No additional year ticks were seen on Rathlin on Sunday (24 November), but a fine selection of winter visitors were present. Many of which could be found in much the same spots as I had seen them earlier in the year.
As the ferry pulled into the harbour, two smaller shapes amongst the Eider flock drew my attention – a Long-tailed Duck and a Goldeneye. Both scarce birds on the island and both in exactly the same place I saw them last winter! Flat calm seas and great visibility allowed for careful scanning offshore and this produced 4 Great Northern Divers off the West Pier and 2 Common Scoters in Mill Bay (in exactly the same spot I had added them to my island list earlier this year).
|Goldeneye and Long-tailed Duck - both would have been island ticks this time last year|
Next up was a female Pochard at Alley Lough with a few Tufted Ducks. I get the impression this may be a returning bird, as I have seen a lone female at this lough every autumn/winter for the past few years.
Ballycarry Pool this week had 33 Teal, 4 Tufted Ducks, a few Snipe and a Water Rail. The hedge and lane were full of finches and thrushes including 2 Fieldfares and 4 Greenfinches. This week the goose flock was found hanging around Ushet Lough and was now 57 strong, but all were still Greylags. I later heard from the RSPB warden that a Snow Bunting had been seen in the Ushet area earlier in the day.
So no change on the score front and with perhaps only one trip remaining this year, will I have to settle for 121 species?