Friday 7 September 2012

Buff Justice

After a few days of westerly winds dominating the weather we were hoping for an American bird, and after the conditions the wardening team went out in yesterday we almost felt we deserved one! Today started with a north-westerly flavour, when the first Pink-footed Geese of the autumn flew over (47 were eventually recorded heading south during the day) and a Lapland Bunting on Vaasetter was the first of half a dozen to be found during the day. The highlight however was the Buff-breasted Sandpiper found on Meoness. Sadly it was a rather flighty individual and disappeared shortly after being found. Hopefully it will turn up somewhere around the island tomorrow.

Fair Isle lies more or less where the North Sea and the Atlantic meet, so migrants from any direction can find their first landfall here. The Buff-breasted Sandpiper was a rather flighty bird and had possibly arrived only just before it was found.
The wind turbine facing the west in September means Meoness is always worth careful attention. This is the 14th Buff-breasted Sandpiper for Fair Isle, all of which have occurred in this month and four of which have been first discovered in this particular part of the island.
The delicate scalloping effect on the mantle shows this to be a young bird.
Two Black-tailed Godwits were also newly arrived and counts of scarce migrants included four Common Rosefinch (three of which have already been ringed here in the last few days) and two Barred Warblers (both at the Obs this afternoon).
Although a few small groups of Golden Plovers are present, they are all 'Eurasian' so far.
Common Rosefinches at Barkland. The two birds that were caught and ringed together have now split up and are both associating with different Rosefinches!
 So another day with a pleasing array of birds and some enjoyable birding as the sun came out. Tomorrow looks set to be wet, but the Shipping Forecast has just thrown us an interesting little twist to what we were expecting: ‘Fair Isle: southwesterly, backing easterly in north, 5-7, decreasing 4 for a time’. Any mention of east at this time of year always raises an eyebrow; whether this will be enough to bring anything in (and whether the conditions will allow for much to be found) will be found out tomorrow…

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