Saturday, 1 October 2011

The good times continue.

There was no Birthday bird yesterday, but none of us minded waiting a day for a present – PALLAS’S GRASSHOPPER WARBLER found by Will in Gilsetter. What a find, what a bird and what a way to end the month, now what will October bring…
I didn't manage a picture of the bird, but here's the crowd waiting to get views. It showed very well for what can be a horribly skulking species, with everyone getting a good look. The amazing mouse-like scampering was seen on several occasions - they really can run!
It wasn’t just the big rare that made the day, an arrival of migrants saw Redwings scattered across the island and a nice little selection of lingering rarities and a few new scarcities were seen. I’m now getting back up to full ‘match fitness’ and had a wander out to Dronger, where I was pleased to turn up two Yellow-browed Warblers sharing a small geo with Spotted Flycatcher, two Dunnocks, Goldcrest and a handful of Redwings and Song Thrush. It was a great day to be out, with that real buzz of excitement that new birds coming in brings (especially when the weather is pleasant and sunny, so you get a chance to really appreciate the birds).
Redwings arrived in good numbers, always a good sign when searching for rarities.
The highlights from the Log show what a good day it has been with: Citrine Wagtail (the lingering bird at Barkland), Richard’s Pipit (found in the afternoon at Field), 3 Little Buntings (one at Skadan still with new birds at Hjukni and the Obs), 10 Yellow-browed Warblers, Hawfinch (briefly at Chalet), the lingering Melodious Warbler and Rose-coloured Starling, 496 Redwing, Fieldfare, 39 Song Thrush, 3 Ring Ouzel, 2 Redstart, 10 Whinchat, 22 Blackcap, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, Yellow Wagtail, Short-eared Owl, 2 Jack Snipe, 16 Chaffinch, 28 Brambling, 12 Mealy Redpoll, 4 Crossbill and 31 Lapland Bunting. ‘Most underappreciated bird of the day’ had to be the Little Bunting found by Marilyn at the Obs and then trapped by Jason. Normally this would have resulted in a full ringing room, but the call from Will announcing his find saw everyone dashing straight out instead!

Earlier, Carrie and myself had taken the children of Fair Isle Primary and the visiting pupils from the Skerries on a trap round and showed them some of the work of the Obs. They’re such an enthusiastic and well behaved bunch of kids that it’s always a pleasure to work with them and today was no exception – they all seemed to enjoy it too!

All of the fun of today followed on from a fantastic ‘Fair Isle Thursday’ in the Obs last night, with a good atmosphere as staff, islanders and visitors enjoyed live music by island musicians and a superb show of short videos by Liz from Haa. I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, Fair Isle really is a great place to live (and not just because of the wonderful cake and rendition of 'happy birthday' I got)!
A good night - live music and a pint (in my birthday present pint glass that survived being posted to Fair Isle!).
Grace enjoys birthdays whether they're hers or not. She helped me to open my cards and presents (and tried on my new t-shirt!), quickly got stuck into the cake and had a dance to the music of Fridarey.

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