After the Black-throated Thrush on 6th (which arrived with just 61 Redwing and cleared out along with most of its host flock overnight), things quietened down for a few days as the westerly winds finally brought the expected lack of birds – not that we were complaining after the run that we had enjoyed (and the Lanceolated Warbler that lingered in the Field Ditch until 10th also provide popular with visitors).
However, the quiet spell didn’t last long, as the beginning of a forecasted run of easterlies has already started bringing in birds. A Yellow-browed Warbler in calm conditions on 9th was the start, although the best new birds of the 10th were two Greenfinch. As the easterlies finally picked up on 11th, the floodgates started creaking open, with morning census producing an arrival of Redwings but not much else. The afternoon saw a slight drop in the winds and also more birds in. Although the island wasn’t hooching with stuff, the highlights were impressive: Blyth’s Reed Warbler (Walli Burn), two Olive Backed Pipits (Vaila’s Trees and Leogh), Corncrake (Quoy), Great Grey Shrike (Pund), Red-breasted Flycatcher (Obs) and Yellow-browed Warblers (Skinners Glig). The back-up was provided by 925 Redwing, 38 Brambling, 5 Siskin, 3 Chiffchaff and 2 Short-eared Owls.
As the winds picked up on 12th birding became trickier, with gusts of 50mph recorded. Although an Olive-backed Pipit and the Great Grey Shrike were both still present, other highlights were provided by the spectacle of the large number of some common migrants that had arrived. The influx was largely of thrushes with 2744 Redwing, 124 Blackbird, 86 Song Thrush, 18 Fieldfare, 6 Ring Ouzel and a Mistle Thrush recorded on census. There were also 3 Yellow-browed Warblers, 53 Goldcrest, 10 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Redstart, Black Redstart, Whinchat, 4 Robin, 2 Dunnock, 3 Tree Pipit, 90 Skylark, Swallow, 2 Woodpigeon, 14 Brambling, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Siskin, 2 Reed Bunting, 5 Woodcock (the first of the month), 8 Jack Snipe, 35 Snipe and 4 Sparrowhawk.
So, a good couple of days birding and surely with the forecast the way it is, there’ll be more to come. There’s no transport over the weekend, so whatever turns up will only be enjoyed by those who are already on the island, but we do have room from Monday (at £45 per night, full board) if anyone out there wants to see if Fair Isle manages a last hurrah in what has already been a fairly epic autumn.