N.

Present/arrival: Sedge Warbler 2, Goldcrest 1, Chiffchaff 2, Wheatear 2, Black-headed Gull 1, Collared Dove 1, Carrion Crow 1.

22nd May

Weather: SE2 increasing SE4 veering SW2. Bright morning with light rain for an hour or so around midday.

Quiet morning but the rain brought in a scattering of migrants including a French ringed Sedge Warbler.  The first puffins carrying fish were seen indicating hatchlings.

Present/arrivals: Wheatear 2, Chiffchaff 2, Willow Warbler 1, Spotted Flycatcher 1, Tree Pipit 1, Redstart 1f, Whitethroat 1, Sedge Warbler 2, Woodpigeon 2, Turnstone 6. 

21st May

Weather: SW 2 or less. Mainly high cloud with some clearer spells

Two year ticks in the space of minutes and both scarce species for the island.  First up were four immature Mute Swans flying north over the island before settling on the sea about half way to Crail, only the second spring record and ninth in total.  While chasing the swans north a first-summer Little Gull was flying around the Loch calling before settling with kittiwakes on the south side.  Meanwhile the first Arctic Tern eggs of the year were discovered.

Passage: Tree Pipit 1N, Mute Swan 4N, Red-throated Diver 2W, Teal 2W, Common Scoter 7W, Manx Shearwater 31N, Black-headed Gull 2.

Present: Little Gull 1, Wheatear 4, Chiffchaff 6, Blackcap 1f, Goldcrest 1, Shelduck 3.

 Little Gull (Mark Newell)
 Mute Swans! (Mark Newell)

20th May

Weather: light rain for most of day but clearing to a bright evening.  Mainly SW 2 or less.

Only one arrival but what a bird; the springs second Hawfinch (male) but only tenth ever record.  Seen flying into the Low Trap and duly caught. 

Passage: Manx Shearwater 9N 2S, Gannet 2607W in 1 hour, Crossbill 2N.

Present/arrival: Hawfinch 1m, Chiffchaff 4, Willow Warbler 2, Goldcrest 1, Wheatear 4, Whimbrel 1.

 Hawfinch (Harry Scott)

19th May

Weather: Calm morning with bright but largely overcast conditions. Light SE from mid-afternoon with light rain from 1700.

Passage: Common Scoter 57N 4W, Manx Shearwater 3N, Red-throated Diver 1N, Swallow 3N, Linnet 1S.

Present: Willow Warbler 1, Chiffchaff 4, Goldcrest 1, Wheatear 3, Peregrine 1.

18th May

Weather: again largely calm with a slight SE again from mid-afternoon.  Clear and sunny, possibly the warmest day of the year.

Passage: Swift 5N, Common Scoter 22W.

Present: Goldcrest 1, Blackcap 1f, Chiffchaff 4, Wheatear 3, Peregrine 1, Woodpigeon 2.

17th May

Weather: Virtually calm all day, with a whiff of SE from mid-afternoon.  Bright and mainly sunny.

A couple new arrivals in the form of a Black Redstart and Goldcrest.

Present/arrivals: Black Redstart 1, Blackcap 1f, Cormorant 37, Wheatear 4, Blackbird 1, Chiffchaff 3, Willow Warbler 2, Goldcrest 1, Whitethroat 1, White Wagtail 1f.

16th May

Weather: SW3 increasing SW5 by mid-morning then SW 3 by evening.  Mainly clear and sunny with some cloud spells and light rain.

No apparent arrivals on the passerine front but a female-type Marsh Harrier flew south over the isle early morning.

Passage: Marsh Harrier 1S, Linnet 1N.

Present: Chiffchaff 4, Willow Warbler 1, Garden Warbler 2, Blackcap 1f, Wheatear 5, Tree Pipit 1, Blackbird 1f, Goldfinch 1, Grey Heron 1, Peregrine 1f, Turnstone 12.  

15th May

Weather: SE4 decreasing S1. Rain from 0800 until 1500 then occasional light showers.

Despite the wind direction there didn’t appear to be any new arrivals.  However, the first Roseate Tern of the year was in Kirkhaven for most of the afternoon.

Passage: Common Scoter 5W, Black-headed Gull 1N.

Present/arrivals: Roseate Tern 1, Tree Pipit 2, Lesser Whitethroat 2, Wheatear 8, Whitethroat 1, Chiffchaff 5, Willow Warbler 3, Blackcap 2, Garden Warbler 1, Dunnock 1, Turnstone 6.

 Roseate Tern (Mark Newell)

14th May

Weather: SW 2-3. Overcast until mid-morning when clear, warm & sunny.

A bit of a clear out but still a good scattering of common migrants.  The first incubating Fulmar was noted.

Passage: Yellow Wagtail 1N, Siskin 1N, House Martin 6.

Present/arrivals: Redstart 1f, Garden Warbler 2, Blackcap 4, Whitethroat 4, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Sedge Warbler 2, Chiffchaff 10, Willow Warbler 10, Whinchat 1, Wheatear 6 (inc 1 Greenland), Spotted Flycatcher 4, Tree Pipit 3, Meadow Pipit 2, Woodpigeon 4, Blackbird 1f.

 Greenland Wheatear (Ian Halliday)

13th May

Weather: Calm becoming SW 5 for a time mid-afternoon then SW 3.  Harr and occasional heavy rain until early afternoon when clear.

The Red-breasted Flycatcher remained while a Belgium ringed Sedge Warbler was one of at least 12 present. No scarce arrivals but far more common migrants especially Whitethroat (16+) and Spotted Flycatcher (17+).

Passage: Swallow 6N, Sand Martin 1N, House Martin 4N.

Arrivals/present: Garden Warbler 2, Blackcap 8, Whitethroat 16, Sedge Warbler 12+, Willow Warbler 15, Chiffchaff 20, Lesser Whitethroat 4, Spotted Flycatcher 17+, Red-breasted Flycatcher 1, Stonechat 1, Whinchat 4, Tree Pipit 5, Meadow Pipit 4, Skylark 1, Wheatear 10, Redstart 1f, Robin 2, Dunnock 1, Blackbird 2, White Wagtail 2.


12th May

Weather: ESE 3. Clear morning, cloudy afternoon with dense harr in the evening.

A day for red breasted birds with a Robin for starters. Arguably the highlight was a stunning adult male Red-breasted Flycatcher found on Pilgrims Haven sporting a ring. Later in the morning the bird was caught with the ring coming from Sweden.  The third red chested bird was found at Altarstanes early in the afternoon with a flighty ‘eastern’ Subalpine Warbler, which was far less confiding than the flycatcher.  A fine supporting cast of common migrants brought the tally of flycatcher species to three.

Passage: Red-throated Diver 1W, Ringed Plover 1N, House Martin 3N, Redpoll 1N, Linnet 2S

Present/arrivals: Red-breasted Flycatcher 1, Pied Flycatcher 1m, Spotted Flycatcher 1, ‘Eastern’ Subalpine Warbler, Stonechat 1, Whinchat 5, Skylark 1, Wheatear 6, Grey Heron 1, Tree Pipit 4, Meadow Pipit 2.

 Red-breasted Flycatcher (David Stafford)
 'Eastern' Subalpine Warbler (David Stafford)

11th May

Weather: SE2 increasing 4 by mid-afternoon.  Clear morning and evening but a band of harr in early afternoon.

Light passage in the morning before the brief poor visibility dropped a few migrants including the first Spotted Flycatcher of the year.

Passage: Common Scoter 8N, House Martin 3N, Swallow 38, Swift 1, Tree Pipit 1N.

Present/arrivals: Spotted Flycatcher 2, Stonechat 1m, Whinchat 2, Wheatear 15, Blackbird 2, Willow Warbler 15, Chiffchaff 8, Dunnock 1, Robin 1, Blackcap 3, Lesser Whitethroat 2, Whitethroat 2, Sedge Warbler 2, Starling 1, Chaffinch 2, Common Sandpiper 1, Dunlin 1, Purple Sandpiper 1, Turnstone 9. 

10th May

Weather: Calm becoming SE2. Clear and sunny

It was a day for seeing and hearing Willow Warblers with at least 55 arriving but limited to the Low Light bushes, Main Light area and Low Trap.  Otherwise arrivals included a Black Redstart, Garden Warbler and 2 Common Sandpipers while light passage included the first Twite of the year and Rook.

Passage: Barnacle Goose 16N, Goosander 1mN, Common Scoter 25N, House Martin 1N, Sand Martin 3N, Swallow 10N, Swift 1N, Rook 1N, Twite 1N, Linnet 6N, Yellow wagtail 1N, Redpoll 3N, Black-headed Gull 1.

Present/arrivals: Willow Warbler 55, Chiffchaff 5, Whitethroat 4, Lesser Whitethroat 4, Blackcap 1f, Garden Warbler 1, Blackbird 2, Meadow Pipit 6, Common Sandpiper 2, Dunnock 1, Robin 1, Wheatear 6, Black Redstart 1.

 male Wheatear (Mark Newell)

9th May

Weather: SW2 or less becoming southerly 5. Clear.

Light passage in the morning and more seemingly breeding Swallows appeared.  Six Bottle-nosed Dolphins were seen passing the north of the isle.

Passage: Manx Shearwater 3N, Red-throated Diver 3N, Common Scoter 1N, Barnacle Goose 32N, Swallow 7, House Martin 4, Redpoll 1N, Goldfinch 2S, Sparrowhawk 1W, Carrion Crow 14N.

Present: Purple Sandpiper 55, Turnstone 8, Bonxie 1, Dunnock 1, Lesser Whitethroat 6, Whitethroat 2, Chiffchaff 10, Willow Warbler 2, Tree Pipit 1, Meadow Pipit 7, Skylark 1, Song Thrush 1, Blackcap 2f, Woodpigeon 3, Wheatear 7, Robin 1.

 Purple Sandpipers - four of the 55 present today (Mark Newell)

8th May

Weather: NNE5-6 with a massive swell.  Overcast morning and clear afternoon.

A day for admiring the sea state rather than successfully finding any new arrivals.  Most remaining migrants seemed to be feeding in the lee of Palpitation Brae with a male Redstart the smartest.

Passage: Common Scoter 13N

Present: Redstart 1m, Willow Warbler 3, Chiffchaff 7, Lesser Whitethroat 4, Whitethroat 2, Wheatear 5, Robin 1, Dunnock 1, Song Thrush 1, Siskin 1, Woodpigeon 2, Swallow 3, Tree Pipit 2, Turnstone 7, Purple Sandpiper 2.

 Lesser Whitethroat (Russell Nisbet)

7th May

Weather: NE 1 inc 5 by early afternoon. Full cloud cover with very light rain early morning, clearing from mid-morning.

Two male Redstart, Sedge Warbler & Fieldfare were new arrivals otherwise a similar selection.

Present: Chiffchaff 10, Willow Warbler 3, Lesser Whitethroat 10, Redstart 2m, Whinchat 1, Wheatear 8, Blackcap 3, Whitethroat 2, Robin 1, Brambling 1m, Fieldfare 1, Tree Pipit 3, Sedge Warbler 1, Whimbrel 1, Bonxie 1, Swallow 8, Meadow Pipit 12.

6th May

Weather: NE4 inc 5. Occasional cloudy periods but mainly clear & sunny.

Highlight was the first Swift of the year. Otherwise similar fare although the Quail after being flushed in the morning was seen incredibly well in the evening out in the autumn near the Byres.  Wood Warbler still present while a gaggle of Barnacle Geese were late.

Passage: Swift 1N, Barnacle Geese 7N, Manx Shearwater 1N, Common Scoter 9W.

Present: Quail 1, Wood Warbler 1, Lesser Whitethroat 12, Whitethroat 3, Blackcap 3, Chiffchaff 15, Willow Warbler 5, Wheatear 15, Whinchat 2, Robin 1, Dunnock 1, Redpoll 3, Brambling 1m, Wren 3, Tree Pipit 3, Meadow Pipit 5, Sparrowhawk 1f, Woodpigeon 1.

 Quail (David Steel)

5th May

Weather: NE3 inc 5 by mid-morning. Clear & sunny until patchy cloud in evening.

First Common Terns of the year.  Wood Warbler, Ring Ouzel and Yellow Wagtail still present along with a good selection of migrants but little new.

Passage: Manx Shearwater 1N, Common Scoter 5N.

Present: Swallow 2, Lesser Whitethroat 13, Blackcap 3, Whitethroat 5, Wood Warbler 1, Willow Warbler 5, Chiffchaff 10, Goldcrest 1, Wheatear 5, Tree Pipit 5, Redstart 1f, Yellow Wagtail 1, Lesser Redpoll 2, Merlin 1, Whinchat 2, Brambling 3, Ring Ouzel 1, Redwing 1, Song Thrush 1, Peregrine 2.

4th May

Weather: NE5 decreasing 4 later.  Clear and sunny, cool

Similar assortment to yesterday but generally less.  Presumably the same Quail as on 1st was flushed from South Plateau while undertaking the all-isle puffin count.  A Ring Ouzel was new while Brambling increased to 3 and a Yellow Wagtail was probably new.  Wood Warbler was again seen at Three Tarn Nick.

Present: Lesser Whitethroat 18, Whitethroat 5, Blackcap 5, Willow Warbler 8, Chiffchaff 15, Pied Flycatcher 1m, Whinchat 3, Redstart 2, Black Redstart 1m, Wheatear 15, Redpoll 1, Linnet 2, Quail 1, Kestrel 1m, Tree Pipit 3, Merlin 1f, Yellow Wagtail 1, Wood Warbler 1, Ring Ouzel 1, Brambling 3, Swallow 2. 


 Wood Warbler (Mark Newell)

3rd May

Weather: ENE 4-5. Clear and sunny, cool.

The highlight would be the rediscovery of the Hawfinch in the Top Garden early morning along with a brief singing male Yellowhammer (first of the year).  Otherwise a similar selection to yesterday with slightly lower numbers although single Merlin and Sparrowhawk were keeping the migrants on their toes.

Present/arrivals: Hawfinch 1, Arctic Tern 10, Wheatear 16, Blackcap 5, Goldcrest 1, Redstart 4, Black Redstart 1m, Whinchat 3, Lesser Redpoll 4, Grasshopper Warbler 1, Garden Warbler 2, Lesser Whitethroat 20, Wood Warbler 2, Willow Warbler 10, Chiffchaff 25, Whitethroat 5, Tree Pipit 5, Meadow Pipit 9, Fieldfare 3, Song Thrush 2, Pied Flycatcher 1m, Brambling 2, Sparrowhawk 1, Merlin 1, Kestrel 1.

 Sparrowhawk (Joe Turner)
 Grasshopper Warbler (Russell Nisbet)

2nd May

Weather: SE 2 or less becoming E

So yesterday was the aperitif.  A Hawfinch (8th record) was looking like the star bird seen flying down the east side mid-afternoon until 30 min later a male Golden Oriole was seen flying down Holymans Road. Only the fifth record and first for 20 years.  A fine supporting cast included the first Pied Flycatcher and Yellow Wagtail of the year.

Passage: Golden Oriole 1s.

Present/arrivals: Hawfinch 1, Arctic Tern 10, Wheatear 30, Blackcap 12, Goldcrest 1, Redstart 6, Black Redstart 1m, Whinchat 5, Siskin 1m, Lesser Redpoll 5, Grasshopper Warbler 2, Garden Warbler 1, Lesser Whitethroat 20, Wood Warbler 1, Willow Warbler 55, Chiffchaff 50, Whitethroat 7, Tree Pipit 10, Meadow Pipit 25, Fieldfare 8, Redwing 1, Song Thrush 2, Pied Flycatcher 1m, Brambling 2.


1st May

Weather: SE 3-4 backing E3. Clear morning with cloud and poor visibility from early afternoon.

More migrants which increased as the day wore on.  Year ticks with a Quail, 2 flyover pairs of Goosander, Whinchat (5), Brambling (2) & Wood Warbler while there were impressive numbers of warblers.

Passage: Black-headed Gull 5S, Sand Martin 5N, Swallow 10, House Martin 3

Arrivals/present: Quail 1, Arctic Tern 20, Wheatear 18, Blackcap 8, Goldcrest 4, Redstart 6, Black Redstart 1m, Siskin 1m, Lesser Redpoll 2, Garden Warbler 1, Lesser Whitethroat 30, Wood Warbler 1, Willow Warbler 45, Chiffchaff 50, Whitethroat 6, Tree Pipit 3, Meadow Pipit 30, Mistle Thrush 1, Fieldfare 1, Redwing 1, Song Thrush 2.

 Black Redstart (MarkNewell)

30th April

Weather: SE 4-5. Overcast morning mainly clear afternoon.

Finally we have a good spring fall.  Probably the most species recorded in a single day this year and included the first Grasshopper Warbler, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Common Sandpiper of the year.  Wheatears were the easily the most numerous but there were birds in any sheltered spot.

Passage: Dunlin 1N, Swallow 5, Sandwich Tern 2, Arctic Tern 1, Linnet 5, Starling 1.

Present/arrivals: Ring Ouzel 1m, Chiffchaff 15, Willow Warbler 10, Blackcap 4, Mistle Thrush 2, Fieldfare 12, Song Thrush 1, Meadow Pipit 10, Tree Pipit 1, Whitethroat 5, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Grasshopper Warbler 2, Wheatear 45, Robin 1, Black Redstart 1f, Redstart 1f, Goldcrest 6, Common Sandpiper 1, Jack Snipe 1, Snipe 1. 

29th April

Weather: Light SE increasing to force 4 by mid-afternoon.  Bright morning with increasing cloud and decreasing visibility.

A couple Willow Warblers were the only obvious arrivals early morning but more common migrants trickled in as the day wore on.  The first whitethroat and Arctic Tern of the year were the highlights.

Passage: Swallow 8N, House Martin 1N, Linnet 3N, Starling 5, Sandwich Tern 6, Arctic Tern 1.

Present/arrivals: Willow Warbler 5, Chiffchaff 4, Whimbrel 1, Snipe 1, Wheatear 4.


28th April

Weather: Mainly light SE

The first proper winds with an easterly component failed to deliver too much…yet.  Highlight a Great Skua.

27th April

Weather: NW-N 2 increasing 4/5 for a time then NNE 3. Light shower early afternoon but mainly clear.

The first Sedge Warbler of the year was in the Bain Trap while a light passage of migrants included a Jackdaw.

Passage: Jackdaw 1, Goldfinch 4N, Linnet 3N, Swallow 3N, Meadow Pipit 1N.

Present: Sedge Warbler 1, Snipe 1, Wheatear 1, Turnstone 13, Redshank 3, Purple Sandpiper 1, Crow 4.

26th April

Weather: Northerly 4 decreasing to variable 2 or less. Clear and sunny until early afternoon when high full cloud cover.

After yesterday’s impossible conditions a much improved day, the highlight the first Great Skua of the year first seen flying north past the west cliffs before presumably being the same bird killing and eating a Herring Gull off Kirkhaven.

Passage: Redshank 3N, Sandwich Tern 2N.

Present/arrivals: Wheatear 1f, Swallow 1, Snipe 2, Whimbrel 1, Willow warbler 1, Redwing 1, Cormorant 40, Great Skua 1.

24th April

Weather: W 2-3 increasing and veering NW 6 early afternoon before decreasing NW3-4 by evening.  Light sleet/hail flurries.

The most notable sighting of the day were two Swallows which lingered around Fluke Street suggesting they might be the first returning breeders.

Passage: Sandwich Tern 2N, Meadow Pipit 1N, Linnet 3N, Goldfinch 1N.

Present/arrivals: Swallow 2, Snipe 2, Woodpigeon 2, Wheatear 1, Turnstone 5, Redshank 1, Whimbrel 1.

23rd April            

Weather: W2-3 increasing W5 from early afternoon.  Mainly clear.

After the quiet day yesterday there was much more activity noted today.  Highlight was a rare spring record of Jack Snipe flushed from near the Main Light where it joined a Common Snipe at Three Tarn Nick.  The second Sandwich Tern of the year flew south while there was a more pronounced passage north of finches.  Goldcrest, Willow Warbler, singing Skylark and Wheatear were all new.

Passage: Sandwich Tern 1S, Goldfinch 4N, Siskin 4N, Linnet 6N, Meadow Pipit 24N, Tree Pipit 1N, Swallow 1N, Sand Martin 3N, Rook 2N, Common Scoter 4.

Present/arrivals: Goldcrest 1, Willow Warbler 1, Sparrowhawk 1, Wheatear 1, Skylark 1, Jack Snipe 1, Snipe 1.

22nd April

Weather: W3 becoming variable 2 or less. Dry, high broken cloud.

A male Blackcap was present again while the first Razorbill egg of the season was found at Bishops Cove.

Passage: Linnet 4N, Swallow 1N, Meadow Pipit 6N, Carrion Crow 5N, Curlew 1S.

Present: Blackcap 1m, Woodpigeon 2.

21st April

Weather: SW5 decreasing to almost calm from 14:00. High cloud until 12:30 when a cold front with rain passed over from the north. Clear from 14:00

The band of rain produced a group of Wheatear with six noted.  Otherwise passage was very light.

Passage: Turnstone 30s, Sand Martin 1N, Whimbrel 1N, Swallows 2N.

Present/arrivals: Wheatear 6, Willow Warbler 5, Chiffchaff 1, Blackcap 1m.

20th April

Weather: SW 3 increasing W5 from late morning. Clear and sunny all day.

Highlight was a male Common Redstart which was caught in the Low Trap.  Only light passage today but all three hirundines were noted.  A Buzzard which eventually flew south was the second of the year while single Glaucous and Iceland Gulls were seen at roost.

Passage: Buzzard 1S, Swallow 5N, Sand Martin 3N, House Martin 1N, Linnet 4N, Goldfinch 2N, Meadow Pipit 15N.

Present/arrivals: Redstart 1m, Blackbird 2, Song Thrush 2, Woodpigeon 3, Chiffchaff 3, Glaucous Gull 1, Iceland Gull 1.

 Redstart (David Steel)

19th April

Weather: SW3. Cold but slightly overcast before clearing mid-morning to leave a warm day out of the wind.

Absolutely nothing early on before things suddenly improved from 11am with a few warblers arriving, the first Tree Pipit of the year and significant Meadow Pipit passage for the next 3.5 hours totalling 431.  The first Whimbrel of the year also dropped in mid-afternoon.

Passage: Meadow Pipit 431N, Swallow 5N, Tree Pipit 1N, Siskin 1N, Linnet 4N, Goldfinch 2N, Barnacle Goose 110N.

Present/arrivals: Blackcap pair, Willow Warbler 1, Chiffchaff 4, Wheatear 1f, Robin 1, Blackbird 1, Carrion Crow 4, Wren 4+, Whimbrel 1, Woodpigeon 2, Redshank 1.

18th April

Weather: Light easterly veering south easterly from mid-afternoon.  Clear and sunny morning with high cloud drifting in from mid-afternoon.

A Swift was potentially the earliest record for the isle but other than a Sand Martin very little was passing through.  The first incubating Guillemot was seen.

Passage: Swift 1, Sand Martin 1N, Greylag Goose 2N, Common Scoter 2N, Linnet 3N, Goldfinch 1N

Present: Blackbird 1, Purple Sandpiper 1, Redshank 2, Curlew 1, Peregrine 2.

17th April

Weather: Very light westerly early morning becoming calm until late afternoon when northerly 5 until dark.  Mainly clear with cloudy periods very a few drops of rain.

The highlight of the day was all too brief with what was almost certainly a Humpback Whale tail fluke seen briefly off the east side.  The first sitting Eiders were noted.  Otherwise little new other than a fly-over Golden Plover, the first of the year.

Passage: Golden Plover 1, Linnet 5, Common Gull 1.

Present: Blackbird 2, Turnstone 4.

16th April

Weather: Clear morning with cold, westerly force 3. Cloud rolling in late morning with light rain for a time. Clearing early afternoon and wind backing easterly.

Very light passage in the morning with four Swallows the highlight.  A Short-eared Owl was seen again.  First Great Black-backed Gull egg.

Passage: Swallow 4N, Linnet 10N, Goldfinch 1N, Red-throated Diver 1W.

Present: Starling 1, Redshank 2, Peregrine 1, Short-eared Owl 1, Cormorant 47.

 First Great Black-backed Gull egg

15th April

Weather: Bright and largely clear. Westerly force 5 easing slightly late afternoon.

The strong winds seemed to prevent much from arriving or passing by.

Passage: Meadow Pipit 12, Linnet 2.

Present: Peregrine 1, Redshank 1, Turnstone 5, Wren 3, Blackbird 1.

14th April

Weather: Bright with cloud mid-afternoon bringing very light rain for a time before clearing. Light SW wind force 3 increasing 4-5 by evening.

Highlights: The first Sandwich Tern of the year was noted while a Hooded Crow with five Carrion Crow was a welcome addition to the year list.  An Osprey flew north.

Passage: Common Scoter 8N, Red-throated Diver 1N, Manx Shearwater 1N, Black-headed Gull 1N, Osprey 1N, Goldfinch 3N, Redpoll 1N, Linnet 13N, Siskin 2N, Meadow Pipit 46N.

Present/arrivals: Willow Warbler 5, Chiffchaff 1, Short-eared Owl 1, snipe 1.

3rd April

Weather: A bright, clear calm morning with high cloud from midday and an increasing south westerly.

Highlight: The most notable record so far this year with a Firecrest found in the Low Light bushes, the fifth April record, with at least six Goldcrest.  Elsewhere a Stock Dove was the first record since 2013 and seven Jackdaw and a Greenfinch were the first of the year.

Present/Arrivals: Firecrest 1, Goldcrest 12, Jackdaw 7, Stock Dove 1, Greenfinch 1N, Woodpigeon 4, Chiffchaff 2, Robin 2, Dunnock 1, Blackbird 2, Redwing 3, Linnet 6N, Goldfinch 2N.


 Firecrest (David Steel)
2nd April

Weather: A stunning day with light south westerlies. 

Highlight was a Lapland Bunting seen briefly near the Bain Trap, a rare spring record.  Otherwise a few Goldcrest were still present with Goldfinch & Linnet over.

1st April

A Blackcap was the first of the year.

31st March

A Crossbill was a good record so soon in the season while seven Whooper Swans flew north

29th March

An Osprey over was a good early record as was a White Wagtail.  Glaucous Gull and Black Redstart were seen again.

28th March

Ring Ouzel, the first of the year, with five present along with 10 Chiffchaff, 2 Wheatear, 57 Siskin, 6 Redpoll, a Black Redstart and two immature Glaucous Gull. 5 Woodcock, 50 Redwing and 6 Fieldfare

26th March

The second Wheatear of the spring was present and a Goldfinch flew over.

25th March

Male Black Redstart remains

24th March

A stunning adult male Black Redstart appeared while the female type was still present.  At least three Siskin and a Linnet flew over while four Short-eared Owls were present.

23rd March

Weather: North easterly force 4 decreased through the morning to almost calm by afternoon. Early morning light rain quickly abated to leave a bright but largely overcast day.  

Present/arrivals:  A female type Black Redstart appeared along with three Chiffchaff, the first of the year.  Up to 10 Goldcrest arrived along with a Mistle Thrush and a few more Blackbirds.  A Snow Bunting flew over.  Three Short-eared Owls were present.


22nd March

Weather: overcast with moderate rain from mid-afternoon. Light NE increasing through the morning to force 5.

Present: A Wheatear was the first of the year and a Stonechat were present while a Sparrowhawk flew low over Fluke St.

5th March

Weather: Light early morning rain cleared to leave a bright day with broken cloud.  South westerly force 3-4 eased to virtually calm from early morning onwards.

Highlights: At least 15 Stonechats remained on the island overnight but with a bright day most appeared to trickle away as the day wore on.  The Black Redstart also remained while a Snow Bunting dropped in beside the Low Trap for a short while. Two Fieldfare were new while 5 Skylark passed over as did a skein of 46 Pink-footed Geese all going north.  The day ended with the year’s first Iceland Gull, a third winter, on Rona.

Passage: Skylark 5N, Pink-footed Goose 46N.

Present/arrivals: Iceland Gull 1 (3w), Black Redstart 1, Stonechat 15, Snow Bunting 1, Starling 1, Sparrowhawk 1, Peregrine 1, Fieldfare 2, Robin 5, Wren 3, Blackbird 1, Teal 24, Redshank 1, Curlew 60, Grey Heron 1, Purple Sandpiper 1, Turnstone 1, Carrion Crow 1.

 Third winter Iceland Gull (Mark Newell)
 Snow Bunting (Mark Newell)

4th March

Weather: overnight rain easing as the morning progressed only to be replaced by harr, visibility slightly improved late afternoon.  Brisk easterly overnight easing to almost calm from mid-morning.

Highlights: even this early in the season an easterly breeze brings a significant fall to the island, even if it only composed two species.  A first winter male Black Redstart was accompanied by at least 19 Stonechats almost all between the Byres and St Andrews Well.  To put the number in context the previous record day count of Stonechat is six.  Elsewhere eight Short-eared Owls were present.

Present/Arrivals: Stonechat 19, Black Redstart 1imm M, Short-eared Owl 8, Starling 1, Snipe 1, Blackbird 1, Robin 3, Song Thrush 3, Wren 1, Meadow Pipit 1, Pied Wagtail 2, Kestrel 1, Shelduck 1, Turnstone 3, cormorant 25.

 One of 19 Stonechats present (Mark Newell)

Tuesday 28th February

Peregrine 1, Kestrel male, Curlew 63, Redshank 3, Woodcock 1, Short-eared Owl 5 at roost, Black-headed Gull 4,  Song Thrush 1, Robin 4, Wren 6+, Carrion Crow 1, Wood Pigeon 1

Monday 27th February

Teal 3, Peregrine 1, Kestrel male, Merlin 1 immature dead found in Top Trap, Curlew 51, Redshank 3, Snipe 1, Common Gull 1, LBB Gull small numbers back, Glaucous Gull immature at roost,  Short-eared Owl 4 at roost, Skylark, Song Thrush 2,Robin 4, Wren 6+, Carrion Crow 1, Wood Pigeon 1, Rock Pipit 25, Pied Wagtail 1.       

23rd January

Red-throated Diver 1N, Common Scoter 2 off north end, Shelduck pair, Snipe 1, Puffin - winter plumage bird off east side, Short-eared Owl 4 at Low Light bushes, otherwise quiet with very light scattering of robins, wrens.

17th January

Limited coverage but at least five Bottle-nosed Dolphins were off the east side while a Little Auk was off the north end.

16th January 2017

Not surprisingly little change from yesterday however a few additions to the year list.  The highlight being five Sanderling passed South Ness while Purple Sandpiper and Black-headed Gull were also seen.  A Woodcock and Redwing were the first birds ringed this year.

Passage: Sanderling 5

Present: Long-tailed Duck 1f, Sparrowhawk, Turnstone 6, Purple Sandpiper 1, Short-eared Owl 5, Woodcock 1, Redwing 4, Robin 2, Grey Heron 2, Kittiwake 20, Common Gull 5, Black-headed Gull 5.

 Woodcock with uncharacteristically short bill (MarkNewell)
 Shags at sunset (Mark Newell)

15th January 2017

A full day of coverage failed to reveal much more ashore but a few good additions on the sea with a Long-tailed Duck and a Red-necked Grebe (presumably the same bird as in December).  Five Whooper Swans flew north as did a Linnet.

Passage: Whooper Swan 5, Linnet.

Present: Short-eared Owl 6+, Sparrowhawk 1, Peregrine 1, Woodcock 1, Teal 17, Long-tailed Duck 1f, Red-necked Grebe 1, Kittiwake 3, Redwing 4, Blackbird 3, Song Thrush 2, Wren 5.

 Long-tailed Duck (Mark Newell)

14th January 2017

The first day of presence on the isle and a general lack of passerines despite the cold conditions on the mainland.  A young male Sparrowhawk may have been responsible given the Blackbird lucky escape witnessed.  Highlight was a first winter Glaucous Gull seen at South Ness then what was assumed to be the same on Rona.  At least 4 Short-eared Owl are present.

Passage: Pink-footed Geese 60s

Present: Glaucous Gull 1, Short-eared Owl 4, Peregrine 1, Sparrowhawk 1, Redwing 1, Song Thrush 2, Blackbird 2, Wren 3, Rock Pipit 10, Curlew 20, Oystercatcher 30, Redshank 4, Turnstone 2, Common Gull 1, Kittiwake 1.

Alan Lauder,
Jan 20, 2014, 5:49 AM
Mark Newell,
Jan 31, 2015, 4:56 AM
Mark Newell,
Jan 16, 2016, 12:01 PM
Mark Newell,
Jan 14, 2017, 1:33 PM