A quiet day, despite the easterly winds (although looking at wind charts, it seems like the easterlies have only been coming from about half way across the North Sea, whereas from Wednesday, it seems like they’ll be coming direct from the mainland of Europe, interesting…). A smart male Grey-headed Wagtail was at Easter Lother Water (then Golden Water later) was new in and other new migrants included Black Redstart, Redstart, Swift and Shelduck. Lingering birds included Kumlien’s Gull, Brambling and Lesser Redpoll and breeding bird news included an early brood of fledged Fair Isle Wrens, at Furse.
However, the big talking point of the day was a gull, first seen briefly at Midway during morning census, before disappearing for most of the day, then relocated in the same area in the evening. Basically, a large white-headed gull with mantle colour between Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls and yellow legs, it showed many of the features of Yellow-legged Gull. However, this is an incredibly rare species in Shetland (with just one record) that has never been recorded previously on Fair Isle. The last suspected record on Shetland was eventually thought to possibly be a hybrid between Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gull, so it is an identification that is potentially fraught with difficulties; please do let us know our comments, either below or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
|The Yellow-legged Gull (centre), with Lesser and Great Black-backeds.|
|The mantle colour varied depending upon the angle, but the bird always stood out as distinctive (it's the paler mantled bird in the middle of the image here). The Kumlien's Gull was also present in the same flock.|
|In flight (front bird), showing the underwing.|