Wednesday, November 14, 2012
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Saturday, November 10, 2012
A juvenile Glaucous Gull was the highlight of the 8th, when the only other sightings of note were a Peregrine and a late Wheatear still lingering at the lighthouse. A Waxwing arrived on the 9th along with a Goldfinch, 6 Whooper Swans and an influx of 64 Fieldfares. The Fieldfares increased to at least 206 on the 11th and brought 7 Redwings with them, while 2 Goldfinches and 3 Waxwings were also seen. Birds lingering throughout this period included a Chiffchaff and a Grey Plover.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Amid a very end-of-season atmosphere, minds began to turn increasingly towards submitting rarity descriptions and writing reports rather than stepping out into the westerly wind and hail in search of whatever rare birds might turn up so late in the year and in such conditions. Nevertheless, there were at least one or two birds to report. A Long-eared Owl was trapped and ringed at Holland House on the 5th, while a Peregrine arrived, the Black Redstart was still there and 13 Waxwings were seen. The 6th had nothing to offer besides a single Waxwing, and even that had gone by the 7th. The Long-eared Owl and 2 Chaffinches were still in the garden and the Greylag Geese were still accompanied by a Pink-footed Goose and a Barnacle Goose.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
A quiet but very pleasant calm day had few new migrants to report. A Black Redstart at Holland House was the highlight, while a minimum of 11 Waxwings were around and a Whooper Swan arrived. There was a new Robin and a couple of new Song Thrushes, and lingering species included 3 Redpolls, a Blackcap and a Chiffchaff.
There was not a lot of change to report, with continuing Waxwing passage the main event of the day: a count of at least 20 birds was our contribution to the spectacular totals being reported from the Northern Isles. Birds left over from earlier days included a Sparrowhawk, a Blackcap, a Chiffchaff and 2 Mealy Redpolls; fresh migrants included 4 Lapland Buntings, 3 unidentified Redpolls and a passing Little Auk.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Things brightened after a miserable wet morning and a few birds were found to have come in with the rain. The day's total of at least 26 Waxwings was a new record count for the observatory, most of them continuing south without stopping for long. A Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Chaffinches, 3 Bramblings, a Siskin and 30 Fieldfares were mostly new migrants and both Mealy Redpolls were still at Holland House. A Sparrowhawk, 4 Hen Harriers, 2 Merlins and a Woodcock were also seen.
An unexpected addition to the ringing data sheets was a young Hen Harrier trapped at Westness and found to be already wearing a British ring. The bird was in quite a weak condition - weak enough to be caught by hand, anyway - but had a full crop of food and was able to fly on release.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
A very calm beginning to the new month brought some pleasant enough birding but still few notable migrants. At least 4 Waxwings were still around, 2 of which were trapped and ringed in the morning, and the previous day's Mealy Redpoll was joined by another Mealy Redpoll and 2 North-Western Redpolls. Other small migrants included a Lapland Bunting, a Brambling and a flock of 36 Snow Buntings arriving over the sea from the north. A Little Auk was the highlight of a seawatch, while a Common Scoter was swimming offshore and a count of at least 249 Eiders indicated a build-up of the species. Purple Sandpipers, also increasing in number, reached 140 birds, and further sightings included 3 Merlins, 2 Peregrines and 2 Hen Harriers.
October went out quietly, fading away without any noteworthy species or falls of migrants as a parting gift. Half a dozen Waxwings were seen (and were probably a different 6 birds to the previous day's batch) and a Redpoll was new. A Chiffchaff, a Chaffinch and 3 Woodcocks were the best of the lingering birds.