Thursday, 16 May 2013

Unfeigned Melody

16th May
Well, today certainly lived up to the expectation of the early morning trap round (see the previous blog post), with a great selection of birds including the peak counts so far this year for several species.
The best bird was a Melodious Warbler found in the afternoon at Chalet, the 18th for Fair Isle. Other highlights included the first Bluethroat of the year (a female at the School), the Ortolan (still at South Harbour), 5 Grey-headed Wagtails, Hawfinch (a female still at the Haa), Red-backed Shrike (male still at Boini Mire), Waxwing (looking rather out of place feeding on the grass at the base of Malcolm’s Head), Osprey, Long-eared Owl (at the Chalet), Yellowhammer and Swift (the first since the very early bird in April).
The Melodious Warbler was the first May record for Fair Isle (the earliest of the five previous spring records was 6th June) and the earliest for Shetland. 

The 5 Grey-headed Wagtails seen today were all smart males.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the day though was the first really decent fall, which wasn’t huge, but still brought the peak counts of the year for several species including 45 Tree Pipit, 36 Willow Warbler, 25 Garden Warbler, 13 Whitethroat, 8 Sedge Warbler, 11 Spotted Flycatcher, 13 Redstart and 19 Pied Flycatcher with other counts including 10 Blackcap, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Whinchat and 13 Whimbrel.
Combined with the sunshine and generally pleasant conditions and it was a rather good day all in all. Although more northerly winds are set to arrive soon, they are hopefully going to contain enough of an easterly element to bring us even more birds, Red-throated Pipit is my prediction.

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