Sunday, 2 September 2012

Autumn advances...

Sorry for the lack of updates – the time is flying by and I hadn’t realised I’d gone so long without keeping you up to date. You may have noticed though that sightings are going up again at as part of the revamped FIBO website, there are still a few little bits need sorting out, but I hope you enjoy it and I’d welcome any feedback.

Anyway, back to the birds… the easterlies of the 27th hadn’t really delivered much, with two lingering Barred Warblers and a new Fieldfare the only migrants of note on 28th. The strong south-west winds did deliver some seawatching, with a Sooty Shearwater, 9 Manx Shearwaters, a ‘Grey’ Fulmar and 14 Arctic Skuas seen.
A calm morning on 29th didn’t seem set to bring much either, but this is Fair Isle, and so it perhaps shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise to find the month’s 3rd Arctic Warbler in the Gully trap! The Arctic Warbler went on to linger until at least 1st September (and was probably seen at dusk on 2nd as well). A few other new migrants were noted on 29th as well, with Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Reed Warblers, Black Redstart, 4 Pied Flycatchers, Kestrel and Cormorant amongst the new migrants, Meadow Pipits increased to 335, Alba Wagtails to over 100 and lingering birds included a Common Rosefinch and 2 Barred Warblers.
Arctic Warbler, photo by Will Miles
The end of August saw just a few more birds arrive, with a small number of common wildfowl and waders and a new Fieldfare (joining the lingering bird) on 30th, whilst the 31st saw light south-easterlies that brought Sparrowhawk, Woodpigeon, a Reed Warbler, Siskin and Crossbill along with the two lingering Barred Warblers.
September always brings a feeling of excitement and, although the weather hasn’t been great for migration so far, the 1st saw an arrival of new birds including Common Rosefinch (at North Light), 4 Siskin, Dunnock, Whitethroat, Green Sandpiper and Swift, whilst lingering birds included 2 Barred Warblers, Crossbill, Sparrowhawk and 2 Merlin (and the Arctic Warbler of course). A steady trickle of birds in the traps on 2nd mostly comprised Meadow Pipits, Twite and White Wagtail, but also included the Crossbill and two Common Rosefinch (with that trap round being well appreciated by our guests!), though there were not many other signs of new migrants, with Barred Warbler, Reed Warbler, 2 Linnet, Common Tern, Woodpigeon, Fieldfare and 2 Ruff amongst the day’s other most notable sightings.
So with the wind now set to be in the west for a few days what will turn up? Lapland Buntings usually arrive around now, an American wader might be a possibility, it’s perhaps not too early for a Buff-bellied Pipit or why not something outrageous (Hooded Warbler has turned up in Scotland in early September before…). Of course, on Fair Isle, there’s rarely a year goes by without something special turning up in unexpected conditions, so who knows what we could be reporting in the next few days.

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