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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

North Sea Thread (1 Viewer)

Gander

Well-known member
Well, that is another trip over. It ended on a slightly sour note, as one of the Kestrels met its demise. It was seen on Monday, to be injured. Possibly a broken leg. I suspect it had a run in with either the Peregrine or a Sparrowhawk. I never saw the Peregine that day, but a female Sparrowhawk was very evident. The injured Kestrel was last seen in the afternoon taking to the air, but crashing into the sea, where it was set upon by several Great Black-backed Gulls.

On the bright side, a male Sparrowhawk was found tangled in a bit of netting. It was released with seemingly no ill affects.

Another Great Skua spotted, and finally, another Wheatear yesterday.

Edit - I forgot to report the dead Brambling that was found a couple of days ago. I had sight of one bird a few days ago that I am 99% sure was a Brambling, but did not quite get enough of it to list it.

35. Brambling (d)
 
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Gander

Well-known member
I've been updating all my lists over the weekend. Platform list now looks like this.....

  • Barnacle Goose
  • Greylag Goose
  • Pink-Footed Goose
  • Gadwall
  • Teal
  • Common Eider
  • Velvet Scoter
  • Common Scoter
  • Long-Tailed Duck
  • Red-Breasted Merganser
  • Nightjar (d)
  • Woodpigeon
  • Collared Dove
  • Water Rail
  • Oystercatcher*
  • Golden Plover
  • Ringed Plover (d)
  • Curlew
  • Turnstone
  • Ruff (d*)
  • Dunlin (d)
  • Woodcock
  • Snipe
  • Grey Phalarope
  • Spotted Redshank
  • Greenshank
  • Kittiwake
  • Black-Headed Gull
  • Common Gull
  • Great Black-Backed Gull
  • Glaucous Gull
  • Iceland Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Lesser Black-Backed Gull
  • Arctic Tern
  • Great Skua
  • Arctic Skua
  • Common Guillemot
  • Razorbill
  • Puffin
  • Storm Petrel
  • Fulmar
  • Balearic Shearwater
  • Gannet
  • Shag
  • Cormorant
  • Grey Heron
  • Osprey*
  • Sparrowhawk
  • Long-Eared Owl
  • Short-Eared Owl
  • Wryneck (d)
  • Kestrel
  • Merlin
  • Peregrine
  • Red-Backed Shrike
  • Carrion Crow
  • Hooded Crow
  • Waxwing
  • Blue Tit*
  • Great Tit
  • Swallow
  • House Martin
  • Yellow-Browed Warbler (d)
  • Willow Warbler
  • Chiffchaff
  • Sedge Warbler
  • Icterine Warbler
  • Blackcap
  • Lesser Whitethroat
  • Goldcrest
  • Wren
  • Starling
  • Blackbird
  • Fieldfare
  • Redwing
  • Song Thrush
  • Spotted Flycatcher (d)
  • Robin
  • Pied Flycatcher
  • Redstart
  • Stonechat
  • Wheatear
  • Yellow Wagtail
  • Grey Wagtail
  • Pied Wagtail
  • Meadow Pipit
  • Rock Pipit
  • Chaffinch
  • Brambling
  • Goldfinch
  • Siskin
  • Yellowhammer
  • Little Bunting (d)


Note – Buzzard species and Redpoll species also observed

94 species identified, with two other species seen, but not identified exactly.

(d) - Found dead
* - Not seen by author
 

Gander

Well-known member
I arrived back yesterday. Only a few GBBGs and Herring Gulls about, apart from a single Gannet.

This morning though, in very wet conditions, I found my first Redwings of the year sheltering on the Cellar Deck. About a dozen present, so I assume a much larger flock will have passed by last night.

36. Redwing
 

Gander

Well-known member
Not much change since Wednesday. Low numbers of GBBGs and Herring Gulls. The odd Gannet passing by. A single Redwing on Thursday, and another single sighting on Friday. Today a little change with a flock of 23 Kittiwake sitting off the platform, and a rather tired looking Woodpigeon sitting on the Spider Deck.

Wind is due to change to an easterly tomorrow, through into Monday, so hoping for it to bring some birds across from Norway.

Edit - Just realised the Woodpigeon is my first this year.

37. Woodpigeon
 

jogresh

Bimble and patch
Always interesting to hear what you're seeing offshore.
Do you get many Woodpigeons? Can't recall from memory, first time i've checked in for a while.
TIA.
 

Gander

Well-known member
There have been flocks of Redwing moving through each night, but this morning has been something else. There are thousands of Redwing surrounding and all over the platform. Also seeing Blackbird, which is good because they somehow managed to escape my attentions last year. Starling seen, and on the Cellar Deck, despite being buzzed by the Redwing, I had a close encounter with a couple of Brambling.

Nightshift reported seeing a probable owl.

This is as big a movement of birds as I've ever (31 yrs) seen out here. Should be a lot showing up on the east coast shortly!

38. Blackbird
 

Gander

Well-known member
The vast majority of the flock has now moved on, however, there are still significant numbers of birds, Redwing and Brambling, down on the Cellar Deck. No sign of an owl, but I did find a Sparrowhawk male, also on the Cellar Deck.

I can now see what has triggered the mass movement, as the flock has been slightly ahead of a band of heavy rain being pushed along by a 35 Kn easterly.
 

Gander

Well-known member
Managed to creep up on a Brambling. Probably helped that it had an eye problem!
 

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Gander

Well-known member
Just before teatime yesterday, I received a report of an owl being seen at close quarters. I was only 1 minute away, but by the time I got there, the owl was way out from the platform heading into a mist bank. Definitely an owl, but length of ears was not identifiable.

While scanning the owl a Great Skua passed underneath it. Earlier in the day, I saw my first Fulmar of the trip, but other than that, the seabird status remains the same.

This morning, there were no great flocks of birds around the platform, but I received another owl report from the nightshift. I headed down to the Cellar Deck where there were still quite a few Redwing, probably residual from yesterday. I also found a very freshly dead Redwing, that had been stripped to the breastbone. Sparrowhawk I would think, but no sign of the culprit.

Half an hour ago, I was called to the Helideck, with a report of the owl sitting on it. When I arrived, it had already flown, but a photo has been taken (I will post it later when received). From the description, it sounds like the bird is more likely a Short-eared, but I have not been able to eliminate Long-eared yet.
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
LOL Paul.... the old.... "you should have been here a minute ago"!!!
 

Gander

Well-known member
Since my last post, I have made another sighting of the owl and can confirm it is a Short-eared (see flight shots).

I have also received the photo from the Helideck observer, confirming the same ID.
 

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Gander

Well-known member
There has not been much about since the S-E Owl. The winds changed to being northerly, and have now swung all the way through the westerlies to being a southerly.
However, lunchtime, I was speaking to someone on an external walkway, when he spotted a bird down below us. Another Common Scoter female to go with the one we had in July.
 

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dwatsonbirder

Well-known member
Hi Gander, just a thought, but I think you've photographed something a little better than a Common scoter there - looks fine for a 1w Long tailed duck to me (blue bill with dark line extending to the nail, dark edging to the nostrils, pale cheeks/dark cap, pale coverts/scapulars, pale bases to the tail etc...) Enjoying the thread!
 

Andy Strachan

Well-known member
Scotland
Hi Gander, just a thought, but I think you've photographed something a little better than a Common scoter there - looks fine for a 1w Long tailed duck to me (blue bill with dark line extending to the nail, dark edging to the nostrils, pale cheeks/dark cap, pale coverts/scapulars, pale bases to the tail etc...) Enjoying the thread!
Yeah, and the way the pale cheeks come above the eyes, rather than stop at the bottom of the eyes as they seem to do with female Scoter. I agree with your Long-tailed duck. Good spot.
 

Gander

Well-known member
Hi Gander, just a thought, but I think you've photographed something a little better than a Common scoter there - looks fine for a 1w Long tailed duck to me (blue bill with dark line extending to the nail, dark edging to the nostrils, pale cheeks/dark cap, pale coverts/scapulars, pale bases to the tail etc...) Enjoying the thread!
Yes, I was wondering who would spot that first!:whistle:

Thanks for that Daniel. It is indeed a L-TD. I've checked the other photos, and it is even more obvious than the hawk-eye view. 👍 Must learn not to rush IDs.

Long-tailed Duck was the last species to make last years list. Hope that is not going to be the case this year.
 

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Gander

Well-known member
Nothing new to report here, and wind direction looks unhelpful into the weekend.

However, I was speaking to a guy who was working on a neighbouring platform a few weeks ago, and he informed me of the presence of a couple of Ravens. Not on our list, and so frustratingly close (within sight), but good to know they are a possibility.
 

Gander

Well-known member
A fellow worker arrived today, who pointed me in the direction of a photograph he had taken of a bird here at the beginning of the month. Opening up the photo, I found a Petrel. I assumed Storm, but have checked it out on the Bird ID pages.
I found a Storm Petrel here myself, many years ago. It was sat on the Cellar Deck grating during a storm. I was able to pick it up, and place it in a sheltered corner with easy access to sea. The next day it was gone. It was a similar story with our pictured bird. One of the guys picked it up, placed it in a quiet corner, and found it had departed the next day.

Along with the Long-tailed Duck, that I forgot to add to the list a few days ago, Storm Petrol makes 40 species for the year. Still a low total, but a higher count than I thought I would get at times. The autumn has been decent, although no Fieldfare this year, which is very unusual.

39. Long-tailed Duck
40. Storm Petrel*
 

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Gander

Well-known member
And a small flock of Brambling at lunchtime.

It has been a bumper year for Brambling here. I've never seen so many over a such a prolonged period.

It will be interesting to see if this reflects in sightings onshore.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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