Bird Report - August 2015

I had a walk at Sandside Bay at the very start of August and was rewarded with a juvenile Ringed Plover whose parent was doing its best to distract my attention away from the youngster. Later on the same day it was nice to see a Short-eared Owl fly past Sunnybank.

On August 5th I was delighted to see a Song Thrush on the back lawn. We still have the Collared Doves coming to the feeder so I think these are going to be a fixture now. I heard a commotion high up in the sky and saw two small birds harassing a raptor which was too far away to identify.

There are a few Pied Wagtails around now and one was wagging away in the front garden on the 9th. The following day a flock of Curlews were flying around in the sky at the front of the house.

Passing The Links on an evening walk on August 11th, there was a Pied Wagtail, with a juvenile and both were unfazed by horses grazing nearby. As I reached the beach area I counted 13 Sanderling wheeling along the beach, sporting their summer plumage. There were Swallows a-plenty and, as I passed Cellardyke, 4 Twite perched on the wire were part of a larger group, most having flown down into the long grass.

A repeat of my walk the following evening saw 24 Linnets on the Hydro wire below Jean Corsie's. On the beach were a mixed flock of Sanderlings and Turnstones while a juvenile Greater Black-back looked on.

I had a walk down to the shore from Hacco on the 14th and noticed 2 Ravens were busying themselves on the path ahead. Once again Swallows accompanied my walk and, as I reached the bottom of the path, I could see a lone Whooper Swan in the water of Deer Sound.

I was lucky to have a trip to Copinsay on August 16th, sadly a little too late for the majority of birds. However, we did see one Puffin also two Black Guillemots, both these birds flying off carrying fish.

There were plenty of Shags and Cormorants which seemed to have had a successful breeding season.

Peter and I had a run out on the 24th looking for migrants but we had limited luck. I had a quick view of a Red-backed Shrike on the wire near the track going down to Sandside Bay. There was a large flock of Lapwings in a field near the Mull Head Visitor Centre car park. Driving up from Skaill a Wheatear was unmistakeable with its white rump, while a Meadow Pipit was on the fence and two Pied Wagtails flew alongside us in the field.

Early morning on the 25th I saw a different bird flitting about the lawn, then flying up into the trees, and identified it as a bonny Willow Warbler but the bird didn't stay for long, disappearing when our 'gang' of Greenfinches and House Sparrows arrived. Later in the morning I was taking Daisy Aitken to the Deerness shop when a Merlin was dashing around. This is the smallest of our raptors so easy to identify.

There was a particularly exciting migrant down at Sandside Bay on August 23rd, namely, a Wryneck.

There have been a number of reports of migrants around our parish:

Keith Hague says: A juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper was feeding with Dunlin on pools at Braebuster Ness, Deerness yesterday, but flew off as I was changing batteries on the camera!  There were 22 Black-tailed Godwits at Newark on the 16th. A single Greenshank was seen in Deerness on the 1st, 17th and 21st.

Morris Rendall was in Deerness on the 22nd and saw a Red-backed Shrike down the road to Sandside Bay. 2 Whinchat at the Mull Head visitor centre. Spotted flycatcher and Red-backed Shrike at Aikerskaill down the road to the Barns of Ayre. The previous day he saw 2 Ruff in the pools at the Barns of Ayre. Morris returned to Deerness on the 24th to find the Red-Backed Shrike was still down the Sandside track. He saw a Pied Flycatcher and a Lesser Whitethroat at the East Denwick plantation. There was a Whinchat at the visitor centre, 2 Greenshank on the pool at the Barns of Ayre and no less than 11 Whinchat along the road that runs from the Barns of Ayre road to Newark Bay road.

The easterly winds have brought us plenty to see in Deerness just now!

Pauline Wilson