Friday, 12 August 2011

What next?

The wind is in the east, the birds are coming and we’re all rather excited about census over the next few days as conditions look to be rather promising (and a Grey-necked Bunting in Norway yesterday certainly sets the bar high for what could turn up). Yesterday saw a juvy Red-backed Shrike near Chalet, a promising start, although the blustery conditions left us with the lingering impression that there was probably more hiding in the bottom of the various rosa around the island. Willow Warblers have made it up to double figures, there’s been a couple of Garden Warblers and Swifts and waders continue to trickle through.
Willow Warbler on a rock. In the background a Rock Pipit is on the grass. The only birds in the Obs willows were House Sparrows. Migration means birds have to find food and shelter wherever they can, even if it isn't their prefered habitat!
Yesterday saw a Green Sandpiper trapped, but ‘bird of the week’ (as far as far as trapping goes) must be the juvenile Kestrel caught on Tuesday that was sporting a Swedish ring. It’s obvious that any bird that makes it to Fair Isle has had a reasonable adventure to get here (even if it just comes from Shetland that’s still a crossing over 20 miles or, to put it another way, slightly more than crossing from Dover to Calais), but there’s something about catching a bird ringed in Scandinavia that really makes you think about the journeys they undertake - amazing!
A few Painted Ladies are still arriving, this one looks like it has been about a bit and survived a few Rock Pipit attacks.
PS - a couple of things I forgot to mention in this update. A juvenile Moorhen was a surprise at the Chalet on Wednesday and is probably one of the earliest autumn records of this species on Fair Isle (we're checking the records even as we speak!). Also on Wednesday, the sea was relatively calm resulting in a sighting of three Porpoise close in by Burrian and a magnificent group of four Risso's Dolphins porpoising north past Sheep Rock.

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