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American Golden Plover and Lesser Yellowlegs and record numbers of Sooty Shearwaters

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BrianR
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American Golden Plover and Lesser Yellowlegs and record numbers of Sooty Shearwaters

Post by BrianR » 07 Sep 2016, 22:41

Tony together with Toby Green's group (Heatherlea Birdwatching Holidays) enjoyed an exceptional days birding at Ness following yesterday's SW gale. Tony's report of his seawatch: 'a calm morning and when the early mist out at sea began to lift a large passage of Sooty Shearwaters was underway. In the first hour of my watch (08.30-09.30 hours) at least 375 passed NE-SW including one long line of at least 100. Eventually the visibility improved rapidly and numbers quickly dropped off but at least 915 were logged up to 11.30 hours. Some were seen later in intermittant watching after 11.30. Large numbers of Manx Shearwaters were also passing (probably ten times as many), but were not counted and few other species were involved in the movement.'

Around 10.30 hours Toby and his group located an adult American Golden Plover along the clifftop to the SW of the Butt of Lewis lighthouse. At one time it flew off south but quickly returned and later Tony got some photos. At 11.35 hours off it flew again, calling, and vanished to the south.

In the early afternoon Toby found a juvenile Lesser Yellowlegs on the mud in front of the hide at Loch Stiapavat. Tony mentioned that just last weekend vegetation had been cleared by a local working party to improve views of the waders and wildfowl often to be seen there but frequently obscured.

Also during the day there were 30 Black-tailed Godwits by Loch Stiapavat, six Ruff on the machair by Lionel School, and a Lapland Bunting in the long grass SW of the lighthouse.

So three North American waders today with Ian's Baird's Sandpiper. What else is out there? Also the Sooty Shearwater movement was by far the largest one day total ever recorded in Outer Hebrides waters.
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Lesser Yellowlegs Toby Green
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American Golden Plover Tony Marr
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American Golden Plover Tony Marr

BrianR
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Re: American Golden Plover and Lesser Yellowlegs and record numbers of Sooty Shearwaters

Post by BrianR » 08 Sep 2016, 19:54

Another to add to the list was an American Golden Plover, but on this occasion a juvenile, at Aird an Rùnair this morning. On the ground and loosely consorting with a moulting adult Golden Plover (with a good bit of summer plumage still) and a short while later gave very good flight views before heading off into the strong southerly wind. I left soon afterwards so did not know if it returned.

Also present at the end were a couple of Lapland Buntings.

BrianR
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Re: American Golden Plover and Lesser Yellowlegs and record numbers of Sooty Shearwaters

Post by BrianR » 09 Sep 2016, 17:33

The American Golden Plover had in fact returned to Aird an Rùnair but was only seen in flight. I managed some mediocre flight shots (but you can see dusky underwing and axillaries) when it was with a Golden Plover - both followed until they disappeared from view apparently some way south of Loch Scarie.
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At least four Lapland Buntings were at the end and as usual proved frustratingly difficult to photograph.

On the way back home I stopped to have a quick look at the waders in a fairly wet field recently cut at Balemore. There were four Ruff and another? juvenile American Golden Plover. It was still present later in the afternoon (Bill Allan).
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The Balemore American Golden Plover

BrianR
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Re: American Golden Plover and Lesser Yellowlegs and record numbers of Sooty Shearwaters

Post by BrianR » 11 Sep 2016, 20:04

Bob Weymss mentioned yesterday that an adult Lesser Yellowlegs was still present at 18.00 hours at Steinish, Stornoway (NB 452340) just opposite the small car park.

Also yesterday there was no sign of the Aird an Rùnair American Golden Plover or of the bird at Balemore (although only stopped briefly here). At Aird an Rùnair a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper was new, there was my first Purple Sandpiper and just a single Lapland Bunting.
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Lapland Bunting
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Sanderling and Purple Sandpiper
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Curlew Sandpiper

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