Monday, 15 August 2011

Happy Days!

The last couple of days have seen a proper mixed bag of weather, with gale force wind, fog, gale force fog (a Fair Isle speciality I’m told) and monsoon style rain giving way to sunny spells, then two gorgeous days of sunshine. The Pallid Harrier remained until yesterday (as did the Arctic Warbler and Red-backed Shrike but none of them have been seen today), with the best of the new birds being an elusive Citrine Wagtail on Saturday. Initially I thought I heard one over Haa as it flew past in the fog and thankfully Jason and Benji (our new volunteer) confirmed it when it was seen briefly near Utra, then again near the Kirk where better views were obtained. The Obs garden mistnets have caught a few Pied Wagtails and a couple of Whites coming in to roost in recent days, so if the Citrine is to turn up again, that would be a nice place for it to do so… A few common migrants have been seen as well with Spotted Flycatcher and Redstart making their autumn debuts, along with a Pied Flycatcher, a few Garden Warblers, Reed Warblers, plenty of Willow Warblers and a few common passage waders. The wind has now gone to the SW so things may get a bit quieter for a while, but with Two-barred Crossbills appearing in two places in Shetland yesterday (including one that flew south from Sumburgh Head and could be lurking somewhere around the island by now!), perhaps we could get one or two more good birds soon.

The Red-backed Shrike was the only good bird not to get a photo in the last post, so here's one to make up for it.
Saturday also saw an even happier event than the arrival of a Citrine Wagtail, with the Wedding of Naomi Riddford to Niko Casagrande. Naomi is a ‘Child of the Obs’ having been born whilst her parents Nick and Elizabeth were running FIBO, so we were delighted to be part of the happy occasion and help in any small way we could (the Obs people carrier got dressed up in blue ribbon to become the wedding car for the groom!). The wedding at the Chapel saw a good turn out from islanders, family and guests (several of whom had travelled from the USA), with the service presided over by John Best, who was keen to point out that he had also been the Minister for Naomi’s baptism. Despite the strong Obs connection, everyone was very well behaved: I didn’t divert the groom to look for the acro that flew across the road on our way to the Chapel, Nick didn’t once use his binoculars during the service and the rings weren’t put on with ringing pliers! Everyone at FIBO wishes the happy couple (and they both did look really very happy, it’s always nice to see someone hardly able to get their words out properly because they’re smiling so much!) all the best for their future life together.
Just out of interest, has anyone had a better moment than the one Nick had that consisted of: preparing to take you daughter to the Chapel for her wedding: watching an Arctic Warbler in your garden; a Pallid Harrier flies past; the sun comes out from the fog for the first time that day; and England take a catch to win the Test?
As it seems to have left us now, here's a picture of the Pallid Harrier in the evening light yesterday as it gave a series of stunning fly pasts at close range.


  1. That juvy Pallid seems to have grown up awfully fast based on the new picture. Maybe just the lighting?

  2. It is indeed just the lighting. This shot was taken in a bright (but low) evening sun. Incidentally, every Harrier here gets close scrutiny as even Hen is a rather scarce visitor to the island!

    PS - apologies to everyone whose comments I haven't replied to before. I was having issues with my browser preventing me doing so for some reason, but it seems to be sorted now!


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