Friday 19 September 2014

18th September

With a wet and murky start to the day, things started off pretty slowly, but as the cloud lifted and the conditions brightened up, more new birds were found and this lovely spell of easterlies continued to intrigue.
Whilst still lacking in a new genuine rarity, there were clearly more birds coming in, with 2 Bluethroats (which inhabited the radically different habitats of an area of Puffin burrows on Buness and the School car park) and a Short-toed Lark (on Ward Hill – after yesterday’s Richard’s Pipit, I wonder what might be found up there when the cloud eventually clears from the high ground) the scarcest new arrivals. There was also still an obliging Little Bunting, 2 Yellow-browed Warblers, 2 Barred Warblers, a Common Rosefinch (with sightings at Kenaby and Leogh before a bird roosted at the Obs, so perhaps more than one was present) and 2 Red-breasted Flycatchers (with yesterday’s ringed bird being joined by an adult at the Obs, with the two spending a lot of time chasing each other around the garden). The Gadwall was also present, so deserves a mention in the blog, although I appreciate that Fair Isle is one of the few places where it would sit alongside the previously mentioned species.
Scarce chats are always a joy to watch even if, like this young Bluethroat, they lack some of the glamour of a spring male. We've been told that these are the first Bluethroats of the autumn in the UK.
Many of the common migrants were present in similar numbers to yesterday, although Blackcaps had increased to 34, Lesser Whitethroats to 8 and Jack Snipe to 8 (the latter count a sure sign that ditches are being well checked for rare, creeping warblers). There were also at least two Lesser Redpolls, with one of them trapped in the afternoon (this species is scarce on Fair Isle, with most records coming when there are arrivals of Mealy Redpoll, so the fact that the only redpoll records today were Lessers is unusual).
Perhaps also of note was the first Reed Bunting of the autumn, the first 2 Grasshopper Warbler since the 1st of the month and an increase in Dunnocks to 6; is it clutching at straws to describe that as a fall of locustellas, bunting and accentors and suggest that a similar theme (but with different species) tomorrow would be very popular indeed?

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