Saturday 2 March 2013

Late February update.

1st March
Mystery beast. In the absence of many birds, have a mystery pic to identify - answer at the bottom of this blog post.
Well, it has to be said that the extra pair of eyes scouring the island didn’t make that much difference! No offence to my visiting friend (and let’s face it, you know someone’s a real friend when they visit you on Fair Isle in February – it’s not like they’ve come for the birding at this time of year!), it’s just there really hasn’t been much to see. The only addition to the year list has been a Woodpigeon, as we wait for the traditional slow Shetland spring to pick up pace – although that could still be a few weeks off yet despite the rather pleasant weather conditions recently.
Woodpigeon at Haa.
Skylarks have been increasing in numbers, with up to 35 by the end of the month, Lapwings rose to 22 and a few small waves of thrushes have been noticed amongst the wintering birds (eg 60 Fieldfare on 25th February) but it’s generally been familiar faces on the bird front. Lingerers include Great Tit, Greenland White-fronted Goose, up to two Glaucous Gulls (19th-20th), at least two Water Rail and Moorhen, whilst a scattering of wildfowl included up to 58 Greylag Geese, seven Teal, Long-tailed Duck, three Common Scoter, two Goldeneye and a Red-breasted Merganser. The Beached Bird Survey last Sunday saw a couple of dead Guillemots (one of which was oiled; the second this week) and a dead Shag (the first to be found this winter, as we seem to have largely missed out on the wrecks that have occurred further south), although I did also find my glove that I’d lost a couple of weeks before, which was handy. Better news regarding Shags concerns a youngster fitted with a darvic ring (red ‘HRF’) here in July last year, which was spotted on Thursday in Yell, the first of the 17 or so that were given these rings last year to have been relocated so far.
Answer: Cuckoo Ray, found on the North Haven beach by Henry from Haa.

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