|Seabirds dominate the workload of the Wardening team in July and Bonxies in particular make a big impression.
|Coue's Arctic Redpoll, an interesting identification challenge (photo by Will Miles).
|In the field it looked an even paler bird (photo by Will Miles).
Waders and wildfowl tend to move early and the latter were represented by lingering Common Scoter and Red-breasted Merganser and highlights of the former included a Wood Sandpiper (on Da Water on 27th), three Black-tailed Godwits on Meoness (26th) that increased to five the following day and a Common Sandpiper (24th) amongst small numbers of commoner species. There were also two Grey Herons in the south and two Red-throated Divers over the island (21st).
Good news on the breeding bird front included the single remaining Arctic Skua chick fledging (28th), a record year for Bonxie chicks, with over 300 ringed (and the first fledged one seen on 24th) and fledged Arctic Tern chicks (from 23rd), although only a few of the latter survived.
|The first fledged Bonxie of the year takes to the wing over Suka Mire.
|The only Arctic Skua chick to survive to fledging on Fair Isle since 2010, this bird relied on blending into the background on Buness to avoid detection by Bonxies.
Away from the seabirds, four Swallow chicks were ringed at the airstrip, although a fifth was found dead under the nest, apparently having choked on a Map-winged Swift.
Storm Petrel ringing has resulted in over 300 being caught so far this year, with Leach’s trapped on 17th and 25th (and another seen around the nets on 22nd) and hopefully there’ll be more to come if we get a few more calm nights.
|The Leach's Petrel on 25th, this one was heard singing as it approached the nets and continued to do so in the hand.
|Eiders with ducklings can be seen in several places around the island, the youngsters are not quite as adept as their parents at dealing with the surf.
|The scarce Bog Pimpernel is currently in flower, one of several bonny plants that repays a bit of time spent on your hands and knees in the boggy areas of the island!