Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Gull Next Door

Two of the Iceland Gulls today were smart adults, including this bird at Field.
The Iceland Gull influx continues with huge flocks in the Faroes and considerable numbers in Shetland. Up until now Fair Isle had been graced by three individuals this month (although never more than two in a day), but this morning I was able to watch one from the kitchen window whilst Tommy phoned with news of three on Meoness.
There are generally not lots of gulls around, so no searching through flocks a thousand strong to pick out the white-wingers.
In the end, six were found across the island along with a smart first-winter Glaucous Gull which took gratefully and greedily to the dead seal in South Haven.
Not a great picture, but with the Good Shepherd, the Fair Isle sign and a Glaucous Gull in flight, I thought it captured a bit of the atmosphere of the place at the moment. Also, it was taken from my kitchen, so our 'neighbours' today included both white-winged gull species.
A couple more year-ticks today with a Whooper Swan near the Obs and a Red-throated Diver seen flying over the island, although generally there were not many new birds to report.
I like Whooper Swans and I like sheep... It turns out Whooper Swans win in a fight, this bird on the hill behind the Obs (I'm really not sure why it was there) chased off a whole flock of curious sheep. 
With more strong North-westerly winds tonight (the building is creaking a bit even as I speak), perhaps tomorrow will see a few more white-wingers around. The forecast is for a bright day tomorrow, so could be good for some birding. It's still wet underfoot though, as Dave Wheeler points out that we haven't had consecutive days without rain since 18th - 20th November. On the subject of weather, Dave has also provided an interesting summary for December which shows that it was the second coolest since 2001 (only last year was colder), the wettest since 2006, the dullest since 2002 and the windiest since 1998 (with 13 gale days beaten only by the 14 of 1994 since there were 21 in 1980)!
They say the sun shines on the righteous, so I'm not sure what it says when this beam missed me by about a mile today.

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