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North Sea Thread (1 Viewer)


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I don't know what has happened, but we are now up to eight dead Sparrowhawks. So far this afternoon we have found 2 dead in external areas, and three dead in internal areas. And still a lot of areas no one has looked at yet!

One of the birds outside was stripped to the bone in raptor fashion. The second outside bird looked like plucking had commenced. And two of the inside birds had also been eaten. Unless they are eating each other???, we must have had a bigger raptor onboard. Goshawk? Long-eared Owl?


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It remains pretty quiet, although this morning I saw a small bird on the wing. I think it may have been a Robin.

On the sea, we had a visit from a Cormorant a couple of days ago, and this morning, the resident GBBGs and Herring Gulls were joined by three Common Gulls. Occasional Fulmars and Gannets continue to pass by.

Two more dead Sparrowhawks found. One picked clean to the bone, the other one whole. That is now 11 dead Sparrowhawks in total and 1 Kestrel. I cannot emphasise enough how unusual this situation is. It is just not normal. I had stated that I've never seen a dead hawk on here in 30 yrs, but I have remembered one a year or two ago that had been predated. What I am seeing here this week though, is just plain weird, and very unpleasant to witness.


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Could this be gulls feeding on an already dead carcass rather than a predatory attack? I guess without a lab report, you will probably never know.


Well-known member
Could this be gulls feeding on an already dead carcass rather than a predatory attack? I guess without a lab report, you will probably never know.
The gulls, which are generally GBBGs, would just smash the carcass. The ones we are finding have been picked clean with precision. They have also been plucked, which again, I don't think a gull would do. Of course predation does not explain the whole bodies found, although I did wonder, as most of the whole birds have been found in semi enclosed modules, if they may have been chased into cover by something, then not been able to find the way out again, therefore succumbing to dehydration. That said, one of the whole bodies was found within a few feet of a barn door size open panel.

Just to complicate matters, one of the eaten hawks found yesterday was in a module, and had been plucked and eaten in the module, which means any predator would have had to have been in there. Also, the gulls never enter the modules.

Since my last post, half an hour ago, I have been told that on the last flight before mine (so, day before platform left unmanned), the guys waiting for the chopper were buzzed by what they described as a large hawk. Could it have been a Goshawk arriving?

I've considered poisoning, but can't think how. Bird Flu, as you previously pointed out, could be a factor, but does not explain the predation. Testing might have been possible in the past, but with bird flu fears, I don't think that is possible at the moment. What I will do though is contact the former recorder for the North Sea Bird Club, and see if they ever came across an event like this in their 40 year history.


Well-known member
And now the good news.

This afternoon, I was descending the NW external stairwell, when a bird soared past. I lost sight of it before I could ID it, but I followed it in the direction it had headed, and after a short, but anxious wait, the bird reappeared and gave a flying display off the north side. New bird for this year.......

35. Peregrine


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I saw the Peregrine a couple of times again this morning. Once in the air, and once perched 15 ft or so away. I have heard a report, that it was seen taking a pigeon this afternoon, but I have yet to verify that with the eye witness. Pigeon was probably a homing pigeon, that we get quite a few of, but I don't report them.

The GBBG population continues to increase, and that has seen the arrival of a ringed bird. I have entered the details in the Norwegian system and bird details are as follows.

Last CR-Code Black ring with white code: JC739 LBNW(JC739);RBM
Ringing Centre Stavanger Museum (Norway) Ring number 3049839
Species Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus Map Map
Upload picture 10.08 2016
Colour mark added
Brennevinsmyra, Mandal, Vest-Agder, Norway58°01'04"N 007°30'33"E

This is the first time the bird has been recorded since it was ringed in Norway as a 2nd cycle bird in 2016. Ringing location was 438 km east of the platform.


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A male Blackcap was reported to me yesterday. Surprisingly, it is new to this year's list, as normally we get a few in the Spring.

36. Blackcap


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It has been pretty quiet for September, and I was thinking that I had missed the bus by not being here for the first half of the month.

There has been the odd bird passing. A Grey Heron a couple of days ago. On the same day, a small bird flashed past. It was light coloured and gave a bunting/finch feel. I followed it around the corner of the accommodation, and although I never saw it again, I heard it calling from cover. Later, checking Xeno Canto, I found that the call sounded spot on for Snow Bunting. I've decided not to list it though, as I still have a niggling doubt that would keep me up nights.

Yesterday, a raptor flew in from the south, and although only seen in silhouette, I'm pretty sure it was a Kestrel.

Today, the wind has dropped, and we have had a flood of birds. First there was a flash of bright yellow down on one of the leg skirts. Certainly a Yellow or Grey Wagtail, but I never saw it again. What I did see on the same skirt was a Chiffchaff (Identified by photo by AW) and a nice male Redstart.

At the SE corner, I heard the call of a Sparrowhawk. Turning towards the sound, the hawk flew directly towards me with a prey item struggling violently in its talons. It landed briefly a few feet from me, headed off at speed when it saw me. The prey item was never identified.

Heading upstairs at lunchtime, a wader was seen in flight. It looked Dunlin like, and later, a wader on the Spider Deck was seen from directly above. With the curve of the beak and the belly not visible, I suspected Dunlin, and was happy when that was confirmed by AW from photo.

Heading down the stairs from lunch, three or four Wren were encountered.

37. Grey Heron
38. Redstart
39. Dunlin
40. Wren


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No migrants today, but with the wind having risen to over 60 knots, that is no surprise.

Having hit the milestone of 40 bird species for this year, I thought it a good time to print the full list for 2022, so far.

Platform year list 2022

  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Kittiwake
  • Gannet
  • Fieldfare
  • Fulmar
  • Cormorant
  • Guillemot
  • Starling
  • Common Gull
  • Carrion Crow
  • Meadow Pipit
  • Pied Wagtail
  • Brambling
  • Chiffchaff
  • Goldcrest*
  • Woodpigeon
  • Song Thrush
  • Black Redstart
  • Robin
  • Kestrel
  • Wheatear
  • Sparrowhawk
  • Collared Dove
  • Swallow
  • Great Skua
  • Sand Martin
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Razorbill
  • Arctic Skua
  • Spotted Flycatcher
  • Siskin*
  • Honey Buzzard*
  • Peregrine
  • Blackcap*
  • Grey Heron
  • Redstart
  • Wren
  • Dunlin
Regular readers may know that I average in the mid 40's for species seen each year, with last year being my poorest with 44, and 2017 producing an exceptional 54.

What can I expect for the rest of this year? I'd guess another 3 or 4 small migrants, with Chaffinch, Blackbird and certainly Redwing being likely, then white winged gulls and sea duck are often around in December. Always room for a surprise or two though!


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Since last Thursday, I've had nothing out of the ordinary. Yesterday a single Great Skua flew by, to go with a pair of the species seen a few days ago. The resident gull flock of mixed Herring Gull and GBBG are around the 100 mark. The occasional Gannet and Fulmar make an appearance.
Rough weather with a wind from the west seems to have killed off any migration movement for now, and with only a few days before I depart, my previous hope of another 2 or 3 small migrants this year, seems to be optimistic. But you never know!


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I arrived back yesterday to the sight of several Starling whizzing about the platform. GBBG and Herring Gull are still resident, and a single Gannet seen passing by.
In the afternoon, I was passing through a dark area, high up in one of the modules, when a gull sized bird shot out of a dark corner, and out into the light outside, through an opened up wall panel. I never got a good view, but I wonder, judging by the rough size, and the way it was sat in the dark, if this was not an owl. Certainly not gull behaviour, as I have never known one to enter a module.
During the nightshift, a freshly predated Blackbird was found, but I am glad to report that no other dead birds have been obvious. A relief after last trip's Sparrowhawk carnage.
This morning, I headed for the Cellar Deck with Redwing on my mind. I had a slight worry that I may have missed the autumn movement, but although in the dozens, not thousands, I soon located a flock circling the platform, and several flitting around the Cellar Deck. Also located was another first for this year in the shape of a single Blackbird.

41. Redwing
42. Blackbird


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An unexpected bonus this afternoon with a Grey Wagtail making an appearance. It shouldn't really be a surprise, other than it is a bit late in the season. Sadly, the bird looked pretty exhausted, and I don't think this one will be going much further.

43. Grey Wagtail

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