Friday 23 September 2011

Recent Sightings

Until we get the website updated again, I'll put latest sightings (as collated by Jason) on the blog. All the photos below (except the Lesser Redpoll) are by Jason as well.
I'll post a further update later today with news of the Common Rosefinch, as the ringer who first caught the bird has been in touch!

20th September 2011

What is probably the same GREAT SNIPE from the 18th was re-found at Shirva, while a further highlight included the sighting of Fair Isle's 5th SABINES GULL. The bird, an adult leaving its summer plumage, flew past South Light in the morning. The Citrine Wagtail remains, as does the Melodious Warbler.
One Red-throated Diver was recorded, while notable waders included 11 Ringed Plovers, 6 Golden Plovers, 1 Knot, 2 Purple Sandpipers, 1 Ruff and 1 Jack Snipe. Seven Kittiwakes flew past Buness, along with 3 Guillemots and a Razorbill.
Three Short-eared Owls were present at Pund, while the Short-toed Lark remains. Other small migrants logged on census included a Tree Pipit, 2 Dunnocks, a Robin, 1 Redstart, 6 Whinchats, 16 Wheatears, 1 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 8 Song Thrushes, 2 Redwings, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroats, 1 Garden Warbler, 12 Blackcaps, 5 Yellow–browed Warblers, 13 Willow Warblers, 4 Goldcrests, 3 Spotted Flycatchers, the Great Grey Shrike, a Brambling, 5 Linnets, 5 Common Rosefinches, 30 Lapland Buntings, 24 Snow Buntings and the Little Bunting that arrived on the 18th.
Little Bunting taking advantage of an Obs crop strip. These planted areas are scattered around the island and offer cover and food for lots of birds, inlcuding several large flocks of Twite.

Jason and the Great Grey Shrike. Caught in the Obs mistnet on Monday, my fingers still have the scars from its rather ungrateful behaviour as I extracted it!

Yellow-browed Warbler (also using an Obs crop strip). Up to eight of this fantastic beasties have been seen and two have been ringed. There utter dinkyness in the hand makes their long-distance journey seem all the more amazing.
21st September 2011

A rough day, with strong winds and heavy rain making census difficult, and numbers recorded were undoubtedly low due to this. However seawatching was the best it’s been all year, and a SABINES GULL was seen traveling north off Buness in the morning (possibly yesterday's bird?).
Nine Wigeon and 3 Teal were logged, while seawatching was, by Fair Isle standards, fairly productive, with 5 Sooty Shearwaters and 3 Manx Shearwaters passing both Buness and South Light. Nineteen Kittiwakes, 39 Guillemots, 34 Razorbills and a Puffin were also recorded, all passing east. Wader included a smart juvenile Curlew Sandpiper on Meoness, 4 Knot, 7 Purple Sandpipers and 18 Redshanks. Two Short-eared Owls were also still present.
A Sand Martin was recorded along with 6 Swallows, while small migrants included the same Tree Pipit, 2 Dunnocks, 5 Whinchats, 4 Fieldfares, 2 Song Thrushes, 4 Redwings, 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Blackcaps, 3 Yellow-browed Warblers, 1 Chiffchaff, 6 Willow Warblers, the lingering Great Grey Shrike, 2 Lesser Redpolls in the Plantation (the first of the year of this scarce bird in Shetland), 31 Lapland Buntings and 10 Snow Buntings.
Both of the Redpolls were trapped and the measurements confirmed the initial suspicions, based on the warm brown plumage, that they were Lesser (although this one is trying to make itself look bigger by fluffing itself up).

Our only Bluethroat so far of the autumn was trapped on Monday and put on a good show later in the day.
22nd September 2011

Highlights: What was probably the same Great Snipe was flushed from Boini Mire. The Citrine Wagtail was seen again at Barkland and the Melodious Warbler remained at Shirva. The Little Bunting put in a brief appearance at Utra in the evening and the Great Grey Shrike roamed the island and was seen to kill a Blackcap at Haa.
More expected scarce migrants included 3 Yellow-browed Warbler, 2 Common Rosefinch, 22 Lapland and 28 Snow Buntings and the two Lesser Redpolls had moved to the crop strip at Bull’s Park.

Other migrants were present in generally smaller numbers, although there were several flocks of Pink-footed and Greylag Geese on the move. Counts of other species included: 1 Sooty Shearwater , 27 Golden Plover, 4 Kestrel, a Grey Plover (the first of the autumn), 1 Knot, 2 Sanderling, a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper at Meoness, 1 Ruff, 1 Jack Snipe, 52 Skylark, 2 Short-eared Owls, 2 Tree Pipits, 152 Meadow Pipit, 6 Whinchat, 35 Wheatear, 4 Song Thrush, 2 Redwing, Whitethroat, 9 Blackcap, Chiffchaff, 5 Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and a Linnet.

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