Tuesday 21 August 2012

Lightning Strikes Twice?

Our attempts to have a Storm Petrel ringing session tonight have been somewhat scuppered by the approaching thunder and lightning - probably not a good idea to be waving eight foot metal poles around under the circumstances. Up until then the weather had been fairly pleasant (although there were lingering fog patches, especially on the hills) so it's a bit of a blow that we can't get out. Still, at least we'll get an early night!
On the bird front, there are clearly things still on the move but, like Sunday, there seemed to have been a bit of a clear out. Remarkably, like Sunday, the best bird of the day was an Arctic Warbler. Jason found it just before dinner as it fed along a drystone wall by the Hjon Dyke trap before it made its way along Gilsetter and eventually settled at Setter where it showed quite well this evening. Initial impressions were that this bird's median covert bar was very weak, so it may be a different individual to that seen in the Kirn o'Skroo on Sunday. Hopefully it will show itself tomorrow and allow some photographs to be taken, which may help to prove whether this is indeed a remarkable double appearance.
Other sightings from the last two days include: Barred Warblers at the Obs and Plantation on 20th with birds at Stackhoull and the Haa today, Common Rosefinch trapped in the Vaadal on 20th, a new Wood Warbler on Ward Hill (20th), the first Song Thrush (20th), Goldfinch (21st) and Black Redstart (20th) of the autumn,
2 Sand Martin and 33 Swifts today and reasonable numbers of warblers and other migrants still present. Also today the Good Shepherd crossing produced 2 Storm Petrels, a Minke Whale and 2 White-sided Dolphins, whilst at least 9 Porpoise were seen around the island.
It's not just birds on the move, a few migrant insects have been noted. A couple of Painted Lady butterflies have been seen and several migrant moths have joined the resident species in the traps. This Dark Sword-Grass is a  regular migrant to Fair Isle and is a smart wee beastie, although it perhaps would have been better to have had a plainer background to photograph it on!
The forecast is for light winds for a couple of days, which will hopefully encourage a few birds to get on the move, then easterlies at the end of the week and strong NE winds by the weekend. Exciting times indeed.

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