Wednesday 19 October 2011

It's an ill wind...

Today brought blasting NW winds, frequent hail showers and a little bit of snow - not ideal conditions for birding. Two Glaucous Gulls (adult and first winter) and a movement of almost 600 Greylags were perhaps not surprising given the wind direction, although the white 'farmyard goose' that turned up with them was a bit more unexpected - has anyone in Iceland lost one?
Seawatching in the last couple of days has provided a few 'Blue' Fulmars, Great Northern Divers and a couple of Little Auks today, whilst on the island top the Fair Isle Mice and Meadow Pipits will have been somewhat concerned by the presence of  at least 7 Short-eared Owls and 4 Hen Harriers. Passerines have been in pretty short supply, with two Common Rosefinches, one Yellow-browed Warbler yesterday and a Black Redstart today the pick of the migrants.
A brave effort by the BTO staff who are on holiday here at the moment saw them take part in a mini Bird-race. It was won by the only team that came back to the Obs for all their meals, although whether it was the gen from other guests or something in Roy's enchiladas that saw them triumph we don't know (or maybe it wasn't coincidence that the boss's team won!).
The Havens have provided shelter for several species in the current stormy conditions including Great Northern Divers, Little Auks, Guillemot, Long-tailed Ducks, Grey Phalaropes, Red-breasted Mergansers and Tysties, like this one. The Havens are visible from the lounge with binoculars for those that didn't fancy braving the weather today!
News this afternoon of a male Siberian Rubythroat on Shetland has come as a bit of a blow, although the AW who is due to fly off tomorrow might have timed his trip quite nicely... we wish him luck (through only slightly gritted teeth). However, this is Fair Isle. We've not had a bad year so far and surely something else will turn up here before the month is out. There is a lot of excitement at the forecasts for next week, with some big easterlies possibly on the way. The Obs closes for the winter at the end of October, but we have a few spaces from this weekend if anyone feels like taking a punt on jamming in on 'the big one'. And if it turns up and you're not here, don't say we didn't warn you!

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