Sunday, 1 April 2012

Teal or No Teal

The balmy conditions have long gone as NW winds, low cloud and showers have brought weather more expected for this time of year to Fair Isle. After the previous mini-rush of migrants, things have slowed down a bit, although a smart male Ring Ouzel was at the mast on Friday.
Census was slightly delayed this morning as we waited for the snow to pass (only a flurry of a wintry shower really, but still not very pleasant) and was interrupted after only an hour or so by a call from Jason to say he'd found a drake Green-winged Teal on Da Water. Jason's been on good form so far this season and, impressively, this was the second Green-winged Teal he's found this winter following one on Holy Island before he got back here. This was only the second record of this American duck for Fair Isle following a male at the same place in 2009.
Despite running back from Wirvie to the Obs and jumping straight in the people carrier, the bird had gone when I got to Da Water, so it was back in the vehicle for a check round the other likely sites ...
Teal often head to the rocky shore around South Light, but searching there produced no sign of them, although this blue Fulmar was seen heading east.
Four Common Scoter also passed South Light, although these are probably lingering birds.
Will turned up a couple of White-fronted Geese at Upper Leogh, but there were no Teal here, at Utra or Meadow Burn.
Thankfully after a couple of hours helping weed and tidy up Vaila's Trees in the afternoon, a quick check of Da Water produced the Green-winged Teal with four 'regular' Teal, although it didn't hang around for long. 
Although I had brief views of it on the water, Susannah (who arrived from the Obs with my camera) only managed to see the Green-winged Teal as it flew away. It's one of these (honest) but would you count it on your Fair Isle list on these views?!
Other birds were generally thin on the ground today, with the highlights from the slim pickings being a 2nd-winter Iceland Gull and a Blackcap.


  1. Yay Jason!! :D Keep up the good work!

  2. Depends if you need to write a description for it - but hey you know me would tick it in a heart beat!

  3. Thanks for the comments.
    Sarah - I hope all the wardens have a fan club for when they find rare birds!
    Dom (et al) - great to hear from you, I hope you're getting settled out there and none of the birds are description species!


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