Tuesday, 17 April 2012

There's birds in them thar winds.

After a month so far of mostly strong Northerly winds, today saw gale force easterlies instead. Conditions were hard enough for birding to start with and when the rain came in heavily, it became virtually impossible. Dave Wheeler, Fair Isle’s resident weather man, reported that the windchill was making the four degree temperature feel like minus eight, and we believed him.
We weren’t birdless though: despite the conditions Jason turned up a Firecrest at the Lower Station (the abandoned buildings by the mast). This gem of a bird was only the 6th record for Fair Isle, although this is the third in the last six years. It seemed to be really struggling with the appalling weather and was only seen briefly before finding shelter (or blowing away). Hopefully it may wander down to the traps or the Obs garden in the next few days so the rest of us get a chance to enjoy it.
The traps had a quiet, but still impressive morning, the only birds caught were a Long-eared Owl and a smart adult male Black Redstart. A few other migrants that were found (or identified before being carried away by the wind) included Brambling, 2 Woodcock, a Scandinavian Rock Pipit, Linnet, 12 Song Thrush (the only thrush species to show an increase today) and 3 Sparrowhawks. The Green-winged Teal was also still in residence on Da Water.
I didn’t take my camera with me today, so here’s a picture of yesterday’s Hawfinch (which didn’t show up on census today).
The Obs is starting to fill up, although it’s still a couple of weeks until we welcome our first guests. Tracey has arrived for another year as Domestic Assistant and Jess and Jane made it in during yesterday’s weather window to carry on with the ongoing Starling research work. Until we’re at full strength though we take all the help we can get, so Grace has been put to work with the hoover!

1 comment:

  1. I hate reading about the firecrest! I needed that one!


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