The Annual Autumn Migration Watch Event proved as popular as ever, with 24 people assembling at the visitor centre at 8am. As always, the event was expertly lead by Andrew Grace, who gave everybody an insight into the journeys being undertaken by the birds passing overhead.
There was quite a strong westerly wind blowing at first, not ideal, but even so groups of Meadow Pipits , and larger flocks of Linnets [bound for France or Spain] moved steadily west, with smaller numbers of Goldfinches, Pied Wagtails, Swallows and the odd Reed Bunting. The group was treated to a fine aerial display by a Peregrine and a Kestrel, the Kestrel initially mobbing the obviously larger Falcon, then being chased in turn. No harm done !.
Inspection of the beach below Coastguards, under a threatening sky, revealed a slim dark brown bird sitting near the usual gulls, which after much deliberation [a telescope would have helped], was pronounced a Skua, most likely an Arctic as these are the most regular here and can sometimes be seen chasing Terns until they give up their fish.
As we moved east along the Firehills the heavens opened and we were treated to a demonstration of how such heavy rain stops migration. Everybody cheerfully continued, and as the rain eased slightly a few hardy Meadow Pipits started moving west again.
We arrived back to the car park rather wet but full of admiration for the migrating birds and the knowledge of our leader Andrew Grace.