Sunday, 2 June 2013

Singing in June.

2nd June
So, it’s flaming June already, the month in which traditionally: spring migration winds down after a last big rare (today’s the 38th anniversary of Britain’s first Hermit Thrush being found on Fair Isle, as well as the 108th anniversary of the first Red-rumped Swallow!), the seabird season properly kicks off and we cock a snook at the working time directive. A selection of lingering birds from May include the Blyth’s Reed Warbler (which was singing from the beach at the bottom of Maver’s Geo this morning), a Marsh Warbler at the Obs (which was also singing this morning), two Red-backed Shrikes, 3 Tree Sparrow and Snow Buntings, of which 11 were scattered around the island yesterday. Amongst the variety of common migrants there were a few new birds in, with Cuckoo (31st), Goldfinch (1st-2nd) and a late flock of 7 Pink-footed Geese (30th-31st). Increases in some of the species that had been present for a while included Short-eared Owl (3 on 1st), Blackbird (5 today) and Woodpigeon (6 on 1st).
Today has also seen a couple of interesting new birds arrive, with a female-type Red-breasted Flycatcher at Stackhoull and a Reed Warbler trapped at the Plantation that showed a few features (generally duller brown plumage and prominent pale tips to some of the tail feathers) associated with the eastern race ‘fuscus’. Two Redwings and a Song Thrush were also new, whilst an Iceland Gull on Meoness was unseasonal
Our second Red-breasted Flycatcher of the spring and a typical late-spring migrant. There are likely to be one or two more treats before the spring finally comes to a halt (and then auutumn isn't too far away...).
The first cruise ship of the year to visit Fair Isle also came in yesterday, with the two days of fog giving way to fabulous sunshine enabling (literally) a boat-load of happy people to enjoy the stunning views from Malcolm’s Head along the west cliffs, along with close-up encounters with Puffins (the first of which emerged from a burrow about a metre behind where I was stood as I was explaining ‘they’re mostly in their burrows at the moment, so we may not see any close up’, somewhat reminiscent of that Kit-kat advert with the Pandas from about 25 years ago!).
More good weather to come, which could encourage a few more drifty things, hopefully including that one big rare to round off a very decent spell of spring birding.

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