The daily peregrine
For the last couple of weeks there has been nobody in the Lowlight so Bex, Holly and I have been carrying out the daily census to monitor the migration of birds heading north. Each morning we are out by 7am for a set circuit round some of the birding hotspots of the island. It has been fascinating seeing how the bird numbers and species have been changing on a day to day basis. When we first came on there were easterlies blowing and these had brought a good number of birds onto the island. It was taking us 1.5 hours to get round and an example of what we were counting were: 50 blackbirds, 40 fieldfares, 30 robins, 12 song thrushes, 8 dunnock, 5 wheatear and a whole lot more. These more run of the mill birds were supplemented by a few more unusual birds such as a black redstart, a ring ouzel, a male goosander and a grey wagtail.
But as the wind has gone round to the south-west, the birds have been leaking away until this morning the total of migrating birds we saw were 2 robins, 2 song thrush, 2 blackbird, 2 siskin and a linnet. But even as the bird numbers dropped there were still discoveries to be made, a couple of days ago a jackdaw, possibly a darker nordic bird in amongst some crows was tracked down before it set off on its own going across the Firthgoing south. As we have been walking the same route we have seen the clear day to day changes in the island’s bird population. We have almost got to know the long-staying birds personally, the lone robin in the Low Trap, the tailess blackbird (escaped from a merlin?) in the Lowlight bushes, the same nervous song thrush in the Top Trap and the male peregrine hanging in the air above the west cliffs. For me there is a huge pleasure to be had from these daily studies on the small changes of the birds on the island and glimpses into the process of migration.
Below – Nearly finished, Holly and Bex ready for breakfast.