Thursday, 27 September 2012

Storm Birds

Bass rock loomed in the early morning light this morning. 

The big easterly blow on Monday and Tuesday brought a lot of birds to the island. Big winds like that disrupt bird migration journeys and a big blow like on Monday and Tuesday show just how many birds are on the move at this time of year.  The birds really didn't start arriving until later on on Tuesday when the rain stopped. By far the greatest number was of song thrushes, a guess of about 750 of them mixed in with a sprinkling of blackbirds, Redwings, Dunnocks, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Redstarts, a Pied Flycatcher and a Tree Pipit. Very nearly 100 birds were ringed. .
By Wednesday the weather had eased and observation for island inhabitants and movement for birds became easier and the list grew and included the following totals. 
Four Wigeon, 12 Teal, a Goldeneye on the loch, 9 Grey Heron, 1 Buzzard, 3 Kestrel, 3 Peregrine, 3 Ringed Plover, 16 Golden Plover, 1 Lapwing, 1 Snipe, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Arctic Skua, 140 Great Black-backed Gull, 100 Guillemot.
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 30 Goldcrest, 2 Skylark, 30 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 1 Yellow-browed Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Common Whitethroat, 5 Wren, 5 Blackbird, 500 Song Thrush, 6 Redwing, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 40 Robin, 10 Redstart, 1 Whinchat, 15 Wheatear, 10 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Tree pipit, 40 Chaffinch, 30 Brambling, 2 Siskin, 2 Redpoll, 2 Snow Bunting, 10 Reed Bunting.
And today some of the birds were gradually leaving the island while others were on the move from elsewhere. Snow buntings were up to 5, Song Thrushes  were down to only 200ish, 50 plus Swallows hung around,  2 Grey Wagtails passed through and the geese were on the move, nearly 800 pink feet including one on the deck, 300 + Greylags and the first 27 Barnacle Geese went past the island. 
All in all an exciting few days for the island.

The clearing up started as Lucie rescued one of the gangplanks for the May Princess.  Bizarrely the other crushed one disappeared into the sea but the sea tossed up onto the rocks part of one lost nearly 2 seasons ago. The sea giveth, the sea taketh away !
Just a few of the geese passing by over head and one pinkie that preferred to sit on the island for a day.
One of a few chiffchaffs and the second greater spotted woodpecker of the season. Just like buses, you wait 11 years and then 2 come along, this one is an adult male .
Even grey herons were on the move. A group of 6 were on Rona and headed south, well 5 did and 1 stayed.
One of 5 snow buntings on the island today.

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