I was up at 6am and a quick look out of the window showed that the over night frost had not materialised and neither had the forecast wind, so conditions were looking good. After a quick breakfast I set off and with the aid of my satnav easily found the meeting point. What a useful bit of kit for finding your way around an unfamiliar area in the dark.
As I pulled up Seumus and Ian were walking back up the track having just set up the two mist nets that we would be using.
After introductions and a brief chat we went and checked the nets and my first bird of the day was a Yellowhammer, a new species for me. Subsequent net visits included Tree Sparrows, Blue Tits, a Great Tit, which were also new species for me and also a Robin, a Starling and a couple of Chaffinch.
My first Yellowhammer
The highlight of the morning's session and another new species was a female Great Spotted Woodpecker. She could certainly peck and her claws were pretty sharp too!! Unfortunately she was already ringed but at least I got to extract her from the net and process her.
My first Great Spotted Woodpecker
Total birds processed for the morning were 21 new birds for the site and 17 retraps (in brackets):
Yellowhammer - 1
Blue Tit - 10 (11)
Great Tit - 2 (3)
Tree Sparrow - 5 (1)
Chaffinch - 2
Starling - 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker - (1)
Robin - (1)
We nearly had a Sparrowhawk, but that managed to get free of the net before we could get to it.
It was great to get a chance to catch and process some species that are not that common up in Orkney so a big thank you to Seumus and Ian for letting me join them and I hope to go out with them again during the year ahead.
Thanks to Ian for the photos.