Wednesday 27 July 2011


Another week, another load of things to report. It’s perhaps best if I break it up into snippets:

The last week has seen us continue the Puffin work, with just a hint that maybe things aren’t quite so bad for them as some of the other species, as there are still quite a few chicks surviving in the burrows. It’ll be tough for them though as the food that the adults are bringing in is mostly very small stuff, but with any luck will get some fledging success.

Some of the typical food being brought in at the moment by Puffins, this one was on Buness (photo by Lars Persen)
We have Bonxie chicks on the wing now, although there are lots of signs of cannibalism in the colonies, so obviously things aren’t going so well for them either. Looking at the prey remains in pellets has been fascinating, especially discovering that garfish have bright blue/green bones!
Storm Petrels are being caught in reasonable numbers (last night saw 60+) and another Leach’s found itself in the nets this week.

Other birds:
As you would expect, generally quiet, although a few little highlights including a couple of Sooty Shearwaters and a Fieldfare (on Thursday), so autumn must be here. There are a few commoner waders appearing, an occasional Swift and we have had a few Cuckoo records probably relating to at least two juveniles, one of which sadly was found dead having apparently starved.

This young Cuckoo was in the Obs garden and may have been the bird picked up exhausted at Quoy.
Most of the bird-related conversation is centred around what could turn up in the next few weeks though, looking back at old Annual Reports etc certainly whets the appetite. I’ll post some more details soon, but we do still have a few spaces for guests in the autumn. Although the ‘classic’ Fair Isle late September/early October period is looking pretty much fully booked, you could still visit in Syke’s Warbler season (late August) or from about the 18th October (I might put a list up this week of the birds that have been found on Fair Isle in the last couple of weeks of that rather special month…).

What else?:
Well, in all honesty, it’s been so busy that there is too much to write about. A few highlights:
Susannah and Grace! They made it back on Monday and I’m sure they won’t mind me saying that all my hard work tidying the house while they were gone was undone in about ten minutes!
Tall Ships!
Finding an alarm clock in the loft whilst looking for my old phone to use as an alarm (see last blog entry).
Dolphins! (Risso’s and White-sided seen by the Good Shepherd crew, three White-beaked from South Light for me yesterday).
Hello and Goodbye. We are currently being helped by volunteers Teresa, Virginia and Lena but have said goodbye to two of our domestic staff, Chris and Lindsey. Both have been an extremely valuable part of our team as Susannah and I have learnt the ropes at the Obs and Chris’s cooking has received loads of compliments. We wish them both well in their new adventures and hope to see them back as visitors at some time in the future.
I’ll introduce their replacements in the future, but for now, I’ll make that do.

There are much better shots of Tall Ships, but I thought this one added a certain Pirates of the Caribbean element.
Right, did someone say that there are Two-barred Crossbills on the move in Sweden? We'd best get looking...

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