How the time flies!! I've been so busy that am now well behind with blog updates so I'll give a brief update of September so far, starting with a bird that actually arrived on the last day of August.......the second Arctic Warbler of the autumn already. This was actually discovered and trapped by one of the four couples who were here for 'the interview weekend' to find a suitable pair to take over running the Obs next season after Hollie and I leave. Nice one Ian & Sally - a great find and capture! After finding one himself two weeks earlier, Jack was delighted to be allowed to ring this - his dream bird - himself. Following release, it showed well intermittently in the Obs Plantation that afternoon and the first two days of September. The first Slavonian Grebe of the autumn, Icterine warbler, 3 Barred Warbler, 7 Rosefinch and a scattering of common warblers were also seen on 1st but the real highlight of the day was the Lapland Bunting invasion. A flock of 50+ was seen on Ward Hill and many smaller parties were also seen giving a total of at least 185 for the log - over twice the previous record!! A Wryneck the following day eluded most people but most caught up with at least one of the three Barred Warblers present and the five Rosefinch whilst they couldn't avoid seeing and hearing Lapland Buntings, of which there were (just) 140! Apart from the continuing presence of large numbers of these buntings, other highlights of the first week or so of the month have been the passage of common migrants with all the common warblers, flycatchers, Redstart, Whinchat and Pipits passing through in varying numbers. For a full rundown of daily numbers, please look at the Latest Sightings page on the FIBO website. A reminder that autumn really is progressing fast has been the arrival of the first few (winter) thrushes and finches with a handful of Song Thrushes, Fieldfares, Chaffinch and Brambling all dropping in on the past few days. Following these migrants have been raptors with peak day counts of 11 Kestrels and a record seven Sparrowhawks.
Aside from the good numbers of migrants the main news has been the appointment of the new FIBO Warden & Administrator. The press seems to have been full of the news however for those that don't read the papers.........following a very stressful few days on the isle (as much for myself, Hollie and the Directors present as for the prospective candidates), David & Susannah (and baby Grace) Parnaby were chosen to be our successors. It will inevitably be a sad day when I hand over the reins, but I do wish them every success in their new venture and hope they approach the role with the commitment and energy it demands (and FIBO deserves) and that they also sample the immense enjoyment that we have had during our 12 seasons of running FIBO and living on Fair Isle. Thankfully, we are still doing the latter!!!
The new building is an excellent place to stay and all our guests have been very impressed with it and we have now even held our first Wedding Reception!!!! The marriage of Jimmy Stout's cousin Marilyn to Gordon took place in the Chapel and later (because the Village Hall is out of action due to having its roof replaced) the whole island were invited to a buffet meal, with music and dancing at the Obs. It was hard work for all the staff but we pulled it off and everyone agreed it was an excellent venue and a truly great evening!
Okay, thats enough words for one posting.....