So the strong westerlies that have been sweeping the country over the last few days has brought in all manner of American waders to UK shores, and we were beginning to wonder if we were going to get in on the action at all. Luckily, yesterday we did as A Buff-Breasted Sandpiper turned up on the South of the island. The bird remained and we easily twitched, giving superb views, sometimes at very close range. The Buff-Breasted Sandpiper breeds up in the tundra of North America and winters in South America, making it a very long distance migrant. It is one of the commonest American waders to visit our shores, but none-the-less it is still a lovely little bird. This lover of short grasslands was first found on the island "golf course."
|Buff-Breasted Sandpiper, Tryngites subruficollis. With juvenile Ringed Plover, Charadrius hiaticula|
On the same day, we were also joined by c1000 Pink-Footed Geese seeking shelter from the fog. These noisy migrants could be heard all over the north of the island for the day, before most of them left last night. It was quite something being up on the hills during census and having a flock of 800 passing at virtually eye-level. This photo is of one of the smaller flocks, containing roughly 130 birds.
|Pink-Footed Goose flock, Anser brachyrhynchus|
I woken up again this morning by Will, this time offering me a Sparrowhawk as a ringing tick. Needless to say that I was very cautious when first given it, but it was amazing to have such an impressive predator in the hand!
|Sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus|
My quest for the ever growing population of Lapland Buntings on the island continues, having bottomed out no less than four times when trying to see one!