Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Migrants at last!

A light westerly wind and pleasant conditions throughout, to the extent that I had my first " Islay" butterflies of the year, single Green-veined White and Small Tortoiseshell. This must be a prelude to summer, given we appear to have skipped Spring!!!

Following new birds for the year being seen last week on Jura ( White-tailed Eagle 185, Cuckoo 186 , Arctic Tern 187 and Tree Pipit 188 ), today saw a further boost occur!

An early seawatch in quite ideal conditions produced virtually nothing! Local to Portnahaven, it was obvious that there had been quite a fall of Northern Wheatear, about half of which were of the  "Greenland" form. This proved to be the case throughout most of the Rinns, but not further inland. Whimbrel too were both present and arriving, and various groups ranging from 7 to almost 30 being encountered. Willow Warblers had obviously arrived in good numbers too, with many in song , but others feeding more quietly. A single Chiffchaff sang nearby to Loch Skerrols as did a Sedge Warbler ( 2013,189 ) at Loch Gorm.

Early in the day only odd hirundines were encountered ( Swallow over Bowmore Harbour and at Springbank ), but later, several were seen down the whole of the Rinns with House Martins at Loch Tallant and near Crosshouses and a Sand Martin near Loch Gorm.  Both Pied and White Wagtails were noted at varying locations and  "new" Common Sandpipers ( 2013, 190 ) near Claddach feeding with some resplendent Turnstone. Two parties of Light bellied Brent Geese on Loch Indaal had moved on later in the day, but the single Pink-footed Goose is still with Grey-lag Geese near Loch Gorm. Of other geese there was no sign, with the remainder apparently having finally moved off northwards after a very late departure. Doubtless some small numbers of the unfit or unwilling will appear within the next few days!!

The Corncrakes (2013, 191 ) around Portnahaven continue to entertain , with one bird calling well into late morning. Finally, good views were obtained of one of the Lapland Buntings discovered yesterday near Rockside Farm. A fine male feeding amongst newly emerged barley, proving difficult to see at times and posing the question of how many such birds go undiscovered amidst such cover!!

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