Saturday, 18 February 2012

Hello Again!

I thought that you probably weren’t too worried about my holiday stories (sunny, Nerja was great, lovely time with the family, not many birds) and that the tales from the FIBO office probably weren’t going to be that exciting (‘did some great photocopying today’), then before you know it, there’s been no blog for a month.

From this...(sunny enough to be in my t-shirt)
To this... my t-shirt was one of about six layers whilst out white-wing gull hunting.
Bird wise, there’s been a few typical winter sightings; Iceland Gull numbers dwindled by early February, although another blast of NW winds brought 5 on 13th February, whilst up to three Glaucous Gulls have also been seen.
The small numbers of wintering seaduck were joined by a Great Northern Diver (13th Feb) and a Valentine’s Day Puffin (which rather unromantically was found half eaten in North Haven the following day). On land, 8 White-fronts and a couple of Pink-feet were occasionally seen amongst the 200 or so Greylags but undoubted highlight was the Coot found by Mairi Thomson and family as they visited at the beginning of February – the first bird of the year to go in the ‘any other species’ at the back of the Log!
Deja-coot. Pictured here in the same place as last February's Coot, is this the start of another good year on Fair Isle?
Lingering wintering birds (including a couple of Merlin and Peregrine, Water Rail) were joined by a few more species in a hard weather movement at the end of January, with 28 Woodcock, Waxwing, 18 Fieldfare and a few more thrushes, Golden Plover, Jack Snipe and 8 Lapwing all noted.
Up to two Peregrines have been seen around, this bird calling over Mavers Geo was loud enough to disturb me from the computer (admittedly it doesn't take much).
A few other signs of movement included the first Oystercatchers (17th Jan), Meadow Pipit (1st Feb), Skylark (5th Feb), and Dunlin and Knot from mid-February. Slightly less expected were the Jackdaw (13th Feb) and Short-eared Owl (9th Feb).
All of which has hoisted the year list to 67 species by my reckoning, a solid enough start to the year, although only the Coot is a non-annual bird. With a gale force (or perhaps even severe gale force) NW wind on its way, I’m still holding out for a Gyr, although it will have to be quick, I’m due off the island again on Monday and I’d rather it didn’t turn up when I was away.
Although there've been some cold days, we've done better than the rest of the country with the weather (although it has started snowing this morning...). Whilst Facebook was full of friends and relatives frolicking in the snow, we were building sandcastles until the stars came out!
One of the exciting things to come out of our time off the island was the Directors' Meeting in which we've fixed a few new deals for visitors to FIBO - more details to follow later this weekend.

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