Saturday 30 June 2012

Paddyfield of Dreams

We’ve had everything except snow in the last few days, with a beautiful calm evening on Wednesday followed by a strengthening easterly wind that picked up to gale force before delivering a deluge of rain on Thursday night. Yesterday saw a morning of fog before the sun came out and today the visibility is again poor as the fog has descended, although it's expected to burn off later.
In amongst all that, the news came down from Shetland of Arctic and Great Reed Warbler being found, so surely we would have something here as well… Yesterday saw a check of the island produce a small selection of migrants, presumably all lingering ones (Spotted Flycatcher, Woodpigeon, Whitethroat, a few Chiffchaff etc), but today proved that it’s never wise to write off the spring on Fair Isle. Jason's early morning trap round produced three birds: a Starling, a Marsh Warbler (in the Gully) then, saving the best to last, a Paddyfield Warbler in the Plantation.
The 19th Paddyfield Warbler for Fair Isle (where Britain's first was found in 1925) but only the 5th in spring. As with many rare birds, Fair Isle enjoys a superb reputation for this species, having recorded more than any other county in the UK.
A distinctive bird in the hand and in the field and a lifer for many who saw it this morning. This bird will probably have spent the winter in India and has overshot its breeding grounds (it should have only gone as far as the Black Sea at the most) before finding the shelter of Britain's remotest island.

This morning's Marsh Warbler, a typical late spring migrant on Fair Isle, was the third to be ringed here this year.
After being ringed and processed in front of an appreciative small crowd, it was released and went on to show well in the Obs garden (where it and the Marsh Warbler joined the other lingering Marsh Warbler and Reed Warbler, providing a rather nice acrofest). No sign yet today of the River Warbler that was present until yesterday at least, but there’s got to be a chance that it’s still lurking out there, but what else might be as well…


  1. Wonderful as usual - can I suggest you update you profile to incorporate your new arrival Congratulations by the way!

  2. Thanks Elaine. Freyja saw the Paddyfield, but I'm not sure she can really count it on her list.


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