A beautiful sunny day with a light easterly wind was a good way to start Mothering Sunday and, after Saturday’s build up of birds (no new species for the year, but increased counts included 80 Robin, 34 Dunnock and 19 Chiffchaff), hopes were high for more.
|The arrival of Robins has been widespread across the island. This one on Ward Hill surveys Fair Isle, with Sheep Rock looming in the background.|
|Nice one Ciaran. This is the view that greeted our new AW on his first solo SE census (photo Ciaran Hatsell).|
|The 10th Fair Isle Red-flanked Bluetail, but the first spring record. A quick scan of records suggests that this may be the earliest British record, apart from the wintering bird this year of course (photo Deryk Shaw).|
|After records in 1981, 1984, 1993, 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2010 (3), it appears that the Tarsiger is now becoming a more regular visitor, but one that hasn't lost any of its appeal (photo Deryk Shaw).|
Although the Bluetail was the undoubted highlight, the supporting cast made for a fantastic day’s birding. A Hawfinch at Schoolton late in the day was also good, whilst other additions to the year list were Greenfinch (a female trapped in the Plantation), Short-eared Owl (over Burkle), Carrion Crow (on Lerness) and Ring Ouzel (a male at North Naaversgill).The Robin count increased to an impressive 145, with the geos and crofts also being littered with Dunnocks (39), Chiffchaff (34), Song Thrush (30), Blackbird (15) and also decent counts of Mistle Thrush (14), Wheatear (20), Woodpigeon (17) and Snipe (61).
|Chiffchaff on the Hill Dyke. It appeared that there may have been more migrants arriving later in the day, so tomorrow could be another interesting day.|
|A distant male Black Redstart near Gunnawark.|
|Having numbers of common migrants around has, combined with the weather, really set the spirits at a high level for the start of the season and at times it was hard to remember that we're still in March!|