Friday, 16 December 2011

Just another winter's day.

 A couple of Whooper Swans are lingering on the island, although these large birds seem to struggle to find food on the island and one has already been found dead. Other wildfowl that have been found in the last couple of days that have presumably succumbed to the weather include a Long-tailed Duck, Scaup and a couple of Eiders. Keep reading though folks, it's not all doom and gloom.

Redwings and Blackbirds are still scattered around the island in reasonable numbers and a couple of Fieldfares and Song Thrush were also seen today. Three Lapwings at Barkland were presumably on the run from cold weather elsewhere. One bird that isn't fleeing the weather is the Long-eared Owl that is still in the Obs garden.

A typical mixed bag of winter weather has seen some relatively pleasant patches between cold, wintry showers, although things have been generally calm in comparison to last week’s big blows.

A common enough bird on Fair Isle, but the small gruop of Purple Sandpipers that can be seen on the grass from the kitchen window are still quite a novelty - I haven't quite got used to these sort of species being 'gadren birds' yet!
It’s been generally the time for getting on with the indoor jobs and end of year work, although there have been a few birds to enjoy. The goose numbers seem to have dwindled a bit today, with no Bean Geese at all noted (although they may well just be hiding somewhere), although there were still 25 White-fronts and a Barnacle Goose.
This smart Barnacle Goose has been lingering near Upper Stoneybrek for a few days.

The White-fronts are mostly European, although the darker bird facing right with the more triangular, orange bill is one of the Greenland subspecies.
Having seen a single Greylag head south over Buness this morning, another single went north there this afternoon (they generally aren’t found in this part of the island, so there’s a chance that birds here are actually on the move somewhere), then a skein of ten flew north out to sea on a seawatch this afternoon. Whether they were newly arrived birds from the east, heading north from elsewhere in the UK, or Fair Isle birds departing for Shetland main can only be guessed at.

Whether the suggestion of goose movement today means the Tundra Beans have actually left remains to be seen, up to 14 have been showing nicely during the week, usually in the Kennaby area. A small group of Pink-feet (below) have also been seen alongside them, providing a nice comparison and keeping goose fans happy!

Also on the seawatch, there was a Little Auk (with another in North Haven later where the Great Northern Diver was again seen), two ‘Blue’ Fulmars amongst thousands of regular ones and 60+ Guillemots.
This Little Auk gave incredible views, although it swam off strongly after a few minutes, so was presumably just having a rest rather than being ill.
 An Iceland Gull was in the North Haven briefly yesterday and there must be a chance of more white-wingers at the end of the week, as strong NW winds are forecast, maybe that dead seal in the South Haven will come up trumps yet…

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