Friday, 20 April 2012

How things are - "As Good As the Galapagos"

Well here is just a quick update on how things are looking on the island. It has been cold. And a bit wet. But the last few days the birds have been absolutely fantastic for the few visitors to make it across. The RIB Osprey has made it the last couple days and those few who braved the weather have had unforgettable experiences. The seabirds have been back in force with a few guillemots starting to lay, razorbills mating like rabbits and one or two kittiwakes starting to nest build. The eider ducks are back on the island as well with the first females being escorted to their nest sites by their partners who guards her for a day or so before promptly abandoning her and going off the find another mate.  But the puffins have been the spectacular sight with the island seemingly covered in them.  It is a breath-taking sight and those lucky few visitors have been in awe when they get back to the boat. One keen Spanish birder who came on today said that it was "as good as the Galapagos!" So it is a case of "who dares wins" so why not give it a go, check out the boat operators and come over!  But just wear warm clothes.

Puffins everywhere

Posing for the camera.

Many of the puffins are a bit grubby after doing some imporvementws to their burtrow before laying.

A beautiful male brambling caught on the island on its way back to Scandanavia.

One of the many robins on the island.

A blackcap feeding on the apple tree that Jeremy constructed outside of the kitchen window of the principal lighthouse keepers cottage

A very smart wheatear just dropped in to the island.
The bonus for the visitors today was that we also had a small fall of migrant birds, the first for the spring season. A trickle of new birds started to appear this morning and then a shower and fog brought more in. The bulk were robins, but mixed in were blackcaps, a common whitethroat, the first willow warbler of the year, song thrushes, redwings, fieldfares, a stunning male brambling, a reed bunting, a linnet and a couple of redpolls. By the end of the day we had ringed 34 robins and estimated that there were as many as 80 on the island. Fluke street at dusk sounded like a suburban garden in winter with robins chipping and clicking away from every corner.  There is nothing like a visible sign of bird migration to quicken the pulse and step. And what might be waiting for us tomorrow morning ? Could be nothing or could be more treasures to be found. Can't wait.

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