I paid another visit to Rathlin on 10 November and managed another year tick in the form of two Siskins (121) in fields and hedges east of Church Bay. Most of the finches noted recently appear to have moved on, with no large flocks encountered during the day. On the ferry across a Rock Pipit landed on board before quickly flying south and it was clear that this species at least is currently on the move. Over 50 birds were in the West Pier area and were searched through carefully for Water Pipit (no joy).
The thick scrub and hawthorns near the rescue centre (have had Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler here in the past) held 25+ Blackbirds, a female Blackcap, 9 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Song Thrushes and a Redwing. A late Peacock butterfly was also on the wing here. Ballycarry Pool ‘looks rare’ at the moment and today held 41 Teal and 45 Curlew. The hedge here was strangely quiet.
Around 200 small gulls were loafing in Mill Bay but still no sign of a Mediterranean or Little Gull amongst them this year. I caught up with the goose flock in fields east of here but unusually for this time of year the only species present were Greylags (about 45). Will this be the first year since I started visiting Rathlin regularly that I won’t see a Pink-footed Goose?
The Siskins were a species I had missed earlier in the year so were a welcome sighting. The only species I have now knowingly ‘missed’ which have occurred on the patch this year are Pomarine Skua, Hen Harrier and Whinchat. Other glaring omissions from the year list include Mistle Thrush, Great Crested Grebe, Bar-tailed Godwit and various gettable seawatch species such as Storm Petrel and Arctic Tern.
As we move into the winter season, it is now time to focus my attention on the various patch wetlands.Score now 121 species, 151 points or 118.9%