Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Returning waders (1st-10th August 2016)

The first ten days of August went by as normal with returning summer plumaged waders stealing the show.  Numerous juvenile Ruff, Greenshank, Whimbrel, a mixture of adult and juvenile Black-tailed Godwits and Bar-tailed Godwits as well as a Curlew Sandpiper and some stunning Knot proved to the best.  Other noteworthy species throughout the period included Sandwich Tern, a trickle of Sand Martins,  and the first Red-breasted Merganser of the autumn off the Links.  The 7th involved a decent seawatch with 12 Sooty Shearwaters, 43 Manx Shearwaters, 28 Storm Petrels and a Harbour Porpoise.

Back to North Ron! (27-31st July 2016)

Back to North Ronaldsay!  After completing the spring season on Skokholm, a brief trip to Germany and my home in Herts I was soon back on the road to NRBO.  It was another incredible season spent with an amazing obs team.  Together we saw and found some brilliant birds and other wildlife which we shared with some great guests.

On my way up north I stopped off briefly at Murcar on the 26th July to look for the long-staying White-winged Scoter but dipped.  Consolation came in the form of a drake Surf Scoter and 50+ Velvet Scoter.

I arrived on North Ron in the midst of the sheep festival, an event run by Kevin and Alison for the first time.  It was rather hectic but great to see so much activity and work getting done.  Census for me began straight away and on my first full day on the island (28th July) I was fortunate enough to encounter a stunning adult Roseate Tern in amongst the post-breeding flocks of Arctic Terns lingering in Nouster Bay.  Other notable species for the later part of the month included just under 1000 Golden Plover, high numbers of Turnstone, Sanderling and Redshank returning from their breeding grounds in fine summer plumage.  Highlights amongst them included a Little Stint on Gretchen and a Wood Sandpiper.