It’s been a very mixed bag of weather in the last few days: one day of howling SE gales and prolonged heavy rain; one calm day with rain and fog; one calm, mild and pleasant day; one day of freshening SW winds and occasional showers and then finally, a calm day with a fairly bright start but heavy rain in the afternoon.
The south-easterlies had largely blown their course and brought us very little new, although the calmer conditions following the storm saw the year’s first Great Grey Shrike found on Dronger on 5th, with the autumn’s first Moorhen and Long-eared Owl also discovered around the island, a Richard’s Pipit (at Bull’s Park), a Redstart and increased counts of Robin (31) and Song Thrush (72).
Most of the birds remained to 6th, when things took a surprising up-turn, with Fair Isle’s first RED-EYED VIREO found on the cliffs of Easter Lother.
Lanceolated Warbler in the Wirvie Burn on his way back from the Vireo twitch!
Barred Warbler in the Gully the only real new bird of note. Other migrants in recent days included a Grasshopper Warbler and Reed Warbler (both discovered on 4th and a useful reminder that we get common migrants on Fair Isle as well!), 2 Ring Ouzel (4th), Mistle Thrush (6th), 6 Crossbill (4th) and a scattering of common migrants, Goldcrests, thrushes, redpolls (with both Lesser and Common recorded), Water Rail (6th), up to 2 Short-eared Owls, up to 5 Jack Snipe and up to 16 Reed Bunting.
Lingering birds included the Dotterel at Barkland (to 7th), Hen Harrier, Stonechat, up to 37 Snow and 5 Lapland Buntings, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, whilst Yellow-browed Warbler numbers declined to 4 on 4th but increased to 6 on 5th and 10 on 6th as an apparent small, fresh wave of arrivals appeared.
|A Yellow-browed Warbler on the cliffs of Dronger.|
|The Wigeon flock has spent most of its time on Meoness.|
There’s only 3 weeks left of the season and, whilst things might be slow in the next couple of westerly-based wind days (although redpolls, Lapland Buntings, geese, swans and maybe even another American bird could be on the cards), an easterly airflow forecast from the weekend looks distinctly more promising. We’re fully booked until the 17th October, but still have a few rooms left at our reduced rate after that if you want to take a punt on ‘Rubythroat Wednesday’ (ok, it would sound better if it was Rubythroat Tuesday, but that’s just the way the calendar crumbles), the 23rd October (when 2 Rubythroats and a Rufous-tailed Robin have been found on Fair Isle in the last decade).
Finally, FIBO has been asked to pass on thanks to the birders who used the Stackhoull charity tea stand and raised £56 through last week for the Goodwill Foundation. Many thanks for Robert and Fiona as well for providing us with shelter down the island and a welcome brew.