Local News

Stronsay Recent Bird Sightings

Republished here with kind permission of The Stronsay Limpet

At last – after a slow start – there was a big arrival of migrant species this month, starting with an early Fieldfare in Lower Whitehall on 3rd.

Apart from the big number of Wheatears (of the Greenland race) and the White-rumped Sandpiper of north American origin, the bulk of the arrivals were from the NE.

Many of the sizeable island gardens held at least a few birds, with Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and Pied Flycatcher being the most numerous, and Redstart, Lesser Whitethroat and Blackcaps close behind.

There were also one or two Spotted Flycatchers, Whinchats, and Robins.

The rarest was a Blyth’s Reed Warbler – found in exactly the same spot as one found in early Autumn 2015 – followed by a Barred Warbler in the garden at Airy (see photo), and a Wryneck at Airy Cottage on 10th.

Two Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen that day – one at the Bu Farm and another just ten minutes later here at Castle.

There were a few sightings of the species over the next few days and at least two birds were present. A Cuckoo was seen at Matpow on 11th and as the number of migrants began to decrease in mid-month, a few skeins of Pink-footed Goose were seen flying southwards over the island.

The Shelduck which had been present in unprecedented numbers at the Bu Loch all year, had gone by the middle of the month. In similar fashion the big numbers of Pied Wagtails seen in early Autumn had almost all left the island by 20th.

A ‘sea-watch’ from Odiness Point by Donald Omand on 19th produced one Storm Petrel, several Sooty Shearwaters, and two Great Shearwaters (the latter being only the second sighting of the species from the island)..

Thanks for all the calls. John Holloway

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