Monday 8 April 2013

Black Ice

Black beauty...Black Redstart caught and ringed in visitor centre (Will Scott)
Robins returning on passage

Winter theme...stunning drake Long-tailed Duck (Ciaran Hatsell)

Spring is here....Our breeding Shelducks have returned (Will Scott)

Passage Common Gulls moving east through the islands (Bex Outram)

Visitors enjoying our bird ringing activities (Bex Outram)
Monday 8th April comments: The cold weather snap continues and the rangers are doing their best to stay warm. However if you think we’re struggling, just think of our seabirds. In recent weeks dead seabirds have been washed up along the coastline as the difficult conditions continue to cause problems.

On a brighter note, yesterday brought a noticeable influx of migrants (our first influx of the spring) including the delight of a Short-eared Owl (the same individual as seen on 3rd April) which was even kicked to the ground by a resident Great Black-backed Gull…a spectacular sight which ended well for the Owl I’m pleased to report. Other highlights included two Black Redstarts (we ringed one), an immature Iceland Gull (first of the year), Brambling and Siskin whilst our resident Twite remained in full song – an unusual sight amongst our Puffins.

On the breeding seabird front, the Auks remain erratic as they come and go on a daily basis whilst Shag numbers remain worryingly low, following poor winter mortality. With Long-tailed Ducks, Goldeneye and Red-throated Divers still present it still feels like mid-winter rather than early April.

It’s been a strange old start to the season but before long, we’ll be in full flow and the seabirds will be dominating the islands once again…pecking heads.

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