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 spring 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.

obs foundations
The foundations of the Obs are all that remain after clearing up after the fire, 19th July 2019. © Susannah Parnaby

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



21st-24th January 2020
Weather:
largely SW or S winds, often quite strong and showery, with a calm day on 22nd seeing the island shrouded in fog.

Sightings
(counts refer to maximum in period unless otherwise stated):
117 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Barnacle Goose (Utra, 24th; first of the year), 3 Whooper Swan, 7 Wigeon, 12 Teal, Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter (Haven), Hen Harrier (ringtail still lingering), Water Rail (Burkle), Oystercatcher, Lapwing, 2 Purple Sandpiper, Merlin, Mistle Thrush (Rippack on 21st then wandering the Isle; first of the year), 8 Song Thrush, 3 Robin.

Year list: 55
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16th-20th January 2020
Weather:
variably windy, often quite strong and predominantly from the SW.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Little Auk:
one off Wirvie on 20th, first of the year

Other sightings:
3
Whooper Swan (the lingering adult and two new adults from 18th), Merlin, Snow Bunting (Upper Stoneybrek on 18th; first of the year).

Year list:
53
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11th-15th January 2020
Weather:
some big storms moving through and mostly not very pleasant weather.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull:
adult on 11th

Other sightings:
Long-tailed Duck (Haven), Common Scoter (Furse), Great Northern Diver (Furse on 13th; first of the year), Hen Harrier (ringtail still present), Merlin.

Year list: 51
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6th-10th January 2020
Weather:
generally windy, with some strong S and SW winds, often showery.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull:
2 2CY (1W) at Setter on 7th, with one still on 8th-9th
Glaucous Gull:
3 2CY on 7th, 5 (adult and 4x 2CY) on 8th

Other sightings (counts refer to maximum in period unless otherwise stated):
85 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, 4 'European White-fronted Goose', Whooper Swan, 5 Wigeon, 15 Teal, Common Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser (North Haven and Furse, 6th-7th; first of the year), Oystercatcher, Purple Sandpiper, Song Thrush.

Year list:
50
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2nd-5th January 2020

Weather: variable, with 4th being a calm and very pleasant day, but NW then SW gales and strong winds either side of it. Some heavy rain at times, and largely cloudy.
No real signs of movement, and the strong winds didn't bring any large numbers of gulls (so the high Glauc count was a bit of a surprise), but a few more bits and pieces picked up for the year list.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: 6 on 3rd (adult, 4cy and 4 x 2cy)

Other sightings (counts refer to maximum in period unless otherwise stated):
Pink-footed Goose, 4 'European White-fronted Goose', Whooper Swan, 6 Wigeon, 6 Teal, Long-tailed Duck (2 in South Harbour on 4th; first of the year), Hen Harrier (ringtail still present), Water Rail (Burkle), Oystercatcher, 3 Lapwing, 20 Curlew, 15 Purple Sandpiper (South Light on 4th; first of the year), Black-headed Gull, Guillemot (plenty offshore on 5th), Peregrine (3rd; first of the year), Merlin, 4 Song Thrush, 2 Robin (Utra and Lower Leogh).

Year list: 49
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Wednesday 1st January 2020
Weather: moderate WSW wind, largely cloudy but dry, relatively mild, although cooler in the breeze.
Happy New Year everyone! After an enjoyable night of guising, the year started, as always, with a day of getting the year list going. Greylag was the first species to make it onto the year list with the wintering flock making a racket before light and, in better weather than we often get on 1st January, a decent tally was achieved (the highest January 1st total since the record breaking year of 2014) with a few interesting wintering species logged (although nothing new was found on the day and most species would be ones that would be expected to be found later in the year).

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: 2; adult and 4cy or 5cy in roost at Easter Lother Water
Iceland Gull: 2cy off Bergaroo

Other sightings (counts refer to maximum in period unless otherwise stated):
c120 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, 4 'European White-fronted Goose', Whooper Swan, 9 Wigeon, 6 Teal, Common Scoter (North Haven), Hen Harrier (roving ringtail), Water Rail (Burkle), Oystercatcher (Skadan), 5 Lapwing, 23 Curlew, Woodcock (Boini Mire), Black-headed Gull (adult), Guillemot (good numbers ashore), 2 Merlin, Carrion Crow (Leogh), 3 Skylark (Lower Leogh), 10+ Blackbird, c20 Fieldfare, c70 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, Robin (Chalet), Meadow Pipit (Shirva).

Other species recorded:
Mallard, Eider, Fulmar, Gannet (small numbers offshore), Shag, Turnstone, Snipe, Redshank, Kittiwake (small numbers offshore), Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Tystie, Rock Dove, Hooded Crow, Raven, 'Fair Isle Wren', Starling, House Sparrow, Rock Pipit.

Year list: 46
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26th-31st December 2019
Cheerio to 2019 and all your adventures, welcome to 2020 everyone, a year of great opportunity and excitement! 2019 was a great birding year all in all, let's see what 2020 brings... Thanks to everyone for your support during the year.

The last sunset of the year from Schoolhouse (David Parnaby)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Waxwing: 2 arrived on Boxing Day at Schoolhouse (after one was seen at Brecks in the morning) then just one on 29th-30th.
Glaucous Gull: adult on South Green (29th) with 3 adults on 30th
Iceland Gull: 1CY over Easter Lother on 26th, with one in South Harbour the following day

Other sightings (counts refer to maximum in period unless otherwise stated):
111 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, 4 'European White-fronted Goose', Whooper Swan, 8 Wigeon, 15 Mallard, 8 Teal, Common Scoter (North Haven), 2 Long-tailed Duck (South Harbour), Hen Harrier (ringtail seen again on 30th-31st), Oystercatcher, 5 Lapwing, Golden Plover, 2 Woodcock (Bergaroo and Wirvie, 26th), 75 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull (30th), 2 Merlin, Peregrine, 3 Song Thrush (Obs, 31st with small numbers elsewhere; an unusually high winter presence), a few Robin (including one at North Light), 2 Meadow Pipit, 2 Twite.

Other Wildlife:
Common Skate - a large individual (230cm from snout to tail tip) washed up dead on South Harbour beach, with a 'mermaid's purse' on the same beach also belonging to this species.

Common Skate, South Harbour (Nick Riddiford)

Year list: 216
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21st-25th December 2019
Merry Christmas everyone, from all at FIBO

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: 1CY over Meoness on 24th

Other sightings (counts refer to maximum in period unless otherwise stated):
2 Wigeon, 6 Teal, Common Scoter (North Haven), 2 Long-tailed Duck, Hen Harrier (ringtail around Skerryholm, 24th; an unusual midwinter arrival), Water Rail (Chalet), 3 Lapwing, Golden Plover, c300 Turnstone, Short-eared Owl (Da Water, 25th), Merlin, Peregrine (adult male), Guillemot (lots ashore on 24th), 3 Carrion Crow, 21 Hooded Crow, 10 Fieldfare, 5 Song Thrush, 3 Robin, Meadow Pipit, Redpoll sp? (24th), 9 Snow Bunting.

Year list: 216
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16th-20th December 2019

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: 1CY on 17th.
Glaucous Gull: 1CY on 18th-19th.

Other sightings (counts refer to maximum in period unless otherwise stated):
114 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, 4 'European White-fronted Goose' (2 adults and 2 juveniles), Whooper Swan, 4 Wigeon, 14 Mallard, 8 Teal, 2 Common Scoter (Haven), 2 Long-tailed Duck (South Harbour), Grey Heron (over School, 17th), 3 Water Rail (Haa, Burkle and Barkland), Golden Plover, Woodcock (Gully, 16th), 46 Redshank, 2 Merlin, Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 2 Skylark, 15 Blackbird (thrush counts are minimum and usually just from the south of the Isle), 5 Fieldfare, 77 Redwing, 5 Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush (School Brae, 18th; an unusual winter occurence), 5 Robin, Meadow Pipit.

Merlin, Johnny Arcus Park, 16th December (David Parnaby)

Year list: 216
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