Thursday 4 October 2012


3rd October
Despite the calm morning and promising feel to the day, census started off fairly quietly and it was obvious that there hadn't been a large arrival of birds. However, that was all forgotten fairly quickly when a Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler was trapped near South Harbour in the late morning (in exactly the same ditch where a skulking Grasshopper Warbler had briefly raised our hopes last week). With 23 records, Fair Isle accounts for almost half of all the British occurences of this supreme locustella, and there have now been six in the last six years. Most of the recent sightings have been in late September and they are usually only seen on the day of their discovery, making them a hard bird to twitch. Indeed, one visitor who had narrowly missed them on several previous Fair Isle visits declared last night he would buy everyone at the Obs a drink if one was found today - and he was good to his word when he finally connected with this major bogey bird!
The Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler was one of two locustellas seen today, the other was a Lanceolated Warbler that was discovered very late in the day in Field ditch. The fact that this bird was missing its tail would suggest it was probably the one from Da Water seen on 26th September.
There were very few other signs of new arrivals, although a Corncrake at Pund was a good find. There were still two Richard's Pipits (seen together at Leogh) and 2 Little Buntings (both at the School, where there were also two Goldfinches).
With the wind set firmly in the west for a few days to come, surely that is it for our run of good birds, although there are easterlies forecast for the start of next week...

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