Saturday, 27 October 2012

Dovekie Days

Little Auk on the Farnes

Saturday 27th October comments: The Little Auk (also known as a Dovekie) breeds in the high arctic and is half the size of a Puffin (yes that small!). During the late autumn and winter, if the winds blow from the north, the east coast of the UK can witness huge movements as many thousands are blown down into the southern North Sea. The Farnes are one of the best localities in the UK to witness these small plankton eaters, as small numbers winter around the islands every year. However in some good years, we’ve recorded huge numbers and currently hold the British record for the most number seen in a day!

As the winds from the north increased (bringing snow showers and plummeting temperatures) our first Dovekies of the year were recorded alongside good numbers of wildfowl. With the real winter feel of the day, other northern delights included Long-tailed Ducks, Goldeneye and Red-necked Grebes. So we were all surprised when the inner group discovered a Garganey; a bird which should be in Africa now, but where not sure who was in more shock – the team for discovering it or the Garganey for being in a snow blizzard on the Farnes in late October….

Friday 26th October highlights: Red-throated Diver 2n, Great Northern Diver 1N, Brent Goose 1N, Red-necked Grebe 1, Pintail 2N, Long-tailed Duck 3N, Teal 15N, Wigeon 292N, Mallard 55N, Garganey 1N, Velvet Scoter 3N, Common Scoter 651N, Goldeneye 21N, Red-breasted Merganser 2N, Little Auk 16N, Great Skua 4N. Also on land: Yellow-browed Warbler still present along with a scattering of winter thrushes.

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