Thursday, 9 June 2011

Ahoy there!

A slightly belated happy birthday to the FIBO Administrator (and my wife!) Susannah, who celebrated on Tuesday by getting up at 6am to prepare breakfast for guests leaving on the Good Shepherd and then had a full day of work in the kitchen, office and hall (setting up a stall for Becki and Charlotte to sell FIBO wares to the visiting cruise ship).
Busy waters as a cruise ship unloads its passengers by Zodiac shortly after the arrival of the Good Shepherd.
The evening was a bit different though as at 5.55pm we dashed out of the kitchen, brushed the chapatti flour off Susannah’s face and joined Frideray (the band based on Fair Isle) and Jimmy and Florrie Stout on a Zodiac to head out to the Clipper Odyssey.

The Clipper Odyssey awaits the arrivals from Fair Isle, we were even piped on board (with an enthusiastic, but random, selection of tunes that were not all appreciated by the ship's crew who had perhaps heard them a few too many times already!)

Frideray performing.
This rather nice cruise ship had sent around 100 guests from the travel company Adventure Canada ashore earlier in the day to enjoy Fair Isle. They all had a wonderful time finding out about the island's traditions, crafts, history and culture as well as getting some fantastic close ups of Puffins and even the Fair Isle Wren for a few of the keener birders. They were a lovely bunch of people and we all thoroughly enjoyed the evening of music, food, information and hospitality we received on board.

A happy Susannah heading home.
The following day they were due to explore the Aberdeenshire coast, landing just a few miles from where Susannah and I used to live! Thanks for the lovely evening guys and we hope the rest of your cruise went well.

An Australian couple on a Canadian voyage off Fair Isle, who own a car built in my home city of Sunderland! We were invited onto their table for dinner and had a very pleasant chat about everything from potato diseases to eating roadkill kangaroo! The tartan clothing was for a 'theme night' and the rather natty Fair Isle knitwear headband had just been bought from Hollie Shaw.
On the island, the spring migration has slowed down, although the easterly winds have kept our spirits high for something still to arrive. A Marsh Warbler was trapped earlier in the week, although this was perhaps slightly overshadowed by a Great Reed Warbler to the north of us and a Blyth’s Reed Warbler to the south (see the North Ron blog). Perhaps slightly more galling was the White-throated Robin in County Durham, I had that species as my prediction for one of Fair Isle’s big birds this year. The fact that it chose to turn up 20 miles from my home city (and I’ve had the usual messages from friends who have been to see it!) didn’t help. Still, as Jason pointed out, the rest of the UK is a big place and we can’t expect all the birds to turn up on Fair Isle!

Bon Voyage, the Clipper heads south.

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