Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Raining birds?

After a weekend of meetings (the Director’s were making their annual visit to Fair Isle) and pleasant weather, a fine drizzle this morning has turned into a bout of heavy rain this afternoon, but it could be worth the soaking… Already this morning, there has been a Hawfinch (briefly in the Obs garden) and newly arrived Black Redstart, Crossbill (6), Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff (2) and Blackbird.
Not usually an indicator species, but on Fair Isle Collared Dove is just a visitor, so three in the garden this morning were a sign that there were new birds in.
Following on from a very impressive Crane (our third of the year) and a Short-eared Owl yesterday, it suggests that there is still a reasonable amount on the move, so maybe we’ll have more to report later.
Yesterday's Crane flew north across the length of the island, circled the Obs (where it is photographed here being added to the kitchen window list) then headed south again, when it may have left the island as it hasn't been seen since.
Apart from the migrants, there are various things to report from the weekend. Seabird work continues and, although things are looking better than this time last year, it is still probably not going to be a great season. The seabird spectacle is still impressive with Guillemots bringing back food, Razorbills still in the colonies (some with some quite large chicks), over 100 pairs of Arctic Terns nesting and Arctic Skuas still incubating, all of which are improvements on this time last year. There are also Gannets doing well whilst Puffins are feeding chicks now.
A very interesting record from the last few days concerns a pair of Linnets, which were seen nest building at Schoolton, although they seem to have abandoned any attempt at colonisation for now (but were still around yesterday as they roosted in the Gully). The Schoolton garden also hosted a Marsh Warbler, Reed Warbler, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff over the weekend, although none of them were easy to see in the dense Rosa.
The 2009/10 Annual Reports have arrived at the Obs, once the stamps have arrived we'll be sending them out to Friends of Fair Isle and we'll be annoucing the price soon for everyone else. We'll also shortly have a new website available, which is rather exciting. There are just a few fine tweaks to carry out then it'll be ready to go live - so you've still got time to make any suggestions for things that you would like to see on there (email fibo@btconnect.com with your thoughts).
Visitors enjoying a guided walk to the Puffin colony on Buness last night. Despite the flat calm seas, there were no cetaceans seen, but it's surely only a matter of time (there were two Killer Whales off Sumburgh Head yesterday). July is usually good for whales and dolphins, whilst the Puffins are at their showiest and Storm Petrel ringing starts in earnest, so there's plenty of good stuff to come.


  1. I had an Orca off of Papa Westray last Friday (15th) at about 6.30am, heading North and not seen again. I only saw the one, and I'm told it was probably a male. Possibly headed your way as it's not been seen again here! Sarah

  2. Very nice. There have been Orcas off Sumburgh and Unst in the last couple of days as well, so I'm hopefull we could get a sighting here soon - although I think the one you saw would have got here by now if it was going to come to Fair Isle!


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