The first Greenland White-Fronted Geese of the 2015/16 wintering season, two adults and a juvenile (hatched and reared in Greenland this summer), were seen by Ayln Walsh and Andrew Butler on Wednesday 7th October (early but not exceptionally so). The latest count (15/12) is about 5,900 Greenland white-fronts on the slob which is about 2,000 down on what we would expect for this stage in the season. Many are reported on the east coast of Britain and on the Norwegian coast, with perhaps more in Europe. Islay hasn't recieved any more than usual. This is mainly due to the stormy weather conditions, which were preceded by mild weather on the staging grounds in Iceland. Hopefully they will make their way to us soon.
As of 18/12 there are about 2,000 Brent Geese from Arctic Canada on the slobs. We also have about 190 Whooper Swans, 2 Bewick's Swans, 13 Barnacle Goose and 5 Pink-footed Goose. More Whitefronts will be coming over the next months and we will keep track of their numbers. As the winds turn northerly over the Goose stopover grounds in Iceland, they will start on the 15 to 18 hour flight to Ireland arriving at any hour of the day or night.
"Janey, I'm bushed. Will we ever get there?"
Recently we have been treated to regular sightings of hunting Peregrine, Merlin, Kestrel, Hen Harrier and Buzzard. Both Short and Long-eared owls are also around. The numbers and variety of Ducks is also increasing, with Pintails seen on the main channel on 6th November and a North American Ring-Necked Duck seen on November 10th.
There are also large flocks of wintering waders in the fields (hence the raptors), including Golden Plover, Curlew and one of my favourites, Lapwing.