|The view from the boat on the evening of the 31st. It's not very often the Atlantic is this calm. Photo: Ciaran Hatsell|
|The Good Shepherd heading to Shetland on 31st on one of those wonderful mornings where the sky and sea merge and Fair Isle feels like it's floating separately from the rest of the world.|
|Gannets and a Maalie (Fulmar) following the boat off Dronger. Photo: Ciaran Hatsell|
|The boat work is always one of the highlights of the year, with the chance to see some areas and views of Fair Isle that very few people are privileged to enjoy. Photo: Ciaran Hatsell|
Other notable migrants included just our second Long-eared Owl of the year (1st), Short-eared Owl (30th-31st), Cuckoo (31st), Blue-headed Wagtail (30th), White Wagtail (4 on 30th) and Tree Sparrow (28th-29th and 1st).
|The White Wagtail total included a male which has been holding territory (he's been recorded singing, as he is in this photo) throughout most of May.|
Amongst the commoner species there were small numbers of most of the regular warblers, with some turnover indicated by ringing. The ringing included 3 Chiffchaffs, which were trapped on the hectic day of 31st and took the total ringed so far this year to 75 – a new annual record total for Fair Isle (and completed before the end of May no less). Interestingly, eight of the nine previous highest totals have come since 2000, possibly an indication of a change in status (although perhaps the increase in cover in the garden has allowed higher numbers to be mist-netted - we’ve not had time to examine the various hypothesis yet). Spotted Flycatchers were present throughout, peaking with at least 13 on 29th, there were up to 2 Black Redstart, 2 Redstart (29th), Whinchat (29th and 1st), 2 Pied Flycatcher, Brambling (31st-1st), a new Robin (29th – along with the lingering bird still at the Obs), occasional Tree Pipit and flava wagtail, peaks of 15 Woodpigeon and 9 Collared Dove, Snow Bunting (1st June), up to 10 Mealy and 1 Lesser Redpoll and light hirundine passage on 1st that produced 19 Swallow and 7 House Martin.At sea there were both Red-throated and Great Northern Diver on 31st and a couple of Porpoise sightings, whilst some light wildfowl passage included our second Canada Goose of the year (which was one of the first birds seen by the disembarking cruiseship passengers, who weren’t as impressed as the wardening team!) and 4 Shelduck (29th), with a Pink-footed Goose remaining to 1st amongst the tardy returners north.
Lingering goodies included the Caspian Stonechat (until 31st, although the 1st was the first blank day since its arrival – has it finally gone?...), Collared Flycatcher (which relocated to Guidicum on 29th), Short-toed Lark (30th) and the, now rather faded, Kumlien’s Gull (until 1st).
Finally, some breeding news, where Kittiwakes and Arctic Skuas are the latest species to be confirmed as being on eggs, Great Black-backed Gulls, Hooded Crow, Snipe and Ringed Plover chicks have been seen and Starlings and House Sparrow have fledged, with Lapwings hopefully not far behind.
|The Greenholm Great Black-backed Gull chicks usually grow fat on a Puffin-heavy diet.|