The restless behaviour of the geese at the end of last week was an obvious indication of them being ready to take advantage of suitable weather for their long flight north should suitable conditions arise. A relatively slight alteration in the wind towards SE saw most of them leave either during the day yesterday or overnight into the 13th, i.e. last night. The SE wind was fairly fresh and would have obviously provided good supportive conditions for the onward flight to Iceland. Remarkably I counted less than 500 Barnacle Geese and only around 150 Greenland White-fronted Geese today after what can only be described as an exodus. The landscape is now strangely silent in certain favoured places and the sky bereft of packs of disturbed birds or skeins moving to roost. They might now spend a short period in Iceland before continuing on to Greenland, an utterly remarkable event which, I suppose ,is why so many of us are hooked on migration!!!
In a seawatch this morning almost a 1000 Auks sped northwards heading for their breeding colonies I suspect.The majority appeared to be Razorbills. A single Manx Shearwater and three Common Scoter similarly moved north as did a female Merlin . Feeding Gannets are now a common sight offshore and doubtless will remain so until autumn.
Previous to setting off a single Siskin appeared at the feeders at home, joined by two others which cascaded out of the sky , fed for a couple of minutes before all erupted northwards. Later a flock of 22 Turnstone were found resting on rocks at the coast, unperturbed by my presence and clearly migrants at rest. Odd Swallows were at several places, Willow Warblers are now well established around Loch Gorm where a single male Goldeneye remained.
At Loch Gruinart RSPB Reserve Willow Warblers were in evidence, 3 Gadwall were new, as were 10 Black -tailed Godwits in absolutely splendid plumage and several Sand Martins and House Martins flying around. Shoveler, Wigeon and Pintail are now paired and one hopes as many as possible remain to breed.
A sad day, in a sense, with the departure of the geese that provide such a daily spectacle during the short days of winter but, on the other hand, a time of parallel emergence with other species moving in and replacing them as our summer breeding residents.