Thursday 31 January 2019

31st January 2019

Weather: SE force 2, heavy frost
 A very cold morning with sea ice on the beach after the tide.

Waders were everywhere as the tide ebbed. Two Common Snipe were found and lots of the usual species: 5,000 Oystercatchers, 1,000 Knot, 120 Grey Plover, 20 Turnstones, 10 Sanderling, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 300 Dunlin and 60 Ringed Plover.
also 120 Redshank,

and 40 Curlew
 The 200 or so Brent were all around the island and the 2 Eiders were both present.
A Red-throated Diver and 11 Great Crested Grebes were on the sea with a couple of Common Scoter.

A Skylark and 2 Rock Pipits were also logged this morning, along with 2 Little Egrets and a Grey Heron..
photos JE & AEH

Wednesday 30 January 2019

30th January 2019

Weather: S  0-1   snow/sleet showers early on.
A lovely snowy start to the day saw good numbers of waders and Gulls in the Gutter and along the North Shore. At least 1300 Gulls (mainly Herring) were feeding on the Starfish wreck.
Good counts were made of Grey Plover (265) and Redshank (267) but only 1 Purple Sandpiper was noted. Other waders included 3,480 Knot, 120 Dunlin, 94 Turnstone,  a couple of Sanderling and 50 Curlew.
The 211 Brent Geese include a colour ringed bird and the 2 Eider are still present, 13 Common Scoter and 6 Great Crested Grebe were on the sea. Snowdrops showed well in the garden against the lying snow.

Monday 28 January 2019

28th January 2019

Weather: N force 2/3 lake district just visible
An accurate count of the Brent around the islands found 198 birds which included the colour ringed P7BY. Another Eider swan off the whaleback while the injured regular was resting among some of the Brents.
A huge amount (perhaps 11,000) of Herring Gulls were on the sands distantly off to the west, and others close to the island at the mouth of the gutter. They seemed attracted by a possible wreck of razor shells.There were apparently 4 Song Thrushes on today, also 7 Wrens, 2 Robins and 2 Dunnocks. A Peregrine chased a wader over Middle for many minutes, it seems it was unsuccessful. On the sea were 25 Common Scoter and 4 Great Crested Grebes, while wader counts included 500 Knot, 200 Dunlin, 120 Redshank, 60 Curlew, 32 Grey Plover, 19 Ringed Plover, 12 Turnstones and 6 Bar-tailed Godwits.

Sunday 27 January 2019

27th January 2019

Weather: NNW force 7/8 
A short visit in a gale force wind made viewing conditions very taxing. Three Song Thrushes were seen despite the wind and waders counted were 1,000 Oystercatchers, 200 Knot, 26 Redshank 3 Dunlin, 6 Sanderling, 2 Ringed Plover, 1 Grey Plover and a Curlew. There are lots of Cormorants about at the moment and today 1,000 were estimated.

Thursday 24 January 2019

24th January 2019

Weather: S  0-1  visibility 5mls at first, improving later.
Two Rock Pipit were on Middle before tide and later one was at the North end.

A flock of 19 Linnet were also on Middle and a Skylark flew over. On the main island there are still a few Thrush about and 4 Wren went into the Obs roost at dusk.
The Purple Sandpiper high tide roost numbered seven, it looks like this is going to be the highest number this winter. Other waders included 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4,000 Knot, 1300 Dunlin and 45 Grey Plover, 43 Ringed Plover roosted on the South End along with 1 of the Grey Plover.

Only 160 Brent Geese were located around the islands along with the 2 Eider, 43 Common Scoter and 31 Great Crested Grebe were on the sea.
There is still evidence of the fox around the islands and it has been heard calling, but at least 3 Short-tailed Field Voles have survived so far, probably by hiding under the corrugated metal sheet they were found under!   

Wednesday 23 January 2019

23rd January 2019

Weather: calm at dawn with good visibility, ENE  2  later
Before the tide there were 25 Grey Plover and 50 Ringed Plover south of Middle, also at least 200 Sanderling on the North Shore with 800 Dunlin and 160 Knot. Seven Purple Sandpiper roosted at the North End over tide.
Great Crested Grebe numbered 29 and Common Scoter 82, 2 Red-throated Diver were seen flying east distantly and the 2 Eider are still present.
There was a good count of Common Gull (380) amongst the Black-headed and Herring Gull.
A single Little Egret was around Middle Eye and a single Rock Pipit on the North End, other passerines were the usual few Robin, Dunnock and Song Thrush.

Friday 18 January 2019

18th January 2019

Weather: SE  3-4  Temperature 0  vis 20 mls

There was a bitter wind chill this morning and the visibility decreased to 5 miles when the snow started, more of a day for sitting in front of the fire with a cup of tea than being out counting birds !
Nevertheless, a good count of 230 Brent Geese was made, most in the lagoon as the tide ebbed. Shelduck around Little Eye numbered 30 and a female Red-breasted Merganser flew east passed the North End. Nine Great Crested Grebe were on the sea and 3 Harbour Porpoise were again seen in the mouth of the swash.
With the small tide today the 4 Purple Sandpiper present were roosting in the tide gauge channel.

The Purples were briefly alarmed when a Peregrine sped by the North End and up the west side.
Two Rock Pipit and a Blackbird were present and 2 Song Thrush were re-trapped, one of which was ringed last January so is a returning winter resident.

Thursday 17 January 2019

17th January 2019

Weather: N  3-4   visibility good,  temp. 4

Despite the snow to be seen on the Carneddi, a wren was singing in the SK paddock!
In addition to the usual 2 Eider which were off the Whaleback, 2 males and another female type were out towards the wind farm.
 As the tide ebbed 34 Ringed Plover and 800 Knot were south of Middle, only 1 Purple Sandpiper was located and wader numbers were lower today.
Only 8 Common Scoter were logged, one of those being close in on the west side.
A couple of hours after the tide a steady stream of Gulls (mainly Herring) were noticed heading west off the North End, they were estimated to be at least 4,000.

Tuesday 15 January 2019

15th January 2019

Weather: WSW  2   good visibility

 The highlight of the morning was the spectacle of at least 5,000 Knot flying passed the Obs garden after tide, some stayed and performed for a few minutes, going up and down the Gutter.
There was a good count of 124 Redshank but only 2 Purple Sandpiper, other waders included 280 Dunlin, 78 Turnstone and 97 Curlew.
The 219 Brent Geese included 7PBY, 3 GreyHeron were west of Little Eye and the 2 Eider still about the islands.
The only notable passerines were 12 Linnet and a Rock Pipit.
A single Celandine flower was showing.

Monday 14 January 2019

14th January 2019

With a brief visit over low water it was inevitable that there would be little about, no Purple Sandpipers were to be found at the North End  but a Rock Pipit was there and some of the 700 Oystercatcher around the islands were also there feeding on the slipway.
Most of the 204 Brent Geese were feeding on the west side rocks
Whilst the remainder roosted on the North Shore.
Feeding at the bottom of the Gutter and on the East Hoyle were 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 26 Grey Plover,118 Redshank and 308 Dunlin along with 72 Knot which were joined as the tide started to flood by a flock of about 4,000. Two Eider were off the Whaleback and a single Little Egret was below the Obs garden.
 photos AS