I was back out on Rathlin on 17 June doing my second Twite survey visit of the spring around the southern half of the patch. Once again no new species for the year were recorded and very few fresh migrants were noted. However, lots of species appear to be having a good breeding season, with lots of chicks and juvenile birds to be found.
In a turn up for the books, this included a MOORHEN with 3 tiny chicks! From bogey bird to breeding bird...
Also seen with chicks or fledged young today were: Rock Pipit, Goldfinch, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Eider, Robin, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Shag, Grey Heron, Wheatear, Mallard, Coot, Greylag and Tufted Duck.
In other news, contrary to my last report, I was pleased to find that around 6 pairs of Sand Martins have indeed nested in the Doon Bay cliffs. The only 'new' birds seen were some early returning Curlew and Redshank at Ushet Lough which unfortunately are likely to be failed breeders from further afield.
Elsewhere on the island, the survey team have turned up a small number of additional Twite territories, which is great news following the destruction of a breeding site by the recent gorse fire.
A Pomarine Skua was seen from the north section of the patch today by a colleague and can be added alongside Garden Warbler, Siskin, Whinchat and Hen Harrier, to the list of species I've 'missed' this year, which have occurred on patch.