Bird Report - September 2106

I was just about to set off on a holiday on September 4th when Isobel Gardner rang me with news of a Grey Phalarope at the Geo. I was unable to take a look at this so it was a while before Keith Hague was able to visit by which time the bird had moved on. It was in 2007 when excitement was caused by a Grey Phalarope which took up residence at the Geo for a few days, attracting a few visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the bird. This latest one has paid just a fleeting visit though.

September is the month when many of our favourite birds leave our shores to spend the winter elsewhere. Noticeable this year has been the number of Pied Wagtails to be seen either at the side of the road, in fields, gardens or at the shore where they will have been making plans to move on to their winter quarters in the Middle East and North Africa.

Likewise, Wheatears have been visible at the shore, also planning to take their leave until next year.

At Sunnybank on the 12th a Pied Wagtail and a Wheatear were in the garden, while on the 17th it was nice to see a Song Thrush in the back garden before a Robin landed on a post there also.

There was plenty to see at Sandside Bay on the 16th - a Rock Pipit first then 3 Pied Wagtails animatedly chasing food. There was an Eider at sea while on the shore two noisy Redshanks and four Turnstones were visible. Eight Oystercatchers were passing time but most of these will be heading further south for the winter, though some remain in Orkney. As I walked further along the shore it was nice to see three smart female Wheatears while a Raven was soaring overhead, calling as it went.

The following day I visited Newark Bay and no less than 12 Pied Wagtails were jumping around chasing small flies or insects. On the shoreline 8 Turnstones, and a group of 16 Ringed Plovers included adults and juveniles. As I walked back along the path I saw that the thistles in Russell's field had attracted a group of Twite.

Dingieshowe was my destination on the 19th and, once more, Pied Wagtails were making plans to move on.

Newark bay

(photo of Dingieshowe by Pauline Wilson)

Lots of Swallows have been noticeable during September as they join ranks in preparation for their long journey to Africa. Most will have now left. Isobel Gardner was on the spot to take this lovely photo of young Swallows being fed by a parent


(photo of Swallows by Isobel Gardner).

Nancy Scott's House Martins will also be thinking about a move, if they haven't already done so.

Watch out for Redwings, Fieldfares, Blackbirds which will be coming in, also Golden Plovers which are normally seen in big flocks in the fields, along with Curlews and Lapwing. Starling numbers will increase as their cousins arrive for the winter. Of course, Greylag Geese have arrived and there are reports of Pink-footed Geese elsewhere in Orkney so no doubt these will soon be seen here in Deerness.

Not too much news on the migrant front just yet owing to the westerly winds but once the wind turns to the east get out the binoculars to try and spot that rarity!

Pauline Wilson