What a great day: sunshine, calm weather and full census (and Tystie survey this morning) with a few birds to boot. Fair Isle is always a pleasure, but days like this are especially wonderful. This is just a quick round up as it’s been a long day, starting with 182 Black Guillemots counted on the survey plot (everything between North Light and South Light down the east coast), a higher total than last year.
The light SW winds encouraged some movement and no fewer than seven species were added to the year list (the biggest leap for the year list since January 1st!). These included: arriving summer migrants (Bonxie, Wheatear and a female Blackcap that beats the previous earliest Fair Isle record by a day); far-northern species heading back to their breeding grounds (two Mealy Redpolls and a Lapland Bunting) and a couple of species that have probably been added to just about every other year-list in the country some time ago (Collared Dove and Tufted Duck). Yesterday saw our first Lesser Black-backed Gull of the year and four Black Redstarts (not a year tick, but nice birds none the less)
Other migrants today included a male White Wagtail at Golden Water, nine Chiffchaffs, 55 Redwing and 13 Goldcrest, quite a nice little haul for this time of the year. Other birds to enjoy included the two Tundra Bean Geese, a first-winter Glaucous Gull, four Common Scoter and lots of Puffins (the first large numbers of this popular seabird this year).
The Good Shepherd crew saw a Minke Whale just off North Light on a good day for watching for cetaceans. This wasn’t as impressive as the three large rorquals seen on 21st February from the Good Shepherd, thought by the crew to be most likely Sei Whales. Rather gallingly, these were seen on the return crossing after I’d taken the GS off Fair Isle that morning!