Fair Isle Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

Sightings archive: January - May 2020


Sunday 31st May 2020
Weather:
sunny, with a SSE or SE breeze that was light or moderate.
An excellent day, with a great selection of birds, including several scarcities. The beautiful weather tempted the kids into the sea and it was good to see some socially isolated socialising going on around the Isle.

HIGHLIGHTS:
WESTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER: a female at the Obs was trapped and ringed. It was extremely worn, so little of the tail pattern remained, but what could be seen suggested it was more likely to be this species than Eastern (Moltoni's could be harder to rule out, although nothing particularly suggested this species). If accepted, it will be the 102nd 'Subalpine Warbler' for Fair Isle, although following the split of Eastern and Western there's some sorting out to be done of how many can be assigned to each species!
Blyth's Reed Warbler: 2; singles at Schoolton and Chalet (the latter of which was trapped and ringed); the first spring multiple occurence for the Isle
Red-rumped Swallow: still present, showing very well over the road at Field Ditch
Marsh Warbler: 2; singles at Schoolton and Plantation (first of the year)
Icterine Warbler: a bright individual at the Obs in the evening was thought to be a new arrival
Red-backed Shrike: female at the west end of the airstrip around the Vaadal stream
Common Rosefinch:
at least one still present and roaming the south

Other sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 2 Greylag Goose, 2 Wigeon, Teal, Red-breasted Merganser, Collared Dove, 2 Whimbrel, 15 Swallow, 5 House Martin, Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler (singing at Obs), Blackcap (male Obs), 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird (female still in the Plantation, where behaviour suggests there could be a possible breeding attempt taking place), Redwing, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, Robin (moulting bird at Schoolton), Dunnock (Obs), 2 Linnet, 5 Siskin.

Year List: 160
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Saturday 30th May 2020
Weather:
SE becoming ESE, moderate or strong. Sunny throughout.
Although there were a few bits and pieces about, the north coast was, perhaps surprisingly, almost entirely devoid of migrants.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-rumped Swallow: still present, showing well over Gilsetter near the Plantation
Red-backed Shrike: male at the Vaadal Reservoir then Plantation
Common Rosefinch:
two around Schoolhouse and then roaming the south, including one singing immature male

Other sightings:
3 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon, Teal, 7 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, Water Rail (one in the Vaadal; first of the month), 6 Whimbrel, 5 Dunlin, 3 House Martin, Willow Warbler (North Haven), 2 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat (Schoolhouse), 2 Blackbird (male Schoolton, female Plantation), 2 Redwing, Spotted Flycatcher (Setter then Plantation), Whinchat (Plantation), 2 'White Wagtail', Tree Pipit (Obs), Crossbill (male at Nether Taft; first of the year), Siskin, Reed Bunting (Boini Mire).

Year List: 158
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Friday 29th May 2020
Weather:
SSE wind, fairly light most of the day, although slightly more blustery at times. Low cloud and a bit of drizzle early on, then sunshine for most of the afternoon.
An interesting day, with a couple of good new arrivals as the weather continues to look promising for migration.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Blyth's Reed Warbler:
one at the Obs in the evening was occasionally giving some sub-song. If accepted, it will be the 54th record for Fair Isle, with spring records in all bar two years since 2010 (and autumn records annual since 2009). 
Red-rumped Swallow: still present, feeding around Burkle.
Common Rosefinch: an immature male singing at Schoolhouse.

Other sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 3 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon, 2 Teal, Cuckoo (Field Ditch), Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, 5 Whimbrel, 6 Dunlin, 16 Swallow, 2 House Martin, Wood Warbler (Obs), 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Sedge Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat (Burkle), Whitethroat (Upper Leogh), 2 Blackbird (male and female, Plantation), 2 Redwing, Linnet, Siskin.

Year List: 157
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Thursday 28th May 2020
Weather: light SSE wind, easing to a calm evening. Drizzle in the morning, with low cloud throughout the day
.
Not the nicest of weather, not that many birds for most of the day, but the suggestion of a few more bits around later on, with the two highlights  both being found after 7pm. There's also some more hope in the forecast...

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-rumped Swallow: one found at about 8.05pm at Aesterhoull then showed well as it fed with hirundines around Boini Mire; 14th Fair Isle record and fifth consecutive year of occurrence. It arrived with a notable late-in-the-day influx of hirundines.
Icterine Warbler: one at the Obs briefly burst into song; first of the year
Gadwall: male still on Da Water

Other sightings:
Barnacle Goose, Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon, Teal, Cuckoo (Gilsetter), 2 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, Whimbrel, 2 Red-throated Diver (over the Isle), 50 Swallow (small numbers present until late evening), 7 House Martin (mostly arriving later on), 2 Sedge Warbler (Obs and Schoolhouse), Lesser Whitethroat (Obs), 2 Redwing, Redstart, Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll'.

Year List: 156
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Wednesday 27th May 2020
Weather: fresh SW wind, W at times, easing to a calm evening. Cloudy at first then sunny.
A fairly quiet day after recent excitement, although a couple of late spring migrants made their first appearance of the year.  

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: female still at Chalet
Gadwall: male still on Da Water

Other sightings:
Barnacle Goose
(one around Pund), Greylag Goose, 2 Wigeon (males, Da Water), Teal (female), Swift (first of the year; 14 days later than first arrival date in 2019), 4 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, Dunlin, Arctic Skua (first egg, 6 days earlier than the first in 2019), 16 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 2 Sedge Warbler (Setter and Obs), Garden Warbler (Schoolhouse; first of the year), Lesser Whitethroat (Plantation), Redwing (singing at Plantation), Redstart (Aesterhoull), 3 Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll'.

Year List: 154
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Tuesday
26th May 2020
Weather: a reasonably fresh SW wind throughout the day, easing slightly later. Some cloud and spots of rain early on, but then largely sunny and mild.
The southerly element to the new birds continued, with the theme of no big fall, but some cracking migrants maintained for another day.  

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stone-curlew: one found sheltering next to a wall at the Ringing Hut Marsh was on Chatham's Land later. The ninth Fair Isle record and first since 2009 (the previous record was 1995, so it's a species that shows no sign of getting any more regular), it was rated the 8th 'most overdue species' for the Isle based on birds not recorded since 2010 with the highest number of records! Bee-eater, Great Reed Warbler and Lesser Grey Shrike are amongst those above it on that (slightly obscure) list, and it's a decent time of year (and weather) for any of those to turn up...
Red-backed Shrike: sightings of a female at Schoolhouse, Quoy then Chalet presumably all related to one wandering individual.
Turtle Dove: an increasingly scarce visitor, it's always good to see the first of the year. One found by Stewart just after lunch at the favoured location of Setter lingered there for the rest of the day.
Gadwall: the male still on Da Water

Other sightings:
2 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon (males, Da Water), 5 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, 18 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Dunlin, 10 Swallow, 5 House Martin, Willow Warbler (Obs), Chiffchaff (Obs), Sedge Warbler (Obs), Blackcap (male, Plantation), Redwing (singing, Chalet), Pied Flycatcher (female, Schoolton), 2 Tree Pipit (Restengeos and Gilsetter), Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll' (Schoolhouse).

Other wildlife:
Silver Y (Lower Stoneybrek)

Year List: 152
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Monday 25th May 2020
Weather: Blustery southerly winds, SSE at times, easing slightly later. Sunny to start, then clouding over in the afternoon, with some light rain late on.
A few more migrants in, with quite a pleasant selection of birds around. The Good Shepherd IV, made up its sailing from last week and it was an excellent drying day, so a good day all round! 

HIGHLIGHTS:
Short-toed Lark: one on the road next to the Gully flew south towards Gilsetter but couldn't be relocated. The 180th individual for Fair Isle (subject to acceptance), but the first since 2016 (prior to which, the species had been on an annual run of occurrences since 1963). Nice to have it back!
Bluethroat: a female in the Plantation was a new (brighter) individual than the previous bird in the Vaadal
Red-backed Shrike: the female had relocated to Vaila's Trees
Common Rosefinch: at least one around Schoolton, which was singing
Gadwall: a male on Da Water in the evening; first of the year

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, 2 Wigeon (males, Da Water), 2 Teal (male and female, Da Water), Tufted Duck (male, Da Water), Woodpigeon, 4 Golden Plover, 2 Sanderling, 5 Dunlin, Grey Heron, 12 Swallow, 3 House Martin, Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Sedge Warbler, Blackcap (male, Plantation), 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird (male Plantation, female Obs), Redwing, Spotted Flycatcher (Vaadal), Redstart (female, Gully), 6 Tree Sparrow, 2 Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll' (Plantation then Schoolhouse), 2 Siskin.

Year List: 150
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Sunday 24th May 2020
Weather: with westerly winds reaching gale force overnight, with heavy showers that were prolonged at times, it was an unpleasant start to the day. However, the winds eased, until it was fairly calm by the evening and most of the afternoon was dry, albeit cloudy.
Not much new, but a few nice birds still about and some better weather forecast for next week, which might bring a bit of late passage.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Bluethroat: female still in the Vaadal .
Common Rosefinch: still two in the Schoolhouse garden, where they were regularly showing well as they eschewed the feeders and scattered seed, in favour of munching on dandelions.

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, Wigeon (male, Da Water), Teal (male, Da Water), Tufted Duck (male, Da Water), Red-breasted Merganser (female, Smirri Geo), 4 Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin, Purple Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, 30 Black-headed Gull, 24 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 'blue' Fulmar (past South Light), Grey Heron, 22 Swallow, 7 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler (Sompal), Blackcap (Haa), Redwing (Quoy), 2 Tree Sparrow, 'White Wagtail', 3 Linnet.

Year List: 148
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Saturday 23rd May 2020
Weather:
strong SSW wind, heavy rain for a large part of the morning then showers for the rest of the day.
Although not great weather, it was a lovely selection of migrants to be found; no big numbers of anything, but some decent birds.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Bluethroat: a male at Quoy and a female at the Vaadal were the first of the year.
Red-backed Shrike: a female in Boini Mire; first of the year.
Golden Oriole: still present, between the Kirk and Stackhoull.
Common Rosefinch: two (both female/immature birds) present in the Schoolhouse garden.

Other sightings:
2 Greylag Goose, Wigeon (male, Da Water), Teal (male, Da Water), Tufted Duck (male, Da Water; first of the month), Cuckoo (Kirn o' Skroo), 2 Whimbrel, 8 Dunlin, Hen Harrier (adult male, roaming but mostly in the North), 14 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler (Chalet), Lesser Whitethroat (Lower Stoneybrek), 2 Blackbird (males at Obs and Meadow Burn), Redwing (Quoy), Pied Flycatcher (male, Obs), Redstart (female, Gully), 6 Tree Sparrow, 4 Linnet (pairs at Shirva and the Obs).

Year List: 148
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Friday 22nd May 2020
Weather:
an awful morning, with heavy rain and strong SW winds, although once the sun came out in the afternoon and the wind became more southerly, or even SSE it was rather pleasant.
Not a day with masses of migrants (although the rather blustery at times wind didn't help with the birding) but some great highlights amongst those that were found. A report from an Islander of a 'buzzard-type' bird couldn't be tracked down, so there may well be more out there to find over the weekend.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Golden Oriole: a female or immature flew out of the Plantation at around 8pm and was seen briefly at Setter before heading south again. The first record since 2016 and 49th individual for the Isle.
Common Rosefinch: a female or young male was at the Schoolhouse; first of the year (and seven days later than the first in 2019).
Hobby: one went south, south of the Houll, first of the year of this just about annual visitor (the last blank year for the species on Fair Isle was 2016).

Other sightings:
2 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, 4 Teal, Cuckoo (female, Plantation), 4 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, Whimbrel, 9 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpiper, Arctic Skua (copulation noted in the Parks), Peregrine (adult), Rook, 18 Swallow, 2 House Martin, Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 3 Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 2 Whitethroat (Plantation and Easter Lother), 2 Blackbird (males at Obs and Vaadal), Robin (Schoolton), Pied Flycatcher (Obs), Redstart, 5 Tree Sparrow, Tree Pipit (Gilsetter), 2 Linnet.

Year List: 146
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Thursday 21st May 2020
Weather:
SE at first, easing through the morning, then freshening from the SW. Sunny at first, clouding throughout the day, then low cloud, fog and rain in the evening. Dave Wheeler reports the warmest day of the year so far on Fair Isle, with 13.5 degrees (12.3 degrees on 23rd April was our earlier temperature peak before a return to more wintry conditions).
The calmer weather meant that homeschooling included lessons on 'ringing using a mistnet in the garden', which provided a couple of migrants (despite a few improvements to the Schoolhouse garden's bird-attracting abilities, it's nowhere near as good for migrants as the Obs garden, so anything in the net is always a bonus). There were also a few more migrants around the Isle, which made for pleasant walks. No rarities or scarcities, but another year tick and a few things in song, which is always a bonus.

S
ightings:
3 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, 4 Teal, Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Woodpigeon, 4 Collared Dove, 3 Whimbrel, Knot, Sanderling, 10 Dunlin, 3 Common Sandpiper, 15 Black-headed Gull, 16 Swallow, House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 7 Sedge Warbler (including a couple of singing birds), Reed Warbler (Chalet; first of the year), 2 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat (Lower Stoneybrek), Whitethroat (Plantation), 3 Blackbird (male still at Obs, with a pair at Pund, where the male was singing), 3 Spotted Flycatcher, Robin (Schoolton), 5 Tree Sparrow, 2 'White Wagtail', Tree Pipit (Gilsetter), 18 Twite, Linnet (male), Redpoll sp., 2 Siskin.

Year List: 143
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Wedn
esday 20th May 2020
Weather:
A strong SE wind overnight easing through the day, veering slightly to E later. Rain and mist at first, clearing through day, although some low cloud lingered around the hills for most of the day.
Freyja's birthday has produced some good birds in the past (including the day she was born, on which Thrush Nightingale and Hoopoe turned up), and this year added another species to the year list. It was another day that felt like there probably should have been more around; even allowing for reduced coverage there were few warblers around the crofts (which were well birded) for example.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Dotterel: a male and female at Chatham's Land were the first of the year (arriving four days earlier than the first arrival in 2019)

Other sightings:
3 Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, Cuckoo (Gilsetter), 3 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, 2 Whimbrel, 9 Dunlin, 12 Black-headed Gull, 25 Carrion Crow, 30 Swallow, 3 House Martin, Chiffchaff (Schoolton), Blackcap (female, Lower Stoneybrek), Redwing (Quoy), Robin (Schoolton), 6 Tree Sparrow (Schoolhouse), Linnet (male, Schoolhouse), 7 Siskin.

Year List: 142
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Tuesday 19th May 2020
Weather:
light or slightly fresher wind from SW at first, beocming SE and easing later, sunny to start then clouding, with low cloud appearing over the hills by early evening, bringing rain with it.
A few new birds around the feeders livened up some Zoom meetings, although there were perhaps fewer migrants around during walks on the west coast, crofts and to the Haven later than would have been expected. Great to have an improvement in the weather though and there were a few new birds around, with three additions to the year list.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: 3CY still in the south

Other sightings:
2 Greylag Goose, Cuckoo (singing on Hill Dyke), Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, 6 Whimbrel, 18 Dunlin, 6 Purple Sandpiper, 10 Black-headed Gull, 44 Common Gull (northward passage noted), Manx Shearwater (from Good Shepherd; first of the year), Grey Heron, Peregrine, Rook, 19 Carrion Crow, 2 Sand Martin, 42 Swallow, 4 House Martin, Wood Warbler (Schoolton; first of the year and one day later than the first arrival in 2019), 2 Chiffchaff (Schoolhouse and Obs), Sedge Warbler (singing at Schoolton), 2 Blackbird (males at Obs and Houll), Redwing (singing from the Schoolhouse chimney in the evening rain), Spotted Flycatcher (Vaadal; first of the year and 5 days later than the first arrival in 2019), Whinchat (male, Houll), 6 Tree Sparrow (Schoolhouse), 5 'White Wagtail', Linnet (male, Shirva), 'Mealy Redpoll' (Schoolhouse), 3 Siskin (2 males and a female, Schoolhouse), 2 Snow Bunting (pair still at Skadan).

Year List: 141

Other wildlife:
Red Admiral (Schoolhouse)
White-tailed Bumblebee (Schoolhouse)

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Monday 18th May 2020
Weather:
strong SE wind, easing slightly and backing SW later. Heavy rain for a large part of the day, clearing in the afternoon, with some sun later on
A promising wind direction, but not really coming from anywhere exciting enough, whilst the weather for most of the day didn't help with seeing anything.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: 3CY still on Meoness

Other sightings:
3 Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Teal (male and female on Da Water), Collared Dove, 13 Whimbrel, 7 Dunlin, 5 Purple Sandpiper, 4 Swallow, Chiffchaff, Robin (Schoolton), 6 'White Wagtail', Tree Pipit.

Year List: 138
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Sunday 17th May 2020
Weather: a quite strong NW wind early on, easing away through the day to almost calm by mid-afternoon
The Good Shepherd IV was able to catch up on its sailing today and it was nice to feel like the recent wintry weather was coming to an end. It looks like a wet start to the week is forecast for the first part of tomorrow, but after that, a week of SE winds could be on the cards, which is very interesting...

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: 3CY on Meoness still

Other sightings:
5 Barnacle Goose, 4 Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, Red-breasted Merganser (Haven), Collared Dove, 5 Whimbrel, 31 Turnstone, Knot, 10 Dunlin, Purple Sandpiper, 4 Black-headed Gull, Peregrine (Haven), 3 Swallow, 2 House Martin (Haven), Blackcap (female, Lower Stoneybrek), Blackbird (male, Plantation), 2 Redwing (Obs and Aesterhoull), Robin (Schoolton), Stonechat (still roaming the mid-section of the Isle), 2 'White Wagtail', Chafffinch (female roaming the south; first of the month), Snow Bunting (male, Barkland).

Year List: 138
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Saturday 16th May 2020
Weather:
strong W wind, easing slightly later, Grey at first with some heavy showers in the morning.
Much of a muchness with the weather and birds.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull:
the 3CY still in the south

Other sightings:
6 Barnacle Goose, 2 Greylag Goose, 8 Pink-footed Goose, 12 Ringed Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 44 Turnstone, Knot, 10 Dunlin, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 40 Arctic Tern (minimum number as they start to settle on Buness), 7 Carrion Crow, 2 Swallow, Sedge Warbler (Haa), Blackbird (male, Plantation), 3 Redwing, 10 'White Wagtail', 2 Linnet, 3 Snow Bunting (male Haven, pair Skadan), Reed Bunting (female, Obs).

Year List: 138
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Friday
15th May 2020
Weather:
Showers with some spells of more prolonged rain and cloudy throughout. WNW wind, generally quite strong.
Nice to see one of the later summer visitors putting in its appearance, and generally a few more waders around in poor conditions  

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-necked Phalarope: female on Da Water briefly (nothing is given much peace from the territorial Lapwings, of which at least two pairs currently have chicks on Da Water). Red-necked Phalarope has bred on Fair Isle in recent years; last year's first arrival was 13th May and in 2018 it was 14th, showing consistency in arrival and hopefully a sign that birds may settle again this sumer.

Other s
ightings:
4 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, 16 Ringed Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 27 Turnstone, Knot, 29 Dunlin, Purple Sandpiper (first record of the month), Chiffchaff (lingering bird at Schoolhouse), Robin (Schoolton), 5 'White Wagtail', 3 Snow Bunting (male Haven and pair at Skadan).

Year List: 138
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Thur
sday 14th May 2020
Weather:
a moderate or fresh WNW wind becoming somewhat more SW for a while later. Sunny spells, but also several heavy showers
Not many birds, but at least the showers were rain rather than snow today!

Sightings:
3 Barnacle Goose, 2 Greylag Goose, Whimbrel, 4 Knot, 10 Dunlin, 2 Black-headed Gull, Grey Heron (Hesti Geo), 9 Carrion Crow, Sedge Warbler (singing, Schoolton), Blackbird (male, Plantation), Redwing (Obs), Robin (Schoolton), 5 'White Wagtail', Goldfinch (over the south), Snow Bunting (male again in the North, although relocated to the Obs compound).

Year List: 137
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Wednesday
13th May 2020
Weather:
still a fairly strong WNW wind, with wintry showers in the morning and a largely sunny afternoon
It seems a bit late in the year to be getting pelted with snowballs by the kids, and yet here we are.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: 3CY sill around the Meoness area

Other sightings:
5 Barnacle Goose, Greylag Goose, 7 Pink-footed Goose, Red-breasted Merganser (female, South Haven), 2 Whimbrel, 2 Knot, 6 Dunlin, 4 Black-headed Gull, 20 Common Gull, Arctic Tern (many on Buness in the morning only), Peregrine, Stonechat (still present, although relocated to Leogh), 3 'White Wagtail', 2 Linnet.

Year List: 137
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Tuesday 12th May 2020
Weather: the strong NW wind continued, with some heavy wintry showers in the morning, although the afternoon saw the sun come out.
Another addition to the year list, but generally pretty quiet still.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: 3CY in South Harbour

Other sightings:
5 Barnacle Goose, 2 Greylag Goose, Red-breasted Merganser (female, South Haven), 2 Woodpigeon,
Collared Dove, Whimbrel, 2 Knot, 8 Dunlin, Common Sandpiper (South Haven), Wood Sandpiper (one flew over Schoolton before being relocated on Da Water later in the evening; first of the year), Short-eared Owl (Obs), Chiffchaff, Blackcap (female, Schoolton), Whitethroat (South Harbour), Stonechat (Quoy), 7 'White Wagtail', 2 Linnet, Snow Bunting (male, North Haven).

Year List: 137
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Monday 11th May 2020
Weather:
a better day, although still cool with a strong NW or W breeze and some unpleasant heavy showers.
Not much happening, with the weather bringing migration pretty much to a halt.

S
ightings:
6 Pink-footed Goose, Collared Dove, Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Stonechat (female, Haa), 3 Linnet.

Year List: 136
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Sunday 10th May 2020
Weather:
Winter basically. A strong, cold northerly or NNW wind, with some heavy snow during the day. Cold, although some sunny spells at least.
Not what you'd expect at this time of year (although actually the occasional snow shower in early May occurs about every couple of years). Not much in the way of migration to see, perhaps unsurprisingly.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: 2CY in gull flock below Shirva

Other sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose, 3 Greylag Goose, 8 Pink-footed Goose, Collared Dove, 3 Whimbrel, 39 Turnstone, 5 Knot (first of the year), 16 Dunlin, 12 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Swallow, Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, 7 'White Wagtail', Tree Pipit (Midway), 2 Linnet.

Year List: 136
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Saturday 9th May 2020
Weather:
Cool, with a moderate NW wind, rain of varying intensity for most of the day, finally drying slightly in the evening.
A very poor day of weather reflected in the sightings.

Sightings:

2 Barnacle Goose, 5 Greylag Goose, 9 Pink-footed Goose, Cuckoo (Quoy), 2 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, 24 Golden Plover, Whimbrel, 11 Dunlin, 8 Arctic Skua, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, 3 Sedge Warbler (Walli Burn), 2 Blackbird, Redwing (singing, Schoolton), 2 Linnet, Snow Bunting (female, North Haven).

Year List: 135
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Friday 8th May 2020
Weather:
light or moderate westerly wind, plenty of sunshine through the day, with a bit more cloud later
Not quite the excitement of yesterday's arrival, with the day generally being quieter for birds, but a couple of quality year ticks and another pleasant day for the daily walk.

HIGHLIGHTS:
RUSTIC BUNTING:
a ticking bunting that flew from Quoy was relocated at Setter, where it was found to be a smart male Rustic Bunting, the 139th record for Fair Isle and earliest arrival since 2005 .
Buzzard:
one seen coming in over South Harbour just before 1430hrs moved North up the east coast; first of the year
Iceland Gull:
one still around South Harbour

Other sightings:
3 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, 2 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, 4 Whimbrel, 45 Turnstone, 6 Dunlin, 2 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler (Field Ditch), 3 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat (Gully), 2 Whitethroat, Redwing, Song Thrush, 2 Robin, 5 'White Wagtail', 10 Twite, Linnet.

Other wildlife:
Red Admiral: Schoolton
Buff-tailed Bumblebee: Schoolhouse

Year List: 135
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Thursday 7th May 2020
Weather: Light SW wind, easing away through day. Cloudy at first but clearing to a very pleasant sunny day
Grace's birthday turned out to be a lovely day, so much so that there was even swimming in the Haven! A very pleasant selection of birds as well, with a number of highlights and obviously plenty of new migrants. There's no doubt that there would have been plenty other migrants found with a full census, with a 'ticking' bunting over the Schoolhouse being on example of a bird that was never tracked down, but that didn't really diminsh from what was a very lovely day.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Long-tailed Skua:
an adult seen over Vaasetter was then in Hjon Park before heading off up Homisdale. First of the year and first record since 2018.
Osprey:
one circling high over Field and Vaasetter at 1130hrs was possibly the bird seen later in Shetland. First of the year, first record since 2018 (with 2019 being the first blank since 1997) and 133rd individual for Fair Isle.
Hawfinch:
a fine male at the feeders at Brecks also wandered to Kenaby and Burkle (third record of the year)
Iceland Gull:
3CY around Meoness and South Harbour area
Canada Goose:
still present around Mires with a small flock of Pink-feet

Other sightings:
6 Greylag Goose, 8 Pink-footed Goose, Cuckoo (male singing around Vaasetter), 7 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, 18 Whimbrel, Curlew (6 headed north, in addition to the resident birds), 2 Black-tailed Godwit, Sanderling, 3 Dunlin, Woodcock (Obs), 3 Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper (Gilsetter), 12 Arctic Tern (Buness in the morning; first of the year and one day earlier than the first arrival in 2019), Short-eared Owl, 9 Carrion Crown, 7 Sand Martin, 54 Swallow (very much a minimum count), 3 House Martin, 5 Willow Warbler, 8 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler (Plantation), Grasshopper Warbler (still at Leogh), 9 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat (Haa), 2 Whitethroat, 3 Blackbird, 3 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 5 Robin, Black Redstart (Mast), 5 'White Wagtail', 2 Linnet, Yellowhammer (male roaming in the south; first of the year), Reed Bunting (male).

Other wildlife:
Red Admiral: one at Quoy
Eristalis intricarius: this hoverfly, that mimics bumblebees, emerged in reasonable numbers around (e.g. Schoolhouse)

Year List: 133
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Wednesday 6th May 2020
Weather: W or SW, light or moderate, cloudy
Another day with a few more migrants, but nothing too dramatic (although a welcome year tick!).


HIGHLIGHTS:
Canada Goose:
one with Pink-feet near Shirva, a typical date for overshooting birds from the British feral population and the 39th record for Fair Isle

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, 6 Pink-footed Goose, Teal (first of the month), Collared Dove, 9 Golden Plover, 6 Whimbrel, Dunlin, Black-headed Gull, Short-eared Owl, 20 Carrion Crown, 2 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Fieldfare, 4 Redwing, Robin, Dunnock (Haa), 5 'White Wagtail', 2 Goldfinch (Schoolhouse), 6 Siskin.

Year List: 129
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Tuesday 5th May 2020
Weather: light or moderate SW wind, becoming more SSW for a while. Generally sunny, with some cloudier spells
A few migrants about still, and perhaps one or two new bits and pieces, but not much.


Sightings:
3 Greylag Goose, 6 Pink-footed Goose, 6 Woodpigeon, 3 Golden Plover, 2 Whimbrel, Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Dunlin, 9 Black-headed Gull, 5 Arctic Skua, Grey Heron, Short-eared Owl (Obs), Peregrine, 30 Carrion Crown, Sand Martin, 2 Swallow, Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, Grasshopper Warbler (Leogh), 4 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat (School), 2 Blackbird, 2 Redwing, Song Thrush, 5 Robin, Pied Flycatcher (male, Ward Hill), Black Redstart (Mast), Redstart, Dunnock (one Schoolhouse, then Haa), 5 'White Wagtail', 4 Tree Pipit, 8 Twite, Goldfinch (Schoolhouse).

Year List: 128
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Monday 4th May 2020
Weather:
light or moderate NW wind, becoming more WSW  later. Largely sunny with some cloudy spells
Another fairly quiet day, with the wind stuck in a not particularly helpful direction.


Sightings:
Greylag Goose, 5 Pink-footed Goose, Bar-tailed Godwit (South Green), Common Sandpiper, Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk (one headed high North), 3 Swallow, House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, Blackbird, Redwing, Song Thrush, 3 Robin, 2 Redstart, 5 'White Wagtail', Tree Pipit, 10 Twite, 2 Linnet.

Year List: 128
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Sunday 3rd May 2020
Weather:
NW breeze, easing slightly during the day. Generally quite pleasant, with sunshine for most of the day, although a couple of heavy showers blew through in the afternoon.
Not too much new around, although a pleasant weekend day all in all and signs of the summer, with the breeding season advancing for some species.


Sightings:
3 Greylag Goose, 2 Collared Dove, Lapwing (first chicks seen, with a brood of 3 on Da Water; an early date, with chicks usually not see until mid-month), 4 Whimbrel, Woodcock (Plantation), Razorbill (first egg of the year seen in Mavers Geo), 2 Cormorant, 6 Carrion Crow, Swallow, 4 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, Grasshopper Warbler (singing in Plantation), 5 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat (South Haven and Field), Goldcrest (North Haven), 3 Blackbird, 60 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, 4 Robin, 2 Redstart, 5 'White Wagtail', 3 Tree Pipit, 3 Linnet, 2 Reed Bunting.

Year List: 128

Other wildlife:
Silver Y
(one in the moth trap at Schoolton is the earliest Fair Isle record, the
previous earliest was 13th May)
White-tailed Bumblebee (School)
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Saturday 2nd May 2020
Weather:
fresh, cooling, NW wind easing slightly through day, generally sunny
Quite a good day's birding, despite the conditions not being ideal for migration; either the sightings were of things dropped in yesterday's miserable weather, or possibly today's headwind downed a few birds that were heading over. The harrier was seen briefly by a couple of people, but unfortunately not well enough to clinch the identification.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull:
2CYover Soth Green

Other sightings:
9 Greylag Goose, 6 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon (pair Utra Scrape), Cuckoo (male at Midway; first of the year, earliest arrival since 1989), Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, 4 Whimbrel, Bar-tailed Godwit (South Green; first of the year), Common Sandpiper (South Harbour), 2 Grey Heron, Short-eared Owl (School Brae and Da Water), 2 Swallow, 2 House Martin (Hesti Geo), 8 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat (South Haven), Whitethroat (Kirki Geo), 2 Ring Ouzel (Malcolm's Head), Blackbird (male Schoolton), 32 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing, 17 Song Thrush, 11 Robin, 2 Pied Flycatcher (males at Dog Geo and Malcolm's Head), 2 Black Redstart (male Lower Stoneybrek and female-type Quoy), 5 Redstart, Whinchat (female, Burkle), 8 'White Wagtail', 12 Tree Pipit, 3 Linnet, 'Mealy Redpoll', 3 Reed Bunting.

Year List: 128
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Friday 1st May 2020
Weather:
a fresh NE wind, with rain during most of the day.
A very different day, with the conditions seeing far fewer birds around (or visible at least), although the sightings from the Schoolhouse window during homeschooling suggested there were still migrants out there. Things could have been a lot different if the ringtail Harrier that was seen heading south over the Kirk had showed better, or been seen elsewhere, as it certainly looked interestingly delicate. Maybe tomorrow...


Sightings:
3 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon (pair on Da Water), Golden Plover, 4 Whimbrel, Common Sandpiper (Gully), 3 Arctic Skua (including a pale phase bird at the Mast), Short-eared Owl (School Brae then Bull's Park), 4 Carrion Crow, 2 Swallow (a pair prospecting at Upper Stoneybrek), Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap (male and female, Schoolhouse), Ring Ouzel (female, Schoolhouse), 2 Blackbird, 7 Fieldfare, 4 Redwing, 7 Song Thrush, 3 Robin, Redstart (male, Schoolhouse and also Barkland), Linnet (ringed male, Schoolhouse), 2 Reed Bunting (School Brae).

Year List: 126
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Thursday 30th April 2020
Weather:
A quite fresh NE wind, which eased for a while and became more easterly during the day then freshened from the ENE again later. Some drizzly rain early on, dry for a good chunk of the day then heavy rain around early afternoon before largely drying off.
A really nice walk in the North saw a number of migrants sheltering on the west cliffs, with a fairly obvious arrival having taken place, perhaps influenced by the afternoon rain. Tomorrow's forecast also looks potentially quite promising.

Highlights:
Wryneck:
one briefly at the Schoolhouse before heading down the Isle (third of the year)
Hawfinch:
one flew over the Vaadal (second of the year)

Other sightings:
9 Greylag Goose, 7 Pink-footed Goose, 4 Teal, Tufted Duck (female, Golden Water), Collared Dove, 12 Golden Plover, Dunlin (Upper Stoneybrek), Common Sandpiper (Furse), 3 Arctic Skua (including a pair displaying over Gilsetter; beautiful), Sparrowhawk (male, Plantation), Short-eared Owl (Pund and School Brae; comments from various Islanders suggest it has probably been present for several days), 14 Carrion Crow, Swallow (one on Dronger was an obvious new arrival), House Martin (one in the Haven; first of the year and 12 days later than the first arrival date in 2019), 15 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, Grasshopper Warbler (Plantation), 3 Blackcap (males in the Gully and Pier, female at Obs), 2 Whitethroat (Barkland and Tineside), 3 Ring Ouzel (Hill Dyke, Copper Geo and Dronger), 4 Blackbird, 14 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 46 Song Thrush, 11 Robin, 10 Pied Flycatcher (the joint-highest spring count since 2013; males at Gunnawark, Lericum, North Feltsigeo, Dronger [3] and females at Wester Lother, North Naaversgill, Guidicum and Dronger; first of the year and six days later than the early arrival in 2019), Redstart (male, School), 2 Whinchat (female at Lerness and male at Dronger; first of the year and 7 days later than the 2019 arrival), Dunnock (Schoolhouse), 4 Tree Pipit (Hill Dyke, Copper Geo, Guidicum and Wester Lother), 2 Brambling, 7 Snow Bunting (Dronger), 2 Reed Bunting (Guidicum).

Year List:
126 (higher than four of the five previous years by the end of April)

Other Wildlife:
White-tailed Bumblebee: one at Schoolhouse (first of the year)
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Wednesday 29th April 2020
Weather:
moderate NE wind becoming more E during the day and easing slightly, fairly cool, with just a couple of showers, but with several sunny spells, some extensive.
Another day with a few bits and pieces in, although not quite the arrival that it felt it may have been at one point. Still, a rather pleasant day and the next couple of days look potentially quite interesting


Sightings:
13 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, 3 Teal, 3 Collared Dove (including one singing at School), Golden Plover, Whimbrel, 3 Arctic Skua (one from the Good Shepherd then two over the Isle; first of the year), 17 Carrion Crow, 7 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 11 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler (singing in the Plantation; first of the year), Blackcap (male, Leogh), 2 Lesser Whitethroat (School Brae and one still in South Haven), Whitethroat (Leogh; first of the year), 4 Ring Ouzel (3 Burrashield, 1 Gilsetter), 2 Blackbird, 3 Fieldfare, Redwing, 8 Robin, Redstart (male, School), 3 Brambling (including a male still singing at School), 14 Twite, Mealy Redpoll (Haa), Linnet (male), 2 Reed Bunting (females at Da Water and Upper Leogh).

Year List:
123
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Tuesday 28th April 2020
Weather:
moderate NW wind, easing slightly during the day, with cloudy conditions with occasional showers largely giving way to sunshine
Pretty quiet all round, although another addition to the year list

Sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose, 13 Greylag Goose, 11 Pink-footed Goose, 'Greenland White-fronted Goose', 5 Teal, 2 Collared Dove, Whimbrel, 5 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, Blackcap (male singing Schoolton), 2 Blackbird, 2 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, 10 Robin, Redstart (male, School), 4 Brambling (including a male singing at School), Greenfinch (Burkle; first of the year), 7 Twite, Linnet (male), Mealy Redpoll (Haa).

Year List:
120
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Monday 27th April 2020
Weather:
a quite strong north wind, with showers - much colder feeling than recent days.
Far less spring-like feeling, but hopefully the better weather will return by midweek (or at least the rarer weather).

Sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose, 13 Greylag Goose, 13 Pink-footed Goose, 'Greenland White-fronted Goose' (an immature with the goose flock near Taing), 5 Teal, Woodpigeon, Whimbrel, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Ring Ouzel (male Skadan), Blackbird, 2 Fieldfare (Skadan and Obs), 8 Redwing, Song Thrush, 11 Robin, Redstart (male, School), 11 'White Wagtail', 3 Brambling, 7 Twite, Linnet (male), Mealy Redpoll (Haa).

Year List:
119
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Sunday 26th April 2020
Weather:
a slightly fresher SW wind, with sunny spells but also a few showers (the first rain in a long time).
A reasonable day that never really took off in the way that it felt like it could have done, still some nice bits and pieces around though.

Highlights:
Marsh Harrier:
a 'cream-crown' was seen over the Obs at 9.45am heading north, it was then picked up in Shetland, where it was seen over Virkie at 1103 (by former FIBO Warden and FIBOT Chairman Roger Riddington) and Levenwick at 1121 (by former FIBO assistant warden Will Miles)

Other sightings:
9 Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, Wigeon, 4 Teal, 5 Woodpigeon, 17 Lapwing, 9 Golden Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, Common Sandpiper (South Haven; first of the year), auks present offshore but none on the cliffs, Shag (first eggs of the year; a clutch of 2 in Maver's Geo, although most nest sites are still rather empty), 5 Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk (female), 7 Carrion Crow (including a flock of migrants containing one Hooded Crow over Buness), 6 Swallow, 4 Willow Warbler, 8 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat (still present in South Haven), 3 Blackbird, Fieldfare (one at Field), 4 Redwing, 6 Song Thrush, 15 Robin, Redstart (male School), 'White Wagtail' (Da Water), 2 Linnet (the ringed male and female still present), Tree Pipit (Gilsetter), Goldfinch (one over Field Ditch), Reed Bunting.

Other wildlife:
Red Admiral: one at the Obs; first of the year and one day earlier than the previous earliest record (set in 2019, which was ten days earlier than the previous earliest record)

Year List: 119
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Saturday 25th April 2020
Weather:
Calm at first, with a light SE breeze picking up throughout the day, sunny with some cloudy spells.
A reasonable day that never really took off in the way that it felt like it could have done, still some nice bits and pieces around though.

Highlights:
Wryneck:
one in Walli Burn (second of the year, following late news of one in Bull's Park on 20th April [we missed the message!]
[Woodlark: a lark that called as it was flushed from Leogh was almost certainly this species, but the observer felt that they were unable to submit a description based on their sighting, so unless it is refound, it remains technically 'unconfirmed']

Other sightings:
3 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Wigeon, 6 Teal, 4 Woodpigeon, Golden Plover, Whimbrel, Purple Sandpiper, 7 Black-headed Gull, 2 Grey Heron, 5 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 2 Ring Ouzel, 2 Blackbird, 4 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, Black Redstart (female-type, School Brae), Redstart (male Schoolhouse), Tree Sparrow, 7 'White Wagtail', Linnet (male), 2 Reed Bunting (males, Da Water).

Year List:
118
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Friday 24th April 2020
Weather:
Calm, with a light ESE breeze backing NNE later. Cloudy spells, with some brighter patches.
The plane made it in and there was one addition to the year list, but a generally quieter day.

Sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, Wigeon, 5 Teal, 2 Tufted Duck (pair on Da Water all day; first of the year), 19 Golden Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Purple Sandpiper, Grey Heron, Peregrine, 5 Willow Warbler, 19 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 2 Blackbird, 7 Redwing, Song Thrush, 22 Robin, Redstart (male School Brae), 5 'White Wagtail', 1 Brambling, 2 Linnet (male and female, Schoolhouse; the female had been ringed in Shetland), Reed Bunting.

Year List:
118
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Thursday 23rd April 2020
Weather:
A light ESE breeze, becoming more ENE later. Foggy throughout the day, although patches coming and going and some pleasant sunny spells around bits of the Isle at various points.
The weather has at least been good for getting out on enjoyable daily exercise walks during the lockdown, and today was no exception if you could dodge the fog; it was even good enough for the first Schoolhouse barbecue of the year. Sadly, despite AirTask's best efforts, the weekly plane wasn't able to make it in - hopefully tomorrow will be better... Still birds about and migrants dotted around the Isle, but again a reminder that the counts below represent only what has been seen by people on their daily activities and are not comparable with previous year's census counts, whilst coverage is obviously not entirely consistent on a daily basis either unfortunately.

HIGHLIGHTS:
'Pale-bellied Brent Goose':
still present in South Harbour

Other sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose, 11 Greylag Goose, 11 Pink-footed Goose, Wigeon, 6 Teal, 2 Whimbrel, Dunlin (Muckle Uri Geo), 2 Purple Sandpiper, Guillemots and other auks on the cliffs again today, Grey Heron, Merlin (one came in-off the sea at South Light), Jackdaw, 3 Carrion Crow, 7 Swallow, 6 Willow Warbler, 15 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap, Ring Ouzel (one on top of Ward Hill), 5 Blackbird, 4 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 35 Robin, 3 Black Redstart (male at Leogh and two in Skinner's Glig), 2 Redstart, Tree Sparrow, 2 'White Wagtail', 2 Tree Pipit (Gilsetter), 7 Brambling, Linnet (male, Schoolhouse), 2 'Mealy Redpoll' (Haa), Snow Bunting (South Light).

Year List:
117
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We were deeply saddened today to learn of the passing of Kevin Woodbridge. Everyone at FIBO would like to wish our deepest condolences to all at North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory, his friends and family.

Wednesday 22nd April 2020
Weather:
light SE breeze, becoming ENE later. Mostly sunny, although some cloud during the late afternoon.
Another day of sunshine, with several interesting birds (including more additions to the year list) noted.

HIGHLIGHTS:
'Pale-bellied Brent Goose':
one in South Harbour is the first Brent Goose for the Isle since 2018

Other sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose, 9 Greylag Goose, 13 Pink-footed Goose, Greenland White-fronted Goose, Wigeon, 9 Teal, 3 Collared Dove, Water Rail (Gilsetter; first of the month), 20 Golden Plover, 13 Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit (one on Da Water in the morning; first of the year), 4 Purple Sandpiper, no auks on the cliffs today, and no Guillemots near the colonies), Jackdaw (one over Upper Stoneybrek in the evening; first of the year), 9 Swallow, 7 Willow Warbler, 14 Chiffchaff, Grasshopper Warbler (Setter), 2 Blackcap (male Plantation, female South Haven), Lesser Whitethroat (still in South Haven), 3 Goldcrest, 2 Blackbird, 11 Redwing, 6 Song Thrush, 28 Robin, Redstart (male still at Schoolhouse), 4 'White Wagtail', 2 Tree Pipit (School Brae and Gilsetter; first of the year and five days later than the first arrival in 2019), 5 Brambling, 2 Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll' (Haa), Reed Bunting (male, Schoolton).

Other Wildlife:
Shetland Bumblebee: one at Barkland

Year List:
117
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Tuesday 21st April 2020
Weather:
sunny, with a light ESE wind. A spell of fog early in the morning that quickly burnt-off.
Another lovely day, a few more birds. It's difficult to remember a spell of weather this good for this long on Fair Isle, but we're not complaining!


HIGHLIGHTS:
Common Crane:
one circling the Raevas at c0830 before heading north was seen again at c1130 as it went north over Houll before carrying on up the Isle. The first record since 2016 and the 27th record (and 37th individual) recorded on the Isle
Hawfinch: one in the Plantation in the evening; first of the year

Other sightings:
7 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Wigeon, 3 Teal, 2 Collared Dove, 27 Golden Plover, Whimbrel, 2 Purple Sandpiper, Short-eared Owl (School Brae), Kestrel (first of the year), Sand Martin (South Harbour; first of the year, nine days later than 2019 arrival date), 3 Swallow, 2 Blackcap (male and female, Schoolton), Lesser Whitethroat (South Haven; first of the year, two days earlier than 2019 arrival date and third-earliest ever arrival), Blackbird, 9 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 14 Robin, Black Redstart, Redstart (Barkland), Tree Sparrow (Haa; first of the year), 'White Wagtail', 2 Brambling, Snow Bunting (South Lighthouse).

Other Wildlife:
Buff-tailed Bumblebee: one at Schoolhouse, first of the year
Shetland Bumblee: one at Houll
Small Tortoiseshell: one at Schoolhouse

Year List:
113
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Monday 20th April 2020
Weather:
some blustery SE winds overnight calmed during the day, before freshening slightly from the ENE later in the evening. Another day of sunshine (14.3 hours) and quite warm (10.2 degrees), with thanks to Dave Wheeler for the details.
Whilst we're not frustrated at the lack of coverage (we know how lucky those of us who are here are to be able to take our daily exercise on Fair Isle) there is a tendency to wonder what is out there in the bits of the Isle that aren't getting checked on days like this. Although not a massive fall, there was a good scatter of migrants and a few additions to the year list. It looks like we may be in for good weather for a while yet as well.


HIGHLIGHTS:
Wryneck:
one at Bull's Park; first of the year
Iceland Gull:
2CY on Lerness

Other sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose, 18 Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 3 Woodpigeon (including singles at Gunnawark and Easter Lother), Collared Dove (Schoolhouse), Slavonian Grebe (off Jivvy Geo), 57 Golden Plover, 2 Whimbrel, Sanderling (South Harbour; first of the year), Green Sandpiper (Golden Water; first of the year), Sparrowhawk (adult male, Guidicum), Merlin, Peregrine (adult male), 3 Swallow (2 Utra, 1 Bergaroo; first of the year, an arrival date 8 days later than 2019), 9 Willow Warbler, 14 Chiffchaff, Grasshopper Warbler (Vaadal stream by airstrip; first of the year, 2 days earlier than the first arrival date in 2019), Blackcap (female, South Haven), Goldcrest (Easter Lother), Blackbird (male, Chalet), 13 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 8 Robin, 3 Black Redstart (male in the Burkle area and a male and female/2CY at the Mast), Stonechat (female, Setter), 133 Wheatear (117 counted in the North, including clusters of birds on the cliffs suggested most were passsage migrants), 7 'White Wagtail' (feeding in the Kelp in South Harbour), 9 Brambling.

Other Wildlife:
Small Tortoiseshell: 2, singles at the Mast and Schoolhouse are the earliest known Fair Isle records

Year List: 107
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Sunday 19th April 2020
Weather:
another day with a light, but at times cool, SE wind, and just limited cloud, with mostly unbroken sunshine.
A small arrival of Robins was noted around the vegetated areas of the North, so there's been a bit of an arrival, as we enter the last third of April, the chance of something rarer increases...


Sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose, 28 Greylag Goose, 13 Pink-footed Goose, Shelduck, 3 Wigeon, 8 Teal, 3 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove (singing at Schoolton - the species has never bred on Fair Isle, although singing birds are noted most years), 40 Golden Plover, Whimbrel, Sparrowhawk, 7 Chiffchaff, Blackcap (male, Bull's Park), Blackbird (female, Plantation), 21 Redwing, Song Thrush, 6 Robin, Redstart (male, School Brae), Black Redstart (Quoy), 'White Wagtail', 4 Brambling, Linnet, Goldfinch.

Year List:
102
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Saturday 18th April 2020
Weather:
a cool ESE breeze, but a glorious sunny day (Dave Wheeler, Fair Isle's resident weatherman reports 13.8hrs of sunshine - the most of any weather station in the UK today).
This spell of weather is very pleasant indeed, and there were more birds taking advantage of it, with a few more arrivals noted.


Sightings:
3 Wigeon, 8 Teal, 2 Woodpigeon, 48 Golden Plover, auks were back on the cliffs in good numbers, 4 Willow Warbler (first of the year), 9 Chiffchaff, Blackcap (female in the Vaadal), Goldcrest (Plantation), Blackbird (pair at Schoolhouse, with the male singing), 23 Redwing, 2 Robin (Schoolton and Vaadal), Redstart (presumably the same male at Schoolhouse and Chalet), Stonechat (male Gilsetter), 60+ Wheatear, Dunnock (Burkle), 3 Brambling, Goldfinch, 7 Snow Bunting.

Other wildlife:
Shetland Bee: one at Kenaby

Year List:
102
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Friday 17th April 2020
Weather:
a SE breeze that was fresh for a while during the early afternoon, but eased away in the evening. Sunny at first, with cloud during most of the middle of the day then sunny again later on. Quite cool for a while, especially in the cloudy spells.
Another lovely day. Quite a few migrants in, with the suggestion that birds arrived late on (Wheatears appeared in the evening where they hadn't been earlier on in the day) causing a boost in the year list.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Marsh Harrier:
a 'cream-crown' was over Vaasetter in the evening; first of the year of this now-expected spring migrant

Other sightings:
6 Pink-footed Geese, Shelduck, 3 Wigeon, 11 Teal, Collared Dove, 2 Woodpigeon, Slavonian Grebe (a stunning breeding-plumaged adult in South Haven; first of the year and only the second spring record of the last four years), Whimbrel (one north over Ditfield; first of the year and a day earlier than the first record in 2019), 27 Redshank, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap (both males in the Plantation and Vaadal), 3 Goldcrest, Ring Ouzel (male in the Plantation; first of the year), 25 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, Robin (Schoolhouse), Redstart (male at Barkland; first of the year and just a day later than the first record in 2019), 2 Stonechat (male Gilsetter and female Vaila's Trees), 35 Wheatear (minimum count, with birds arriving late on), Dunnock (Burkle), 2 'White Wagtail', Chaffinch, 5 Brambling, 2 Linnet, Redpoll sp?, Goldfinch, 2 Siskin.

Year List:
101
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Thursday 16th April 2020
Weather:
a light NW breeze, sunny, almost entirely clear skies and feeling warmer at last.
A beautiful day, seemingly better for things to be leaving than to arrive, but warm and sunny weather is always welcome during lambing, the Good Shepherd IV was able to sail and the weekly supply flight came in from Tingwall.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull:
2CY below Shirva

Other sightings:
12
Barnacle Goose, 7 Pink-footed Geese, 3 Wigeon, 20 Teal, Woodpigeon, 51 Golden Plover, 25 Redshank, Chiffchaff (Utra), Goldcrest (Plantation), 135 Redwing, Robin, 'White Wagtail', 3 Brambling, Mealy Redpoll (Utra), Goldfinch (Skadan), 3 Siskin.

Year List:
96
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Wednesday 15th April 2020
Weather:
a moderate SW wind, easing slightly, mostly grey with a few showers, although some sunny spells later on.
Obviously still a few birds moving, but nothing too dramatic at the moment.

Sightings:

7 Barnacle Goose, 23 Pink-footed Geese, 3 Wigeon, 13 Teal, Red-breasted Merganser (female, South Harbour), Woodpigeon, 86 Golden Plover, Sparrowhawk (one with prey at Chalet), Merlin (male, North Haven), Goldcrest (Obs), 3 Blackbird, 117 Redwing, Song Thrush, 2 Robin, Stonechat (female, Glisetter), 7 alba Wagtail, 4 Twite, Linnet, Goldfinch (North Haven).

Year List: 95
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Tuesday 14th April 2020
Weather:
moderate, sometimes strong SW wind, cloudy, dry but cool.
A big sea thanks to some rather blustery conditions meant there was no Good Shepherd sailing today, not too many new birds, but still things around. Looks like calmer conditions coming towards the end of the week, which could be good.

Sightings:
7 Barnacle Goose, 99 Greylag Goose, 14 Pink-footed Geese, Shelduck, 3 Wigeon, 2 Pintail, 10 Teal, Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Woodpigeon, 55 Turnstone, Purple Sandpiper, 151 Skylark, 160 Redwing, 4 Twite.

Year List: 95
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13th April 2020
Weather:
cool with a light or moderate SW wind and sunny spells.

Sightings:
7 Barnacle Goose, 68 Greylag Goose, 3 Wigeon, 2 Pintail, 8 Teal, Velvet Scoter (one in Finnequoy; first of the year), 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 6 Woodpigeon, 14 Lapwing, 31 Golden Plover, 3 Carrion Crow, 16 Hooded Crow, 170 Skylark, Fieldfare, 77 Redwing, Dunnock, 2 Brambling (male and female), 16 Twite.

Year List: 95
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12th April 2020

Weather: Cloudy and cool, with a quite strong NW wind.

Sightings:
Shelduck (Da Water), 4 Wigeon, 2 Pintail, 6 Teal, 4 Golden Plover, Black-headed Gull, 2 Fieldfare, 150 Redwing, 4 Twite, 2 Siskin.

Year List: 94
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11th April 2020

Weather: fairly light SW wind, rain at first but sunny spells then some more cloud as wind also freshened slightly.

HIGHLIGHTS:
SONG SPARROW:
again elusive, but still present in the Gully until dusk.

Other sightings:
3 Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan (still present), Shelduck (Da Water), 4 Wigeon, 2 Pintail, 12 Teal, Woodpigeon, 40 Golden Plover, 2 Black-headed Gull, 150 Redwing (minimum count), 2 Robin, Brambling (male Haa), 2 Twite, 7 Siskin (Haa), Reed Bunting (male, Schoolton).

Year List: 94
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10th April 2020
Weather: SSE2-3, low cloud over the hills, with some rain in the morning.
A few more birds moving about, the spring is a lovely time to be on Fair Isle.

HIGHLIGHTS:
SONG SPARROW: still present, but elusive as it was seen in the Gully.
Iceland Gull: 2CY at North Light

Other sightings:
7 Barnacle Goose, 4 Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, Shelduck (Da Water), 3 Wigeon, 12 Teal, 4 Woodpigeon, Black-headed Gull, Red-throated Diver (one flew across the Isle calling; first of the year), Cormorant, Merlin, Chiffchaff (Plantation), Blackbird (female, Barkland), Fieldfare, c100 Redwing (reasonable numbers were scattered across the Isle, with this large flock roosting in the Schoolton garden at dusk), Song Thrush, 2 Robin, 4 Wheatear, 8 Twite, 2 Linnet (first of the year), 5 Siskin (in the Plantation towards dusk, other sightings around the Isle during the day may have indicated more were present), Reed Bunting (male, Houll).

Year List: 94
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9th April 2020
Weather:
A light S breeze developing from the SE. Cool, with high cloud.
Well that was nice!

HIGHLIGHTS:
SONG SPARROW: one in the Vaadal in the evening was an unexpected record, the fifth for Fair Isle and ninth for the UK (if accepted)
Images at: https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=3011763322195750&set=pcb.3011800728858676


Other sightings:
7 Barnacle Goose, 69 Greylag Goose, 3 Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, Shelduck (Da Water), Pintail (pair on Da Water; first of the year. Although an expected autumn visitor, there have been spring records in only six of the previous 12 years), 12 Teal, 3 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, 27 Golden Plover, Grey Heron, Merlin, 132 Skylark, 2 Chiffchaff (Setter and Burkle), Goldcrest (Plantation), Blackbird (singing male at Chalet still), 2 Fieldfare, c100 Redwing, Robin, Stonechat (female, Schoolton), 7 Wheatear, 'White Wagtail', Brambling, 8 Twite, 4 Snow Bunting (Upper Leogh), Reed Bunting (female, Meadow Burn).

Year List: 92
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8th April 2020
Weather: SW3-4, just a few clouds, mostly sunny and still mild.
A mostly nice day, although there weren't too many new birds around. Lovely to be enjoying the spring though.

Sightings:
4 Barnacle Goose, 72 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Shelduck (Da Water), Wigeon, 14 Teal, 3 Woodpigeon, 28 Golden Plover (flock of breedng-plumaged birds on Rippack), 31 Redshank, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Razorbill (a few offshore), Puffin (back on land on Buness this evening), Hen Harrier (ringtail still present), Chiffchaff (Setter),  2 Blackbird, 3 Fieldfare, 72 Redwing (including one singing at Burkle), 3 Song Thrush (including one singing at Schoolton),2  Robin, 2 Wheatear, Dunnock (one at Schoolhouse then Burkle), Grey Wagtail (Burkle), Chaffinch (female), Goldfinch.

Year List: 90
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7th April 2020
Weather: SSE3-4, 6/8 cloud and quite mild.
A few more birds on the move, although still fairly small numbers so far. Wildfowl are passing through and a few summer migrants are starting to appear.

Sightings:
3 Barnacle Goose, 140 Greylag Goose, 13 Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, Shelduck (Furse), 5 Wigeon, 12 Teal, 3 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, 4 Golden Plover, 16 Ringed Plover, 8 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 20 Bonxie, Razorbill (small numbers offshore, but the cliffs were empty of auks), Grey Heron, Merlin, 2 Carrion Crow, Chiffchaff (Schoolton),  Blackcap (male Schoolton; first of the year), Blackbird (male singing at Chalet), 3 Fieldfare, 38 Redwing, Robin, 3 Wheatear (2 North Light, 1 Upper Leogh), Stonechat (Schoolton), 3 Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch (female), Siskin, 8 Snow Bunting.

Year List: 90
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6th April 2020
Weather: SSW4-5, 3/8 cloud, sunny spells with a light shower in the afternoon.
At last, some spring migration! A few new birds for the year, and some more migrants on the move (although bear in mind that with no seasonal staff, these are not full census counts)

Sightings:
108 Greylag Goose, Whooper Swan, Shelduck (Buness), 7 Wigeon, 11 Teal, Collared Dove (Plantation then Obs; first of the year), Golden Plover, 11 Ringed Plover, 73 Turnstone, Woodcock (Upper Stoneybrek), 4 Bonxie, Short-eared Owl (Homisdale), 120+ Skylark, Chiffchaff (Schoolton), 3 Goldcrest (Finniquoy, Brecks, North Raeva), 3 Blackbird, 4 Fieldfare, 21 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, 3 Robin, 2 Wheatear (males at Ditfield; first of the year and always one of the most welcome sightings of the spring - great birds!), Grey Wagtail (Gully; first of the year), 10 alba wagtails (including at least 5 Pied and one White), 135+ Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch (female), Goldfinch (Haa; first of the year), Lapland Bunting (one moving over Gilsetter with Meadow Pipits), Reed Bunting (Obs).

Year List: 89
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5th April 2020
Weather: F4-5, fresh SE, bright conditions with high cloud, then rain in the evening.

Sightings:
80 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, 12 Teal, 7 Woodpigeon, 3 Golden Plover, 7 Ringed Plover, 2 Bonxie, 51 Puffin (on sea in Furse), Hen Harrier, 2 Merlin (adult male and female), Carrion Crow, Chiffchaff (Chalet), 2 Blackbird, 6 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, Robin, 3 Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch  (female).

Year List: 85
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4th April 2020
Weather: after a calm start, a freshening wind become more SSE for a while. After rain for most of the morning, there was a generally drier afternoon.
 Some sort of promising migration weather, but not much to show in the way of migration.

Sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, 'Greenland White-fronted Goose' (still opposite Barkland), Whooper Swan, 16 Teal, 3 Woodpigeon, 4 Purple Sandpiper, Carrion Crow, 100+ Skylark, Blackbird, 4 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, Brambling (Quoy), Siskin, Lapland Bunting (male Quoy; first of the year), Reed Bunting.

Year List: 85
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3rd April 2020
Weather:
a fresh WNW force 4-5 wind, decreasing throughout the day. Mostly sunny, with a few cloudy spells.

Sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 118 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, 'Greenland White-fronted Goose' (one near Chalet; first of this subspecies for the year, with spring 'White-fronts' more commonly being this subspecies rather than European birds), Whooper Swan, Shelduck (South Haven; first of the year), 15 Teal, 3 Woodpigeon, 36 Ringed Plover, Merlin, Chiffchaff (Chalet), 4 Song Thrush, (female) Chaffinch.


'Greenland White-fronted Goose', Chalet (David Parnaby)
Year List: 84
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2nd April 2020
Weather: NW8-10, decreasing to 5 later. Wintry showers (some very heavy), cloudy with clearer spells later.
 A real doozy of a day, good for getting on with indoor jobs and enjoying looking at the wild conditions outside .

Sightings:
Woodpigeon, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Hen Harrier, Song Thrush.

Year List: 83
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1st April 2020
Weather:
W4-5, or stronger at times. Sunny spells, with a few showers, especially in the morning.
A nicer day, although with a chilly feeling and it was no surprise that there wasn't much in the way of migration noted.

Sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 106 Greylag Goose, 12 Teal, Woodpigeon, Curlew (singing and displaying at Pund), 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Hen Harrier, Merlin (the adult male caught a Skylark in spectacular fashion at Ditfield), 2 Carrion Crow, 2 Blackbird, 5 Redwing, 4 Song Thrush, Pied Wagtail, 'White Wagtail' (one in the Haven, also an alba wagtail over), Chaffinch.

Year List: 83
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31st March 2020
Weather:
SW5-6 and gusty, showers (some heavy).
A rather unpleasant day, but good enough for getting on with 'end of month' jobs. Very little to suggest there's much movement yet.

Sightings:
111 Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, Wigeon, 14 Teal, Red-breasted Merganser (female, South Haven), 4 Woodpigeon, 12 Ringed Plover, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull,  Hen Harrier, 2 Merlin (adult male), Rook, Carrion Crow, 3 Blackbird, 3 Redwing, Pied Wagtail, 2 Twite.

Year List: 83
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30th March 2020
Weather: WNW3-4 and sunny 
A pleasant enough day, although still very quiet for birds (as it can be at this time of year when the winds aren't conducive for migration). The start of the School Easter holidays, although under the circumstances, that's less of a big deal than normal, as the School closed last week.

Sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 109 Greylag Goose, Wigeon, 15 Teal, 4 Woodpigeon, 8 Lapwing, 12 Ringed Plover, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull,  'blue' Fulmar (one circling around the Fog Horn at North Light), Hen Harrier, Long-eared Owl (one at Schoolhouse was a bit of a surprise given the lack of other migrants; first of the year), 2 Merlin (adult male and female), Rook, 2 Carrion Crow, Chiffchaff (Chalet), 2 Blackbird, 9 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, Dunnock (Haa), Meadow Pipit (singing), 2 Chaffinch.

Year List:
83
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29th March 2020
Weather:
WNW4-5, cloudy and cold with some light showers
Beached Bird Survey today - very quiet for birds both on the beaches and elsewhere though.

Sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 106 Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, Wigeon, 14 Teal, 5 Woodpigeon, 9 Lapwing, 15 Ringed Plover, Purple Sandpiper, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Sparrowhawk, Hen Harrier, Merlin, Rook, 3 Carrion Crow, Chiffchaff (Chalet), 3 Blackbird, 5 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, Robin, Dunnock (singing at Burkle; first of the year), Chaffinch.

Year List:
82
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28th March 2020
Weather:
NNW5-6, sunny spells before totally clouding over and some light snow showers
Far less spring-like now and distinctly wintry.

Sightings:
2 Pink-footed Goose (battling north over Buness), Whooper Swan, Wigeon (female on Da Water), 15 Teal, 3 Woodpigeon, 8 Lapwing, Golden Plover, 17 Ringed Plover, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Peregrine (adult female), Rook, 2 Carrion Crow, Redwing, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch.

Year List:
81
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27th March 2020
Weather:
WNW3-4, sunny but cool
Still a nice enough day (albeit with the temperature feeling less spring-like), but the change in wind appeared to have held up migration for now. It was confirmed following a meeting with FIBOT and the FIBO team, that the seasonal staff's arrival to the Isle would have to be delayed due to the ongoing situation with coronavirus, which will obviously have an impact on the season. The situation will continue to be reviewed and we'll keep posting updates on the website. In the meantime, sightings will be updated regularly, although there will be no systematic census for the time being at least. 
 
Sightings:
Barnacle Goose, Whooper Swan, Shoveler (male), 4 Woodpigeon, 10 Lapwing, 12 Ringed Plover, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 4 Black-headed Gull, Great Skua (one past Buness), Guillemot (several on cliffs), Puffin (one off South Light),  Chiffchaff (Obs), 'Fair Isle Wren' (singing on Buness), 2 Redwing, Song Thrush, Stonechat (female trapped in Double Dyke), 2 Pied Wagtail, 2 Chaffinch.

Year List:
81
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26th March 2020
Weather:
SW2-3, sunny with just an occasional cloud. Mild
It's good to be back. A very pleasant wander around parts of the North showed that there were a few birds on the move and it felt distinctly spring-like.

Sightings:
Whooper Swan, Shoveler (male), Water Rail (Chalet), Lesser Black-backed Gull, Bonxie (one over Easter Lother; first of the year and earliest arrival since 2016), Guillemot (hundreds on sea), Razorbill (hundreds on sea, and several returning to colonies), 2 Puffin (singles off the Holms and in Furse; first of the year), Sparrowhawk (female heading high north that was probably the same bird seen later in the Plantation, where it caught a male Blackbird), Merlin (female), Rook, Carrion Crow, Chiffchaff (Chalet), Goldcrest (Chalet), 23 Blackbird (an obvious small fall of thrushes), 10 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, 4 Robin, Stonechat (male, Wirvie Burn), 2 Chaffinch, Twite (singing at the Restengeos).



Other wildlife:
Peacock:
one at Barkland, an unusual spring occurence of a butterfly
Grey Seal:
215 hauled out on Wirvie, Jivvy and Easter Lother alone

Year List:
81
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21st-25th March 2020
After a relatively quiet spell, a couple of days of murky, windy weather on 23rd-24th gave way to a calm, sunny day on 25th. The Parnabys returned to the Isle on the latter day and a few signs of passage were noted.

Highlights:
Iceland Gull:
North Light on 25th

Other sightings
(counts refer to maximum in period unless otherwise stated):
Barnacle Goose, 114 Greylag Goose, 38 Pink-footed Goose (passage on 25th), 3 Whooper Swan (22nd), Shoveler (male on Da Water from 23rd; first of the year),  Wigeon (25th), 23 Teal (25th), Red-breasted Merganser (female, 25th), 6 Woodpigeon, 34 Oystercatcher, 17 Lapwing, Golden Plover (25th), 2 Black-headed Gull, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull (24th; first of the year), Grey Heron (23rd-24th), Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl (21st), Peregrine (juvenile female 25th), Rook (24th-25th; first of the year), 3 Carrion Crow, 170 Skylark (with singing first noted from 25th), Chiffchaff (Chalet, 25th; first of the year, four days earlier than 2019 and earliest since 2017), Goldcrest (21st-25th; first of the year, earliest arrival since 2016), 8 Blackbird, Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, Robin, Black Redstart (male, Lower Stoneybrek 25th), Stonechat (female), Pied Wagtail (21st-25th), 15 Meadow Pipit (light passage throughout), Chaffinch (male from 22nd), Brambling (Obs, 25th; first of the year), Snow Bunting, Reed Bunting (Chalet, 25th).

Year list:
79
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16th-20th March 2020

Sightings
(counts refer to maximum in period unless otherwise stated):
118 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, 12 Teal, 5 Woodpigeon, 27 Ringed Plover, 79 Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Razorbill (coming into the Holms), Cormorant (18th-19th; first of the year), Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl (20th), Merlin, Peregrine (adult female), 2 Carrion Crow, 3 Blackbird, Fieldfare, 3 Song Thrush, Robin, 3 Stonechat (two males and a female), Siskin (male; 17th), 2 Snow Bunting, Reed Bunting (3rd; first of the year).

Year list:
72
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11th-15th March 2020

Highlights:
White-tailed Eagle:
12th-13th, an immature over Hoini (seen from the fire truck during an exercise!) which drifted high south out to sea at 0720hrs the following morning
Iceland Gull:
2CY on 11th

Other sightings
(counts refer to maximum in period unless otherwise stated):
Barnacle Goose, 123 Greylag Goose, Whooper Swan, Long-tailed Duck (male, 13th), 5 Woodpigeon, 15 Lapwing, 75 Turnstone, Hen Harrier, Merlin, Peregrine, 230 Skylark, 3 Blackbird, Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, Robin, 3 Stonechat (two males and a female), 2 Snow Bunting.

Year list:
70
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6th-10th March 2020

Sightings
(counts refer to maximum in period unless otherwise stated):
Barnacle Goose, 150 Greylag Goose, Whooper Swan, 12 Mallard, 13 Teal, 6 Woodpigeon (peak count on 10th), 2 Water Rail, Black-headed Gull, Hen Harrier (ringtail), Merlin, Peregrine, 210 Skylark, 4 Blackbird, 9 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush [with virtually no thrushes by the end of the period], 2 Robin, Black Redstart (7th; first of the year), 3 Stonechat (two males and a female on 8th was the peak), Chaffinch (9th; first of the year), 7 Twite, 2 Siskin (10th; first of the year).

Year list:
69
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1st-5th March 2020

Sightings
(counts refer to maximum in period unless otherwise stated):
Barnacle Goose, 219 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, 14 Teal, 2 Woodpigeon (3rd; first of the year), Water Rail, 46 Oystercatcher, 7 Lapwing, Golden Plover, 24 Ringed Plover, 210 Turnstone,  85 Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Hen Harrier (ringtail still), Merlin, Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 165 Skylark (5th; as numbers fluctuated during spring passage), 9 Blackbird, 25 Fieldfare, 6 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush [a general clear-out of thrushes was noted], Stonechat (male from 1st-4th, with 2 on 5th; first of the year), Pied Wagtail (5th; first of the year), Meadow Pipit, 6 Snow Bunting, Reed Bunting (3rd; first of the year).

Year list:
66
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26th-29th February 2020

Sightings:
Long-tailed Duck (26th), Merlin.

Year list:
62
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21st-25th February 2020

Highlights:
Iceland Gull:
adult on Meoness on 21st

Other sightings
(counts refer to maximum in period unless otherwise stated):
Barnacle Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, 8 Teal, 22 Lapwing (flock arrived on 23rd), 6 Ringed Plover (23rd), Dunlin (one in the south with Turnstones on 23rd-24th; first of the year), 10 Curlew, 56 Redshank, Hen Harrier (ringtail reappeared in the south), Short-eared Owl (24th), Merlin, Peregrine (adult female).

Year list:
62
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16th-20th February 2020

More stormy weather, interspersed with some slightly less stormy weather. Generally cool, with wintry showers.

Highlights:
Iceland Gull: 2cy in South Harbour on 17th

Other sightings (counts refer to maximum in period unless otherwise stated):
Barnacle Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, 6 Wigeon, 13 Teal, Long-tailed Duck (South Harbour; 18th), Water Rail (Burkle), 41 Oystercatcher,  Lapwing (20th; first of the month), Ringed Plover, 8 Curlew, 250 Turnstone (minimum), 33 Redshank, Merlin, Peregrine (adult male; first of the month), Carrion Crow (Parks), Skylark, c50 Redwing, c10 Fieldfare, 2 Twite, Snow Bunting.

Year list: 61
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11th-15th February 2020
The generally stormy start to the year continued, although a slight lull in mid-week did at least allow planes to fly and the Good Shepherd IV to sail. There was little in the way of movement, although a couple new species for the year were noted.

Highlights:
Iceland Gull:
2cy again in South Harbour on 11th

Other sightings
(counts refer to maximum in period unless otherwise stated):
Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, 7 Wigeon, 18 Mallard, 18 Teal, Goldeneye (Golden Water, 15th; first of the year), Water Rail (Burkle), 21 Oystercatcher,  Ringed Plover (2 in North Haven, 11th; first of the year. Four days earlier than the first arrival date in 2019), 15 Curlew, c300 Turnstone, Merlin, Carrion Crow (the resident Setter bird still present), Skylark, 2 Twite, Snow Bunting.

Year list:
61
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6th-10th February 2020

Highlights:
Iceland Gull:
2cy in South Harbour on 9th

Sightings
(counts refer to maximum in period unless otherwise stated):
Barnacle Goose, 122 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, 8 Wigeon, 14 Mallard, 18 Teal, Water Rail (Chalet), 16 Oystercatcher (9th), Golden Plover (7th; first of the year), 5 Gannet (on Stacks on 9th), Sparrowhawk (Schoolhouse on 9th), Hen Harrier (ringtail), 11 Fieldfare, Robin, 4 Twite.

Year list:
59
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1st-5th February 2020

Sightings
(counts refer to maximum in period unless otherwise stated):
Barnacle Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, 12 Teal, Water Rail (Burkle), 4 Oystercatcher, Sparrowhawk (Vatnagaard, 2nd; first of year), Hen Harrier (ringtail), 2 Merlin, 14 Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush (lingering near Barkland), 2 Robin, 17 Twite.

Year list:
58
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25th-31st January 2020

Sightings (counts refer to maximum in period unless otherwise stated):
142 Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose (a second bird arrived on the last day of the month), Whooper Swan, 19 Mallard, 14 Teal, Common Scoter (Haven), Long-tailed Duck, 2 Water Rail (Burkle and Chalet), Lapwing, 220 Turnstone, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 'blue' Fulmar (South Light, 25th), Hen Harrier (ringtail), Short-eared Owl (School Brae, 29th; first of the year), 2 Merlin, Peregrine (adult male, 29th), 10 Blackbird, 14 Fieldfare, 13 Redwing, 6 Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush (lingering near Barkland), 3 Robin.

Year list: 56
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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