Friday, April 10, 2009

Migrants moving in!

After bidding fond farewells to the girls yesterday ( Thursday ) I decided to use the day to complete overdue chores and admin tasks as the wind was very strong and an absolute pain!!! It finally died down during the night with today ( Friday ) turning out to be quite nice eventually with plenty of sunshine!!! Whilst local reports suggested not much was around I decided to give the whole recording area a "bashing" to see what might have arrived.

An initial seawatch showed an endless procession of Gannets N and S offshore, doubtless engaged in feeding movements. Local Fulmar, Shag, Eider, and Black Guilemot were in evidence and a few Kittiwakes moved north, a handful of Manx Shearwater moved in both directions, Auk parties sped mainly north and several Red-throated Divers moved north too. A flock of ca.150 Golden Plover whirled around in the low cloud and may just have arrived.

In Loch Indaal Great Northern Diver numbers had reduced quite dramatically and several were asleep suggesting their being migrants at rest. Odd Red-throated Diver and a single Black-throated Diver complimented the trio!. At least four Slavonian Grebes were found, a pair of Long-tailed Duck and almost 50 Greater Scaup indicating the last of the Arctic visitors were hanging on a little. In the north of the island some quite large packs of Barnacle Geese were present, with small parties repeatedly peeling off and around suggesting they're restless and preparing to go!

The Loch Gruinart RSPB Reserve showed a good selection of duck, including the male Green-winged Teal, which I've been trying to see for ages!! The flooded area, whose water level had been drawn down to assist breeding Redshank and Lapwing, showed a worrying increase after the heavy rain we've experienced over the past couple of days suggesting some early attempts at breeding may have been thwarted.

And so to migrants! The day total for various species was Wheatear 2, Willow Warbler 4, Chiffchaff 2, White Wagtail 1 and Sand Martin 1+. Finally it's begining to happen!! Whilst there has been odd individuals appearing previously it now seems we're likely to be seeing better numbers arrive with us!

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