Friday 26 October 2012

Ruby Blues

26th October
The Rubythroat would still be here today, we knew it and all we had to do was find it. After breakfast, we headed out into the snow showers and North-westerly gale, not ideal conditions, but surely a Rubythroat would be easier to pick out against a white background!

In the wild conditions, many birds were keeping sheltered, but Starlings seemed quite happy carrying on with life as normal.
Tommy had seen a bird just before one o’clock which could well have been it, but by half past three, with the snow starting to settle on me, I thought it wasn’t going to happen. I decided to head back to the Obs for lunch and to warm up (I was struggling to hold my binoculars steady as the cold penetrated my layers).
This Olive-backed Pipit near South Harbour looked like it was starting to regret its decision to explore, rather than just go to India with its mates.
While I was restoring feeling to my extremities, Susannah thought she’d try to get a bit of birding done. Less than an hour later, I was heading down to the island having just taken the call ‘David, I’ve just seen the Rubythroat really well at Haa’. Sadly, my views were no better than my previous attempts, with a fly-by as it went back into the Haa garden before disappearing off towards South Harbour, never to be seen again.
The shelter of the beach held Fair Isle Wrens and Rock Pipits, but no sign of the Rubythroat. Where it spends most of its time is anyone's guess.
Tommy had managed to add it to his impressive garden list before it vanished, but the closest I have got to achieving anything similar is that the Rubythroat that turned up in Sunderland a few years ago was found in the street I used to live in (albeit about 30 years before the bird was there).
Between Susannah seeing the Rubythroat and Jason having returned with tales of the Chestnut-eared Bunting (and curries and pubs), I couldn’t wait to get Log over and done with and hope for better luck tomorrow!
With the weather too bad to conduct a full census, and most of our efforts centred around Haa, there were not too many birds of note for Log, although the 2 Great Tits and the Woodlark both also remained.
As is becoming traditional, there was at least a consolation bird, in the form of a Goosander in South Harbour, a Fair Isle tick for me and the first to be seen here this year.
Less than annual on Fair Isle. Nice enough I suppose, but still…
Tomorrow will hopefully see calmer weather, there's even the prospect of a bit of south-easterly wind later in the day, but even if there are no new birds in, I'll be happy just to see the ones that were here today - and one of them in particular...

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