An dawn start today for a Tystie and Fair Isle Wren survey, but things didn’t go entirely to plan. The day began well when a female Sparrowhawk was ringed in the Plantation, but shortly afterwards a combination of falling in the Field ditch and a snow shower made me regret the decision to leave my jacket in the ringing hut. Still, despite the cool weather, the wind had eased for the first time in days, a few birds were around and in the end an enjoyable time was had by all!
|Tysties really are great little birds, displaying groups were putting on good performances today, although the total was down on the previous count (probably due to the less than perfect survey conditions).|
Numbers of migrants around the island were still fairly low, but at least there were some, a definite improvement following days of strong northerlies. Finch passage was led by an impressive Hawfinch that arrived yesterday and continued to show well today, with 18 Siskin, 2 Chaffinch, a Linnet (trapped at the Obs), and an increase in Twite (to 58) also noted.
|Given the lack of tall trees to hide in the tops of, Hawfinches on Fair Isle tend to be easier to see than elsewhere.|
The selection of other migrants today included 5 Lapland and a Snow Bunting, 3 Willow Warblers, 12 Chiffchaff, 13 Wheatear, two Dunnock, five Woodpigeon and 223 Meadow Pipits, with two White Wagtails yesterday.
|Most Lapland Bunting sightings are birds in flight, but this smart male was quite cooperative at Da Water.|
|All of the regular seabirds are now around the colonies, with Puffins ashore in numbers this morning. These Shags are part of a sadly dwindling population of this species on Fair Isle.|
|Bonxie numbers reached 60 last week and birds are settling back into territories, so the next counts will be the breeding surveys that start next month.|
|The Green-winged Teal is usually loosely in the company of Teal, although with todays count of eight being the highest Teal count of the year so far, it's not always easy to form a flock.|
|Cormorant is a scarce, but regular, visitor to Fair Isle. The pattern of the bare facial skin on this bird seems to safely identify it as the commonest British subspecies 'carbo'.|