Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The sun'll come out tomorrow...

11th-16th September
Yellow-browed Warbler by Ciaran Hatsell
With the wind starting in the south, then switching to SE and E later in the period, it looked promising and there have indeed been some good birds. The weather hasn’t been all favourable though, with fog dominating the first three days, clearing on 14th-15th but being replaced by low cloud and heavy rain on 16th, which severely hampered attempts at birding. The forecast for continued easterly winds but drier, brighter conditions on 17th has got everyone on Fair Isle rather excited though...
The Pallid Harrier remained throughout and could occasionally be seen in the company of one of the two Hen Harriers that have been present since 14th, whilst the other rarity, the Buff-breasted Sandpiper, remained until 15th at least (it has been quite elusive at times, so could easily have been overlooked today).  Technically also a highlight was the Gadwall that lingered to 15th, whilst a smart Pomarine Skua that cruised over the Good Shepherd on 13th was the first of the year (they are less than annual on Fair Isle, although this is the third year in succession with a record from the Good Shepherd – the last land-based record was back in 2009).
There has been a good showing of scarcities as well, with a Little Bunting (found sheltering in the Quoy garage!) on 16th, daily sightings of Barred Warblers (peaking at 5 on 11th), up to 2 Common Rosefinch and the first Red-breasted Flycatchers (daily from 14th) and Yellow-browed Warblers of the autumn (or the year, in the latter’s case).  The latter arrived on the 14th, with numbers peaking at nine the following day during a decent fall of warblers including 50 Willow Warbler, 14 Blackcap, 12 Garden Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat and Reed Warbler, along with 6 Goldcrest, 2 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 5 Pied Flycatcher, 2 flava Wagtail, Tree Pipit, 3 Song Thrush, 2 Brambling and the first 2 Redwing, 2 Snow Buntings, Chaffinch, Jack Snipe, Great Northern Diver and Goosander of the autumn, along with an impressive 1087 Meadow Pipit  – a canny day all in all, and a sign of some of what’s to come when the conditions improve…

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