Fair Isle Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

Fair Isle Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

Sightings archive: April-June 2015

Tuesday 30th June
Summary: A day of two halves as regards the weather, producing the warmest, sunniest half-day of the year so far in the afternoon. The first Storm Petrel ringing session of the season overnight in the Havens went quite well, but the Stormy team's attempts at a lie-in were scuppered by a couple of good birds in the traps. An afternoon visito to Goorn saw the island's main gull colony counted.
Weather: SE3-4, heavy rain in morning with moderate visibility, but clearing to a fine, warm sunny afternoon.
Highlights: Nightingale (one trapped in the Gully at 0930hrs, the first on the island since 2012), Western Subalpine Warbler (first-summer male trapped in the Plantation at 0730hrs and later seen well at Obs), Marsh Warbler (one singing at 0200hrs at the Obs, trapped in the evening).
M
igrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc):
Red-throated Diver (2), Storm Petrel (8: 7 trapped between 0120hrs and 0230hrs and one from the Good Shepherd), Golden Plover (2), Collared Dove, Sand Martin, Chiffchaff (5), Blackcap (female trapped in Gully), Song Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, Robin (summering bird still present at the Obs - seen daily throughout the month), Yellow Wagtail (female: first record since 7th June), Siskin (2), Redpoll sp? (2), Crossbill.
Breeding birds: At Goorn there were 42 Herring Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed, 6 Common and one Great Black-backed Gull nests, a similar number to last year.
Year list: 171 species

Monday 29th June
Weather: SSW 2-3, light rain in morning, cloudy.
Highlights: Golden Oriole (at Meadow Burn).
M
igrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc):
Golden Plover, Turnstone (7), Spotted Flycatcher, Common Redpoll (2), Crossbill (9).
Year list: 169 species

Sunday 28th June
Weather: SE 3-4, rain mid-morning after a bright start, with variable cloud.
Highlights: Golden Oriole (showing well around Skerryholm).
M
igrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc):
Teal (female), Red-throated Diver, Golden Plover, Dunlin. Whimbrel (4), Curlew (small flocks on the move), Redshank (9, including a flock of migrants at Muckle Uri Geo), Turnstone (7), Black-headed Gull, Woodpigeon (2: highest count since 6th June), Swift (2: highest count of the year), Sand Martin (2), Chiffchaff (8), Lesser Whitethroat (highest count since 7th June), Spotted Flycatcher (3).
Year list: 169 species

Saturday 27th June
Summary: Although low cloud saw the cancellation of the day's flights, a considerable improvement in the weather later on made for a very pleasant evening and a few new birds were noted..
Weather: W2-3, cloudy at first, clearing from later (although lingering on hills) to allow some sun through.
Highlights: Red-backed Shrike (a female frequenting the new garden extension at the Obs), Golden Oriole (still present and showing very well around Skerryholm, where it could often be seen hovering low over fields, presumably catching insects).
M
igrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc):
Whooper Swan, Wigeon, Teal (2), Red-throated Diver, Kestrel, Dunlin, Black-headed Gull (4), Swift (only the third spring record this year, or the first autumn record of the year, depending upon your point of view), Sand Martin (Shalstane - the first since 12th June), House Martin, Chiffchaff (2), Siskin, Lesser Redpoll (trapped at the Obs).
Breeding birds: Although no chicks have been seen, Redshanks have been confirmed breeding by the continued presence of alarm-calling adults around Kirki Mire. This represents the only breeding record for Fair Isle apart from a pair that nested in 1993 and 1994. Twite - fledged chicks at the Obs.
Other wildlife: Painted Lady.
Year list: 169 species

Friday 26th June
Summary: A fairly rotten day, with the afternoon plane being cancelled due to the weather and work largely restricted to indoors for the same reason.
Weather: SE 3-4, with low cloud and rain.
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Whooper Swan, Chiffchaff (3, ihcluding singing birds at the Obs and Chalet).
Year list: 169 species

Thursday 25th June
Summary: At last! The sea improved enough to get the boat out and so we were able to finish the counts of auks and Kittiwakes on the west coast, which revealed mixed results. A remarkable early trap round (nine individual migrants trapped - one of the better trap rounds of the spring!) encouraged us into a census later in the day, although there were only a few other new migrants. All in all, a very pleasant day, with the best weather of the year so far.
Weather: NW becoming SE, starting very calm, increasing slightly later on. Very little cloud, largely sunny and quite warm, with temperatures reaching around 12 degrees, positively sweltering compared with anything else we've had this year.
Highlights: Quail (one singing at Kenaby), Marsh Warbler (trapped in Gully where it was breifly singing in the morning).
M
igrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc):
Whooper Swan, Stock Dove (still present), Collared Dove (2), Chiffchaff (9, although present daily throughout June, this was the highest count since 12th and nicluded three new birds ringed), Willow Warbler (one trapped and ringed), Blackcap (4: the first since 20th and highest coiunt since 3rd June), Reed Warbler, Redwing (a very late migrant at Vatstrass), Spotted Flycatcher (4: highest count since 12th June).
Breeding birds: Initial counts for breeding seabirds indicate: 20,924 Guillemots (an increase of 7% from the last whole island count in 2010), 1,930 Razorbill (an increase of 41% from 2010), 880 Kittiwake nests (a decrease of nearly 9% from last year). Razorbill - first fledged chick, Skylark - first fledged chicks.
Year list: 169 species

Wednesday 24th June
Weather: An easing NW wind, shopwery spells, but drier later.
Highlights: Golden Oriole (seen again at Skerryholm)
M
igrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc):
Whooper Swan, Red-throated Diver, Peregrine (2), Dunlin (one on Ward Hill), Swallow (12), House Martin (2), Reed Warbler (2: long-staying bird, plus one ringed at Obs), Spotted Flycatcher (3), White Wagtail (male at North Light), Common Crossbill (7).
Breeding birds:
Year list: 169 species

Tuesday 23rd June
Weather: NW 3-4, cloudy with occasional sunny spells.
Highlights: Marsh Warbler (Upper Leogh)
M
igrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc):
Whooper Swan, Wigeon (3), Golden Plover (3), Whimbrel (2), Spotted Flycatcher, Siskin, Common Crossbill (5).
Breeding birds: Arctic Skua chick on Buness - the first of the year, Eider chicks in North Haven - the first of the year, Common Tern (one incubating near South Light), Hooded Crow with fledged chicks,
Year list: 169 species

Monday 22nd June
Weather: A cold NNE 3-5 wind, cloudy.
Highlights: Golden Oriole (a female or immature male at Haa in the morning, then roaming the crofts as far as Barkland). Marsh Warbler (Schoolton)
M
igrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc):
Whooper Swan, Red-breasted Merganser (3), Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Whimbrel (2), Stock Dove, Short-eared Owl, Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher (2), Siskin (6), Mealy Redpoll (2), Common Crossbill (5).
Breeding birds: Wheatear - first fledged chicks.
Year list: 169 species

Sunday 21st June
Summary: The longest day saw mostly fog, so the effect was somewhat limited. Although the wind was from the east, there was mostly no real sign of arrivals, but Lee's after-dinner efforts produced the day's best bird, showing that it's still worth getting out there. Maybe there could still be something to be found yet, although northerly winds are not the most promising, but perhaps a failed breeding northern finch or some such might be encouraged in our direction - after all, we're into the shorter days now, so autumn is on its way.
Weather: E 3/4, cloudy, with fog for most of the morning, clearing later.
Highlights: Hobby (first-summer bird at Bull's Park in the evening that flew south after being chased off by Common Gull).
M
igrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc):
Whooper Swan, Canada Goose (one at Stackhoull and then later South Harbour, the first of the year, a typical arrival date for a presumably feral British bird), Red-throated Diver, Dunlin (3), Curlew (29 in two flocks represented the first signs of autumn passage), Collared Dove (3), Chiffchaff (2), Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler, Siskin, Common Crossbill (6).
Breeding birds: A pair of Redshank that have been lurking around Da Water were alarm calling today, suggesting a possible first breeding attempt since 1994. House Sparrow (fledged chicks were present at Haa and Obs).
Year list: 169 species

Saturday 20th June
Summary: Attempts to get out in the boat weren't particularly successful, with a large Atlantic swell keeping the west coast out of bounds. There seemed to be a hope of a few migrants, but there were only a few signs that anything had arrived, with the traps producing only juvenile Starlings throughout the day.
Weather: S becoming SE, calm at first increasing to 3/4, largely cloudy with rain later and visibility becoming poor in the evening.
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Whooper Swan (one on Da Water was somewhat unseasonable, with June arrivals being almost unheard of, although occasional birds have oversummered), Greylag Goose (10), Storm Petrel (6 from the Good Shepherd), Black-headed Gull (7), Collared Dove (3), Swallow (8), Chiffchaff (6), Willow Warbler (2, including a bird with a wing-length of 74mm trapped at the Obs), Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Reed Warbler (2), Siskin (female trapped at the Obs).
Breeding birds: Kittiwake chicks in Gunnawark are the first seen this year, Pied Wagtail (carrying food in North Haven).
Other Wildlife: Minke Whale (2 seen from the Good Shepherd).
Year list: 168 species

Friday 19th June
Weather: W or NW 2-3, clouly with some light rain in the morning and decent visibility.
Highlights: Red-backed Shrike (a female near Setter), Goosander (an eclipse male off Wirvie was the first of the year).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc):
Dunlin (2), Whimbrel, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Reed Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher (2), Common Redpoll (still present).
Breeding birds:
Year list: 168 species

Thursday 18th June
Weather: NW 4/5 decreasing later, cloudy with heavy showers and poor visibility.
Highlights: Common Rosefinch (one at the Haa).
M
igrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc):
Whimbrel, Swallow (14), Reed Warbler, Common Redpoll (a pale 'Mealy' bird trapped at Vaila's Trees).
Breeding birds: Mallard (a brood of 7 ducklings at Utra).
Year list: 167 species

Wednesday 17th June
Summary: A day for office jobs, with rather unpleasant weather and little chance of birds moving or getting out to monitor seabirds.
Weather: Strong NW wind with showers.
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Greylag Goose (3), Swallow (5), Reed Warbler.
Year list: 167 species

Tuesday 16th June
Summary: The last day of auk plot counts began with beautiful, calm conditions, but with the wind picking up rapidly, the chances of us getting out to finish boat-based counts were ruled out. Although the winds were rather too local to give us much hope, a concerted effort was made to census the south of the island and, although one or two birds had made it through, there were few highlights.
Weather: SE 2-3, increasing to 4-5, sunny at first, but cloudy spells increasing and heavy rain from around 1730hrs.
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Woodpigeon, Swallow (12), Chiffchaff (8), Willow Warbler (singing at Obs), Blackcap (2), Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher (2), Robin (3), White Wagtail, Siskin (2), Common Redpoll (2).
Breeding birds: Counts of Guillemots and Razorbills revealed a slight decline compared to last year (5% and 11% respectively) in the population monitoring plots, based on ten counts in early/mid June. Although a bit disappointing, it follows the recent trend that suggests auk numbers may have stabilised after many years of dramatic decline.
Year list: 167 species

Monday 15th June
Summary: Seabird monitoring is still the priority and, although there were several migrants still present, the general feeling was that there probably wasn't much new in. As the second half of June rapidly approaches, has the spring come to an end or will tomorrow's localised south-easterlies deliver one last notable bird?
Weather: Westerly wind becoming more southerly and decreasing from a Force 3 to a calm evening. Patchy cloud, but overall a pleasant day.
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Kestrel (still present), Dunlin, Whimbrel, Stock Dove (still present in the south), Chiffchaff (7), Reed Warbler, Black Redstart (one trapped in the Vaadal).
Breeding birds: Meadow Pipit (a fledged bird on Eas Brecks).
Year list: 167 species

Sunday 14th June
Summary: More meetings again, but also a fair bit of time for several people to check the island for migrants, although, bar the odd arrival, things were still fairly quiet.
Weather: A moderate to fresh NW wind, easing slightly, bringing the occasional light shower.
Highlights: Icterine Warbler (one trapped at Barkland).
M
igrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc):
Teal (3), Dunlin (3), Whimbrel (2), Stock Dove (still present in the south), Carrion Crow (4), Blackcap (2, the first since 8th June), Lesser Whitethroat (the first since 8th June), Reed Warbler, White Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Common Redpoll.
Breeding birds: Starlings fledged en-masse in the south of the island.
Year list: 167 species

Saturday 13th June
Summary: The annual summer meeting of the FIBOT Directors on the island took up most of the day after morning Guillemot counts so, although there was still time for some birding in the morning, counts were fairly sparse.
Highlights: Quail (one flushed from near Setter could have been the bird present at Chalet last week), Marsh Warbler (one at Schoolton could have been a lingering bird), Red-backed Shrike (a male trapped in the Vaadal was presumably the bird present at Pund recently).
Weather:
A NW wind, mostly moderate, cloudy with some sunny spells.
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Greylag Goose (4), Whimbrel, Stock Dove (still present in the south), Woodpigeon, Whitethroat (2), Reed Warbler.
Breeding birds: first Bonxie chick seen
Year list: 167 species

Friday 12th June
Summary: Another day of seabird monitoring, with a couple hours in the boat possible in the evening, although the west coast still remains largely out of bounds. Probably a few new birds about, although nothing particularly noteworthy, despite the calmish conditions and feeling of something lurking somewhere! With the FIBOT Directors gathered for this weekend's meeting, there are no shortage of eyes scouring the island despite the Wardening team's workload being largely concentrated on seabirds, so hopefully something will be found in the morning...
Weather: W becoming NW 3, largely sunny in the afternoon after low cloud delayed the morning flight.
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Greylag Goose (9), Teal (2), Golden Plover, Dunlin (3, including one in suitable breeding habitat), Common Sandpiper, Redshank (2), Black-headed Gull (4), Stock Dove, Collared Dove (4), Short-eared Owl, Sand Martin, Swallow (28), Chiffchaff (10), Garden Warbler (2), Reed Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher (4), Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Common Redpoll.
Breeding birds: The whole-island Gannet count revealed 3363 nests, a decrease of over 200 from 2014, continuing a slight decline noted since the population peaked at 4085 in 2011.
Year list: 167 species

Thursday 11th June
Summary: A slightly calmer day, with a few new birds, although most work was centred around seabirds and some practical tasks. Not related to birds today, but still of relevance, was the news that the DNA analysis of the Moltoni's Warbler in May confirmed the field identification.
Weather: W becoming SW, 3-4, decreasing later. Mostly cloudy, but dry. Still not exactly warm!
Highlights: Common Rosefinch (one at the Haa was just the second of the spring), Red-backed Shrike (a male at Pund was presumbly the lingering bird from three days ago).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc):
Stock Dove (still present at Haa then near Shirva), Chiffchaff (5), Whitethroat (2), Reed Warbler (2), Spotted Flycatcher, Common Crossbill (2).
Breeding birds: Just 12 Arctic Tern nests were discovered on Buness (the main colony).
Year list: 167 species

Wednesday 10th June
Summary: It felt like the end of spring, with cold westerly winds bringing nothing in the way of bird movement. Flights from Tingwall were cancelled due to low cloud on Shetland to add to the un spring-like feeling. There's maybe a bit of hope for an improvement in the weather on Friday, so perhaps a last hurrah isn't out of the question though...
Weather: W4-5, cloudy with some rain in the morning. Visibilty moderate, although improving later.
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Teal, Dunlin, Grey Wagtail, Lesser Redpoll (one trapped at Plantation late evening).
Breeding birds: Comparisons with the east coast counts of some seabirds show a mixed bag of results compared with previous years. Kittiwakes are seemingly headed for a lowest ever total of breeding pairs, with a decline of over 30% compared to 2014 noted in the sections covered so far. Guillemots and Razorbills are a bit more promising though, with increases of approximately 7% and 30% respectively from the last whole-island census in 2010. These figures are only of the east coast though, with most of the west coast still to be counted, therefore the final picture may yet be somewhat different.
The first Fair Isle Wrens have fledged (in Norh Haven).
Year list: 167 species

Tuesday 9th June
Summary: Although not quite as calm as yesterday, the sea state and wind in the morning allowed for another adventure in the boat. With land-based monitoring of seabirds in the afternoon it was another day without census, but trap rounds and casual observations gave a clear impression of there being far fewer birds today.
Weather: WSW 3 at first, increasing 4/5 later, generally cloudy, with decent visibilty.
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Greylag Goose (2), Kestrel, Dunlin, Grey Wagtail.
Breeding birds: Early indications from Shag population plots suggest an increase on last year, with many nests having good-sized chicks.
Year list: 167 species

Monday 8th June
Summary: At last, a calm day with little swell that meant we could start catching up on seabird monitoring work by boat. Although the traps and nets were productive in spells in the morning and evening, most of the day was spent 'at sea', so full census wasn't carried out.
Weather: WSW 2-3, cloudy at first with a couple of light showers early on, but improving during the day.
Highlights: Blyth's Reed Warbler
(one trapped at the Gully on morning traps was present for the remainder of the day at the Obs), Red-backed Shrike (2: a pair at Pund), Icterine Warbler (one trapped and ringed at the Obs in the morning), Quail (singing near Quoy).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Stock Dove, Collared Dove (5), small numbers of common warblers still present, Spotted Flycatcher (13), Robin (2), Chaffinch, Linnet.
Other wildlife: Red Admiral
Breeding birds:
Puffin chicks found on the monitoring visit to Greenholm.
Year list: 167 species

Sunday 7th June
Summary: A blustery day, with the feeling that there were perhaps a few new birds despite the conditions.
Weather: SW becoming NW 4-6, variable cloud with sunny spells.
Highlights:
Red-backed Shrike (2: both females still present at the Obs and Barkland), Icterine Warbler (one still in Furse), Quail (singing in the Ringing Hut Mire).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Kestrel, Common Sandpiper, Short-eared Owl, Sand Martin, Chiffchaff (10), Lesser Whitethroat (4), Reed Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher (9), Robin (2), Black Redstart (Hesti Geo), Redstart (female trapped in Gully), Yellow Wagtail, Siskin (2).
Other Wildlife: small numbers of Silver-Y still present.
Year list: 166 species

Saturday 6th June
Summary: A stiff SSW wind saw a bit of a clear out (although some birds were probably lurking unseen), although there were a few new birds discovered.
Weather: SSW4-5, bright and sunny at first, but clouding over later and heavy rain from around 1930hrs.
Highlights: Marsh Warbler
(lingering bird at Chalet and a new one at Lower Leogh), Red-backed Shrike (females at Barkland and trapped in the Vaadal), Icterine Warbler (one still in Furse)
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Greylag Goose (6), Manx Shearwater (7 in Fair Isle waters seen from the Good Shepherd, the first sighting of the year), Storm Petrel (3 from the Good Shepherd, the first sighting of the year), Kestrel (first of the month), Glaucous Gull (juvenile still present, on Meoness), Stock Dove (one at Houll, the first of the year), Swift, Chiffchaff (8), Reed Warbler (2), most other warbler species from yesterday still present but in smaller numbers, Spotted Flycatcher (20), Black Redstart (South Light), White Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Siskin (2), Common Crossbill (2), Reed Bunting (male).
Other Wildlife: Minke Whale (one from the Good Shepherd), Red Admiral, Silver Y (still small numbers present).
Year list: 166 species.

Friday 5th June
Summary: A great day (certainly in the more sheltered parts of the island), with birds in almost every geo. A good selection of lingering birds of interest were joined by some decent counts of common migrants and several scarcities. The day perhaps lacked that 'big rare', but there's surely still hope for tomorrow!
Weather: SE 4 increasing during morning then decreasing and becoming more SW in the evening. After overnight rain the day started largely dry, although this was followed by prolonged spells of heavy rain in the afternoon and again late evening.
Highlights: Greenish Warbler
(2: birds still at Schoolton and South Raeva), Hobby (one flew north over Lerness, circled Guidicum then headed south, although was not seen again), Red-backed Shrike (2: male still at Stackhoull and a newly arrived female at North Naaversgill), Marsh Warbler (2: one trapped at Plantation, with the lingering bird still at Chalet), Icterine Warbler (singles at Furse and Roskillie, presumably the same birds as yesterday), Hawfinch (Gunnawark), Grey-headed Wagtail (female at Hesti), Quail (2: one again at Chalet and another at Utra), Glaucous Gull (juvenile again at Houll).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Red-breasted Merganser (2), Cuckoo (one on Dronger, with probably the same bird later at Troila Geo). Swift (one at Meoness, just the second sighting this year), Chiffcahff (6), Willow Warbler (22: highest count since 6th May), Blackcap (2), Lesser Whitethroat (3), Whitethroat (8: highest count of the year so far), Sedge Warbler (9: highest count since 11th May), Reed Warbler (Schoolton: the second bird of the spring), Song Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher (25: the highest count since 2012), Robin (2: lingering bird at Obs and one on Lerness), Redstart, Pied Flycatcher (3), Tree Sparrow (2), Common Crossbill (2).
Other Wildlife: Silver Y (a small arrival, with at least five seen in North, although Spotted Flycatchers were observed eating several large moths, which were presumably also this species).
Year list: 163 species.

Thursday 4th June
Summary: Although another good day, with several decent lingering birds, although there had obviously been a bit of a clear out of many of yesterday's migrants. With the wind easing to the SE later in the day, hopes are high that tomorrow will produce something and I'm predicting something of BB rarity level.
Weather: WSW backing SE later, with a force 4/5 reducing to 2/3 later. Mostly sunny early on, but becoming cloudy later, with rain from late evening.
Highlights: Greenish Warbler
(at least one still present, with sightings at Springfield and Shirva, the latter of which involved a bird occasionaly giving snatches of song), Icterine Warbler (the ringed bird still present at the Obs, where it was heard in song and an unringed bird in Furse), Quail (one flushed from Chalet in the evening), Marsh Warbler (one at Chalet, presumably the bird from yesterday), Red-backed Shrike (male at Boini Mire and heard in song), Glaucous Gull (a worn juvenile bird at Houll),
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Greylag Goose (4), , Short-eared Owl, Swallow (30), House Martin (7), Chiffchaff (4), Willow Warbler (7), Blackcap (2), Garden Warbler (3), Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat (5), Grasshopper Warbler (Shirva), Sedge Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher (3), Whinchat, Pied Flycatcher, littoralis Rock Pipit, Chaffinch, Crossbill.
Breeding birds: first Guillemot chick of the year seen in Gunnawark.
Year list: 163 species.

Wednesday 3rd June
Summary: Although the weather wasn't necessarily that good for migrants, there was an obvious arrival of several species, perhaps involving birds that had arrived late in the previous day. With the sun generally shining and a cruise ship arriving in the afternoon, it was a good day all round.
Weather: SW4, variable cloud, dry with good visibility
Highlights: Greenish Warbler
(two, with both birds mobile in the south of the island, which were seen at the same time at one point at opposite ends of Meadow Burn), Icterine Warbler (one trapped at the Obs late in the evening), Bluethroat (male at Lower Stoneybrek), Marsh Warbler (one at Charlie's Trees), Red-backed Shrike (male still around Meadow Burn)
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Woodcock, Short-eared Owl, Chiffchaff (4), Willow Warbler (15), Blackcap (8), Garden Warbler (14), Lesser Whitethroat (3), Whitethroat (4), Grasshopper Warbler (Midway), Sedge Warbler (2), Spotted Flycatcher (7), Pied Flycatcher (3), Tree Pipit, Crossbill (2).
Year list: 163 species.

Tuesday 2nd June
Summary: Another nice day, with enough birds around to give the feeling that there could be something rather good turning up. Most of the migrants turned out to be common ones, but a late arrival of a few more birds saw a couple of new scarcities and kept the optimism up for tomorrow.
Weather: SE3-4 becoming SW later. Dry and sunny, rather warm at times.
Highlights: Icterine Warbler
(two arrived in the evening, one seen briefly at the Obs then presumably the same bird trapped at Barkland and another at Utra at the same time), Red-backed Shrike (the male still present), Common Rosefinch (first-summer still in the south).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Sparrowhawk, Sanderling, Dunlin (9), Short-eared Owl, Swallow (35), Chiffchaff (11), Willow Warbler (4), Blackcap (4), Garden Warbler (4 - highest count of the year so far), Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat (7 - highest cound of the year so far), Sedge Warbler (4), Redwing, Spotted Flycatcher (11 - highest count of the year so far), Stonechat (female), Tree PIpit, Common Crossbill (4), Reed Bunting.
Breeding birds: Hooded Crow chicks have hatched. Skylark carrying food.
Year list: 162 species.

Monday 1st June
Summary: A rather blowy start made birding not as productive as might have been hoped for, but conditions calmed a bit later and, with the sun shining, it was somewhat better for a spell in the early afternoon. Things started to get even better as the wind shifted to the SE and migrants started appearing later on, which bodes well for tomorrow...
Weather: SW backing SE, 5/6 at first, decreasing 3/4 then increasing again, with gusts of 40mph+ expected overnight.
Highlights: Marsh Warbler
(one at Lower Stoneybrek), Red-backed Shrike (a male discovered late in the evening at Nether Taft), Common Rosefinch (a first-summer male touring the crofts and singing).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk (male), Merlin, Woodcock, Short-eared Owl, Redwing, Chiffchaff (5), Willow Warbler (2), Spotted Flycatcher (4), Grey Wagtail, Common Crossbill.
Breeding birds: Razorbill seen carrying fish at Easter Lother, suggesting the first chicks have hatched. Great Black-backed Gull chicks seen on Greenholm.
Year list: 161 species.

Sunday 31st May
Summary: The SE wind delivered! An early start at the nets 3am-8am delivered a few migrants and a scattering were discovered around the island, although pickings were generally slim. The star bird was maybe not what we were expecting, but none the less it was a first for Fair Isle - species number 385 for the island list. Remarkably, the visitor who found today's star bird was part of the group of three people who found Fair Isle's first Lesser Scaup in 2011 (his last visit). There has to be a good chance that more will have arrived in the horrendous weather in the second half of today, and hopefully there'll be more to find tomorrow. Sadly, the rain has been very badly timed for breeding birds, and ground nesting species, Puffins, and possibly even some cliff colonies may well have suffered as an already soggy island was deluged with rain, causing various areas to end up underwater.
Weather: Calm at first, but a SE breeze quickly picking up and increasing to 4-5 later. Sunny and warm start, but heavy rain setting in from early afternoon and continuing throughout the rest of the day.
Highlights: GREAT WHITE EGRET
*first for Fair Isle* (one found on Da Water at 5am spent the day commuting between there and Utra, with occasional forays to South Light and at least one concerted effort to head north, which was later abandoned.
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Teal, Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Sparrowhawk (female), Black-tailed Godwit, Collared Dove (8, the highest count of the year so far), Short-eared Owl, Blackcap (5), Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat (2), Sedge Warbler, Redwing (2), Spotted Flycatcher (2), Redstart, Dunnock, Siskin (2).
Breeding birds: Eiders on eggs and the first fledged Rock Dove chick was seen today.
Year list: 158 species.

Saturday 30th May
Summary: Although it was largely a pleasant day, the fresh NW wind at the start of the day, combined with lingering southerly swell made the planned boat-work impossible, although we did get through the Breeding Bird Survey and Skua monitoring and some Guillemot counts. There were generally very few new birds (which was made somewhat harder to cope with when news came through of North Ronaldsay's Veery!), but there was some hope later on, whilst the forecast tomorrow has got us all very excited (it might not be that good, but with no easterlies for a fortnight or so, we'll take anything).
Weather: NW backing S, 3-4 early on, decreasing to a very light breeze later. Generally sunny, although a couple of tiny showers before breakfast.
Highlights: Hobby
(a first-summer bird at the Skadan, where it spent some time perched on a fencepost and on teh ground) at about 1540hrs was seen briefly later at Field.
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Wigeon (2), Collared Dove (3, including the first of the year to be ringed), Short-eared Owl (an apparently tired migrant on Malcolm's Head late in the afternoon), Goldcrest, Sand Martin (3, although other hirundine numbers were slightly lower than recent days), Ring Ouzel (female at the Obs then the Gully, the first since 14th).
Other wildlife: Risso's Dolphin (2 off North Light).
Year list: 157 species.

Friday 29th May
Summary: At last, a warmer day, with sunshine and a drop in the wind. Still not a great direction, but a decent early morning trap round was followed by a small smattering of migrants, mostly around the crofts.
Weather: SW 2-3, largely sunny, although rain again in the evening.
Highlights: Bluethroat
(a female at Bull's Park, just the second of the spring).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Wigeon, Red-breasted Merganser (2), Great Northern Diver, Common Tern, Woodpigeon (8), Chiffchaff (10, including a bird singing at the Obs), Blackcap (2), Lesser Whitethroat (singing at Lower Stoneybrek), Redwing, Spotted Flycatcher, Wheatear (256, the highest count since 2nd May, including 'Greenland' birds as evidenced by the two trapped), Tree Sparrow (27, including one lingering with a male House Sparrow around Lower Stoneybrek...).
Breeding birds: 82 Arctic Terns present, including birds nest-scraping.
Year list: 156 species.

Thursday 28th May
Summary: A nice enough day for three cruise ships to arrive in the morning (that's about as many as made it in the whole of last year), with the Puffins on Buness putting on a great show for everyone. Unfortunately, the wind stayed in the west and birding remained pretty quiet. It could be worse though, the spring of 1991 also saw a continuous westerly or north-westerly airflow and only a single sylvia warbler (a Lesser Whitethroat) was seen in the whole of April and May. Those south-easterlies are still being forecast for the morning of Sunday, will it be enough to bring something in? There's got to be a chance...
Weather: W3-4, with occasional light showers, but mostly sunny. Still cool though.
Highlights: Iceland Gull
(2nd-winter).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Cormorant, Water Rail (first since 4th May), Sanderling, Common Sandpiper, Turtle Dove, Sand Martin (2), Swallow (17), Tree Sparrow (at least 24), Tree Pipit,
Year list: 156 species.

Wednesday 27th May
Summary: A rather unlovely day, although a few surprises considering the very poor weather. The forecast is suggesting just a little hope for some more favourable winds at the end of the weekend, so there are a few crumbs of comfort to cling onto!
Weather: SW5 with frequent heavy showers and constant cloud.
Highlights: Iceland Gull
(2nd-winter).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Tufted Duck (male, the first of the year), Great Northern Diver (2), Grey Heron (first of the month), Common Gull (64), Collared Dove (2), Turtle Dove (still present), Cuckoo, Sand Martin, Sedge Warbler (2) and a selection of lingering migrants including Barnacle Goose (3), Blackbird, Siskin (2), Snow Bunting (male on Buness).
Year list: 156 species.

Tuesday 26th May
Summary: With one of the Wardening team heading off to Shetland to get a tooth taken out (I don't think it was just because of the continued westerlies), we relied on some help from visiting researchers to get census done, although it turned out to be another rather quiet one. Very little of note was new in and the conditions were quite horrible at times. There was just a hint of a bit more warmth later on though, and the forecast for the back end of the week looks ok (although tomorrow is set to be pretty grim), so perhaps there may be a bit more movement coming up.
Weather: W4-5, occasional heavy showers, although brighter later on.
Highlights: MOLTONI'S WARBLER
(male still present around Leogh/Midway), Iceland Gull (2nd-winter bird again gull flock by Houll).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Teal (4), Red-throated Diver (breeding-plumaged adult off South Light), Great Northern Diver (1st-summer type bird off the Havens), Common Tern, Turtle Dove (still present at the Obs), Sedge Warbler, Tree Sparrow (26), flava Wagtail, Snow Bunting (male still on Buness, the fifth year a male has lingered there late in May).
Breeding birds: Meadow Pipit carrying food.
Year list: 155 species.

Monday 25th May
Summary: Still westerly, still not much belief that anything was going to get in, but everyone's still trying!
Weather: SW3, 60-100% cloud, sporadic light showers.
Highlights: MOLTONI'S WARBLER
(male still present around Leogh/Midway), Iceland Gull (2nd-winter bird in gull flock by Houll).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Barnacle Goose (3 still present), Black-tailed Godwit (2), Collared Dove, Turtle Dove (still at Obs), Blackbird, Spotted Flycatcher (2 - the first since 18th), Tree Sparrow (27), White Wagtail (13), Grey-headed Wagtail (still at Stackhoull), Blue-headed Wagtail (Utra scrape), Greenland Redpoll (still at the Obs, with 3 Mealies also still present), Snow Bunting (male on Buness).
Breeding birds: Hooded Crow's incubating eggs, the first hatched Starling eggs were seen.
Year list: 155 species.

Sunday 24th May
Summary: Very, very similar conditions to most of the spring, with similar birds to recent days. No sign of anything but westerlies in the forecast and I'm becoming less confident of my prediction of one good bird before the end of the month! We did get two cruiseships visiting during the afternoon, all of whom left very happy with good views of the very cooperative Puffins.
Weather: W4-5, occasionally stronger, cloudy with some showers later.
Highlights: MOLTONI'S WARBLER
(male still present around Leogh).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Barnacle Goose (3), Sparrowhawk (immature male), Black-tailed Godwit (2), Arctic Tern (just 17, as they still haven't settled), Turtle Dove (lingering around the Obs), Short-eared Owl, Swallow (24), Tree Sparrow (the flock increased to 28), White Wagtail (13), Grey-headed Wagtail (plus another flava wagtail), Linnet, Greenland Redpoll (still at the Obs).
Breeding birds: Rock Pipit carrying food.
Year list: 155 species.

Saturday 23rd May
Summary: A bit of hope with a calmish start and then the wind swinging round to the south. Although a few migrants were seen and counts of several species increased, it seemed likely that many of the birds present were lingering individuals who were becoming a bit more visible after some days of poor weather. There was also a bit of excitment with a couple of twitchers and also a charter coming for the Moltoni's Warbler, with everyone going away happy after the bird (eventually) put on a decent show.
Weather: NW becoming S, 2-3 increasing to 5 (occasionally 6), cloudy with rain later.
Highlights: MOLTONI'S WARBLER
(male still present around Leogh), Marsh Harrier (female in the south of the island around midday, the 46th for the island and the first record since 2013).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Barnacle Goose (2 on Meoness, the first since February), Great Northern Diver, Cormorant, Merlin, Greenshank, Common Gull (69, indicating migration), Arctic Tern (105), Turtle Dove (around the Obs), Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Goldcrest (4), Chiffchaff (17), Willow Warbler (2), Blackcap (7), Garden Warbler (2), Sedge Warbler, Fieldfare, Grey-headed Wagtail, Tree Pipit (9), Greenland Redpoll (still at the Obs)
Breeding birds: Dunlin (one singing), Arctic Skua (first egg seen, in Gilsetter), Common Gull (nest with eggs found in the south of the island), Raven (2 fledged chicks in Gunnawark)
Year list: 155 species.

Friday 22nd May
Summary: Another day of no transport and difficult birding conditions, with little hope for anything new. Tomorrow should see the west winds ease at least, and that's about the best we can hope for - maybe it'll be enough for a bit of stuff to start moving...
Weather: A strong SW wind becoming slightly more NW later and increasing, with gusts up to 50mph. Rain at times, especially in the morning, although drier and brighter later on.
Highlights: MOLTONI'S WARBLER
(male still present around Leogh),Short-toed Lark (still at the Skadan).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Common Sandpiper (5), Black-headed Gull (14), Lesser Black-backed Gull (23), Woodpigeon (7), Turtle Dove (one at Setter in the morning had moved to the Kirn o'Skroo later), Short-eared Owl, Lesser Whitethroat (4), Redwing, Tree Sparrow (still at least 20),
Year list: 154 species.

Thursday 21st May
Summary: Quiet, with planes cancelled because of low cloud. Not an awful lot of hope in the forecast for the next few days, but this is Fair Isle and I'd expect at least one surprise before the end of the month.
Weather: A strong SW wind accompanied by regular heavy rain, not good.
Highlights: MOLTONI'S WARBLER
(male still present around Meadow Burn),Short-toed Lark (still at the Skadan).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Kestrel, Long-eared Owl (Obs), Short-eared Owl (Buness), Grey-headed Wagtail (female at Utra scrape), Greenland Redpoll (still at Obs).
Year list: 154 species.

Wednesday 20th May
Summary and weather: Moderate NW wind, not strong enough for any chance of skuas (as a brief seawatch at 0615 proved!), but enough to stop any migration. Although some lovely birds still around, there was very little sign of any new arrivals.
Highlights: MOLTONI'S WARBLER (male still present around Meadow Burn),Short-toed Lark (one still present at the Skadan), Dotterel (four still in Bull's Park).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Red-throated Diver, Cormorant (4), Whimbrel (11), Woodpigeon (6), Goldcrest (3), Song Thrush, Tree Sparrow (at least 27), Siskin (4), Greenland Redpoll (still at the Obs)
Year list: 154 species.

Tuesday 19th May
Summary: Well, it maybe wasn't the rarest of BB rares, but amongst the small number of migrants that arrived, we did get one of the recently reinstated BBRC species (that's two of the four species that have been put back on the list this year, just Red-throated Pipit and Aquatic Warbler to go now). In the end, the day list looks really rather impressive, so all our visitors are enjoying a good selection of birds. The sea state today meant that the planned cruiseship couldn't get in (better luck tomorrow morning hopefully...) and the Good Shepherd didn't sail, although we did get the FIBO boat in the water ready for the seabird season (if the weather ever improves enough for us to get out to sea).
Weather: NE2-3 becoming NW, cloudy with heavy rain in the morning and showers throughout the day.
Highlights: RUSTIC BUNTING (a female or immature male at Utra scrape, the first record since 2013), MOLTONI'S WARBLER (male still present around Lower Leogh and Midway), TAWNY PIPIT (still present in the Quoy area), Long-tailed Skua (a corking adult drifted north up the island before lingering around the Parks for several hours), Short-toed Lark (one still at the Skadan), Dotterel (four at Bull's Park in the evening).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Red-breasted Merganser, Sanderling, Green Sandpiper, Cuckoo, Short-eared Owl, Chiffchaff (12), Lesser Whitethroat (3), Tree Sparrow (25), Blue-headed Wagtail (male), littoralis Rock Pipit (one bird holding territory on Buness), Chaffinch (the first since 8th May), Mealy Redpoll (2), Greenland Redpoll (still at the Obs).
Breeding birds: The first Fulmar egg of the season was noted in the Parks.
Year list: 154 species.

Monday 18th May
Summary: A calm day with a trickle of new birds and the first cruiseship of the year - 150 or so visitors, mostly from America (although sadly the boat hadn't come from there, so no stowaway sparrows!), which quadrupled the island population for a few hours! Although the forecast looks a bit poor for the next wee while, there may be some hope as there seems to be an easterly from the Black Sea through Scandinavia all the way to Shetland. I'm going to predict a BB rarity, possibly something pretty big, tomorow...
Weather: Light wind, generally variable, with a bit of a bit of SE in it at one stage, heavy rain early morning, but a mostly dry day until drizzle later on.
Highlights: MOLTONI'S WARBLER (male still present in the Lower Leogh and Midway area), TAWNY PIPIT (still present in the Quoy area), Dotterel (4 on Vaasetter), Short-toed Lark (Skadan bird still present).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Sand Martin, Swallow (35), Willow Warbler (3), Spotted Flycatcher (2), Black Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Tree Sparrow (20), Blue-headed Wagtail (male still), Grey Wagtail, littoralis Rock Pipit (one apparently holding territory on Hoini), Brambling (the long-staying male was singing in the garden and was later joined by a female!), Goldfinch, Linnet (2), Lesser Redpoll (2, including one trapped, the first of the year), Mealy Redpoll (6), Greenland Redpoll (the large, dark, streaky bird was trapped at the Obs, with plumage and measurements suggesting rostrata)Also a number of lingering birds including Pink-footed Gose, small numbers of thrushes, warblers etc
Breeding birds: the first Lapwing chicks confirmed on Da Water, where adults have been reacting as if they're protecting young for a few days.
Year list: 153 species.

Sunday 17th May
Summary: Despite a very soggy start (that somewhat rained on our trap round parade), it developed into a pleasant day, with a bonus garden bird for a couple of lucky visitors who were able to photograph it from their bedroom window. With most of the recent good birds remaining in place, the Log had a pleasantly full look to it at the end of the day, and so the constant westerlies haven't dampened the spirits of our guests. Hopefully we'll get some calmer weather tomorrow and a few new birds to cheer people up even more...
Weather: W or SW 3-5, variable cloud, a couple of heavy showers in the morning, but dry and bright later.
Highlights: MOLTONI'S WARBLER (still present, roaming somewhat in the south-west, but settling later between Midway and Upper Leogh. Crucially, it was also heard to call for the first time today, only once but it was the distinctive rattling call of this species), TAWNY PIPIT (seen in the evening near Nether Taft then Quoy, although it appears to possibly not be in the best of health), Golden Oriole (a female or immature was in the Obs garden briefly at around 0630hrs but could not be relocated after flying south - the first record since 2012), Short-toed Lark (both birds remained present at Setter and Skadan), Bluethroat (the male still present but mobile as it was seen at Gilsetter and Field Ditch), Hawfinch (still roaming the south-east).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Red-breasted Merganser, Purple Sandpiper (27), Lesser Black-backed Gull (28), Short-eared Owl, Spotted Flycatcher, Black Redstart (South Light), Tree Sparrow (26: according to Birds of Shetland, this is the highest count on Fair Isle, or indeed anywhere on Shetland, since 1974 when there were 37 on Fair Isle on 17th May), Common Redpoll (a large, dark, streaky bird at the Obs was presumably North-western).
Breeding birds: The first Bonxie egg was found in upper Homisdale. Ringed Plover chicks at South Light.
Year list: 151 species.

Saturday 16th May
Summary: A very blustery day, with seemingly little chance of many migrants making it through (unless they'd come from America). Thankfully the initial forecast (of near-gale force winds and heavy rain) didn't come to pass (although a few large showers skated close past the south of the island.
Weather: W or SW 3-5 (occasionally 6), variable cloud with some sunny spells, a few light showers (sometimes hail), good visibility.
Highlights: MOLTONI'S WARBLER (still present, but relocated to the roadside between Shirva and Stackhoull), Short-toed Lark (singles at Setter and the Skadan crop strip, with the former presumed to be the bird last seen in that area on 11th), TAWNY PIPIT (presumably the bird last seen on 6th was relocated in the late evening near Schoolton, where it was originally found), Bluethroat (male relocated to Field Ditch), Hawfinch (Burkle).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Teal (11, the highest count of the month), Merlin, Dunlin (16), Wood Sandpiper (Da Water), Short-eared Owl, House Martin (8), Song Thrush (2), Whinchat (2), Tree Sparrow (at least 16 still present. In only two years has the annual ringing total for this species exceeded the 9 that were ringed today!), Blue-headed Wagtail (male near South Harbour), Tree Pipit (19), Mealy Redpoll (3), Crossbill (a juvenile in the Obs garden).
Other wildlife: a 'cabbage white' butterfly seen near the Obs.
Year list: 150 species.

Friday 15th May
Summary: Although a promising wind, the charts showed it was actually a south-easterly from not much further than Fraserburgh, so we weren't expecting much - although we were pleasantly surprised!
Weather: SSE becoming W later, force 2 at first increasing to 3/4 then up to 6 later on, mostly cloudy, with heavy rain from arounf 1800hrs.
Highlights: MOLTONI'S WARBLER (a first-year male trapped at the Obs at breakfast time, potentially the second record of the species for Fair Isle after a female which arrived on 16th May last year), Crane (2 still present on Suka Mire), Bluethroat (male at Barkland), Hawfinch (female still at the Haa).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Cormorant, Kestrel, Dunlin (14), Green Sandpiper, Collared Dove (2), Long-eared Owl (Hill Dyke), Goldcrest (4), Chiffchaff (20), Blackcap (8), Whitethroat (4), Grasshopper Warbler (Furse), Fieldfare, Redwing (4), Spotted Flycatcher, Black Redstart, Wheatear (228, a typical total for recent days, which included some 'Greenland' birds), Pied Flycatcher, Dunnock (3), Tree Sparrow (24, the highest count since at least 1981), Blue-headed Wagtail (male, Field Ditch), Tree PIpit (14), Goldfinch, Siskin (3), Common Redpoll (3), Crossbill (1 over Ditfield in the evening).
Year list: 150 species

Thursday 14th May
Summary: a calmer day, with a cool breeze at least coming from roughly the right direction, even though the winds were rather local. I'd been forecasting Bluethroat today for a while, would it come true... In the evening the second Puffin count of the year took place, although most Puffins still didn't return to land, so the count was probably still an underestimate of the total population. With census, trap rounds and a late walk along the cliffs for the Puffin count, the pedometer of one AW racked up an impressive 25 miles today!
Weather: NE3, cloudy but dry, good visibility but still fairly cool (there's been very little grass growth this year)
Highlights: Crane (2 seen flying south over Gilsetter at 1545hrs were relocated on Malcolm's Head where they lingered for around 15 minutes before twice circling and gaining height and attempting to head south before changing their minds and heading back to Fair Isle, where they were last seen in the Gilly Burn area. The first multiple record since 2008, although there have been a total of five individuals seen in the last five years), Wood Sandpiper (one heard at Da Water and then later seen at Utra and Golden Water was the first of the year), Hawfinch (female still in the south of the island).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Pink-footed Goose, merlin (2, including one heading north from the Good Shepherd), Sanderling (3), Whimbrel (9), Arctic Tern (66), Woodpigeon (7), Goldcrest (2), Chiffchaff (11), Willow Warbler (7), Blackcap (3), Lesser Whitethroat (4, the highest count of the year), Whitethroat (2), Ring Ouzel, Blackbird, Song Thrush (2), Redwing, Robin (7), Redstart (3), Pied Flycatcher, Tree Sparrow (11), flava wagtail, Grey Wagtail (first one of the month), Tree Pipit (14), Siskin (2), Snow Bunting (3).
Breeding birds: Puffin (6666 were logged in a whole island count). A productive visit to Easter Lother by the RSPB research team saw the first Shag chicks and Guillemot eggs of the season noted, whilst many Razorbills were also on eggs. The first Oystercatcher and Meadow Pipit eggs of the season were also found today.
Year list:
148 species

Wednesday 13th May
Summary: With the forecast for strong NW winds, a seawatch for skuas seemed like a good gamble (with no migrants around, a seawatch is always a last resort on Fair Isle, with the mantra of 'the skuas must pass us at some point' having been repeated by many Wardens over the years) and for once, it paid off. A seawatch from South Light from 0930-1230 saw the first ever spring skua passage to be observed from Fair Isle (a later attempt from Buness and South Light from 1400-1630 was less successful, but by that point, nobody cared), with records smashed for both the rarer species. Surely Fair Isle's best ever seawatch?!
Weather: NW4-6, cloudy, with a few showers early and later on and visibilty moderate or good. Cool (especially when seawatching for 3 hours!).
Highlights: Long-tailed Skua (40 flew north off South Light, the first since 2009 and beating the previous highest Fair Isle day-count of 18, with the highest previous spring count being just 2. The total number of Long-tailed Skuas previously recorded from Fair Isle is 67), Pomarine Skua (13 flew north off South Light, the highest ever Fair Isle day-count - beating the previous highest of 5, with the previous highest spring count being just 2), Hawfinch (female still at Haa).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Red-throated Diver (1 off South Light), Great Northern Diver (2 off South Light), Fulmar (a rather dark 'blue' bird off South Light), Iceland Gull (juvenile on Meoness), Arctic Tern (5 off South Light and Buness), Turtle Dove (1 still at the Obs), Stonechat (a male near Chapel was probably the lingering bird, with a new female at the Vaadal), Common Redpoll (2 Mealys and larger bird that was possibly the NW-type seen earlier in the month, intriguingly it was ringed).
Year list: 146 species

Tuesday 12th May
Summary: A very blustery day, with an unpromising westerly wind. Sadly there was no sign of any American passerines, having just missed out on a Dark-eyed Junco(which turned up yesterday in south Shetland Mainland), nor much else new really.
Weather: SSW 4-7, a few showers in the morning and then more sustained rain later in the evening.
Highlights: Iceland Gull (juvenile in South Harbour), Hawfinch (Schoolton).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Sanderling (3, the first of the year), Arctic Tern, Turtle Dove (still at the Obs), Long-eared Owl (Chapel plantation), Lesser Whitethroat, Ring Ouzel (2), Tree Sparrow (11), Mealy Redpoll (2).
Year list: 144 species

Monday 11th May
Summary: a rather quiet day for new arrvials, although a good enough selection of migrants still around.
Weather: SW 3-5 increasing to 6, patchy cloud increasing later with heavy showers from early afternoon, some prolonged.
Highlights: Short-toed Lark (showed well at Setter), Wryneck (Springfield), Hawfinch (male at the Obs, female roaming the south of the island).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Green Sandpiper, Turtle Dove (still at the Obs), Short-eared Owl, House Martin (8), Whitethroat (2), Sedge Warbler (9, including a couple of singing birds), Ring Ouzel (2), Song Thrush (3), Spotted Flycatcher, Stonechat (male), Tree Sparrow (11), Grey-headed Wagtail (male still at South Harbour), Tree PIpit (17), Mealy Redpoll.
Year list: 143 species

Sunday 10th May
Summary: A calm and promising morning, with a few nice birds in the traps and a few arrivals. With the wind increasing from the south-east later and rain setting in, there's got to be a chance that more new birds will have come in and so there'll hopefully be mroe to be found tomorrow.
Weather: SE2/3 increasing to 5/6 later, becoming increasingly cloudy and heavy showers from lunchtime becoming more persistent rain later.
Highlights: Short-toed Lark (still present, although flighty, around Pund), Wryneck (one at Brecks), Hawfinch (one over South Raeva appeared to drop into Stackhoull).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Red-throated Diver (2), Woodock (first since late-March), Common Tern (2 off Shalstane, the first of the year), Turtle Dove, Short-eared Owl (first of the month), most warblers present in similar numbers, Ring Ouzel (2), Blackbird (6), Spotted Flycatcher, Black Redstart, Stonechat (male at Upper Leogh, the first for a month), Tree Sparrow (9), Yellow Wagtail, Grey-headed Wagtail (male still at Walli Burn), Mealy Redpoll (male), Common Crossbill (2).
Year list: 143 species

Saturday 9th May
Summary: A decent day, with a few new migrants, although no large fall.
Weather: SE becoming SW force 3 at first then decreasing to a calm evening. Cloudy, with sunny spells.
Highlights: Short-toed Lark (one that flew over the school calling then landed near Barkland was identified as a diferent bird to that at Bergaroo yesterday due to the greyer plumage and less well-marked head), Grey-headed Wagtail (male at the Walli Burn),
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Red-throated Diver, Sparrowhawk (female), Kestrel (first of the month), Woodpigeon (6), Collared Dove (3), Turtle Dove (2), Goldcrest, Sand Martin (8), Swallow (55), House Martin (5), Chiffchaff (20), Willow Warbler (15), Blackcap (9), Lesser Whitethroat (2), Blackbird (4), Redstart (6), Pied Flycatcher (4), White Wagtail (20), Tree Pipit (11), Siskin (3), Common Redpoll (3), Reed Bunting (17).
Year list: 142 species

Friday 8th May
Summary: Another pleasant day, with a simliar scattering of migrants to 6th, but a drifty feel that felt good for raptors...
Weather: SW becomiong more southerly S, generally around F3. Cloudy spells with occasional heavy showers, but good visibility.
Highlights: Rough-legged Buzzard (one drifted high over the Havens at 1415hrs before heading NE out to sea, presumably the same bird seen leaving North Ronaldsay about 50 minutes previously), Short-toed Lark (one found in the evening at Bergaroo during a Puffin census).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Hen Harrier (drifting high NE - presumably the bird that had been present recently), Merlin (male), Peregrine (a very large female drifted NE, whilst the resident pair were also present),Dunlin (8), Common Sandpiper (4), Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Common Gull (72, mostly immatures), Lesser Black-backed Gull (23), Arctic Tern (the first of the year over Buness in the morning), Turtle Dove (lingering around the traps), Long-eared Owl (one seen heading high NE mid-afternoon), Rook (5), Carrion Crow (31), Hooded Crow (at least 10 migrants), Pied Flycatcher (3), Blue-headed Wagtail, Meadow Pipit (339, the highest count since mid-April), Common Crossbill (one in the Havens, the first of the year).
Year list: 142 species

Thursday 7th May
Summary: too windy for any meaningful counts (or any planes or boats), although still a few birds about.
Weather: WSW wind gusting to force 9 at times, heavy showers throughout the day, sometimes slightly wintry.
Highlights: Turtle Dove (trapped at the Plantation, the first to be ringed on Fair Isle since 2007 and the first to be seen here since 2013, following last year's total blank - the first in FIBO history), Gadwall (2 males and a female still on Da Water), Iceland Gull (juvenile).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Hen Harrier (ringtail over Gilsetter and Suka Mire), Greenshank, Cuckoo, Spotted Flycatcher (one shetlering in South Harbour was the first of the year), Common Redpoll (two Mealys and a much larger bird that was probably 'North-western').
Year list: 138 species

Wednesday 6th May
Summary: Another very good day's birding, with migrants of many species scattered around the island and many species logging their highest counts of the year so far. A day that very much felt like it should have had a new rarity.
Weather: WSW 3 decreasing for a while then increasing 4/5 later, rain at first then dry until mid-afternoon when showers increased to spells of heavier rain.
Highlights: TAWNY PIPIT (still present around Quoy/Schoolton), Quail (one flushed from the wet flush behind North Naaversgill), Wryneck (trapped in Plantation), Gadwall (2 males and a female, in what is proving to be a good year for the species), Hen Harrier (ringtail, probably young male seen brielfy at Homisdale and Burkle), Iceland Gull (juvenile).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Red-throated Diver, Common Sandpiper (3), Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Woodpigeon (8), Cuckoo, Long-eared Owl, Swift (over Brecks, the first of the year), Carrion Crow (31), Sand Martin (6), Swallow (55), House Martin (8 - in the heaviest day of hirundine passage so far this year), Willow Warbler (27, highest count of the year), Blackcap (25 , highest count of the year), Garden Warbler (3), Lesser Whitethroat (3), Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler (7), Ring Ouzel (5), Blackbird (5), Fieldfare (5), Robin (9), Black Redstart, Redstart (13, highest count of the year), Whinchat (6, highest count of the year), Pied Flycatcher, Tree Pipit (23, highest count of the year), Brambling (10), Linnet (5, highest count of the year), Mealy Redpoll, Snow Bunting (2), Reed Bunting (12, highest count of the year).
Year list: 136 species

Tuesday 5th May
Summary: Another great day's birding. Although not a big fall, there was certainly a lot of variety and the run of species arriving for the first time this year continues after a very slow start to the spring. It seemed like there were still birds arriving later on as the rain eventually set in, so hopefully there may be even more tomorrow.
Weather: E becoming NE 3/5 increasing 6, largely cloudy, with heavy rain from around 1700hrs.
Highlights: TAWNY PIPIT (still present around Quoy/Schoolton), Wryneck (in Boini Mire), Iceland Gull (2 juveniles).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Green Sandpiper (Springfield, first of the year), Woodpigeon (6), Cuckoo (Houll, first of the year), Long-eared Owl (caught in the Vaadal on morning trap round, first of the year), Goldcrest (4), Sand Martin (2), Swallow (30), House Martin (5), Chiffchaff (35, highest count of the year so far), Willow Warbler (17), Blackcap (13), Garden Warbler (Copper Geo, first of the year), Lesser Whitethroat (2), Whitethroat (4), Sedge Warbler (Walli Burn, first of the year), Reed Warbler (Stackhoull, first of the year), Ring Ouzel (5), Blackbird (3), Fieldfare (2), Black Redstart, Redstart, Whinchat (4), Pied Flycatcher (Steensi Geo, first of the year), White Wagtail (16), Reed Bunting (8).
Year list: 134 species

Monday 4th May
Summary: A day that felt rare and, although highlights were limited in the morning, the excitement reached a peak in the early afternoon. Some generally very enjoyable birding, with birds scattered around the whole island.
Weather: E or SE 3-4, becoming SW for a while then E1-2 later. Rain and low cloud at first, clearing mid-morning with occasional showers until early afternoon. Sunny spells later and generally mild.
Highlights: TAWNY PIPIT (1 found at Schoolton in the afternoon eventually showed well on the Houll. The 18th Fair Isle record and first since 2005), Osprey (1 flew north at 1405hrs), Brent Goose (the ringed pale-bellied bird was relocated at South Light).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Shoveler (pair on Da Water), Red-throated Diver, Sparrowhawk (3, including one trapped wearing a BTO ring), Water Rail (a ringed bird seen in the Wirvie Burn was presumably the one ringed there on 11th April), Purple Sandpiper (52), Jack Snipe (one near Pund was the first of the year), Common Sandpiper, Iceland Gull (juvenile still in the Havens), Woodpigeon (3)House MArtin (4), Chiffchaff (13), Willow Warbler (17, highest count of the year so far), Blackcap (10), Lesser Whitethroat (Field Ditch, first of year), Grasshopper Warbler (2), Ring Ouzel (9), Robin (9), Redstart (2), Whinchat (2), Dunnock, Yellow Wagtail (male), Blue-headed Wagtail (female), Tree Pipit (4), Chaffinch (3), Brambling (9), Siskin (7), Linnet (4), Reed Bunting (6).
Year list: 127 species

Sunday 3rd May
Summary: At last - birds! The weather was difficult, with strong winds making the day very cool, but it brought in birds. As the wind got into a slightly more southerly quarter as the day progressed, it was clear more birds were arriving. The day ended with five new species for the year and the feeling that the continued SE wind and heavy rain forecast for overnight will hopefully bring more...
Weather: ESE 5-6, gusting higher, cloudy but dry until c7pm when heavy rain set in. Cold.
Highlights: Wryneck (Gilly Burn), Iceland Gull (juvenile in North Haven)
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Common Scoter (male), Dunlin (63), Snipe (35, including ten seen coming in off the sea), Whimbrel (12), Goldcrest (2), Sand Martin, Swallow (20, highest count of the year so far), House Martin, Chiffchaff (15, highest count of the year so far), Willow Warbler (9), Blackcap (3), Whitethroat (first of the year), Ring Ouzel (6), Song Thrush (4), Robin (2 - first of the month), Redstart (3 on the west coast, first of the year), Whinchat (males at Shirva and Obs, first of the year), White Wagtail (15, along with 24 PIed and 3 unidentified alba, the highest count of the year), Yellow Wagtail (4: male flavissima, male and two female flava, first of the year), Tree Pipit (8), Meadow Pipit (262), Chaffinch, Brambling (5), Reed Bunting (4).
Breeding birds: Peregrine (pair of adults alarm calling at a geo on the west coast).
Year list: 123 species

Saturday 2nd May
Summary: with a more promising wind, there was hope for spring migration finally getting going, although signs of arrivals were rather limited and most migrants had actually decreased in number.
Weather: NE becoming E 3-4, cloudy spells, good visibility but cool.
Highlights: Hawfinch (female still present), Brent Goose (pale-bellied bird still present). No sign of the Mute Swan for a second day...
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Cormorant (3 in South Harbour, the first sighting for nearly a month), Sparrowhawk (a pair at the Obs in the evening, including a ringed male), Merlin (the first since 20th April), Oystercatcher (127, the largest count of the year, including several small flocks suggesting passage), Ring Ouzel (2), Fieldfare, Wheatear (265, easily the highest count of the year so far), Tree Pipit, 2 littoralis Rock Pipit, Siskin (6), Mealy Redpoll, Snow Bunting (a smart male still present), Reed Bunting (female).
Year list: 118 species

Friday 1st May
Summary: Although a pleasant day, there wasn't an awful lot going on, but the promise of May with easterlies kept spirits high.
Weather: NE3-4, cool, with occasional wintry showers early on, but largely sunny.
Highlights: Hawfinch (female still present), Brent Goose (pale-bellied bird still present), no sign of the Mute Swan...
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Swallow (7), Ring Ouzel, Black Redstart, White Wagtail (7), littoralis Rock Pipit, Reed Bunting (male).
Breeding birds: first Razorbill egg seen at Dog Geo.
Year list: 118 species

Thursday 30th April 2015:
Summary: The month came to an end with cold winds and the feeling that any migrants were going to have to work hard to get to us. Hopefully May will bring some better weather and more birds...
Weather: NNW up to 6 earlier on, decreasing later. Sunny spells, but cold.
Highlights: Hawfinch (still present), Brent Goose (feeding at the mouth of the Finnequoy Gully, where it's rings were read, showing it to have been ringed in Iceland in spring 2014), Mute Swan.
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Purple Sandpiper (12 - the highest count of the month), Jackdaw (3, just the second record this year), Swallow (5), House Martin (3), Ring Ouzel, Song Thrush, White Wagtail (9), Tree Pipit (2), Lapland Bunting (female at South Naaversgill).
Year list: 118 species

Wednesday 29th April 2015:
Summary: The easterlies were somewhat short-range and didn't really do as much as they might. However, it was still a nice enough day with some promise that there might be more to come.
Weather: ESE becoming NE, 3-5 increasing to 6 at times. Sunny spells and dry with good visibility, although chilly in the wind.
Highlights: Hawfinch (still present, mostly in the Plantation, but with occasional visits to the Gully and the Obs), Brent Goose (seen twice in flight around the Ditfield/Havens area), Mute Swan.
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Red-throated Diver (1 flew North over Homisdale, first of the year), Arctic Skua (3), Woodpigeon (2), Goldcrest (first since 25th), Swallow (3), White Wagtail (8, along with 18 Pied and 3 unidentified alba wagtails made it the highest alba count so far this year), Tree Pipit (2), Siskin (3).
Breeding birds: Puffins seen copulating.
Year list:
118 species

Tuesday 28th April 2015:
Summary: Despite starting census in snow showers, there were obviously a few migrants in. After an afternoon of trap repairs, the weather improved considerably and birds were obviously arriving later on. With easterlies forecast tomorrow, there's definite excitement in the air.
Weather: SSW 2/3 becoming SE later. Cloudy at first with frequent showers, often wintry, but clearing later and becoming quite pleasant in the sun.
Highlights: Hawfinch (a female was seen in the Obs garden in the evening during a mist-netting session and was later trapped here), Brent Goose (seen again near Jonny Peats, it appears to have a red ring, but views were too distant to confirm details), Iceland Gull (juvenile over the Obs late in the evening appeared to be a different bird to the long-stayer last seen on 22nd), Mute Swan.
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Gadwall (pair still), Dunlin (first of the month), Common Sandpiper, Greenshank, Woodpigeon (first since 20th), Collared Dove (3), Short-eared Owl (first of the year seen in the Parks in the evening), Carrion Crow (9), Chiffchaff (13, highest count of the spring so far), Willow Warbler (7), Blackcap (2), Ring Ouzel (2), Fieldfare, Wheatear (197 - highest count of the spring), White Wagtail (4), littoralis Rock Pipit, Chaffinch (2, first since 23rd), Brambling (5), Siskin (2), Linnet (3, highest count of the spring).
Breeding birds: Lapwing (first clutch of eggs found).
Year list: 117 species

Monday 27th April 2015:
Summary: cold, snowy showers and vicious hail storms made for a less than delightful way to celebrate the first anniversary of the 'best April day's birding on Fair Isle'! The forecast now suggests that next week will be dominated by easterly winds though, which has raised hopes somewhat...
Weather: SW becoming more southerly, 4-5 decreasing to 3, sunny spells, but frequent showers, often wintry.
Highlights: Mute Swan
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Sparrowhawk (female at the Obs), Lapland Bunting (still around the Obs gardens),
Year list: 115 species

Sunday 26th April 2015:
Summary: an unpromising forecast (again), with a cold and wintry feel to the day and very little evidence of movement.
Weather: WNW 4-6, cloudy with some wintry showers.
Highlights: Mute Swan (still present and spending a lot of time with the Whooper Swan...)
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Gadwall (pair still present), blue Fulmar (off Da Burrian), Redwing (23 - the highest count for 5 days), Wheatear (several Greenland birds present), White Wagtail (6), Tree Pipit, littoralis Rock Pipit (South Harbour), Common Redpoll (a very pale and fluffy looking redpoll at the Obs was probably a Common, perhaps an icelandica bird, but it didn't show well enough for the identification to be confirmed), Lapland Bunting (a male in the Havens that later moved to the Obs garden where it fed below the feeders), Reed Bunting (the first since 8th April).
Year list: 115 species

Saturday 25th April 2015:
Summary: With snow visible on Shetland and a cool wind from entirely the wrong direction, not much was hoped for, but in the end a few new species battled through, including a surprisingly rare species in recent years for Fair Isle.
Weather: W3-4, sunny spells but patchy cloud that brought several showers, often with a wintry element.
Highlights: Brent Goose (a pale-bellied bird briefly in South Haven was the first since Fair Isle record since 2010), Mute Swan (still on Da Water).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Gadwall (2 still present), Kestrel (2 females, the first of the year), Peregrine (a juvenile male was a new arrival), Whimbrel (7), Golden Plover (12), Arctic Skua (2 dark phase birds, the first of the year - the same arrival date as 2014), Carrion Crow (6), Grasshopper Warbler (1 near Pund, the first of the year - a day later than the 2014 first arrival date), Dunnock, Tree Sparrow (5 still at the Obs), Tree Pipit (1 at South Restengeo, the first of the year - 4 days later than in 2014), Goldfinch, Snow Bunting (8).
Year list: 114 species

Friday 24th April 2015:
Summary: very little to report, with rain stopping play for a good part of the day and little movement on the bird front.
Weather: W2-3, more or less constant drizzly rain, heavier at times.
Highlights: Mute Swan, 5 Gadwall (two males and three females, the second largest flock recorded on Fair Isle).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Whimbrel (6), Tree Sparrow (5 still at the Obs).
Year list: 109 species

Thursday 23rd April 2015:
Summary: Much of a muchness in many respects, with the wind and the birds not changing by and large, although a couple of the scarcer species present increased in number. Most of the excitement today was focussed on the sea, as all the Obs staff (apart from one!) enjoyed good views of one of the most wanted species on many people's lists...
Weather: W3-4, cloudy with some drizzle and occasionally poor visibility.
Highlights: Mute Swan, 3 Gadwall (a male and two females, initially in South Harbour, then later on Da Water), Slavonian Grebe (still in North Haven).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): .Red-breasted Merganser, Golden Plover (7), Common Sandpiper, Rook, Carrion Crow (5), Swallow (7), Tree Sparrow (5), White Wagtail (6), Siskin.
Other wildlife: 3 Killer Whales (including two bulls) seen in South Harbour then moved up the east coast, passing close past Buness. One of the males had a collapsed fin and may well be the individual seen here in June 2013 as part of a group of 15 animals.
Year list: 109 species

Wednesday 22nd April 2015:
Summary: Another day of fresh westerly winds and a corresponding lack of much migration, low cloud enveloped the North later in the day and caused the cancellation of the afternoon plane.
Weather: W3-5, sunny at first but cloudy later, with drizzle in the evening
Highlights: Mute Swan, Gadwall, Slavonian Grebe.
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Whooper Swan (on Da Water with the Mute Swan...), Iceland Gull (juvenile), Sand Martin (first of the year), Swallow (3), House Martin, Blackcap (2), Tree Sparrow (4 at Obs), Pied Wagtail (a colour-ringed bird seen briefly at the Obs in the morning then at Skadan at midday, details to follow hopefully).
Breeding birds: only the male Peregrine has been seen in recent days, hopefully the female may be busy elsewhere...
Year list: 109 species

Tuesday 21st April 2015:
Summary: A rather poor day, with low cloud turning into a drizzly fog and making birding unpleasant and damp.
Weather: WSW 3-5, cloudy, with drizzle later. Visibility moderate then poor.
Highlights: Mute Swan, Gadwall (female still), Slavonian Grebe (North Haven).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Whooper Swan (a flighty individual first seen on Gilsetter - first of the year), Whimbrel (2), Iceland Gull (juvenile), House Martin (one at the Obs was the first of the year), Chiffchaff (10), Blackcap (male at the Obs), Tree Sparrow (3 at the Obs still), Grey Wagtail, Brambling (9).
Year list: 108 species

Monday 20th April 2015:
Summary: A pleasant enough day, with sunshine later tempting a few more birds out (and even a couple of Chiffchaffs into song). A general feeling of a few new birds in, but still not much in the way of migration. It's still very early, although it would be nice to see some easterly in the forecast at some point!
Weather: ESE becoming SW 1-3, variable cloud, with sunny spells later.
Highlights: Mute Swan, Gadwall (a female on Da Water), Slavonian Grebe (still present, but relocated to North Haven).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Iceland Gull (juvenile still present), Carrion Crow (a flock of 12 at North Light), Swallow (4), Chiffchaff (8), Willow Warbler (10), Ring Ouzel, Tree Sparrow (3 at Obs were the first of the year).
Year list: 106 species

Sunday 19th April 2015:
Summary: A slightly chilly breeze, but an easterly one, although not a massively productive one, with a general feeling of a bit of a clear out.
Weather: ENE 2-3, overcast but dry.
Highlights: Mute Swan, Slavonian Grebe (breeding plumaged bird in South Harbour).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Pink-footed Goose (2), Long-tailed Duck, Sparrowhawk (2), Black-tailed Godwit (one on Meoness was the first of the year), Common Sandpiper (one in the Havens in the evening was the first of the year), Iceland Gull (juvenile still present), Rook, Chaffinch (2), Brambling (8), Snow Bunting (7 including a bird colour-ringed in Glenshee in January 2013).
Other wildlife: 3 unidentified Dolphins seen off the North coast, Common Seal (1).
Year list: 104 species

Saturday 18th April 2015:
Summary: Another lovely day, with perfect conditions for an early start and east coast Tystie count. There was a small amount of visible migration and one or two birds dropping in to start notching up the excitement a bit.
Weather: WNW 2, cloudy, no rain and good visibility, with a light swell
Highlights: Mute Swan.
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Red-breasted Merganser, Whimbrel, Greenshank (first of the year), Iceland Gull, Woodpigeon (4), Collared Dove (1 at North Light), Rook (1N), Carrion Crow (2N), Goldcrest (11), Chiffchaff (8), Willow Warbler (12), Blackcap (2 males, first of the year), Ring Ouzel (2), Dunnock (2), Grey Wagtail, Brambling (5), Mealy Redpoll (3), Snow Bunting (4).
Breeding birds: Black Guillemot (194 breeding plumaged adults counted on the east coast monitoring plot, just two less than last year).
Year list: 101 species

Friday 17th April 2015:
Summary: a lovely day, with a very calm start and ideal conditions for a Fair Isle Wren survey, although the swell on the west coast made an attempted Tystie count there less than ideal. Some migration evident, with spring almost feeling like it was finally arriving.
Weather: Sunny, flat calm at first with a light NE breeze developing.
Highlights: Mute Swan.
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Sparrowhawk, Water Rail (one at Chalet), Knot (one in South Harbour, the first of the year), Iceland Gull (juvenile), Common Gull (44), Woodpigeon, Swallow (9), Willow Warbler (2), Blackbird (7) and Song Thrush (3) - the highest counts of these two thrushes since 6th April, Fieldfare, Wheatear (a large increase, with 101 counted), White Wagtail (2), Brambling, Goldfincg (one at Obs), Mealy Redpoll
Breeding birds: Eider (106 counted around the coast), Rock Pipit (172 around the coast)
Other wildlife: Common Seal (1 in South Harbour)
Year list:
99 species

Thursday 16th April 2015:
Summary: a slow start to the day whilst drizzle cleared, although generally useful for getting more work done on the Axell trap!
Weather: Westerly increasing to around F3, early drizzle and rain giving way to drier conditions later.
Highlights: Mute Swan.
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Water Rail (one in Plantation may have been a migrant), 2 Whimbrel (the first of the year), Iceland Gull (juvenile), Swallow (2), Greenfinch (female at the Obs)
Breeding birds: Bonxie (a notable increase with at least 80 now present)
Year list: 98 species

Wednesday 15th April 2015:
Summary: Another windy and showery day that produced very little in the way of bird movements, although enabled some productive time to be spent on various bits of trap and habitat work.
Weather: SW 4/5, mostly sunny but with some heavy showers blowing through.
Highlights: Mute Swan.
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Shoveler (pair on Da Water), Carrion Crow.
Year list: 97 species

Tuesday 14th April 2015:
Summary: A windy and generally unpromising day, which largely lived up to its potential.
Weather: SW 5/6, largely cloudy with a few sunny spells and occasional heavy showers.
Highlights: Mute Swan (still present on Da Water).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Pintail (pair on Da Water), Shoveler (pair on Da Water), Sparrowhawk, Iceland Gull (juvenile), Rook (one with crossed mandibles), Willow Warbler (one trapped in the Vaadal was the first of the year), Fieldfare (first for 3 days), Song Thrush (first for 5 days).
Other wildlife: a Green Lacewing was at the Obs in the evening
Year list: 97 species

Monday 13th April 2015:
Summary: Large numbers of Meadow Pipits and Skylarks arrived, along with the continued scatter of wildfowl and a few other migrants, but the day will be remembered for one spectacular bird in particular.
Weather: calm at first, increasing to S4-5, cloudy spells but dry until late in afternoon when heavy rain set in, visibility generally good, although Shetland was lost in the haze later.
Highlights: GOSHAWK (an adult female first seen at Ditfield was later seen over the Obs before eventually heading north, the 6th island record and first since 1996), Mute Swan (still present on Da Water).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Pintail (a female went north past Sheep Rock, with a male on Golden Water - the first records of the year), Shoveler (a pair on Da Water), Merlin (2), Moorhen (one trapped in the Vaadal was the bird ringed on 24th March and not seen since!), Iceland Gull (juvenile), Skylark (332), Chiffchaff (9), Ring Ouzel (the first of the year was a male at Busta Geo), Meadow Pipit (520).
Breeding Birds: the Peregrine pair were vocal on the west cliffs, Bonxies had increased dramatically, with 40+ present.
Year list: 96 species

Sunday 12th April 2015:
Summary: An unpleasant day for birding, with very little of note. It was a good day to celebrate Romanian Easter though!
Weather: SW 4-6, cloudy spells, some heavy hail showers.
Highlights: Mute Swan (still present on Da Water).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Shelduck, Shoveler (male on Da Water), Golden Plover (82, a large arrival onto Meoness later in the day), Linnet (2).
Year list: 93 species

Saturday 11th April 2015:
Summary: a somewhat unpleasant day, although some southerly based winds brought a few birds in overnight. It still feels like spring is waiting to arrive though...
Weather: westerly up to F6, cloudy, with a few brighter spells and heavy rain in the morning and later in the evening, with occasional nasty hail showers during the day.
Highlights: Mute Swan (still present on Da Water).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Pink-footed Goose (9 - a lingering bird, plus a flock of 8 north), Shelduck, Sparrowhawk (the first sighting for a week, so probably a new migrant), Water Rail (Wirvie Burn), Iceland Gull (juvenile), Collared Dove (2), Fieldfare (10, the first sighting of the month), Redwing (128), Wheatear (23), White Wagtail, Brambling (2, the first sighting of the month).
Year list: 93 species

Friday 10th April 2015:
Summary: a rather pleasant day, although birding was restricted by the efforts to get the new 'Axell trap' constructed.
Weather: a light southerly wind and largely sunny day
Highlights: Mute Swan (still present asnd possibly set to become a fixture in the'highlights' section!).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Red-breasted Merganser, Dunnock (2)
Year list: 93 species

Thursday 9th April 2015:
Summary: A lovely day, probably the most spring-like of the year so far. A decent scatter of birds around traps and the Obs raised spirits and there were certainly some positive signs of migration, with tomorrow also looking promising.
Weather: SW 2/3, patchy light cloud, but largely sunny. Slight haze out to sea.
Highlights: MUTE SWAN (still present on Da Water, where it was quite happy to come to bread!).
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Pink-footed Goose, Iceland Gull (lingering juvenile), Glaucous Gull (juvenile north through the Havens), Collared Dove (the first of the year was at the Obs in the morning), Swallow (the first of the year flew past the Obs in the evening), Redwing (91, a clear arrival, apparently largely of Icelandic birds), Mistle Thrush, Stonechat (male at Upper Leogh), Wheatear (8), Dunnock, White Wagtail (a male at Easter Lother Water was the first record of this subspecies this year), Siskin (2), Reed Bunting.
Breeding Birds:. Gannet (first egg noted, at Yellow Head).
Year list: 93 species

Wednesday 8th April 2015:
Summary: A calm start, which was ideal for a Tystie census, although the wind started to pick up during the morning. The afternoon was largely spent starting the construction of a new crow-trap.
Weather: SE1-2 becoming SSW 3/4, cloudy with a few sunny spells, dry and good visibility.
Highlights: MUTE SWAN - the 10th Fair Isle record (and only the second in spring) involved an immature that was first seen flying North over Vaasetter and, after a couple of cicuits of the island, eventually settled on Da Water.
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Shelduck (3 in South Harbour, first of the year), Wheatear (male at Skadan)
Breeding Birds:. Eider (71 noted down the east coast), Peregrine (two females and a male fighting over the Havens in the afternoon were presumably the resident pair seeing off an intruder). Bonxie (at least 3, as the breeding population slowly returns), Common Gull (6 pairs at Buness, a couple around Da Water and one at Goorn), Black Guillemot (181 breeding plumaged adults along the east coast, slightly lower than the count in 2014, but some swell meant conditions were still not ideal, so this might be a slight undercount), Redwing (38),
Year list: 91 species

Tuesday 7th April 2015:
Summary: With fog, rain and generally poor conditions, it seemed that Fair Isle was the only place in the country not to be enjoying spring-like weather and it was no surprise that there were few sightings of note (and no flights to the island).
Weather: WSW 4, cloudy, with fog, rain and poor visibility
Highlights: Iceland Gull (juvenile)
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Redwing (at least 33 in a small arrival), Wheatear (one near the Plantation was the first of the year), Linnet (2 at the Obs, first of the year)
Year list: 89 species

Monday 6th April 2015:
Summary: Census was delayed by thick fog early in the day and it was a cold, windy start. Sunny spells later were quite pleasant, although fog returned by the evening. A rather small fall was indicated by a few new species and Meadow Pipits increased to their first decent count of the spring.
Weather: SSW 4, cloudy with thick fog at first and then again later on.
Highlights: Iceland Gull (juvenile)
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Water Rail (one near Golden Water was probably a migrant, rather than a wintering bird), Chiffchaff (3), Blackbird (23, a small increase), Redwing (30, the first double-figure count of the month), Mistle Thrush, Stonechat (male), Grey Wagtail, Meadow Pipit (274, the first three-figure count of the year), Chaffinch (3), Siskin (one over Obs, the first of the year), Snow Bunting (6)
Breeding Birds:. Rock Dove (48 counted, which is probably a reasonable indication of the breeding population), House Sparrow (66 counted, which tallies with the recent estimate of 30-40 breeding pairs, suggested the population is relatively stable).
Year list: 87 species

Sunday 5th April 2015:
Summary: Happy Easter! A quiet day for birding, which meant there was more time to enjoy the various island events for Easter (and the football later in the day!).
Weather: SW4, cloudy, with a few showers and poor visibility at times.
Highlights: Iceland Gull (juvenile)
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Greenland White-fronted Goose (the two birds were with the island Greylag flock throughout the day), Chiffchaff (1)
Year list: 86 species

Saturday 4th April 2015:
Summary: With the wind back in the westerly quarter things were fairly quiet, although a calmer evening meant a visit to Buness with the kids to look for the returning Puffins was on the cards.
Weather: SW 3-4, cloudy with drizzly rain and poor visibility later.
Highlights: Iceland Gull (juvenile)
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Greenland White-fronted Goose (two seen coming in off the sea at Meoness were the first white-fronts of the year), Long-tailed Duck, Cormorant (first of the year), Chiffchaff (3), Black Redstart, Mistle Thrush
Breeding Birds: Puffins on land in large numbers in the morning and evening
Year list: 86 species

Friday 3rd April 2015:
Summary: a day with some promise as the first easterly based wind for a while certainly had the chance to deliver a few migrants. Not many new species, but some obvious movement taking place, including visible passage of Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails.
Weather: ESE 2-4, cloudy with some heavy showers later
Highlights: Iceland Gull (juvenile)
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Greylag Goose (99, including a bit of northerly passage), Golden Plover (2), Woodpigeon (3), Rook, Goldcrest (37), Skylark (203), Chiffchaff (3), Blackbird (20), Song Thrush (5), Robin (21), Dunnock (1 on Dronger, first of the year), Pied Wagtail (16, plus 3 alba sp?), Meadow Pipit (96)
Breeding Birds:. Puffins arrived in their thousand, including the first one seen on land. Guillemots and Razorbills back in good numbers and on the cliffs
Year list: 84 species

Thursday 2nd April 2015:
Summary: a blustery and not very promising day, without any real feel of birds on the move. Still nice to be out and about again though!
Weather: N4, decreasing through the day, generally cloudy but dry and with good visibility. Still rather cold, although a little bit of warmth in the occasional sunny spells provided you were out of the wind.
Highlights: Iceland Gull (juvenile)
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Sparrowhawk, Merlin (male), Great Skua (the first Bonxie of the year was seen over the Obs in the morning), Jackdaw (1 still), Hooded Crow (around 15 migrants supplemented the breeding stock), Chiffchaff (3), Snow Bunting (5).
Breeding Birds:. Peregrine (pair of adults present on the island, usually together), at least 52 Puffins were off Ditfield in the evening
Year list: 83 species

Wednesday 1st April 2015:
Summary: the day started with a reasonable coating of snow across the island, and birding was again limited as the day remained cold and rather unpleasant. There was a snowman built in the garden though.
Weather: cold, frequent snow showers, although some sunny spells, the SW wind veered N later
Highlights: Iceland Gull (juvenile)
Migrants (new arrivals, notable counts etc): Peregrine (juvenile female), Jackdaw (one at Burkle, first of the year), Chiffchaff (1), Reed Bunting
Breeding Birds:. small numbers of Guillemots and Razorbills had returned to waters around the island
Year list: 82 species