Sunday, 7 July 2013

Leg it - it's the Rozzers!

6th July
Well, just the one to be precise, but that'll do. It had been a fairly eventful day for birds already (more on that later) before Will burst into the flat at about half past ten tonight with the call that ‘Graham’s got a Roseate Tern at South Light, I’ll wait for you in the van’ This is a major bird for Shetland (only the 10th ever it would seem) and the just the third for Fair Isle, with the previous records in 1988 and 1996. At the time however, we didn’t know the details, we just knew it was late and there was a very good bird at the opposite end of the island. Sure enough, by the time I’d grabbed my bins and got dressed (I was on my way to bed!), the van was parked at the door, with the engine revving and we were off…
We got there to find a very happy Graham with the bird in the scope – the light was going, the wind was blowing, but there was no mistaking a beautiful Roseate Tern, shining in the gathering gloom. It had been found whilst joining the flock of Arctic Terns hawking for moths over the fields near Utra (when it drew attention to itself with its distinctive call) before being refound in a roost of 120 or Arctic Terns on the rocks at South Light. It remained until near dusk when it was lost from view during a dread of the flock, but by that time the light was poor enough that it was presumably just tucked away in the flock somewhere.
Sadly there were no photos taken of the Roseate Tern. These are some of 40 or so Arctic Terns that were catching moths (mostly Map-winged Swifts it appeared) yesterday in the same area towards dusk.
It wasn’t the only good bird on the island today, with a lovely male ‘western’ Subalpine Warbler (I’m told it’s lovely, I’ve managed to miss it every time I’ve looked) that had been found at the Haa yesterday still present. That’s five Subalpine Warblers this year now and it has kept the spring migration going longer than we expected; it was further extended with a Common Rosefinch found at Schoolton today. A few hirundines included at least two Sand Martins, a couple of Swallows and at least four House Martins, which included a pair nest building on cliffs on Meoness, an exciting development as they last bred on Fair Isle in 1986).
The Common Rosefinch tries to disguise itself amongst the local House Sparrows, but manages to stand out by being plainer!
After seemingly stalling in the last week, the Crossbill invasion picked up pace again today, with around 20 scattered around the island – Two-barred in the next few days perhaps…? There were still 2 Marsh and one Reed Warbler present today, along with several of the other birds that seem set to linger in the summer.
A Grey Heron in the Gully was the first of the autumn, yesterday saw the first Green Sandpiper of the autumn as well, with other new birds including Short-eared Owl, Red-breasted Merganser and a third Woodpigeon.
Fair Isle Wrens are amongst the birds to have obvious fledged youngsters now, with this one frequenting the Obs garden.
There’s a renewed sense of  the chance of more good birds in the next few days, so tomorrow will see the island being scoured and maybe something else being found. The way this spring is going, who knows what it might be…

1 comment:

  1. A Tern for the worse... and a Subalpine in my garden. congrats! but I'm still glad to be in Minnesota on vacation. Where is the 2-barred Crossbill? good luck with more birds, cheers!


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