Saturday 12 April 2014

Meet the Team

9th-11th April
Fair Isle Wren (by Mark Rayment). This bird, in the North Haven, is probably the most popular Fair Isle Wren in the world with photographers and provides a 'sub-species tick' for many visitors.
A quiet few days as the westerly wind increased and slowed migration right down. And, with today’s Shipping Forecast giving a ‘Storm 10’ warning in Fair Isle, along with squally showers, it’s unlikely there’ll be much found today, but who knows…
Gales and rain aren't ideal weather as the lambing season is picking up pace, although at least the temperature is remaining relatively good for the time of year.
The light wildfowl passage (although Fair Isle is never going to be rivalling Slimbridge for duck numbers in fairness) brought the first Tufted Duck of the year to the island and the Pochard and Goldeneye both lingered to 10th. Almost all common migrant numbers decreased (Fieldfares falling from their peak of over 600 earlier in the week to just 5 on 11th for example), with the only increases being shown by Collared Dove (to 3 on 10th), Jackdaw (3 on 9th-10th) and Siskin (the two increasingly fat males lingering in the Obs garden were added to by another on 11th), whilst a smart male Lapland Bunting was in Suka Mire on 9th. One of the Siskins and a Chaffinch were singing at the Obs on 10th, providing a nice flavour of spring, whilst a Peacock butterfly on 9th was an unusually early sighting of this not quite annual visitor. Guillemots still failed to provide much hope for the breeding season, with very few around and an occasional dead individual still being washed up on the beaches.
Spring Lapland Buntings are always a treat (by Ciaran Hatsell)

Purple Sandpiper (by Mark Rayment). South Harbour is providing great views of this species and Turnstone at the moment.
The regular sightings of Iceland Gull continued, with two on 9th and 11th and the Kumlien’s Gull was still present to 10th at least, with five Snow Buntings on 10th.
With the season now up and running, the new team are complete and settled in and it's all going well. They're a great bunch as some of you will hopefully find out when you visit this year and between them they'll be feeding us, keeping the Obs clean and tidy, looking after the kids (and us sometimes) and hopefully finding that first for Britain that Fair Isle must be due soon...
A 'Glitz and Glamour' themed party last night gave the team a chance to meet the islanders, with everybody seeming to enjoy themselves. Many thanks to everyone who came up from down the island, despite it being a very busy time, with the lambing starting to kick off.
The 2014 team, as they should look...
...and how they looked last night. Note the various interpretations of 'glitz and glamour'!
So, this is the 2014 season now ready to go, we're all looking forward to it and hope you are too.

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