Saturday, 6 August 2011

Bring on the Autumn!

The fog finally lifted for a whole day (although it lingered longer on Mainland, meaning the flights were delayed this morning), the sun shone, (almost) all the staff are back and we're ready for the autumn. Don't forget that there are still a few spaces available in the Obs if you're wanting to join us.
Peek-a-boo, can you tell what it is yet?

Our first Wood Warbler of the autumn eventually showed well in the Chalet garden.
A scout around the island today produced Wood Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler, Whinchat, 3 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, 2 Ruff, 3 Green Sandpiper and 25 Golden Plover, whilst a Peacock butterfly found by Henry at Auld Haa had no doubt arrived with the recent minor Painted Lady influx.
Two Grey Heron were also seen arriving from the south this evening as we enjoyed a barbeque at the Puffinn. I've seen Grey Herons heading north out to sea from Aberdeenshire at around this time of year on a few previous occasions, so perhaps these birds had come to us from the UK mainland to enjoy Shetland's relatively mild winters (although they could equally have been circling into the island from somewhere further north).
The conditions have been good for displays of the Northern Lights in recent nights (except for the thick cloud and blanket fog!) but it looks like they're set to be quieter tonight now that it is a bit clearer and we have a chance to see them. Nevermind, we'll hopefully be entertained by Storm Petrels tonight.
A couple of bits of family news, Susannah's sister and her family made it off today after a delayed departure thanks to the fog and we wish them well with two small children on the Northlink ferry with no cabin tonight (having already experienced a 'bumpy' crossing on the Good Shepherd)! It's been lovely to see them and Grace has enjoyed having her two cousins to play with. Grace has also taken to answering her toy phone with 'Hello, it's Susannah, this is the Fair Isle Bird Observatory'. If we can just get her to write people's details on the booking sheets (instead of drawing Peppa Pig in orange crayon), we could make use of her in the office!

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