Local News

Stronsay Recent Bird Sightings

Republished here with kind permission of The Stronsay Limpet

‘Big’ birds featured well during November with a pleasing mixture of geese present towards the end of the month, a party of 6-7 Canada Geese, a few Greenland White fronted Geese, one or two small parties of Pink-footed Geese and a considerable party of Barnacle Geese.

Whooper Swans are more numerous than in recent years and Greylags are beginning to become manageable, allowing several species of duck to return to their former haunts. There is still some way to go!

Several species of duck have been seen apart from the usual Wigeon, Teal and Mallard – a few Pintail, Long-tailed Ducks in Mill Bay, 2 drake Goldeneye on the Bu and two Velvet Scoter off the Lower Village seen by David Askew on several occasions.

With autumn migration almost over, there have been a few ‘stragglers’ around the island – top of the ‘big league’ category being the Great White Egret found by Donald Omond near the Matpow Loch and later seen briefly by JH in a ditch between Banks and Leaquoy. The second record for Stronsay. (see photo JH).

In the ‘middle leagues’ Woodcock, Grey Plover and Wood Pigeon have all been ‘surprises’. A Ruff (male – perhaps the same bird?) was found in the same field for the third year running near the Holland ‘turn off and a very small unidentified wader was seen there by JH on 29th.

A Little Auk was seen at Bomasty bay by Donald Omond on 25th. A few small ‘passerine’ migrants have been seen in November – two each of Black Redstart, Chiffchaff and Blackcap. and a similar number (4-5) of Reed Buntings and Stonechats. Both species probably breeding on Stronsay. Many Blackbirds have arrived and will probably remain here for the winter. Redwings and Fieldfares have arrived in their usual numbers and they too will probably stay on unless the weather turns ‘icy’.

But the biggest surprise of the month was a Kingfisher discovered clinging to a wooden post in the shelter of a building by Fran Miller at Banks on 8th November. The second record for the island – the first being seen by Sue and I by the Mill Stream in April 1996.

Thanks for all the calls. John Holloway