Pine GrosbeakThe last autumnal month, the one that always lie in the shadow of October, started off great with lots of birds on the 1st despite a fresh northerly wind (though dwindling) and negligible manning.

Some were remains from October, such as ten Eurasian Blackcaps, two Pallas´s Leaf Warblers, three Common Chiffchaffs, Common Redpolls (750), Arctic Redpoll, some crossbills (inc. Parrot Crossbills) and four Lapland Longspurs, birds of prey occurred with White-tailed Eagle and Peregrine Falcon, a late Ring Ouzel was at the lighthouse, three Twites appeared while the best came when a party of three Woodlarks flew over the northwestern fields, the first for the year.

With strong westerlies on the 3rd only a few auks was in evidence at the seawatch point, although a Common Merganser also passed by.

Mid-day on the 6th, in northerlies, saw an unprecedented arrival of Pine Grosbeaks! Not one, as the first and last record, occurring exactly ten years ago (6th November 2000), but several flocks of up to 33 birds. Locally, this was unbelievably!

Place of events were the northern plantations. Ten birds appeared the next day.

White-tailed EagleA Carrion Crow was seen on the 7th, while a late Common Linnet flew over the following day. A confiding Water Rail showed in a canal on the eastern side on the 9th, and the same day White-tailed Eagle, Northern Goshawk, Eurasian Sparrowhawk and Peregrine and also two Mistle Thrushes and three Twites were about.

Improved weather on the 10th inspired a wider search, but good birds found was limited to a Woodlark in the lighthouse hill, in itself not necessarily a new bird. It stayed in this general area until at least the 25th.

Yellowhammer never get common on Utsira – one bird appeared on the 13th. A Mistle Thrush was seen on the 16th. At least two White-tailed Eagles was logged on the 19th, one of them a resident bird, and Goshawk and Peregrine are also at large on and around the island.

There are still large numbers of Common Redpolls on the isle, several hundred move between the spruce plantations, and 147 were caught and ringed on the 20th.

The Lapland Longspurs are doing their last duties, the latest sorties so far were seen on the 19th. Chiffchaff has 21st as the equivalent date and Blackcap the same. A Short-eared Owl was in the fields on the eastern side on the 20th.

Three immature White-tailed Eagles simultaneously on the 24th was followed by four birds next day – three of which were adults, in other words at least six birds in two days. A Jack Snipe was flushed on the 24th.

The cold hit the island during the latter part of the peiod, efficiently emptying the isle for passerines. Even though the weather was fine it was nonetheless a reminder of how last winter fared.

Here are some images giving the taste of November on Utsira: