Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Nice weather and Ducks.

6th-8th April
Although there were a couple more additions to the year list in the form of Willow Warbler (7th-8th), and Goldfinch (at the Obs on 8th), the best bird in Fair Isle terms was the Pochard on Da Water (8th). With just 56 records (of 70 individuals), it’s not a common bird on Fair Isle and last year’s record was the first for six years, although there was also another male earlier this year at the Haa, so we’re going through a decent spell for them. Other wildfowl on the move included a Pink-footed Goose (6th-8th), Goldeneye (7th-8th) and Red-breasted Merganser (7th).
Almost as widely twitched as the Bluetail(s). Quack.
The most noticeable arrival were the Fieldfares, which after first being noted arriving late on 5th, peaked at 665 on 6th, with numbers then dwindling on later dates. Other migrants also started decreasing in amount, although there were still reasonable numbers of Robins and Dunnocks around. There were also decent counts of Meadow Pipit (195), Skylark (150), Woodpigeon (11 on 8th), Pied Wagtail (18 on 8th) and Wheatears cracked double figures for the first time with ten on 7th. Light corvid passage saw counts of six Carrion and 18 Hooded Crows (7th) and Jackdaw (6th, with 2 on 8th). 
Despite hundreds of Fieldfares being present, I've managed not to get a decent picture of any of them, sorry.
Small numbers of other birds around included up to 7 Goldcrest, counts of 8-14 Chiffchaff, Blackcap on 6th and 8th, Black Redstarts on 7th and 8th, up to 2 Siskin, 2 Linnet on 7th, Common Redpoll on 6th-8th, up to 12 Snow Buntings, Short-eared Owl, two Collared Dove (8th) and a blue Fulmar which passed over Ditfield on 6th.
It’s been a good spring for Jack Snipe, with a peak of four on 7th, there were daily sightings of Woodcock and Golden Plover increased to ten.
Two Iceland and a Kumlien’s Gull were lingering on 6th with one of the former still on 8th.
Breeding bird news included the resident Peregrine pair being joined by a third bird on the island, the first Gannet eggs noted on 7th, daily sightings of Bonxies and an increase in Puffins, with 20+ on 6th and 8th; still a long way to go, but pace should start picking up from now on.
So that’s the bird news up to date. I’ll leave any comment on the Fair Isle based episode of ‘Shetland’ that was on last night until everyone who’s recorded it has had the chance to watch it, but I don’t think I’d be giving away any major plot twists by saying my telescope made its anticipated TV debut!

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