Sunday 18 May 2014

April Round Up

April kicked off with reports of two Goldfinch at the Bu on the 2 Apr.

A single Sand Martin was seen over Echna Loch on the 3 Apr.

There was a single Siskin in my garden on the 4 Apr and also a single Goldfinch down at the Bu.

Mist was the order of the day on the 5 Apr but that didn't stop Paul H from the Hope (St Margaret's Hope, South Ronaldsay) reporting five Sandwich Terns flying over head in the Burray direction. Didn't hear of any reports of them being heard/seen here. I was lucky enough to see a female Hen Harrier flying over my garden just before I set off on a business trip for a few days.

On the 7 Apr Barrie had a Goldfinch turn up on his feeder at Westshore.

On my way into work just after 07:30 on the 8 Apr I saw a single Swallow perched on an over head cable between the turning to Littlequoy and Echna Loch. This was my first for the year and a sure sign Spring had arrived. It was species 58 for my Patchwork Challenge (PWC) list.

An interesting report on the 8 Apr of a calling Corncrake heard over the last couple of days by at least two people. It was heard on the Eastern edge of the village in the vicinity of the ditch that runs from Echna Loch, under the road and down to Watersound. The ditch runs through a thick strip of rough ground and the bird has been calling fairly close to the road.

On the 15 Apr Barrie reported seeing one Goldfinch, two Siskins and one Wheatear at Westshore with three Slavonian Grebes offshore from his garden. There was also approx 150 Pink-footed Geese flying in NW direction.

Barrie had a male Brambling on his feeders at Westshore at tea-time on the 21 Apr with four more the following day. Later on the evening of the 21 Apr he had a Whimbrel on the shore. He said that it might be the wintering bird that is usually seen 400-500 metres away.

There was a Black Redstart at Ness on the morning of the 23 Apr and Barrie's Brambling count was now up to five. 

A male Redstart was seen again at Ness on the 25 Apr and was presumably the same bird seen by Barrie on the 23 Apr. The were also 15 Slavonian Grebes on the West side of Barrier 4. In the evening Barrie reported two Ring Ouzels feeding together at the Cemetery along with a Blackcap and a Chiffchaff. While on Bu beach there was a Common Sandpiper and a Whimbrel. His Brambling count was now up to at least eight birds.

On the morning of the 26 Apr Barrie's Brambling count was up to 10 and they had been joined on the feeders by either a Common or Lesser Redpoll. It wasn't immediately obvious which one but I think in the end he decided it was a Common Redpoll.

On Apr 27 Barrie reported two Mealy Redpolls and 10 Brambling on his feeders. I was able to join him and Linda to see them along with the Greenfinches, House Sparrows, two Wrens (one of which was collecting nesting material), three Blackbirds and a Collared Dove. The Brambling and Redpoll giving me PWC species 59 and 60.

Barrie also had 12 White Wagtails at the Burray end of Barrier 4 beach. Elsewhere, he had four Blackcap, two Chiffchaffs and a Willow Warbler.
After leaving Barrie's I headed West away from the village seeing a Collared Dove, three Greenfinches, a single Redpoll, four Linnets, a Pheasant, two Meadow Pipits, two Skylarks, a Wren, a Great Black-backed Gull, five Blackbirds, a Wheatear (PWC species 61), a Dunnock and a Wood Pigeon (PWC specis 62)

On my way home from work on the 29 Apr I stopped off to see what was about in Echna Bay and on Echna Loch. Starting with the bay there were two Ringed Plover, two Oystercatchers and two Mute Swans which had yellow Darvic rings on their left legs but they were too far away to read with the bins. Out in the bay it was rather quiet with just three Red-breasted Mergansers. A Great Skua (Bonxie) came gliding along the edge of the bay for PWC species 63.

Across the road on the loch there was a male Mallard, four Mute Swans, 10 Tufted Duck, two Common Gulls and between 450-500 Long-tailed ducks.

On the afternoon of the 30 Apr Barrie had five Brambling on his feeders who were joined by two Goldfinches.

Tim Dean rounds of the month by reporting a 'stunning spectacle' on Echna Loch on the evening of the 30 Apr with 680 Long-tailed Ducks!!

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