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Old Friday 7th June 2019, 20:24   #526
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So excited to see this pop up on the ID forum yesterday! A great find for you and very deserving!
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Old Friday 7th June 2019, 21:22   #527
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Confirmed as a Shag. Many thanks for that.
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Old Thursday 13th June 2019, 08:02   #528
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Well, that is another trip over. Just before leaving, I filed my report with the NSBC recorder, and last minute, I made a difficult alteration. I put the Spotted Flycatcher down as an uncertain. There has been a slight doubt in my mind over this bird since I saw it. My first view of it was only of its vent area. When I repositioned, I could see it face on only, and this in poor light and heavy rain, at distance through a monocular. I was comfortable at the time with my ID, or so I thought, but there has been a wee niggle growing over since.

The niggle I had was that when the bird flew off, it was a little dark backed for Spotted Fly. I'm probably throwing away a perfectly good spot, but for the sake of peace of mind, and accuracy, I've put it down as a possible, and removed it from my year list.

I should also make mention of the Carrion Crows that were on the platform when I arrived. Three weeks later, they were still there, and they were reportedly there for at least a week before I arrived. They had obviously found a food source, so a bit of investigation was called for. At first I though someone was feeding them, but it turned out that they were raiding the food waste skip on the Skid Deck. They just drop into the skip, rip the polythene bags, and tuck in.

We used to have a macerator for food waste, but that has gone. It was a covered unit, so gave no opportunity to winged bandits. The open skip is the new way of returning food waste onshore. I have had the catering crew and deck crew warned, that come the autumn, when a couple of thousand GBB and Herring Gulls turn up, they are going to have a real problem with that skip.

2019 List

1. Great Black-Backed Gull
2. Kittiwake
3. Iceland Gull
4. Herring Gull
5. Fulmar
6. Gannet
7. Guillemot
8. Ringed Plover
9. Rock Pipit
10. Robin
11. Pied Wagtail*
12. Meadow Pipit
13. Goldcrest
14. Grey Heron
15. Common Gull
16. Black-Headed Gull
17. Blackcap*
18. Sparrowhawk*
19. Grey Wagtail
20. Kestrel*
21. Carrion Crow
22. Water Rail
23. Song Thrush
24. Wren
25. Teal
26. Turnstone*
27. Cormorant
28. Lesser Black-Backed Gull
29. Swallow
30. Nightjar (d)
31. House Martin
32. Shag
33. Red-Backed Shrike
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Old Tuesday 18th June 2019, 17:52   #529
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On earlier subject of Hobby 1 on rig half way between Orkney & Norway last week plus usual Spring migs. They do occur in spring offshore but remain rare in Northern Scotland. Have seen more offshore than in NE Scotland.
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Old Saturday 6th July 2019, 08:56   #530
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I've been back since Tuesday, but it is very quiet, even considering the time of year. In 5 days I've only seen 3 species. There is a resident flock of Fulmar; numbering just over the 100 mark. The odd Gannet or two have been seen passing. And we still have two resident crows.

There were a few "small brown birds, with streaky breasts" reported to me a couple of days ago. I suspect they were Meadow Pipits, but did not see them myself.

The North Sea Bird Club has now informed me that they are wrapping things up at the end of 2019. Apparently, I am the last offshore birder sending in constant reports, so after 40 years they are calling it a day.

I of course will continue to report here, and hopefully, a few other reports from other platforms/vessels will find their way to this thread. In addition, a few years ago, I got the guys at Birdtrack (BTO) to set the platform up as a site on Birdtrack. I never really used it, as it felt like double reporting, however, from the beginning of next year, I will start recording on their site.
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Old Tuesday 9th July 2019, 14:37   #531
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Any two-barred crossbills yet?
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Old Tuesday 9th July 2019, 21:17   #532
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Out looking today on deck and nothing. Will be having a good look around over the next week. Any passerines seen at this time of year are more often than not Xbills. Hopefully this time with wing bars.
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Old Friday 19th July 2019, 08:48   #533
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It has been pretty quiet since my last report (6th Jul). The main change has been two Great Skua sightings. We have also had a few Starlings passing through, and Common Gulls have been turning up off and on. Over the last couple of days, Great Black-Backed Gulls have started to return. A dozen counted yesterday. I suspect our two resident Carrion Crows might want to be leaving soon, as a couple of hundred GBBGs will make the neighbourhood much less desirable. Fulmars are a constant, with Gannets passing by on a regular basis

On the mammal front, we have had plenty of White-Beaked Dolphins giving spectacular displays, and I spotted a Minke Whale breaching at close quarters a few days ago.

A Red Admiral was our second butterfly species of the year.

Sadly, no Two-Barred Crossbills, but I live in hope.
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Old Tuesday 23rd July 2019, 06:25   #534
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My last morning of this trip has seen a new arrival. Arctic Skua spotted close in chasing a Common Gull.

It has been a slow month, but I'm pleased to have got Great and Arctic Skua. The Arctic is only the second one I've seen from the platform. Next trip will be in the the first two weeks of September, so things should be livening up.
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Old Wednesday 14th August 2019, 11:59   #535
Gander
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I've been back since yesterday, and things have livened up a bit compared to last month. Flying in, we passed over a group of dolphins, so that was a good start, but within a few hours, I bettered it with a Minke Whale surfacing almost directly below me before it dived under the platform.

There are more birds about also. Fulmar flock of approx 120+ are still resident, but the GBBG numbers are rising, with 54 counted today. Yesterday saw a flock of 76 Kittiwake sitting off the platform. I think that is a record count for us.

A few Common Gulls about also, and a single Herring Gull. Gannets passing on a regular basis. Last bird of the day yesterday was a Great Skua.

Today, the main difference has been a pair of passing Cormorants.

Nothing in there to trouble the year list, however, a few days before I came out, an eclipse Eider was seen.

And lastly, our two resident crows (Itchy and Scratchy) are still here.

2019 List

1. Great Black-Backed Gull
2. Kittiwake
3. Iceland Gull
4. Herring Gull
5. Fulmar
6. Gannet
7. Guillemot
8. Ringed Plover
9. Rock Pipit
10. Robin
11. Pied Wagtail*
12. Meadow Pipit
13. Goldcrest
14. Grey Heron
15. Common Gull
16. Black-Headed Gull
17. Blackcap*
18. Sparrowhawk*
19. Grey Wagtail
20. Kestrel*
21. Carrion Crow
22. Water Rail
23. Song Thrush
24. Wren
25. Teal
26. Turnstone*
27. Cormorant
28. Lesser Black-Backed Gull
29. Swallow
30. Nightjar (d)
31. House Martin
32. Shag
33. Red-Backed Shrike
34. Eider*

Last edited by Gander : Wednesday 14th August 2019 at 12:03.
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Old Thursday 22nd August 2019, 08:42   #536
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Nothing new in, but a few changes. GBBGs are now resident in numbers, with a high of 322 counted yesterday. The air is full of feather fluff with the gulls in moult mode. The Fulmars have beaten a hasty retreat, but are still present further out from the platform. A small flock of Common Gulls present, with visits from Kittiwakes, and Gannets continually passing in ones and twos.

Great Skuas are regular visitors now, much to the disgust of the Fulmars and Common Gulls.

Two Carrion Crows show no sign of being ousted by the GBBGs.
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Old Thursday 22nd August 2019, 09:01   #537
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Thanks for the updates, always appreciated, from a rather unique ‘local patch’

Laurie -
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Old Saturday 24th August 2019, 13:45   #538
Gander
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A few small birds about over the last few days. Yesterday, I got a glimpse of something very small and greyish, but no ID possible. I suspect it might have been a Chiffchaff though.

A few small non-descript birds reported by the Deck Crew on the day before yesterday.

Also seen yesterday, as some may have seen from the Bird ID pages, I spotted a GBBG thrashing a Snipe about on the steelwork of the Spider Deck. I suspect that the bird may have been sitting exhausted down there, making an easy target for the dozens of GBBGs that roost down there at the moment.

2019 List

1. Great Black-Backed Gull
2. Kittiwake
3. Iceland Gull
4. Herring Gull
5. Fulmar
6. Gannet
7. Guillemot
8. Ringed Plover
9. Rock Pipit
10. Robin
11. Pied Wagtail*
12. Meadow Pipit
13. Goldcrest
14. Grey Heron
15. Common Gull
16. Black-Headed Gull
17. Blackcap*
18. Sparrowhawk*
19. Grey Wagtail
20. Kestrel*
21. Carrion Crow
22. Water Rail
23. Song Thrush
24. Wren
25. Teal
26. Turnstone*
27. Cormorant
28. Lesser Black-Backed Gull
29. Swallow
30. Nightjar (d)
31. House Martin
32. Shag
33. Red-Backed Shrike
34. Eider*
35. Snipe (d)

Last edited by Gander : Saturday 24th August 2019 at 13:47.
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Old Tuesday 3rd September 2019, 08:58   #539
Gander
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New list entry

It has been a very quiet trip, with little in the way of migratory birds evident. This week a robin was reported to me, and I was called to a moribund Mipit. Gull numbers have fluctuated, but we have been up over the 500 mark with GBBGs.

Yesterday however, I was called to something a little more interesting. I was informed that there were 3-4 "small gulls with slim wings", on the north side of the platform. It took me several minutes to locate them over the sea, but the birds were obviously terns. Whatever species they were, they were going to be new to the platform, as I've never seen a tern out here before. A bit of scrutiny, and I was sure they were Arctics. I had to leave them to attend a meeting, but later I relocated them, and a much closer view of one of them confirmed my original ID.

2019 List

1. Great Black-Backed Gull
2. Kittiwake
3. Iceland Gull
4. Herring Gull
5. Fulmar
6. Gannet
7. Guillemot
8. Ringed Plover
9. Rock Pipit
10. Robin
11. Pied Wagtail*
12. Meadow Pipit
13. Goldcrest
14. Grey Heron
15. Common Gull
16. Black-Headed Gull
17. Blackcap*
18. Sparrowhawk*
19. Grey Wagtail
20. Kestrel*
21. Carrion Crow
22. Water Rail
23. Song Thrush
24. Wren
25. Teal
26. Turnstone*
27. Cormorant
28. Lesser Black-Backed Gull
29. Swallow
30. Nightjar (d)
31. House Martin
32. Shag
33. Red-Backed Shrike
34. Eider*
35. Snipe (d)
36. Arctic Tern
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Old Tuesday 24th September 2019, 10:23   #540
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A few birds last couple of days on Eko Kilo. Not able to have a good look as very busy.
Yesterday Robin, Garden W, Song Thrush, Blackcap, Rb Fly. hopefully more today as conditions are still poor.
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Old Saturday 28th September 2019, 08:37   #541
Gander
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A few birds last couple of days on Eko Kilo. Not able to have a good look as very busy.
Yesterday Robin, Garden W, Song Thrush, Blackcap, Rb Fly. hopefully more today as conditions are still poor.
Birds just starting to move through here also. Yesterday saw Grey Wagtail, Kestrel, Mipit, Starling and Song Thrush. All single birds. This morning, the Grey Wagtail was still present.

Also seen yesterday was a Great Skua.

Two resident Carrion Crows still present.
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Old Monday 30th September 2019, 11:26   #542
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Birds just starting to move through here also. Yesterday saw Grey Wagtail, Kestrel, Mipit, Starling and Song Thrush. All single birds. This morning, the Grey Wagtail was still present.

Also seen yesterday was a Great Skua.

Two resident Carrion Crows still present.
I'm really starting to root for the crows!!
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Old Monday 30th September 2019, 13:27   #543
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One thing we do get though is Grey Wagtail! I found one yesterday
I have been pretty uncomfortable with the above identification, ever since I made it back in April. I am not familiar with Yellow Wagtail (Bogey bird), and although I was not sure at the time, I think I just went with what would have been my default species back home, then regretted it ever since. From the NSBC records, we are actually more likely to get Yellow than Grey, so that also added to my self doubts.

This week, we had a definite 100% sure Grey Wagtail. I had an extended close proximity view of the bird, and it has made me even more certain that I misidentified the April wagtail. As such, I have taken the unusual step of challenging my own record with the NSBC. Today, I sent the recorder a note explaining my unease, and included a description of what I am absolutely sure that I remember. My description is as follows.

"I spotted the April Wagtail wading through a puddle of water on the Skid Deck at a distance of about 35 to 40 feet. I could clearly see its right flank and back, although not the front of the breast due to the angle. The first thing that struck me was the large amount of bright yellow I could see on the birds flank and continuing up and around to the breast. The second thing that struck me was the tail. It looked short and very thin for a Grey Wagtail. The third striking factor was that even to the naked eye, the back/mantle was olive coloured. And lastly, the bird looked more upright than what I am used to seeing with Grey Wagtails. At this point, I was able to get my Monocular on the bird, very briefly before to flew off, never to be seen again by me. The one over-riding image I had of the bird through the monocular was that the neck and back of its head were olive green with tiny flecks of yellow showing in the strong sunlight".


I suspect what will happen is that it will be recorded as "Wagtail species Grey/Yellow". From my description, what are your opinions?
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Old Saturday 5th October 2019, 09:45   #544
Gander
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A Collared Dove was reported to me yesterday, and this morning, I came across our first Redwing of the year.

2019 List

1. Great Black-Backed Gull
2. Kittiwake
3. Iceland Gull
4. Herring Gull
5. Fulmar
6. Gannet
7. Guillemot
8. Ringed Plover
9. Rock Pipit
10. Robin
11. Pied Wagtail*
12. Meadow Pipit
13. Goldcrest
14. Grey Heron
15. Common Gull
16. Black-Headed Gull
17. Blackcap*
18. Sparrowhawk*
19. Grey Wagtail
20. Kestrel*
21. Carrion Crow
22. Water Rail
23. Song Thrush
24. Wren
25. Teal
26. Turnstone*
27. Cormorant
28. Lesser Black-Backed Gull
29. Swallow
30. Nightjar (d)
31. House Martin
32. Shag
33. Red-Backed Shrike
34. Eider*
35. Snipe (d)
36. Arctic Tern
37. Collared Dove
38. Redwing
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Old Sunday 6th October 2019, 12:18   #545
Gander
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Despite promising easterlies, no birds are being delivered. Very frustrating. And to make matters worse, one of my crows is missing.

On the bright side, my description of the April "Grey" Wagtail has been accepted as a Yellow Wagtail. I realise changing an ID in retrospect is thwart with danger, but this one has worried and niggled away at me since day one.

2019 List

1. Great Black-Backed Gull
2. Kittiwake
3. Iceland Gull
4. Herring Gull
5. Fulmar
6. Gannet
7. Guillemot
8. Ringed Plover
9. Rock Pipit
10. Robin
11. Pied Wagtail*
12. Meadow Pipit
13. Goldcrest
14. Grey Heron
15. Common Gull
16. Black-Headed Gull
17. Blackcap*
18. Sparrowhawk*
19. Yellow Wagtail
20. Kestrel*
21. Carrion Crow
22. Water Rail
23. Song Thrush
24. Wren
25. Teal
26. Turnstone*
27. Cormorant
28. Lesser Black-Backed Gull
29. Swallow
30. Nightjar (d)
31. House Martin
32. Shag
33. Red-Backed Shrike
34. Eider*
35. Snipe (d)
36. Arctic Tern
37. Grey Wagtail
38. Collared Dove
39. Redwing
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Old Saturday 12th October 2019, 11:40   #546
Gander
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It has been dismal, and there is no sign of it getting any better. This is what should be my best trip of the year, but there is next to nothing coming through. The odd Mipit and Starling is about as exciting as it gets at the moment, and with only a few days left on board, it looks like this migration season is a write off.

I can't even blame the weather. We had three or four days of easterlies and they produced nothing. Even the Skuas have been absent. I've now reached the point where I can't even bring myself to do the daily gull count.

And the last crow seems to have gone.

Of course, it would only take one premier bird to change everything.
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