Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Feel the Sun.

2nd April

Always one of the first jobs of the season - trap repairs! Thankfully they have stood up pretty well to the winter weather, so we're getting the chance to get a few 'pre-emptive' repairs in. Notice the new box, one of a set kindly supplied by Larry Dalziel - very many thanks Larry.
The glorious sunny weather continues, the temperature is hotting up (well, warming a bit – there are still a few large patches of snow on the hills) and there are new birds coming through as the start of the season continues to gather pace; it surely won’t be long until the first ‘predictable’ bird is found!

Fair Isle Wrens are singing at several places on the island now. This bird in the South Haven will probably be the most appreciated this year as various visitors add this rare endemic to their lists!
Additions to the year list have taken the form of Pied Wagtail (first seen on 27th, with only a couple since then), Sanderling (30th), Collared Dove (31st), Bonxie (a sure sign of spring on Fair Isle, with the first seen on 31st), Cormorant (four on 1st April), Linnet (1st April), Shelduck (2nd) and a northward bound Kestrel (2nd). The latter fits in with a good run of raptors, with a lingering pair of Peregrines (seen today pursuing the last remaining Woodpigeon from the mid-March arrival!), Merlin, Sparrowhawk (1st-2nd) and Hen Harriers (presumably the same male on 29th and a new ringtail from 31st March to 2nd April) all gracing the island.
The male Hen Harrier flew past the kitchen window, but was only marginally more photographable than during its previous appearance!
Other signs of migration included: a small build up of commoner waders; an increase in Skylarks and Meadow Pipits (the latter peaking at 13 on 1st); up to two Rooks at the end of March; Iceland Gull (28th); small numbers of Robins (a maximum of three, although there was some turnover of birds); a couple of Chaffinch and Snow Bunting; and single Reed Bunting and Water Rail (one near Stackhoull on 1st possibly being a migrant).
It's not always easy to detect migrant Rock Pipits, but this colour-ringed bird has definitely travelled some distance to be here, having wintered at Rosehearty again (where it also spent the 2011/12 winter before returning north to breed on Fair Isle in 2012).
After one in February, the first Puffins of the spring were seen, with a single on 31st followed by 28 the next day; a slow start to the season but they’ll hopefully come piling back soon. Unlike their colourful cousins, Tysties stick with us all year and the first count of the year of the monitoring plot (the east coast between the lighthouses) produced 174 breeding-plumaged adults, fairly similar to the last few years. Another hardy ‘resident’ is the Great Tit, which has entered its seventh month on the island, although presumably it will move on soon as any hopes it has of breeding will be somewhat limited by the lack of trees and other Great Tits.
Bom, bom, bom, ayee-ah. The chorus of frogs singing from the Obs wader scrape has been quite impressive in recent days.

1 comment:

  1. Hi David, I would be wary with those new catching boxes - the glass should be at an angle (say 30 or 40 degrees) to lessen the impact. I would avoid these boxes or change them, Just a bit of advice. Hope alls well with you. cheers, Paul


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