This time of year sees bird activity "kicking off" in this part of the world very early indeed. 0403 hours proved to be the time at which a local Cuckoo commenced to call, which then continued intermittently over the next two hours. Only shortly after this bird first called a couple of Pheasant added their territorial efforts to the day!
Currently most local activity is directed at raising young with Curlew, Lapwing and Ringed Plover amongst others all having youngsters, although some early Mallard broods are now well grown. In many respects this is a quiet time of year for birding, but a time to enjoy more fully the birds in residence.
Locally, around the coastal strip, a variety of breeding birds can be seen. I was relieved to see that the recent major storm, which occurred whilst I was away, appeared not to have had any gross effects. Local Arctic Terns still graced the air and were in good voice, a species that can so easily be "spooked" and abandon its colonies. Fulmars, Shags and gull species were all in evidence, seemingly undeterred by the violent interruption of extremely strong winds and salt spray being carried across the island resulting in a loss of leaf vegetation or it turning brown. A local neighbour lost all his potato crop, the vegetation simply going black with the battering it received and from the ample dosing of salt spray.
At the opposite end of the day, dusk tends to be rather late too and conditions can still be quite good at 2200 hours depending on the type of day and cloud cover. Bird activity seems to gradually ebb away through the evening compared to the more frenetic activity in the hours after dawn.
And so to bed........and then a Grasshopper Warbler started singing!