The wind finally dropped today.......to be replaced with mist and drizzle! so only marginally better birding conditions! The 'Wood' Duck was flushed from the Gully by one person going ahead of the early morning trap round - much to everyones annoyance. The Buff-bellied Pipit was seen at North Light and theLittle Bunting was much appreciated at the shop and the Buff-breasted Sand lingers at Barkland but once again it wasn't until the afternoon, when the mist cleared for an hour or so, that birds began to drop in. First of all, the Duck was relocated in the Gully and once everyone was gathered, (during which time a Hawfinch dropped in), a slow advancement was made towards the edge. Peering over, the duck could be seen asleep on the bank and was quickly identified as a Mandarin! Not a potential first for Britain, but a nice first for Fair Isle!!! At least one person was happy!
Everyone dispersed once again and I headed back north. There were many Songies and more Redwings than of late plus a few Blackbirds and Ring Ouzels. I saw a flock of 25 Siskin (there was over 100 on the isle, including a flock of 60!) and a handful of Yellow-browed Warblers, a Short-eared Owl and a Greenfinch. Best however was found as the light faded fast, just before I headed for home - a Great Grey Shrike at the Mast! Thankfully, Rob had also headed north. He missed the mandarin but got all the way to Dronger and Ward Hill where he was compensated with first a flock of Twite at Dronger containing an nice white Arctic Redpoll and then an Olive-backed Pipit on the back of Ward Hill. Jammy!!!
At log it was evident that birds had come in during the brief spell when the isle was visible fom the air, including alot of finches with 85 Chaffinch, 180 Brambling, 5 Greenfinch and 210 Siskin!!! A Swift was unusual so late and there were a few more common warblers and a couple of Rosefinch.
I've hardly been at Burkle lately but the kids seem well cared for and Dad seems to have accepted that he wasn't going to get off today. I've not told him yet he may not be going tomorrow either!!
I have relocated our lone missing lamb - it has somehow got in with Dave's sheep at Field. I'll need to go and fetch it back sometime. Lachlan phoned up this evening to inform me he spent the day in an abbatoir with the Vet, observing how cows are slaughtered - all part of the experience he needs to get into Vet School next year. He is already volunteering at the Lerwick Vets each Saturday and is going to Orkney in the October holidays to stay with Vet Alan Wilson (Brian & Mary's son) and shadow him for a weeks work experience. With his five 'A's already achieved at Higher, all this experience and his affable personality, I am sure he will do well at his interview at either Edinburgh or Glasgow. Hollie and I are very proud of him!