‘I can feel something good coming’, Ciaran Hatsell. 16th June 2014 11.45am.
‘I don’t think we’ll get to count the terns, there’s going to be something good found first’, Richard Cope. 16th June 2014 2.10pm.
My Assistant Wardens were certainly brimming with confidence that, despite a couple of days of north-westerly winds, we were due a good bird. Still, with seabird monitoring work dominating the daily routine, our chances of finding something seemed diminished.
Indeed, on a distinctly un-unlucky Friday 13th it was down to Rob to find the goodies, when (having finished his RSPB seabird tracking work for the day) a wander down the island to check the areas that the Wardening team hadn’t got to produced a Blyth’s Reed Warbler and cracking male Western Subalpine Warbler virtually side-by-side at Schoolton!
|The Blyth's Reed could be very skulky, but would occasionally show well (although this is the closest I got to a shot showing all of the bird at once).|
|The Western Subalpine Warbler on the other hand was more of a show off! (photo: Richard Cope)|
|Not only did Richard enjoy views down to a few metres, but the bird approached him as he moved through the grass, apparently on the look out for insects he may have disturbed! (photo: Richard Cope)|
Back to today though and, as we all headed out to Buness to check on the progress of the Arctic Tern colony after lunch, it was Richard’s guess for the ‘how many nests will there be’ sweepstake that was to prove the most prescient…No sooner had we spread out to begin our first sweep, than an unfamiliar honking call caused me to look up...
|'The moment' captured by Ciaran on his phone. (photo: Ciaran Hatsell)|
|A very distinctive bird, but not one that was widely predicted to turn up on Fair Isle.|
|Generally, the views were excellent, often just a few metres above our heads, when it would often call as well. (photo: Ciaran Hatsell)|
|It's the first Bridled Tern for Fair Isle (and Shetland) and is presumed to be the bird that roamed the North Sea last summer.|
All the other recent sightings are at: http://www.fairislebirdobs.co.uk/latest_sightings.html and, although things had otherwise been a bit quiet of late, a trickle of Marsh Warblers has seen the ringing total for the spring rise to six, whilst the Gadwall remains and a Common Rosefinch (11th) and at least 3 Red-backed Shrikes have all also arrived.
What next? Who knows... Fair Isle has never exactly been predictable, but this year is proving pretty amazing so far and there's still a while to go yet!