|The Kumlien's Gull in fading light (hence it looking somewhat darker than it actually is in this image).|
Wet and windy weather is thought to be more damaging to the Fair Isle Wren population than cold snaps (their preferred seaweedy habitat rarely freezing anyway), so it will be interesting to see what the result of this year’s breeding survey will be. The first Wren was heard singing in the Havens on 17th, although it’ll be another month or so before territories are properly established and the survey starts.
Also on the breeding bird front, Guillemots have been around in numbers (but have not yet been returning to the cliffs), although small numbers are still being washed up dead. We also got news from the BTO that one of our breeding Puffins (ringed as an adult in 2012) was amongst the casualties of a wreck affecting birds in the Bay of Biscay; more pressure on our already beleaguered seabird populations.
Migration was as slow as would be expected in mid-February, with some passage of Greylags noted (peaking at 142 on 19th), which also saw the 5 Tundra Bean Geese depart from Utra (they were last seen on 16th). Other wildfowl records included a Long-tailed Duck and 3 Red-breasted Mergansers sheltering amongst 75 Eider during stormy conditions on 15th.
|Greylags on the move. The sheep is probably thankful for some peace and quiet.|
|Long-eared Owl. Always a beautiful bird and an especially nice surprise at this time of year.|
So it’s steady away as we prepare for the start of the new season; as ever there is plenty to do but things are progressing nicely. We’ll hopefully have news on the 2014 team by early next week, and maybe news on a few migrants soon as well.
|With a lack of many new birds to report, here's another picture of the Coot (picture by Deryk Shaw).|