Sunday 28 October 2012

28th October

Ta-da! The Rubythroat remains and showed a bit better today. It's tendency to land briefly before darting off into cover meant that it was generally on the move before the camera had focussed - resulting in the occasional odd pose!
The calm, mild weather and the palpable sense of relief and happiness that results from people having seen the Rubythroat, gave the day an ‘end of season’ feel. The few new birds that were around were generally from that typical late autumn fare that also added to that atmosphere.

The Rubythroat was following a regular circuit around the Walli Burn and walls near the Haa. 
A rather dingy individual, it is still an absolute belter of a bird. Without doubt one of the highlights of a very impressive year.
Aside from Siberian Rubythroat, other lingering highlights included the Blue Tit (which reappeared after a two day absence), 2 Great Tit, Woodlark (which put in a lovely fluty flyover for some of the congregation heading to the Chapel this morning) and Little Bunting (at the School again).
Little Bunting, presumably the same bird that was seen at School a couple of days ago.
Other lingering birds included this Great Northern Diver in South Harbour, where the Goosander was also still present. New wildfowl were restricted to two Whooper Swans that flew south.
The main arrivals were Waxwings, with at least 21 recorded (although the total was probably higher, as several small groups were noted through the morning before 14 were trapped at the Obs).
Obviously hungry after their journey, any food that is provided for Waxwings on Fair Isle is gratefully received, where natural food is in relatively short supply.
Standing room only at the apples in the Obs garden.
 Accompanying these fantastic northern visitors were a few more thrushes, single Chiffchaff and Blackcap and a dozen or so Robins. Two Woodcock were trapped this morning (and another couple were seen today), following the dozen noted yesterday (a total no doubt helped by the entire island population tramping across the North of the island as we rounded up sheep). A Crossbill was one of the few signs of any finch passage, although a Common Redpoll was trapped at the Obs and another Redpoll sp. flew over the island (the two Lesser Redpoll at the School were probably lingering birds).
It's possible to see all the variations of Redpoll available to British birders on Fair Isle during some years. The two small, warmish brown birds at School today appeared to be Lessers.

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