Fair Isle Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

Latest sightings



26th-28th February 2021
Weather: SW winds, moderate, milder with sunshine

HIGHLIGHTS:
Great Tit:
still present

Other records of note:
Teal: 17 on 26th; highest count of month
Ringed Plover: increasing to 12 by end of month
Razorbill: five dead in the Haven and South Harbour on 27th/28th was an unusual, and worrying, record
Sparrowhawk: Barkland and Schoolhouse area 27th-28th
Skylark: at least 200 by the end of the month
Mistle Thrush: one on 26th
Stonechat: female at Meadow Burn on 27th
Snow Bunting: 3 at Quoy on 26th, one still on 28th

Year List:
70
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21st-25th February 2021
Weather:
warming up a bit (or milding up a bit at least), winds from SE to SW, usually moderate, although stronger at times.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Great Tit:
still at Schoolhouse

Other records of note:
Teal: 13 on 22nd; highest count of month
Woodpigeon: one at Lower Stoneybrek from 25th; first of the year
Lapwing: increasing to 34
Cormorant: 2 on 22nd; first record of the month
Skylark: rapid increase in numbers from 22nd (when the first singing bird was also heard), peaking at 90 on 24th
Mistle Thrush: one at Gilsetter on 22nd; first of the year
Stonechat: 5 on 22nd (pairs at Upper Stoneybrek and Chalet and a male at North Light); first of the year
Snow Bunting: 2 at Quoy on 25th; second record of the year

Year List:
70
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16th-20th February 2021
Weather:
still mostly cold, with some rainy spells but also some sunshine, with wind largley from the SE or SSE still.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Tundra Bean Goose:
still present
Great Tit:
still at Schoolhouse

Other records of note:
Red-breasted Merganser: female in the North Haven on 18th; first of the month
Lapwing: arrival from 18th, peaking at 25 on 20th
Ringed Plover: 2 from 17th increasing to 9 on 20th; first of the year (two days later than first arrival in 2019)
Woodcock: one in Gully on 17th
Gannet: ashore from 20th
Merlin: at least two present
Skylark: five from 19th; first of the year (five days later than first arrival in 2019)
Twite: five on 19th; first of the month

Year List:
67
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11th-15th February 2021
Weather:
Very cold, with snow and ice until the end of the period, when stronger winds from the SE brought a thaw.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull:
2cy at South Light on 13th
Tundra Bean Goose:
the long-stayer still present
Great Tit:
still present throughout, usually at Schoolhouse

Other records of note:
'European White-fronted Goose': still 2 (along with a Barnacle Goose)
Goldeneye: male in the Haven 13th-14th; first of the month
Oystercatcher: numbers building, with 19 by 14th
Red-throated Diver: North Haven, 15th; first of the year and an unusual winter record
Sparrowhawk: 13th; first of the year
Long-eared Owl: Obs
Merlin: 14th-15th; first of the month

Year List:
65
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6th-10th February 2021
Weather:
still cold, icy throughout with wintry showers that brought lying snow on 9th. Wind predominantly from the east.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull:
2cy at South Light on 9th
Tundra Bean Goose:
one still present
Great Tit:
the female at Schoolhouse still present

Other records of note:
Barnacle Goose: one from 7th; first of the year
'European White-fronted Goose': still 2 x 2cy (along with two Pink-feet to complete the full goose compliment)
Curlew: a hard-weather movement on 9th brought an impressive 113 to the Isle (numbers so far this winter had generally been under 20), although most had gone by 10th
Woodcock: one on 8th and 2 on 9th were presumably hard-weather migrants
Jack Snipe: still up to 6 most days, although they seemed to move on from 9th
Snipe: lots arriving early in the period, with at least 83 on 9th, althouh fewer on 10th

Year List: 63
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1st-5th February 2021
Weather:
cold, with icy spells and snow at times, mostly light or moderate NE or N winds, although stronger from ENE on 5th

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull:
2cy on 5th
Glaucous Gull:
2 x 2cy on 5th with one on 2nd, and a 3cy on 4th
Tundra Bean Goose:
one still throughout
Great Tit:
female still at Schoolhouse

Other records of note:
'European White-fronted Goose': 2 x 2cy still
Jack Snipe: 4 on 4th and 5 on 5th, with an increase in Snipe (e.g. 61+ on 5th) also noted

Year List: 62
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LATE NEWS: a buzzard species seen on the Isle on 1st September 2019 (having been seen in Shetland earlier in the day) has been retrospectively identified as a 2cy LONG-LEGGED BUZZARD, a first British record if accepted by BBRC and BOU. See https://www.birdguides.com/articles/rarity-finders-long-legged-buzzard-in-shetland/ for details.

26th-31st January 2021
Weather:
largely dry, bright and cold, with a light or moderate N or NW wind

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull:
2 x 2cy on 26th
Tundra Bean Goose:
one still present
Great Tit:
female still at Schoolhouse

Other records of note:
Greylag Goose: some movement noted, with 174 on 29th
Pink-footed Goose: 2 still present
'European White-fronted Goose': 2 on 26th were presumably lingering birds
Red-breasted Merganser: a drake in South Harbour on 26th; first of the year
Oystercatcher: increased to three by the end of the period
Lapwing: 7 on 28th was the highest count of the year so far
Jack Snipe: 6 on 29th was a high count for the season and presumably weather related given the icy conditions (with more Snipe noted on 29th as well), with one still the next day
Snow Bunting: female at Skadan on 31st; first of the year

Year List: 62
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21st-25th January 2021
Weather:
bits of all sorts, with some very strong NW wind and rain at first, some calmer days with SW winds later then ending with a calm, icy day

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull:
single 2cy on 21st and 25th
Tundra Bean Goose:
one still with the Greylags
Great Tit:
still at Schoolhouse

Other records of note:
Teal: 18 on 25th was the highest count of the year
Oystercatcher: one on 23rd, just the second of the year

Year List: 60 (Black-headed Gull and Kittiwake both added to the year list during this period)
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16th-20th January 2021
Weather:
windier (with variable NW, SE and SW winds), some more rain, especially on 20th and rather cold

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull:
3cy on Vaasetter on 20th
Glaucous Gull:
adult at Ditfield on 17th then 3 x 2cy at Vaasetter on 20th
Tundra Bean Goose:
one still lingering
Great Tit:
one still at Schoolhouse

Other records of note:
Goldeneye: two males on 17th
Dunlin: one feeing with Turnstone on 20th (first of the year)
Woodcock: one on Rippack on 17th and two at School Brae on 20th (first of the year)
Merlin: male and female
Mealy Redpoll: 3 still at Schoolhouse
Lesser Redpoll: still at Schoolhouse

Other wildlife:
Killer Whale: at least two were seen from the Good Shepherd IV 12 miles north of the Isle on 19th; first sighting of the year for Fair Isle

Year List: 58 (the highest total for this date since 2016; the range since 2014 has been 52-58 species by 20th January)
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11th-15th January 2021
Weather:
cold, with variable winds, showery with frequent bright spells.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull:
a 1cy at Da Water on 14th (first of the year)
Glaucous Gull:
3 (adult and 2 x 2cy) at Ditfield on 12th, 2cy at South Green on 15th
Tundra Bean Goose:
one still lingering
Great Tit:
one still on the Schoolhouse peanuts

Other records of note:
Pink-footed Goose: 2 from 11th (first of the year)
'European White-fronted Goose': 2 juveniles still
Goldeneye: male from 12th, with a second of 15th (first of the year)
Water Rail: wintering birds still at Schoolhouse, Chalet and Plantation
Moorhen: the bird found at Haa on 23rd December reappeared there on 13th-14th (first of the year)
Purple Sandpiper: one in South Harbour on 13th (first of the year)
Jack Snipe: one flushed from Rippack on 14th (first of the year)
Cormorant: one on 13th (first of the year)
Merlin: male and female
Mealy Redpoll: 3 lingering birds at Schoolhouse (the species is not a regular winterer)
Lesser Redpoll: lingering bird with the Mealy Redpolls at Schoolhouse (a very rare species in winter)

Year List: 56
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6th-10th January 2021
Weather:
calmer weather at first, then some strong NW then SW winds. Some bright spells, with wintry showers at times.
Very little in the way of movement, which is not surprising for this time of year. Some pleasant weather (and some that wasn't that that pleasant but looked nice from inside), but little else to report
.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull:
two 2cy at Ditfield on 7th
Tundra Bean Goose:
one still present
Great Tit:
one still present, mostly around Schoolhouse

Other records of note:
'European White-fronted Goose': 2 lingering juveniles
Long-tailed Duck: 2 still in North
Water Rail: wintering birds still at Schoolhouse and Chalet
Lapwing: 5 from 6th were the first of the year
Golden Plover: 2 on 10th were the first of the year
Merlin: male on 6th-7th
Peregrine: adult female over Buness on 6th was the first of the year
Meadow Pipit: two at Shirva on 7th were the first of the year (sightings in winter are scarce, with the majority of the population leaving the Isle at this season)
Twite: one at Chalet on 7th was the first of the year
Mealy Redpoll: 2 lingering birds at Schoolhouse (the species is not a regular winterer)

Other wildlife:
20 Harbour Porpoise seen from the Good Shepherd about four miles north of the Isle on 6th

Year List: 49
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1st-5th January 2021
Weather:
the year opened with fresh northerly winds before high pressure saw a calm spell. Showers gave way to sunny spells. Cool, but bright.
A distinctly less than average
total of 37 species on the first day of the year did include a couple of less-than-annual birds, as well as a few other scarce winter records. A few more birds were racked up over the next few days, although mostly stuff that was likely to be lingering around the Isle; there certainly doesn't seem to be much happening in the way of movement. Weather-wise, it was a very pleasant start to 2021 and there's plenty to look forward to this year. We'd like to thank you all for your support during the difficult last couple of years, wish you all the best for the year ahead, and look forward to hopefully seeing you soon.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull:
3 in Ditfield on 5th (all 2cy)
Tundra Bean Goose:
one still with Greylags
Great Tit:
one still at the Schoolhouse feeders

Other sightings (counts refer to high count during period unless otherwise stated):
129 Greylag Goose, 2 'European White-fronted Goose' (juveniles), 11 Wigeon, 11 Teal, 4 Long-tailed Duck, 4 Water Rail (Chalet, Schoolhouse, Lower Leogh and Plantation), Oystercatcher (first returning bird in Haven on 5th), 15 Curlew, 48 Redshank, Guillemot (back on cliffs on 5th), Razorbill (Furse, 5th), Great Northern Diver (fishing off Buness, 5th), Long-eared Owl (Gully, 1st), Short-eared Owl (Gilsetter, 3rd), Merlin, 2 Carrion Crow (resident birds), 15 Blackbird, 6 Fieldfare, 20 Redwing, Song Thrush (Schoolton), 6 Robin, 3 'Mealy Redpoll' (School Brae), Lesser Redpoll (School Brae).

Other species recorded:
Mallard, Eider, Rock Dove, Turnstone, Snipe, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Tystie, Fulmar, Gannet, Shag, Hooded Crow, Raven, Wren, Starling, House Sparrow, Rock Pipit.

Other wildlife:
6+ Harbour Porpoise off Buness on 5th; a rare winter sighting, no doubt helped by the unseasonably calm seas

Year List:
44