The terns are back


I woke up this morning and…….. and there was the usual little bit of excitement as you just never know what the day will bring and what might happen next. So I headed out to have a pre-breakfast wander to see what was happening. It was a quiet, benign sort of day, little wind, warmish and high fog (the shore was clear, the top of the Mainlight wasn’t), a morning where you use your ears as much as your eyes.

It was a good puffin day with plenty on the cliff edges and out on the water doing puffin business mixed in with the auks.



The eiders on the loch were hard at it. With about 70 males and only 10 females you can guess that there was plenty of wooing and displaying  and only a few freshly matched couples wandering off.  The numbers of females appearing on nests increasing by the day.

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The migrants were a little thinner on the ground but a sedge warbler singing near the Lowlight was a delightful surprise.


And then a call in the fog, a sandwich tern going over and then another call, an arctic tern over the Beacon. I listened some more and then several calls from more arctic terns and suddenly there were groups of calls.  As the fog cleared groups of bendy-winged wraiths ghosted above yelling their heads off, this wasn’t just a single tern asking if any others were out there, this was the terns back properly. Maybe only 15 at the most but it is the start of another roller coaster season following the ups and downs of terns breeding on the May.

tern in fog

As the day progressed it got hotter, just in time for the visitors to arrive.  Half an hour before the may princess things got hotter when word got out that a serin had been seen near the Lowlight. A run up the aptly named Palpitation Brae and down McLouds Walk worked up a nice sweat but to no avail as it has disappeared and not to been seen for the rest of the day.  It is the first record for the island and a rare bird in Scotland so the lucky two that saw it did very well. It is a small finch crossed between a canary and siskin that regularly crossing over the channel down south but rarely up here.  A nice mealy redpoll caught at teatime was only a little consolation. But of course it will all add to the frisson of excitement tomorrow morning,  and so it goes on, each morning of the season.





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