Saturday, 15 September 2012

9th - 14th September Update - westerly winds with a few surprises.

First the good news - the emails are up and running again. If you've sent anything in recent days to and haven't had a reply, please resend it as it might not have made it through.

The bad news is that the hoped for easterlies haven't materialised, nor is there any sign that they are coming anytime soon. That said, previous years when the earlier parts of September have been dominated by westerly winds, the birds just seem to stack up and come in en-masse later on.
Wheatears increased again from the 8th, with over 80 seen. Many of the trapped birds had measurements fitting leucorhoa, showing they have arrived here from Greenland.
This is Fair Isle though so, whatever the weather, good birds can turn up. It was still a surprise to find a River Warbler in the nets at the Obs on 11th though. The second this year for Fair Isle and the 16th record for the island (of a British total of around 41 records). Thanks to the visiting ringers who had the nets open, without whom this bird probably wouldn’t have been found.
River Warbler (photo Jason Moss), a surprise pre-breakfast find on a day dominated by westerly winds.
A Marsh Warbler (12th) and Corncrake (10th) must also have battled against the wind to get here as well. Amongst the more regular scarcities, there were up to four Common Rosefinches (9th) and at least two Barred Warblers (although there unbroken record of daily appearances from 14th August was ended with two blank days on 12th – 13th).

Marsh Warbler (photo Ed Tooth).
 Birds that had taken advantage of the westerly winds to make it to Fair Isle included seven large, dark Common Redpolls (three of which when trapped had measurements that suggested rostrata; ‘Greenland’ Redpoll), smaller numbers of Pink-footed Geese and Lapland Buntings (which had risen to 11 by 14th). Snow Buntings also increased, with the first on 11th rising to 15 three days later. The first Jack Snipe of the autumn showed very well on the Obs (12th) and the Buff-breasted Sandpiper was last seen on 10th.
Lapland Bunting on Buness, presumably an arrival from the North-west.
An impressive addition to the year-list was an adult Pomarine Skua seen from the Good Shepherd (10th), a slightly less glamorous addition was the Scaup found dead in Hesti Geo.
It looks like there'll be a few more days of westerlies yet, but another surprise or two like the River Warbler could still be out there somewhere waiting to be found...

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