Saturday 3 September 2011

An Island Update.

OK, bird stuff first: the Eastern Olivaceous Warbler and Great Snipe remained this morning and the Common Rosefinches had increased to 15 (including a group of 12), comfortably the largest autumn flock recorded on Fair Isle (and possibly the UK) as far as I know. Jason had flight only views of a calling Pectoral Sandpiper on Meoness. Pec Sand is one of my favourite birds, so hopefully it’ll turn up tomorrow.
No picture of the Pectoral Sandpiper I'm afraid, but this Curlew Sand at the North Light a few days ago showed how confiding juvenile waders can be - hopefully the Pec will turn out to be the same the tomorrow...
Will had four Killer Whales distantly from North Light on Thursday, the best cetaceans I've managed recently was a group of Porpoise off Buness.
A final bit of bird news on what was generally a quiet day (for new birds at least) is that Jason managed to catch ‘Dennis’ the Whooper Swan on Meoness whilst looking for the Pec Sand this evening, so he is now sporting a fine new leg ring after a quick trip to the Obs.

How to weigh a Whooper Swan. Sadly, I didn't manage to hide our somewhat 'stained' bathroom scales before Susannah found out what I'd been using them for!

Have you seen this man? The public are advised not to approach him as he smells a bit of swan poo.
A couple of bits of news from the island. The hand-knitted Fisherman’s kep that was being auctioned to raise funds for the Fair Isle museum extension sold for £300, fantastic stuff. I’ll try to remember to let you know when the next one comes up for auction as I think there are still a couple left. Another traditional Fair Isle activity has seen many of the lambs from the crofts head off to the sales this week. It was a long day for the Good Shepherd crew who ended up doing back-to-back runs to Grutness to get them all away, but thankfully the sea was fairly calm on Thursday.

Bye bye baa baa
The weather has been showery recently. Although you can often see the rain coming, there's not much you can do about it when you're on the cliffs at Hoini.
And finally, some Obs news. With a more than reasonable roll call of rarities so far this autumn (Eastern Olivaceous, Booted, Arctic, Melodious and Greenish Warblers, Pallid Harrier, Great Snipe, Citrine Wagtail, Short-toed Lark and many, many scarcities), you could be forgiven for thinking that we’ve used up our luck. However, I suspect there may be more good birds to come and there are still a few spaces here and there for the autumn if you are wanting to come and stay with us. I’ll post fuller details of the dates tomorrow, but in the meantime why not visit our webpage for details of past autumn sightings to whet your appetite.

A quick Grace update - thanks to all of you who have been asking about her, especially guests who have written since you left the Obs. She is loving life on the island, with the playground being more popular than the beach now. This is her 'being a spider monkey' apparently! The fresh air seems to be helping her grow as well, with lots of people commenting on how tall she's getting. She's taking quite an interest in the wildlife and even managed to see the Booted Warbler at Burkle before I did (although her description that it was 'not like a Whinchat, it was like a Barn Owl' probably won't go to the BBRC). She was very pleased to see Dennis in the Obs this evening!

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