Saturday, 18 June 2011

A dreadful day's weather on Thursday will not have helped the breeding birds, although today was quite the reverse with a beautiful sunny day with just a hint of easterly wind. A small movement of birds saw several skeins of Greylag head south, our first Tufted Ducks of June appear, the first Bar-tailed Godwit of the year over Meoness and a small fall of migrants with Reed Warbler (singing in the Obs garden) and Mealy Redpoll the highlights amongst a scattering of common warblers. The day felt as though a biggy should have turned up, but the lingering Hobby and Turtle Dove were the closest we got.
Maalie counting continues apace; with 27,000 pairs last time, we know we have got a lot of work to do. Regular seabird monitoring continues, with plenty of that still to come as well. Puffins are starting to put on much better performances for visitors now, so we should also start to get more colour-ring sightings. Breeding bird news includes our first Eider ducklings of the year seen on Thursday.

Time for a nap, a Herring Gull chick looks exhausted after emerging from its egg.
Turtle Power. First seen on Meoness on Wednesday this Turtle Dove was showing well in the Lower Stoneybrek crop strip today.
Even when there are few migrants around, there is plenty to see, with the island being a beautiful place to live and work. It's hard to capture it all in pictures (you really have to come and see for yourself!), but here are a few images from the last few days.
The Thrift is putting on a fantastic display; the football pitch near South Light is the pinkest one I have ever seen!
A misty evening over the west cliffs.
The sun setting as viewed from the base of Malcolm's Head.
Finally, I'd just like to mention a couple of words about Billy Shiel, the boatman of the Farne Islands in Northumberland, who sadly passed away in the early hours of Friday morning (see Many people who are interested in Fair Isle will also have been to the Farnes and may well have met Billy. It was a privilege to have known him in my years working there, he was a character in every sense of the word and his passing has left a gap that will never quite be filled. Our sincere condolences to his family.

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