Fair Isle Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

Following the devastating fire which completely destroyed the Obs on 10th March 2019, we have been working extremely hard towards rebuilding it.

At present, we are aiming to reopen in summer/autumn 2021 which we appreciate is a tight schedule given all the work that is involved in building ‘Obs 5’. We are determined to try and meet this target.

fungi
How the new Obs will look when built, with the warden's accommodation on the left. Visualisation by ICA

We intend to post regular updates about our progress in working towards this coupled with news of the ongoing ornithological work we are carrying out.

Other topics can be selected from the 'Fire & rebuild' menu to the left.

Latest sightings



1st-5th July 2020
Weather:
Cool, with a west or north-west airflow, although some pleasant weather, especially on Friday. Spells of rain, especially on Sunday.
Spring migration has surely now come to an end, with the movements of birds noted being largely summer dispersal of northern finches and some returning waders. Seabird work continues to take up the bulk of the staff time when the weather is suitable, with a 20.5 hour feedwatch of Guillemots on Friday being a highlight of the week. It doesn't feel all that summery, with temperatures generally in very low double figures, but there's usually a sheltered side to the building or sunny patch somewhere to enjoy outdoors - especially with social distancing measures on children under 12 being eased in Scotland allowing some normal outdoor play just in time for the start of the school holidays, which has been especially enjoyed by the Obs kids and their friends!

Sightings (peak counts unless otherwise specified):
3 Greylag Goose (north on 3rd), Red-breasted Merganser, Wigeon (north on 5th), 2 Tufted Duck (males on 1st-2nd), 2 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, Golden Plover (2nd), 3 Whimbrel, 16 Turnstone, Knot (Muckle Uri Geo, 5th), 2 Dunlin, 15 Redshank, 5 Black-headed Gull, 2 Red-throated Diver (over Isle on 3rd and 5th), 'blue' Fulmar (went south over Furse on 3rd), Cormorant (3rd-4th), Kestrel, Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, Hooded Crow (first fledged birds of the year seen on 5th at South Raeva), 2 Swallow, Willow Warbler (Lower Leogh, 2nd), Blackcap (female, Obs, 3rd), Garden Warbler (Obs, 3rd), Blackbird (male), Black Redstart (Vaadal, 2nd), Dunnock (lingering ringed bird, Gully), 6 Linnet, 7 'Mealy Redpoll' (numbers building up at Obs through the period), Crossbill (4 on 3rd, 6 on 5th).

Year List: 174

Other Wildlife:
Silver Y, 4 Magpie Moth (3rd)
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Tuesday 30th June 2020
Weather:
a moderate NW wind, cloudy a lot of the time, although some sunny spells and milder than expected.
Still good enough weather for seabird work, but despite that, more quality birds. What a late spring spell this is! Surely with the forecast northerlies, that's it now?...

HIGHLIGHTS:
BOOTED WARBLER: a singing bird intially seen briefly at Vaila's Trees moved to Shirva where it showed very well on occasions. If accepted, the 16th record for Fair Isle, but first since 2016, and first spring record.
Rose-coloured Starling: one on Dronger continued the excellent spring for this species

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, Red-breasted Merganser, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Whimbrel, Turnstone, Redshank, Manx Shearwater (two from Good Shepherd IV), Cormorant, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Carrion Crow, Swallow, House Martin, Willow Warbler (a 'northern' bird at Haa), Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Dunnock, Linnet (including at least three fledged juveniles at the Obs).

Year List: 174

Other Wildlife:
3 Red Admiral, 7 Silver Y, Hummingbird Hawk-moth (Shirva; first of the year).
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Friday-Monday 26th-29th June 2020
Weather:
the wind remained in the SE, quite fresh at times, with poor visibility and rain at times. Monday saw a switch to a more northerly wind later in the day, with the cloud closing in and bringing rain with it.
The team cracked on with seabird work where possible and, although the predictions were in the 'Oriental Plover, Pallas's Sandgrouse' league, it never quite came to pass. The sea state prevented the Good Shepherd IV from making its sailing, although there was a plane on Friday. It looks like we're getting some winds from Siberia next week, although as they appear to be coming over the top of the North Pole, it seems that colder conditions is more likely than big rarities. With the June run of birds though, the epic end to 1992's spring, which saw Brown Flycatcher and Pacific Golden Plover in early July is still being murmured about!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Crane: one seen by an islander on 29th as it flew towards Quoy, but disappeared

Other sightings (maximum counts in period):
10 Greylag Goose, Tufted Duck (male, Golden Water 28th), Red-breasted Merganser (male, 28th-29th), Woodpigeon, Turtle Dove (the second of the year was at Field on 26th), Collared Dove, Whimbrel, Bar-tailed Godwit (29th), 3 Turnstone, 7 Redshank, Razorbill (first fledged chick departed its nest in Mavers Geo on 26th), Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Kestrel, Carrion Crow, 4 Swallow, House Martin, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler (Schoolton, 28th), 2 Blackcap (pair at Schoolton), Garden Warbler (Plantation, 26th), Lesser Whitethroat (27th-28th), 'Fair Isle Wren (fledged youngsters at Jivvy Geo on 28th), 2 Blackbird, Song Thrush (26th), Dunnock (ringed bird at Schoolhouse), 3 Linnet, Crossbill (2 on 26th, 1 27th and 3 28th), 3 Siskin.

Year List: 173

Other Wildlife:
23 Red Admiral, 4 Painted Lady, 25 Silver Y, White Satin Moth (Obs, 26th; first for Fair Isle).
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Thursday 25th June 2020
Weather:
Fresh SE breeze, easing later. Although clear at first, fog drifted in for the morning and early afternoon before clearing to a pleasant sunny evening, with just a few wisps of low cloud appearing later.
A frustrating pause on the seabird work as the visibility closed in, but thankfully it didn't last all day and so monitoring continued. It's been a busy couple of weeks playing catch-up, and for some species we've had to miss a year's monitoring as things began too late, but hopefully we'll have some meaningful statistics on several of our seabirds. The early 'gut feeling' is that it looks like a reasonable year for most species so far.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Marsh Warbler: an unringed bird at Gully in the evening briefly indulged in some sub-song

Other sightings:
4 Swift, Collared Dove, Whimbrel, 2 Turnstone, Dunlin (a pair with three chicks at the Mast; although possibly overlooked, the species is at best a rare breeder, with suspected or confirmed breeding recorded recently in only 2019, 2017, 2015 and 2007, with chicks not actually observed in any of those years), Cormorant (immature wrestling with an eel in Muckle Uri Geo), 3 Carrion Crow (South Light), 2 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler (Schoolton), 3 Blackcap (females at Plantation, Obs and Leogh), Whitethroat (Vaila's Trees), 4 Blackbird (pairs in two locations), Black Redstart (female-type, Chalet), Dunnock (ringed bird in Gully), Twite (first fledged youngster seen), 5 Linnet, 5 Crossbill (south-east over Furse), 3 Siskin.

Year List: 173

Other Wildlife:
5 Red Admiral, 3 Painted Lady, 15 Silver Y. European Eel (aforementioned individual in Muckle Uri Geo - the eel won)
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Wednesday 24th June 2020
Weather: a fresh SE wind becoming SW and easing to a very calm evening. Mostly cloudy.
This spring just keeps providing, with a couple more quality birds today; neither amazingly rare, but both stunning in their own way.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Barred Warbler: one, probably a 2CY male, at Schoolton then moved to Chapel Plantation and Burkle. There are just four previous spring records for Fair Isle; 28th May 1992 and three birds trapped in June 1997, on 6th, 8th and 22nd-23rd.
Rose-coloured Starling: the third of the spring was at Chalet
Citrine Wagtail: still at Da Water, although no singing noted today

Other sightings:
6 Greylag Goose, 3 Teal, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Whimbrel, 5 Turnstone, 2 Redshank, Carrion Crow, 2 Swallow, Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap (male Chalet, female Schoolton), 2 Linnet, 4 Siskin (including juveniles).

Year List: 173

Other Wildlife:
2 Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Silver Y
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Tuesday 23rd June 2020
Weather:
sunny, although a couple of light showers in the afternoon, with a generally light SE breeze and rather mild
Still more migrants in what is seeming to be a never-ending spring, whilst seabirds continue to advance, with some hopeful signs for the season.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Bluethroat: a female in the Vaadal was the third latest spring arrival on record for Fair Isle, with only birds on 3rd July 1996 and 8th July 1987 being later (summering individuals were also recorded in 1973 and 1975)
Marsh Warbler:
2; a singing male in the Plantation and another in the Walli Burn
Crane:
what was presumably yesterday's bird was seen in the morning only
Citrine Wagtail:
still in Da Water

Red-backed Shrike: the female still in the Gully
 
Other sightings:
2 Teal, Eider (first ducklings seen; brood of five near the Gully), Woodpigeon, Curlew (fledged chick at the Kirk), Dunlin, 5 Redshank, Great Northern Diver (non-breeding plumaged bird in South Haven), Short-eared Owl (the oiled bird still clinging on at Wirvie Burn), Swallow, Willow Warbler (a new arrival at the Obs), 2 Blackcap, Common Redpoll, 2 Crossbill (one over the Haven in the morning and a yellow male at Burkle), Siskin (female, Schoolhouse).
Year List: 172

 

Other wildlife:

5 Red Admiral, 7 Painted Lady, 5 Silver Y
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Monday 22nd June 2020
Weather: SSE3-4, increasing 5 later. Sunny and warm at first, although then clouding over, when it also became somewhat cooler.
What a day, with the last of the Guillemot and Razorbill counts squeezed in and a bonus good bird found whilst doing it!

HIGHLIGHTS:
CALANDRA LARK: one on the clifftop at Bergaroo was found at around 0815 and roamed the short grass in the area between there and Kirn o' Skroo for around an hour before dropping over the edge of the cliff and vanishing. The 7th for Fair Isle (subject to acceptance), with previous records in 1978, 1999, 2000, 2008, 2014 and 2016 and spanned the period 20th April to 22nd May).
Crane: one flew north over a small group of happy Calandra Lark observers, heading out to sea. A couple of hours later, what was assumed to be the same bird (having presumably changed its mind and headed back south), was seen at the base of Hoini, before wandering up and down the Isle a couple of times.
Citrine Wagtail: still singing at Da Water, although generally less vocal now.
Red-backed Shrike: the ringed female was in the Gully

Other sightings:
5 Greylag Goose, 2 Teal (pair, Da Water), Scaup (female, Da Water), Swift, 3 Golden Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 8 Curlew (south over the Obs - breeding birds still present but these were a clear sign of passage), 2 Dunlin (singles at North Haven and North Light), Redshank, Arctic Skua (chicks at the airstrip and Bull's Park), Red-throated Diver (over the Isle in the morning), Great Northern Diver (North Light), Cormorant (immature still), Kestrel, Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, Sand Martin,  Swallow, 3 Blackcap, Whitethroat, 5 Linnet, 2 Siskin.
Year List: 172
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Sunday 21st June 2020
Weather:
a fresh SE wind, easing through the day, with sunshine at first but rain and low cloud for most of the day until it cleared again in the evening.
A generally poor day for weather reflected in the general lack of birds, although that wind is still rather promising.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Citrine Wagtail: still singing at Da Water

 
Other sightings:
2 Greylag Goose (east off South Light), Wigeon, Teal, Scaup (female, Da Water), 2 Red-breasted Merganser, Collared Dove, 2 Whimbrel, 8 Turnstone, Cormorant (immature, South Harbour), Reed Warbler, 2 Blackbird, 5 Linnet, 2 Common Redpoll, 3 Siskin.
Year List: 171

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Saturday 20th June 2020
Weather:
light SE wind, with fog and some drizzle until early evening when it cleared somewhat to low cloud.
The longest day was somewhat hampered by rubbish weather.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Citrine Wagtail: still singing merrily away despite the conditions

 
Other sightings:
12 Greylag Goose, Wigeon, Teal, Scaup (female, Da Water), 2 Red-breasted Merganser (Hesti Geo), Whimbrel, 3 Turnstone, Storm Petrel (from the Good Shepherd IV just north of the Isle; first of the year), Peregrine, Reed Warbler (the dull bird still in the Plantation), 3 Blackcap, Whitethroat, 3 Blackbird, 7 Linnet (including 3 fledged chicks at Schoolton; at least two other pairs are probably breeding on the Isle), Crossbill (juvenile, Midway), 4 Siskin.
Year List: 171

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Friday 19th June 2020
Weather:
light SE wind and fog.
A generally poor day, with little to report.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Citrine Wagtail: still at Da Water and singing

Red-backed Shrike: what was presumably yesterday's female was trapped at the Obs
 
Other sightings:
Scaup (female, Da Water), 3 Swallow, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat.
Year List: 170

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Thursday 18th June 2020
Weather:
Cloudy, with a F2-3 NE breeze that was cool at times, visibility was generally good, although some low cloud was occasionally wisping around the hills.
A day that felt generally quite quiet, although a big flyover certainly livened things up!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Crane: the second of the year involved one seen heading north over Schoolhouse just before 11am that made it as far as Mopul before circling, then heading south again (Shetland wasn't visible at the time, so it obviously didn't fancy the journey into the unknown). It reached somewhere around the airstrip before circling again, when it presumably gained enough height to lift it out of the fog as it wasn't seen again.
Citrine Wagtail:
the male still noisily pining away for company in Da Water

Red-backed Shrike: female at Dumlin's Sinks
 
Other sightings:
2 Greylag Goose, Wigeon, Scaup (female, Da Water), Woodpigeon, 4 Golden Plover, Whimbrel, 3 Redshank, 4 Swallow, Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler (an unstreaked acro at the Plantation had the colour of a Blyth's Reed or perhaps Marsh Warbler, but biometrics matched Reed Warbler; an interesting individual), Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, Blackbird, 5 Linnet, 2 Common Redpoll, 3 Siskin.
Year List: 170

 

Other wildlife:

8 Red Admiral, 4 Painted Lady, 5 Silver Y
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Wednesday 17th June 2020
Weather:
a very light easterly breeze, although mostly flat calm, fog throughout a lot of the day, clearing most of the Isle for a short while in the evening.
A few spells where the weather was good enough to see things on the Isle, although not for seabird monitoring, but generally the fog dominated the day. An interesting arrival of Sylvia warblers as the spring migration keeps dragging on. 

HIGHLIGHTS:
Citrine Wagtail: male still singing at Da Water (and occasionally on the roadside fence)

Red-backed Shrike: female at Meadow Burn
Marsh Warbler: 2; one singing at Meadow Burn and another at Schoolhouse

Other sightings:
Wigeon, Teal, Woodpigeon, 2 Whimbrel, Dunlin, Redshank, Swallow, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler (Schoolton), 10 Blackcap, 5 Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Whitethroat, Blackbird, Song Thrush (Obs), 4 Spotted Flycatcher, Robin (Schoolton), Redstart (female Schoolton), 2 Dunnock, flava wagtail (over Stackhoull), 3 Linnet, 2 Common Redpoll.
Year List: 170

 

Other wildlife:

14 Red Admiral, 12 Painted Lady, 9 Silver Y
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Tuesday 16th June 2020
Weather: sunny, hot with a light easterly wind, clear until late evening when a few tendrils of fog started to creep onto the Isle.
Another absolutely glorious day, with temperatures rising to over 15 degrees - the hottest day of the year so far. The birds lived up to it as well, with a scatter of migrants and a top-drawer rarity. The day wasn't over yet though, with the evening seeing the first cetacean sighting of the year - and a quality one at that!

HIGHLIGHTS:

GREEN WARBLER: the second for Fair Isle and 8th for the UK (subject to acceptance) was found at Vaila's Trees where it showed well at times. A fortunate find as, during a day dominated by seabird work, it was discovered whilst popping into Stackhoull Stores for ice creams!
Citrine Wagtail: male still singing at Da Water

Marsh Warbler: a male singing at Vaila's Trees

Other sightings:
Wigeon (male, Da Water), Scaup (female in South Harbour was an unexpected year tick, less than annual [there were records in 2018 and 2019, but none from 2015-2017], the first spring record since 2011 and the first June record since 1997), Swift (Vaila's Trees), 2 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Whimbrel, 2 Turnstone, Dunlin, Redshank, Arctic Tern (247 nests located on Buness, where the first chicks were also noted), Bonxie (first chick noted, on Eas Brecks), 2 Red-throated Diver (still circling the Isle and calling in the morning), Short-eared Owl (Da Water), 4 Swallow, House Martin, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, 3 Blackcap, Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat (including a nest-building male), 8 Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher (female still at Chalet), Dunnock, flava wagtail, 4 Linnet, 2 Common Redpoll.
Year List: 170

Other Wildlife:

KILLER WHALE: at least 10, possibly as many as 14, originally found in South Harbour, they milled around Brecks, some offshore, others closer in for a while, with some roaming as far as the Obs. They were identified as the '27's who have visited Fair Isle before, most recently on 3rd November 2019, but who made a similar appearance on 15th (when they were joined by another group) and 28th June 2017, when they entered South Harbour and North Haven hunting Grey Seals.

8 Red Admiral, 10 Painted Lady, 2 Silver Y

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Monday 15th June 2020
Weather: sunny, warm (14.7 degrees was the warmest day of the year so far), with a F3 ESE breeze easing.
A full-on day of seabird monitoring, with a few migrants noted whilst the team were out and about, complete with a new species for the year list, along with some clear insect passage.

HIGHLIGHTS:

Greenish Warbler: one glimpsed briefly by the School was later caught in the mistnet at Schoolhouse; first of the year, the 57th record for Fair Isle but just 12th in spring (subject to acceptance).
Citrine Wagtail: male still singing at Da Water

Marsh Warbler: 2; lingering birds at the Obs and Lower Leogh

Other sightings:
Canada Goose, 6 Greylag Goose, 3 Whimbrel, 8 Turnstone, Redshank, 2 Red-throated Diver, 2 Short-eared Owl (the oiled bird at Kirn o' Skroo and a migrant on the west coast), Kestrel (Burrashield), Carrion Crow (Lerness), 5 Swallow (including a nest-building pair), 3 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, 3 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, Blackbird (male Midway), 10 Spotted Flycatcher (highest count of the year so far, with half on the north coast where they appeared to be taking advantage of migrant insects), Pied Flycatcher (female, Chalet), 2 Redstart (female Guidicum, male Moss Geo), 2 Dunnock, 2 Common Redpoll.
Year List: 168

Other Wildlife:

45 Red Admiral, 25 Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, 20 Silver Y (all counts minimum figures), many Diamond-back Moths

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Sunday 14th June 2020
Weather: although foggy at first, it cleared for a while, ESE breeze, fresh at times.
The break in weather allowed for some seabird monitoring to be snuck in between bouts of poor visibility.

HIGHLIGHTS:

THRUSH NIGHTINGALE: still present at Schoolhouse, where it was running around on the drive below the bathroom window, before heading up to Chalet and being lost to view.
Citrine Wagtail: male still singing at Da Water

Marsh Warbler: 3; birds still at Lower Leogh and Meadow Burn, with one trapped at the Obs.

Other sightings:
Teal, 5 Whimbrel, 10 Turnstone, 2 Redshank, 4 Black-headed Gull, 2 Red-throated Diver, Short-eared Owl (oiled bird in Wirvie Burn), Kestrel (hunting Starlings on Burrashield), Carrion Crow (Lerness), Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird (male Shirva, female Vaila's Trees), 2 Spotted Flycatcher, Robin (Chalet), Whinchat, 2 Dunnock, 5 Linnet, 2 Common Redpoll (plus a Redpoll sp. heard at North Light), 4 Siskin.
Year List: 167

Other wildlife:

40 Red Admiral, 6 Painted Lady, 6 Silver Y (all counts minimum figures), many Diamond-back Moths

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Saturday 13th June 2020
Weather: SE2-3, foggy spells, although clearing at times, cloudy throughout.
A less poor day than expected as regards the weather and the spring migration shows no signs of stopping just yet, with another decent rarity (discovered in the Schoolhouse garden, making it a 'double nightingale species find' spring for Susannah!).

HIGHLIGHTS:

THRUSH NIGHTINGALE: one glimpsed a couple of times briefly at the Schoolhouse was eventually seen well and confirmed as this species; the 67th record for Fair Isle (subject to acceptance).
Citrine Wagtail: male still singing at Da Water

Marsh Warbler: 2; one at Lower Leogh and another at Meadow Burn.

Other sightings:
Woodpigeon, 8 Whimbrel, 15 Turnstone, Dunlin, 2 Redshank, 2 Red-throated Diver (circling the Isle in the fog, calling), 2 Swallow, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Blackbird (female around traps), 2 Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, 2 Tree Sparrow, 6 Linnet, 2 Common Redpoll, 2 Siskin.
Year List: 167

Other wildlife:

4 Red Admiral, Painted Lady, 2 Silver Y (all counts minimum figures), large arrival of Diamond-back Moths

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Friday 12th June 2020
Weather:
NE F4-5 easing slightly, low cloud at first over the North becoming fog across the Isle, with some drizzle at time before it cleared later on to bring sunshine to the south of the Isle at least.
A frustrating day, with most seabird work not possible due to the weather until later on, when the weekend was put on hold to make the most of a break in the weather! Doesn't look like it's going to be much of a weekend for weather, but with some easterly winds there's hope of a biggy or two out there. 

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: one at Chalet
Marsh Warbler: one in the Wirvie Burn

Other sightings:
Canada Goose
, Greylag Goose, Mallard (first ducklings of the year; a brood of 5 in the Vaadal), Teal, Woodpigeon, 3 Whimbrel, 3 Dunlin, 2 Redshank, 2 Short-eared Owl (Wirvie Burn and Da Water), Kestrel (Lower Leogh; first record since April), 2 Carrion Crow (South Light), Skylark (first fledged chick), 8 Swallow, 2 House Martin, Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff (Obs and Schoolton), Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, Black Redstart (female-type, Hesti Geo), Redstart, 2 Whinchat, Tree Sparrow (Haa), Rock Pipit (first fledged chick), 2 Common Redpoll (Obs), Siskin.

Year List: 166
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Thursday 11th June 2020
Weather:
cool NE breeze, Force 3-4, sunny spells with some cloud
A couple of additions to the year list, with a few migrants obviously in - there's still time for this spring to produce something, although the forecast for fog for several days isn't ideal. A good start on the seabird monitoring work from the team, although with such a late start, there's going to need to be lot done in the next couple weeks (but see the comment above about fog!). 

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-breasted Flycatcher:
female-type in the Gully; first of the year and just the 38th spring record for Fair Isle
Citrine Wagtail: male still around Da Water
Blyth's Reed Warbler: still in the Schoolhouse garden
Marsh Warbler: one singing at the Plantation

Other sightings:
Canada Goose
(one one Meoness), Greylag Goose, Woodpigeon, Whimbrel, Dunlin, 2 Redshank, Razorbill (first chick seen, at Lericum), Puffin (seen carrying fish for the first time), Great Northern Diver (North Haven), Long-eared Owl (Kirn o' Skroo), 2 Carrion Crow (South Light area), Swallow, 2 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 3 Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat (first of the month), Blackbird, 8 Spotted Flycatcher (highest count of the year), 2 Whinchat (first of the month), Tree Sparrow, Dunnock (Vaadal), 'Blue-headed Wagtail' (female south-west of the Airstrip; first flava wagtail of the year), 4 Linnet (pairs at Obs and Schoolhouse, signalling a continuation of the colonisation of Fair Isle by this species) , 2 Common Redpoll (Obs), Siskin (Easter Lother).

Year List: 166

Other Wildlife: Painted Lady
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Wednesday 10th June 2020
Weather:
Moderate or fresh SE wind easing through the day as it backed ENE, sunny at first clouding over later
A quieter day for arrivals, but what a selection of birds around! Seabird work may be salvageable this year and the team have started off by searching for occupied Arctic Skua territories.

HIGHLIGHTS:
RIVER WARBLER: still in the Meadow Burn reedbox, where it alternated between disappearing completely and occasionally showing incredibly well on the fenceline
Citrine Wagtail: male still at Da Water
Blyth's Reed Warbler: the ringed bird reappeared in the Schoolhouse garden
Red-backed Shrike: male at Bull's Park and female still at Meadow Burn
Osprey:
the second of the year was picked up circling over the west coast before drifting north  

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, Whimbrel, 3 Dunlin, 2 Redshank, Great Northern Diver (North Haven), 13 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Blackbird (female, Chalet), Spotted Flycatcher, Robin (Chalet), 2 Linnet, 2 Common Redpoll (Obs).

Year List: 164
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Tuesday 9th June 2020
Weather:
Largely sunny, although some cloud appearing in the evening, with a freshening ESE wind
A great start for the new team as they familiarised themselves with the Isle, as well as starting on some of the catch-up jobs that have been waiting for their arrival.

HIGHLIGHTS:
RIVER WARBLER: one in the Meadow Burn 'reed box' was the 19th Fair Isle record and 11th for the spring, with arrivals spanning from 23rd May to 16th June.
Citrine Wagtail: the male still singing at Da Water
Red-backed Shrike: 4; two males at Chalet and one still in the Gully, with a female still around the Meadow Burn
Icterine Warbler:
one still at the Obs
Common Rosefinch:
a 'brown' male singing briefly at the Obs in the morning

Other sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 11 Greylag Goose, Teal, 3 Woodpigeon, 2 Golden Plover, 10 Whimbrel, 7 Dunlin, 3 Redshank, Great Northern Diver (non-breeding plumaged bird in North Haven), Peregrine, 5 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler (Plantation), 3 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird (females at Chalet and Plantation), Redwing (Good Shepherd noost), 2 Spotted Flycatcher, Robin (Chalet), Redstart (Haa), 4 Linnet (pairs at the Obs and Schoolhouse), 2 Common Redpoll (Obs), Yellowhammer.

Year List: 164
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Monday 8th June 2020
Weather:
Fresh NW wind easing and becoming slightly more westerly. Cloudy at first, but brightening up to a sunny afternoon and evening.
A lovely day for the 'start of the season', with birds around and the new Wardening Team (AWs Alex and Daniel and Ranger Georgia) arriving on the morning plane and getting straight into the action by turning up a few scarcities.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one trapped and ringed at Schoolhouse
Rose-coloured Starling:
one still present at the base of Malcolm's Head
Citrine Wagtail: the male flew north over Schoolhouse in the morning but was back on Da Water later
Red-backed Shrike: 4; two female still around Schoolton, with males at South Green and Gully
Icterine Warbler: 3
; the ringed bird still at the Obs, one unringed bird at Burkle (presumably yesterday's Haa bird) and another in the Kirn o' Skroo
Common Rosefinch:
one still at Schoolhouse
Marsh Warbler:
one still singing at Schoolton

Other sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose, 7 Greylag Goose, Woodpigeon, Ringed Plover (chick at Muckle Uri Geo), 5 Whimbrel, Curlew (a chick at Da Water was predated by a Lesser Black-backed Gull), Dunlin, Snipe (brood of 3 chicks near Wirvie), 4 Swallow, 6 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler (Chalet), Blackcap (male, Schoolton), 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher (Gully), Black Redstart (still at North Light), Redstart (Schoolton), Dunnock (Obs), 3 Linnet (including a pair nest-building), 2 Common Redpoll (Obs).

Year List: 163

Other wildlife: 4 Red Admiral, Silver-Y
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Sunday 7th June 2020
Weather:
cool NW wind, very strong at first but easing somewhat later. Mostly cloudy, a little rain at times.
Not the weather for a birthday barbecue for Susannah, although a family walk after lunch was very pleasant with the chance to wave and shou hello to a few folk and finsihing with a serenade from a Citrine Wagtail!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Rose-coloured Starling:
two together at Utra in the afternoon; multiple occurences of this species have been recorded before, but it's always a welcome sight!
Citrine Wagtail: the male still present at Da Water, where it was singing
Marsh Warbler:
2; one singing at Schoolton and another at Da Water
Icterine Warbler:
one at Haa was presumably a new migrant
Common Rosefinch:
two at Schoolhouse, where the dandelions continue to prove irresistible

Other sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose, 2 Greylag Goose, Teal, Red-breasted Merganser (male, South Harbour), Collared Dove, 4 Golden Plover (Brecks), 4 Whimbrel, Dunlin, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Spotted Flycatcher, Meadow Pipit (first fledged chick; 8 days earlier than 2019).

Year List: 163
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Saturday 6th June 2020
Weather:
calm at first, with a NW wind freshening through the day. Mostly dry and bright earlier on, but with some low cloud lingering throughout the day that dropped for a while in the afternoon, bringing some rain.
A few new migrants, a lovely selection of birds about, although the weather prevented the scheduled plane coming in.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Rose-coloured Starling: still present, roaming the middle of the Isle.
Blyth's Reed Warbler: still at Schoolton
Marsh Warbler:
two at Schoolton, including one singing bird
Icterine Warbler:
ringed bird still at Obs
Common Rosefinch:
one briefly at Chalet
Red-backed Shrike:
female at Burkle

Other sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose, Greylag Goose, Teal, Great Northern Diver (North Haven), Willow Warbler (Chalet), 2 Chiffchaff (Plantation and Gully), Blackcap (male, Schoolton), Garden Warbler (Plantation), 2 Lesser Whitethroat (Obs, Schoolton), Spotted Flycatcher (Brecks), Robin (Chalet), Black Redstart (North Light), Redstart (female, Plantation), Dunnock (Obs, an unringed bird), Pied Wagtail (fledged at North Light), Mealy Redpoll (Obs).

Year List: 163
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Friday 5th June 2020
Weather:
quite strong north-westerly wind, with some heavy showers and more prolonged spells of rain. Rather cool for the time of year.
The best new bird of the day looked too colourful for the weather we were experiencing, but was a very welcome sight nonetheless.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Rose-coloured Starling: a stonking adult at Upper Stoneybrek keeps up the recent good run of records (although there were none in 2019) and is the 51st Fair Isle record.
Citrine Wagtail: still present at Da Water
Red-backed Shrike:
female at Houll

Other sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose, Greylag Goose, Teal, 2 Woodpigeon, Dunlin 4 Carrion Crow, Lesser Whitethroat (Schoolton).

Year List: 163
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Thursday 4th June 2020
Weather:
a breezy north-westerly, with sunny spells interspersed with heavy showers.
Another interesting day, as the trickle of migrants coming through included another unexpected surprise.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Citrine Wagtail: a very smart male on Da Water, the 81st record for the Isle, but just the sixth in spring (although following hot on the heels of the fourth and fifth in May and June 2019).
Blyth's Reed Warbler: still present at Schoolton
Red-backed Shrike:
2 females at Meadow Burn

Other sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose (Da Water), Greylag Goose, Teal, Woodpigeon, Whimbrel, Turnstone, Carrion Crow, Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap (female Vaila's Trees, male Obs), Garden Warbler (Plantation), 2 Lesser Whitethroat (Stackhoull, Gully), Linnet (male Schoolhouse, female Stackhoull), 2 Mealy Redpoll (Obs).

Year List: 162
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Wednesday 3rd June 2020
Weather:
the grey weather continued, with a pretty strong N or NW wind keeping things cool. Some showers and a few sunny spells. A general 'mixed bag'!
A few birds about, although migration has certainly slowed up a bit.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one still at Schoolton
Red-backed Shrike:
female north of Utra
Nightingale: one still very elusively at Schoolhouse

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, Teal, Great Northern Diver (non-breeding plumaged bird fishing off Shalstane), Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler (Schoolton), Blackcap (female Schoolhouse), Garden Warbler (Leogh), 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Blackbird (pair Midway, female Plantation), Robin (Schoolton), Stonechat (Meadow Burn).

Year List: 161
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Tuesday 2nd June 2020
Weather:
a fairly strong northerly wind that increased through the day. Drizzly at first, with heavier rain later, although drying up in the evening.
A quiet day, with the weather taking a distinctly less summery turn. A pleasant morning surprise in the garden though!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Nightingale: an elusive bird in the Schoolhouse garden showed well a couple of times on the wall but generally lurked at the bottom of the rosa and rhubarb. If accepted, the 58th for Fair Isle and the first record since two in 2017 (a record in April 2019 was found 'not proven' by SBCRC).
Icterine Warbler: one still at the Obs that later moved to the North Haven.

Other sightings:
2 Greylag Goose, Cuckoo (Kirn o' Skroo), Collared Dove, Redshank, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap (male Schoolhouse, female Plantation), Lesser Whitethroat, Blackbird (female Plantation), 'Mealy Redpoll' (sightings at Schoolton, Schoolhouse and Obs may all have related to the same individual).

Year List: 161
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Monday 1st June 2020
Weather:
a very murky start, with fog and some drizzle, although this cleared to sunshine by the afternoon. Breezy southerly wind to start, but calming by the evening.
An interesting start, with a few migrants around the traps and nets, although when the weather improved, things actually seemed a wee bit quieter. Still a lovely selection of birds for late spring.

HIGHLIGHTS:
WESTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER: a 'subalpine warbler' seen on the cliffs at North Feltsigeo was assumed to be
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one still present at Schoolton, where it was frequently vocal
Red-rumped Swallow: showed well at Da Water
Icterine Warbler: 2; singles trapped and ringed at Schoolhouse and Obs (the latter being the lingering bird from yesterday)
Red-backed Shrike:
female at the Plantation (presumably yesterday's airstrip bird)
Common Rosefinch:
one still present around Schoolton/Burkle
Hobby:
one glimpsed in the fog in the morning went on to put on quite a show in the afternoon around the middle of the Isle

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, Teal, Peregrine, 10 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 3 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Sedge Warbler (Obs), Blackcap (male Obs), Garden Warbler (Gully), 4 Lesser Whitethroat, Starling (first fledged youngsters; two days earlier than 2019 and earliest fledging date since 2017), 2 Blackbird, Redwing (Chalet), 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Dunnock (Obs and Burkle), Linnet, 3 Siskin.

Year List: 160

Other wildlife:

Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, 5 Silver Y

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