Sunday, 1 November 2009
Around Harray and Birsay
Up to Birsay first thing, mission Snow Bunting. Gave the usual high tide feeding mob a going over to start with but just one Purp amongst 25 or so Dunlin. Then through the village where there were 11 Blackbirds, 2 Robins and 2 Stonechat. Over the burn and off towards the dunes. 65 Wigeon on the sea, a roost of exactly 50 Ringed Plover and 74 more Wigeon on the pools which I decided to flush in order to walk the edges. One Snipe, no Jack Snipe and then a familiar call and over my head were 3 Snow Bunting - I do just love it when that happens. Suss out the spot, go for it and there they are. All along the beach I was giving every Rockit a serious grilling, well sooner or later that'll pay off; but does make for slow progress.
Louise made for Skaill beach and cliffs on my return, offspring being unwilling to go anywhere, I was gazzumped, 12 Snow Buntings. However, a Brambling, a Song Thrush and two Pochard were added to the garden list during the late morning when I was supposed to be unpacking boxes.
Late afternoon found me along the Stenness - Brogdar road searching Loch Harray. A bit good this ... have I ever seen such a Pochard flock? 898, in recent years 1 was a good total at Scaling Dam. Also 8 Slavonian Grebes, 47 Scaup, a drake Long-tailed Duck, 7 Goldeneye and a likely Bean Goose .... Three distant geese out on the water, one of which was an obvious Greylag the other two were a distinctly smaller bird and a bird about the same size. The smaller bird did flap its wings and show some, but not much, pale on the forewing but the other bird was larger and had an angular head, looked good for Bean. These birds were briefly joined by another goose, a Pink-foot/Bean type again. But the light was failing the rain was beginning to flail down and they were a long way off. I'm not great at grey geese anyway.