With rain in the forecast I decided to head straight to Burrafirth to complete the monthly beached bird survey. It was immediately obvious that there was a steady stream of Gulls arriving in off the sea from the north, over Burrafirth and south across Loch of Cliff. From 9.15am to 11am, among the many Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls I saw 66 Glaucous Gulls arrive! I returned at 11.45am but in the next 30 minutes only added one more to the tally. At Skaw I saw a single Glaucous Gull arriving and at Lamba Ness the roost held 2 more and my only Iceland Gull of the day.
Burrafirth; 4 Goldeneye, c.2,500 Herring Gulls, 67 Glaucous Gulls (ageing wasn't precise but my best effort was 29 adults, 4 fourth-winters, 3 third-winters, 12 second-winters and 19 juveniles), c.2,500 Great Black-backed Gulls
On leaving our house I saw 3 Glaucous Gulls arriving in off the sea over Norwick. There was a large flock of Gulls on the slopes of Lamba Ness mainly comprised of adult argentatus Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls but also 7 Glaucous Gulls. I seawatched for 75 minutes being treated to the spectacle of thousands of Fulmars flying north but also seeing 4 blue Fulmars and 5 Glaucous Gulls. We saw our first Peregrine of the year at Caldback. We then headed for Easting beach to conduct the monthly beached bird survey where there were 3 Great Northern Divers offshore and our final Glaucous Gull of the day.
A visit to Westing to coincide with high tide failed to produce any Gulls but I did then see an Iceland and 2 Glaucous Gulls at Uyeasound where there was no sign of the King Eider. Later we saw an Iceland and a Glaucous Gull arrive in off the sea at Norwick.
Whilst in our garden I noticed a pod of Killer Whales in Norwick. A large bull skirted the coastline with another 4 or 5 remaining further out to sea. They then followed the southern cliffs of Lamba Ness heading back towards the open sea. On reaching the tip of Lamba Ness they then followed the same routine into Skaw where Brydon & Robbie also arrived in time to see them. Whilst at Skaw I also saw 3 Glaucous Gulls. We then headed for Uyeasound where the drake King Eider was sat offshore in Uyea Sound and 3 Glaucous Gulls were present.
Millfield; 5 or 6 Killer Whales
Skaw; 3 Glaucous Gulls (ad, 3w, juv)
Uyeasound; 15 Whooper Swans, 25 Eider, drake King Eider, 20 Long-tailed Duck, fem Pintail, 3 Glaucous Gulls (2w, 2juv)
We awoke to new neighbours with a ship stationery in the wick all day. A juvenile Glaucous Gull was seen flying in off the sea at Norwick. We took a walk out to Heogland but there were rather few Eider and Long-tailed Ducks present although the 3 juvenile Iceland Gulls were still there including the possible Kumlien's. The second-winter Glaucous Gull was bathing on Easter Loch and a juvenile was seen drifting along the cliffs south of Westing. The highlight of the day was seeing a pod of small Dolphins that Brydon found in Baltasound.
Norwick; juv Glaucous Gull
Uyeasound; 25 Eider, 25 Long-tailed Duck, Oystercatcher, 3 juv Iceland Gulls including the possible Kumlien's Gull
Westing; juv Glaucous Gull
Baltasound; 2 Great Northern Diver
Haroldswick; Great Northern Diver
MV Kaami from Bergen, Norway bound for Reykjavik, Iceland
With the wind switching to the northwest I spent two hours seawatching from Lamba Ness with Brydon where we saw 15 Glaucous Gulls and 120 Guillemots fly north. There was no sign of the Grey Phalarope at Norwick but a Glaucous Gull flew north and there was a Little Auk sat distantly on the sea there. A visit to Uyeasound produced nice views of 2 Glaucous Gulls.
With a return to stormy weather finding a Grey Phalarope in a sheltered corner off Norwick beach perhaps wasn't a complete surprise but very nice all the same. A look around the island added 3 Glaucous Gulls.