Sunday, November 13, 2011

Continuing strong winds from the southeast did little to spoil a beautiful sunny day. The highlight was three Whooper Swans which we watched come in from the west and battle past the Lighthouse tower. A Red-breasted Merganser did pretty much the same thing. As the year progresses we again start thinking about phenology, and there have been a few interesting records of late. The Wheatear we had on the 6th was only two days earlier than the latest ever record (a bird regrowing the primaries of one wing which Rich found on the mountain in 2009). The three Willow Warblers on the 4th were only a single day earlier than the latest ever (on the 5th November 2000). An exhausted Garden Warbler at the farm yesterday was still a fair bit earlier than one on the 21st November 1969. Today we flushed a Ring Ouzel from the plantation but the record departure date set last year is the 21st.

Two of the three Whooper Swans that passed the Lighthouse. Although a few pairs breed in the UK, it is very probable that these birds are of Icelandic origin. X-rays taken by WWT when the swans are trapped for ringing show that around 13% contain shotgun pellets, suggesting that illegal shooting is still a problem for these fantastic birds. (c) Richard Brown

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