Hen Harrier influx

9th December 2010 – overcast WNW1/2/3, significantly milder than of late
A solitary Shag was the only notable record on the sea.
Grounded Migrants
Further hints of cold weather new arrivals were provided by 20 Brambling, 10 Greenfinch, 10 Chaffinch, 4 Blackbird, 3 Song Thrush and single Woodcock and Redwing.
Diurnal Migration
A small skein of 9 Pink-footed Geese headed south.
Wildfowl and Waders
Pintail numbers continue to increase slowly with114 birds logged, also seen were the long-staying Long-tailed Duck and 110 pale-bellied Brent Geese. Waders were led by 8 Purple Sandpiper and 3 Greenshank.
There are now 3 Hen Harriers on the island with a male and 2 ringtails seen. The flock of 60 Twite were again present and at least 3 Little Egret remain. Several Water Rail continue to see out the freeze.
Mindful of the weather another short ringing session saw several more Brambling trapped in what is a record autumn for numbers caught on the island. The first-winter female shown illustrates the plumage subtleties compared to the more obvious males from yesterday.

Brambling (first-winter female) - plumage differences are more subtle on females than males due to the more subdued feather colouration. However there is a slight contrast evident between the four outermost greater coverts and the inner greater coverts with duller feather centres and whitish not rusty tips. In addition note the darker colouration of the two moulted tertials compared to the washed out appearance of longest unmoulted tertial. The pointed tail feathers and the slight wear to the two central tail feathers are also indicative of a first-winter bird.