Sunday, 30 April 2017

30th April 2017

Weather: ESE 5-6, 7/8 cloud, low vis (3miles) with some mist around estuary 

Today was just one of those memorable days on the island...

It started early this morning with a blustery east south easterly, overcast skies and low visibility - one observer who had stayed on overnight undertook the first round of the heligoland traps and greeted observers from the mainland with several bird bags with containing warblers including this fine Wood Warbler.

This was only our tenth Wood Warbler in sixty years but our earliest ever and our first in April (all previous records were in May and all have been caught and ringed).  The photo below shows the Wood Warbler (right) with a control (ringed elsewhere) Willow Warbler; the latter looking very like an 'acredula'.

It was already obvious that there had been a moderate fall but birds were arriving in waves throughout the morning.

The main species involved was Willow Warbler, as usual, and at least 120 were estimated throughout the day.  On occasion 10 at a time were caught in the Newton and SK traps.

A single Chiffchaff arrived in the afternoon as did a Blackcap, Whitethroat and several more Willow Warblers which remained around the Obs garden.

Playing second fiddle to the Wood Warbler, but not a species we catch with any regularity, was a Tree Pipit which was conveniently caught on the same round as a Meadow Pipit for nice comparison photographs.  Six other Tree Pipits were noted 'buzzing' over during the morning.

At least four Whitethroats arrived during the day (the first for the year), a single Blackcap appeared around the Obs garden during middle of the day and was also the first for the year.

A fine male Whinchat was caught amongst Willow Warblers and was also another first for the year.

The first Swifts of the year were noted along with good numbers of hirundines and a flava Wagtail over; meanwhile this Pied Wagtail sometime fighting with its own reflection on he 'Wendy Hut' window.

Meanwhile, the sea was pretty good too with a drake Eider offshore again, several Red-throated Divers, the first Arctic and Little Terns and a distant flock of summer plumage Black Terns off the East Hoyle (thanks to news from the mainland) followed by four more affording excellent views off the West Side from the Obs garden.

Dunlin flocks were roosting on the island again at high tide and good numbers of Whimbrel (28) were counted along with a stunning Bar-tailed Godwit (see above).  Other waders seen today included a singe Common Sandpiper and 5 Grey Plovers. 

Ringing: Wheatear, Whitethroat (3), Whinchat, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Wren, Wilow Warbler (70), Wood Warbler [205-24]  photos by AEH, BT and SRW

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