Another day in Ness

A Swift over Borve as I headed north was a good omen, but the Butt itself initially felt quiet. Meadow Pipit numbers were clearly down on midweek and Lapland Buntings were now harder to come by – just 17 remained. Rather flighty (presumably after a hammering by raptors that were still in evidence) I managed a couple of snaps as they scurried in the seeding grassy parts of the clifftops.

Again, considering it was blue skies and a SE breeze, seabird passage was clearly taking place with hundreds of Gannets on the move. Although I really wanted to get to the bushes a seawatch seemed in order. Two hours later 7 Sooty Shears, 11 Stormies, 106 Manx, 5 Bonxies and 3 Arctic Skuas  were in the bag along with a thrice brief Ocean Sunfish. I think this beast has now been annual off north and west Lewis for at least 5 years. Warming seas or just never noted before?

Driving back to Eoropie I watched another Buzzard hunting the strip crofts chasing Starlings. A collateral flush was a Whitethroat that popped up on a fence before diving back into the Butterbur. Eoropie Tearoom provided Date and Rhubarb Tart for sustenance before a Willow Warbler showed in the garden by there. It was looking good.

Red Admirals tallied a half dozen and the summering Glaucous Gull put on a nice show in Port of Ness.  Bush after bush was checked, then another Whitethroat, also in Port. Pied Wagtails were everywhere. A juv Lesser Black backed Gull and 220 Golden Plovers were the best thereafter as the day fizzled out into a BBQ on Eoropie beach.

Andy Robinson got luckier and found a moulting adult American Golden Plover at Clachan Sands on North Uist. My best waders were the influx of 60 or so Snipe to Ness. Next time.

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