Final round-up

Top: Waxwing (left) and Long-eared Owl (right)

Bottom: Pallas’s Warbler (both)

Saturday 21st December comments: The final installment of the rare and scarce bird round up for the island saw the closure of the Bird Observatory in early November followed by the last of the staff to depart the isle in mid-November but not before one final flurry of birds.

If the weather is favourable (easterly backed winds) in early November the island can produce and on this occasion it certainly did. A spell of north-easterly winds brought some final major highlights of what had turned out to be an epic autumn. Birds of real note included a Pallas’s Warbler trapped and ringed on 4th-5th November and was surprising the first on the island since 2001. Other good birds included an Olive-backed Pipit on 5th (the 11th island record but 7th since 2015), a stunning male Firecrest on 7th-13th November, Hawfinch on 2nd (which was chased by a Merlin), Glaucous Gull on 3rd, a long staying Little Grebe from 8th-27th (a rare bird for the island), a scattering of Long-eared Owls and Waxwings.

The spring had been productive, the summer surprising and the autumn epic and that was the Isle of May during the 2019 migration season. Bring on 2020… 

Major Highlights:

                        1st         Collared Flycatcher

                        2nd        Crane (first since 2004)

2nd       Red-flanked Bluetail (first since 1975)               

                        4th        Siberian Stonechat (first since 1980)

                         5th        Blyth’s Reed Warbler (first since 2016)             

                        7th        Arctic Warbler (first since 2017)

                        8th        Aquatic Warbler (first since 2001 and earliest Scottish record)

                        8th       Melodious Warbler (first since 2012)

                       8th        Red Kite (first since 2017)                     

                        9th        Radde’s Warbler (first since 2016)

                       9th       Pallas’s Warbler (first since 2001)        

                       11th       Raven (first since 2018)

                       11th      Olive-backed Pipit (5th consecutive year and 7th since 2015)

                        13th       Hawfinch (six in last three years)                       

                       15th       Hoopoe (first since 2015)

  Scarce migrants

  • Bluethroat (best year since 1994)
  • Red-breasted Flycatcher (fourth consecutive spring)
  • Marsh Warbler (second consecutive year)
  • Icterine Warbler
  • Great Grey Shrike (first since 2016)
  • Red-backed Shrike (last blank year in 2003)
  • Shorelark (first since 2016)
  • Common Rosefinch (only 1 blank year in past 30 years)
  • Little Bunting (first since 2017)


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