Tuesday 30th October comments: It’s been an exciting few days on the Isle of May as our attention has been focused on the sea and more to the point, what has been flying by. As northerly backed winds kicked in, birds start moving in the North Sea. Some like Wigeon, Goldeneye and Long-tailed Ducks start arriving from further north to winter locally in the Firth of Forth whilst other are being displaced.
One of those species being displaced is the Pomarine Skua a rare passage visitor which breeds in the high arctic and winters in the tropical oceans. However strong winds to the north of the UK can force birds into the North Sea but then these birds will re-orientate and filter back out, before getting back on track. Observers at headlands and islands then get the opportunity to see these unique seabirds and that’s what happened, as we counted 14 of these birds flying by at the weekend.
Other noticeable highlights included a handful of Little Auks (another high arctic breeder), double figure counts of Red-throated Divers (heading into the North Sea to winter) and Manx Shearwaters all on the move. It’s never dull on the Isle of May even in cold northerly winds! The magic of migration.