Friday 11th December comments: Continuing the series of blog posts looking back over the year, today we look at the bird migrant highlights. With winds dominating from the west, spring passage was extremely quiet although a Great White Egret flying over the island was a ‘first’ for the May. However this was all eclipsed by the remarkable discovery of a Red Grouse (another ‘first’), totally unexpected considering the species is usually sedentary to grouse moorlands.
In complete contrast to the spring, the autumn was impressive with some noteworthy birds including the islands first ever Pallid Harrier, 3rd ever Red-footed Falcon and Red-throated Pipit and a host of other east coast drift migrants. As birding evolves science is starting to play a bigger role and this was shown with the first confirmed ‘Siberian’ Chiffchaff by DNA sampling of some feathers.
The year list stands at a respectable 167, just one short of the all-time record but a fine achievement considering the quiet spring. And it’s onwards to next year and what will it bring?
1st Great White Egret
3rd Red-footed Falcon
4th Gadwall, Red Kite
5th Gadwall, Red Kite, Mediterranean Gull, Olive-backed Pipit
6th Mediterranean Gull, Kingfisher, Olive-backed Pipit
7th Mediterranean Gull, Kingfisher
8th Honey Buzzard
12th Barn owl
15th Richard’s Pipit
Also first confirmed record of ‘Siberian’ Chiffchaff through DNA
New record day counts of the following species:
- Pink-footed Goose 2,541 west on 25th September
- Barnacle Goose 1,534 west on 8th October
- Common Scoter 137N 44S on 24th June
- Red-throated Diver 27S on 28th September
- Cormorant 170 on 23rd September
- Short-eared Owl 11 on both 27th and 28th October
- Reed Warbler 15 on 24th August