Friday, 23 April 2021

23rd April 2021 Unst NW2 Overcast

A nice calm day that was originally overcast but soon cleared to blue skies. Soon after dawn there was a Wheatear, a Phyllosc (Chiff/Willow) and 5 Brambling in our garden but none lingered for long. I headed to Burrafirth to complete the monthly Beached Bird Survey where I also saw 2 Pinkfeet, a Pied Wagtail and a Wheatear. A walk around Norwick added a female Gadwall, my first Whimbrel of the year, 2 Pied Wagtails, a White Wagtail, my first Dunnock of the year, the Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaffs including my first songster of the year and 2 Brambling. On walking out of our front door early afternoon a White-billed Diver sailed distantly into view off Norwick! Haroldswick was playing host to a Great Northern Diver and 3 Gadwall.

Chiffchaff at Norwick

Dunnock at Norwick
my first of the year - last year I had to wait until May

Gadwalls at Haroldswick
After three blank years for this species for me it's no surprise that today's four represents my best count since living on Unst.

White-billed Diver off Norwick
Large Divers are renowned for their rapid moult but I'd be surprised if they can moult so quickly to attain a black crown, nape and flanks in less than a week. Today's individual appeared a larger-billed bird too.

White-billed Diver on 17th April

Ignoring one on Bluemull and assuming that the one off Norwick this February was the same as the one off Skaw in January I've been fortunate enough to find 16 White-billed Divers since living on Unst with April proving to be my peak month to find the species.

All of those I've found in April have been in the last half of the month with the 23rd April having good form for me...!
and even this one found with JFC & PN off Birling Gap, Sussex was on the 21st April.