Monday, 1 September 2014

Autumn arrives

Its been a busy few weeks as we moved into our new house. What with various tradesmen coming and going and decorating it been difficult getting out. Autumn is upon us now and the bird migration season is starting up with plenty of variety.
                                                               Fulmars will be around all year

Lots of waders have been moving through, the south mainland the main attraction with Little Stints, Knot, Ruff, Godwits, Turnstone, Sanderling brightening up the beaches. More small migrants have been seen and we had good fortune to see a Black Redstart in Sandwick yesterday.

A couple of days ago we also located a Common Rosefinch, lesser Whitethroat, Pied Flycatcher at two locations and several Chiff-chaff and Willow warbler. Swallows  may have nested  Cunningsburgh as they have been regularly seen at the south end of the village and a House Martin flew over.

The cliffs have become a lot quieter, sadly the Puffins, Guillemots and Razorbill left some time ago but it seems that they have had a good breeding season. Gannets seem to be finding plenty of fish judging by the numbers clashing into the sea in Mousa bay.

A few Arctic terns are still a round, but large numbers have already left Shetland to start their 10,000 mile journey south. The Skuas will also be leaving following the terns south, few numbers now seen each day.

                                                                   Young Arctic Terns with food

Judging by the number of hedgehog road casualties, it seems that a large number of young are born and die on the roads, these are providing food for gulls, Hoddies and Ravens

Large flocks of Starlings are moving around with many feeding amongst the seaweed. Although I saw a large flock down at Sandsayre yesterday when i did my first beach survey count they at least seem untroubled by the large amount of fishing nets washed up. Its always sad to see Gannets with fishing line or nets around their feet, a common item they use for nesting material. A trip up to Hermaness will show the amount used and the threat it causes. Back to the beach survey, and no birds found dead which is always good.

I have started a garden bird list, in Shetland they count birds in the garden and any seen from the garden which is interesting. This has allowed me to collect Whimbrel, Lapwing, Curlew, Oystercatcher Gannet, Arctic tern and common birds such as starling, sparrow, Wheatear and Blackbird- must get some bushes planted up soon

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