Quality winter birding

A good day today with a couple of genuine surprises, most surprising being a party of 3 Stonechats including one male out on the hill, and a sulphurous Grey Wagtail standing out a mile as it tried to find something worth eating on frozen puddles. Stonechats were particularly photogenic in low warm winter sunshine on a reasonably calm day (temperature down to -8 deg C overnight last night, and only rose to a balmy -1.5 in the sunshine during the day today).

No sign of any interesting gulls, despite the promisingly northerly wind direction. They’ll be along shortly.

A day of Grey

Another enjoyable day birding around the isle, although nothing earth-shattering to show for it. Started around home with the now highly territorial complement of Robins, and a couple of Chiffchaffs in my tattie yard. They certainly weren’t there yesterday, which begs the question of where these things come from. I suspect passerines make landfall on the hill and work their way inland over the course of a day or two. Nothing was likely to be making a wind-assisted landfall on the isle today, as there wasn’t a breath of wind to speak of – very calm and mild, and the sun was out for much of the day.

Working my way around the island, the 3 White-fronted Geese had moved to Challister, and were now keeping well apart from the Greylags at Brough. The Greylags however had attracted another grey goose species, in the form of a pair of Pink-footed Geese. Isbister, Sandwick and Symbister were all more of the same as the day before, and I found myself checking Ringed Plovers and Teal on Symbister meadows in the extremely faint hope of something more interesting lurking amongst them. Desperate times…

13 Long-tailed Duck in the channel between the island and Linga, and finally I was onto Brough. A whole lot of effort for little return (1 Chiffchaff, 1 Woodcock) until I stopped to check the now vacant pig field for snipe, and caught a flash of sulphur yellow – a Grey Wagtail. Bird of the day I suppose, and that tells you all you need to know about how disappointing the last 3 weeks of south-easterlies have been.

Grey Wagtail doing nice arse

Grey Wagtail doing long