Fair Isle Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

Latest sightings



21st March

HIGHLIGHTS:
Blue Tit: present at the Haa, where it was utilising the peanut feeders in the afternoon.
Stock Dove: seen in flight over Schoolton.


Blue Tit, Haa (David Parnaby).

Other species:
3 Pink-footed Goose, 'European White-fronted Goose' (juvenile), 4 Teal, 2 Water Rail (Plantation and Chalet), Golden Plover, Puffin (one from the Good Shepherd; first of the year), 150 Skylark (minimum), Fieldfare, Song Thrush, 2 Stonechat (males at Da Water and Midway), Dunnock (Schoolton; the first accentor species of the year, will there be more to follow?...), Meadow Pipit (although present in small numbers throughout the winter, there was an obvious arrival today, with at least 20 present), 2 Snow Bunting (Lower Leogh).

Other species:
Common Seal: one in South Harbour
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17th-20th March

HIGHLIGHTS:
Blue Tit: one at Schoolton in the morning then Haa later was the 12th record (15th individual) for Fair Isle, although the fourth since 2012 (prior to that there were single records in the 1920s and 1930s and three in both the 1960s and 1980s). It is only the second spring record (the other was in April 1962).
Stock Dove: still present, at Stackhoull, on 20th
Glaucous Gull: a peak of four in the Parks and Ditfield area (20th)

Other species:
2 Long-tailed Duck, 15 Ringed Plover, 2 Black-headed Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Woodpigeon, Song Thrush (North Light), Mistle Thrush (17th, Ditfield), Black Redstart (one at Schoolton on 17th; first of the year), Stonechat (male at Barkland on 17th), Snow Bunting.


Lesser Black-backed Gull, Setter, 20th March (David Parnaby)
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16th March

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: 2 juveniles (South Harbour)
Glaucous Gull: 2 juveniles (Johnny's Peats and Ditfield)

Glaucous Gull amongst Great Black-backed Gulls, Ditfield (David Parnaby)

Other species:
2 Pink-footed Goose, 8 Teal, Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Stonechat (males in Boini Mire).


A rather peachy Meadow Pipit, Stackhoull (David Parnaby)
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15th March

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: 3 juveniles (South Harbour, South Green and Furse)
Glaucous Gull: 2 juveniles (South Green and Johnny's Peats)

Iceland Gull, South Harbour (David Parnaby)

Other species:
2 Pink-footed Goose, Wigeon, 5 Teal, 103 Eider (mostly in flocks in South Harbour and Furse), 2 Long-tailed Duck, Water Rail (Chalet), Lesser Black-backed Gull (adults at Johnny's Peats and Furse; first of the year), Woodpigeon, Peregrine (male), 2 Carrion Crow, Chiffchaff (trapped in the Plantation), Fair Isle Wren (singing in Furse), 2 Song Thrush, 3 Stonechat (two males at Boini Mire and and male at Furse), 2 Pied Wagtail, Snow Bunting.



Top to bottom: Eiders in South Harbour, Water Rail at Chalet, Grey Seals at Wirvie (David Parnaby)
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14th March

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: 2 juveniles

Other species:
4 Pink-footed Goose, 'European White-fronted Goose', 3 Long-tailed Duck, Woodpigeon, 3 Stonechat (males at Stackhoull and Restengeo, female at Lower Leogh).

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13th March

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: still present, although relocated to Pund
Iceland Gull: second-winter at Ditfield

Iceland Gull, Ditfield (David Parnaby). Although showing some dark markings in the primaries, they were probably not prominent enough to be a 'Kumlien's Gull'.

Other species:
2 Teal, 9 Woodpigeon, 5 Stonechat (three males and a female in Boini Mire, female at Lower Leogh), Chiffchaff (one at the Obs was the first of the year and the earliest arrival since 2008), Snow Bunting, Reed Bunting (Leogh).


Chiffchaff, Obs (David Parnaby)


Rock Dove, South Light (David Parnaby). Having sat watching the waves for about 15 minutes, this bird then headed out to sea - migration in action!
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12th March

Whooper Swan (juvenile), 3 Pink-footed Goose, 2 'European White-fronted Goose', 5 Teal, Long-tailed Duck, 2 Water Rail (Chalet and Schoolton), 12 Purple Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, 9 Common Gull, 3 Woodpigeon, 120+ Skylark, 2 Stonechat (pair at Midway), Chaffinch (male Obs).
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11th March

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one at Midway was the first since June 2015

Other species:
Whooper Swan (juvenile), 3 Pink-footed Goose, 2 'European White-fronted Goose', 28 Lapwing, Curlew (displaying at Meoness), 230 Turnstone, Jack Snipe (Gilsetter), 21 Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Stonechat (female a tLower Leogh; first of the year), Rock Pipit (singing), Chaffinch (male Obs), 20 Twite, 2 Snow Bunting (Lower Leogh), Reed Bunting (Lower Leogh; first of the year).


Twite, Obs (David Parnaby). A male bringing a splash of spring to the Obs by singing and flashing its tail.

Other wildlife:
Common Frog:
spawn at the Obs and Haa
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10th March

Whooper Swan (juvenile), Water Rail (Chalet), Lapwing (displaying at Da Water), 100+ Skylark, c40 Blackbird, 20 Redwing, 2 Mistle Thrush (Parks and Ditfield), White Wagtail (Ditfield: first of the year of this subspecies), 3 Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch (male Obs).

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9th March

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: juvenile
Glaucous Gull: 3 (2nd-winter and 2 juveniles)

Other species:
Wigeon, 8 Teal, 2 Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser (male, Haven), Grey Heron, Water Rail (Chalet), 2 Mistle Thrush (Setter), Chaffinch (male Obs), Snow Bunting.

Water Rail, Chalet (David Parnaby). In a rush to somewhere.
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8th March

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: adult opposite Stackhoull
Glaucous Gull: 3 (2nd-winter and 2 juveniles)


Iceland Gull, Stackhoull (David Parnaby).

Other species:
4 Pink-footed Goose, 4 'European White-fronted Goose', Goldeneye (male at Golden Water; first of the year), 3 Grey Heron, 2 Water Rail (Chalet and Schoolton), 51 Lapwing, 19 Purple Sandpiper, 14 Black-headed Gull, 9 Common Gull, 4 Woodpigeon, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush (Bullock Holes), 2 Pied Wagtails (Haven and Stackhoull; first of the year), 2 Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch (male Obs), Snow Bunting.
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7th March

Whooper Swan (2 juveniles), Long-tailed Duck, Cormorant (in South Harbour; first of the year), Grey Heron (first of the year), Water Rail (Chalet), 20 Ringed Plover, 32 Lapwing, 25 Purple Sandpiper, 13 Black-headed Gull, 3 Woodpigeon, 2 Carrion Crow, 17 Blackbird (between Setter and Haven, part of a small arrival), 20 Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush (Bullock Holes), Chaffinch (2; males at Stackhoull and Obs).
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6th March

Whooper Swan (2 juveniles: the lingering bird and another over the Obs), 4 Pink-footed Goose, 24 Ringed Plover, 14 Lapwing, Woodcock (one in Gilsetter; first of the year), 6 Black-headed Gull, 2 Woodpigeon.



A large rolling sea coming in at the east coast (David Parnaby)
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5th March

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: juvenile

Other species:
4 Pink-footed Goose, 3 'European White-fronted Goose', 10 Teal, Song Thrush, Meadow Pipit.
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4th March

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: immature
Glaucous Gull:
2 juveniles

Other species:
Whooper Swan (juvenile), Pink-footed Goose, 4 'European White-fronted Goose', 5 Long-tailed Duck, Water Rail, 6 Lapwing, 35 Razorbill (on the sea at Lericum), Guillemot (back on the cliffs in large numbers), Black-headed Gull, Woodpigeon, c100 Skylark, 30 Blackbird (between Schoolton and Midway), Song Thrush, 2 Mistle Thrush (at Skerryholm then Midway; first of the year), Meadow Pipit.



Mistle Thrush, Meadow Burn (David Parnaby). Usually one of the first migrants of the spring.
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3rd March

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: 5 (second-winter and four juveniles)

Other species:
Whooper Swan (juvenile), 2 Pink-footed Goose, Water Rail (Chalet), Jack Snipe (School Brae), 2 Carrion Crow (the overwintering birds still at Skadan).



Oystercatcher, Obs (David Parnaby).
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2nd March

HIGHLIGHTS:
GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL: a 4CY individual discovered at Ditfield during the early afternoon lingered on Johnny Peats until dusk. A remarkable and unexpected find, this north-west American species will represent the 389th species for Fair Isle if accepted.
Iceland Gull: juvenile past the Obs
Glaucous Gull: 5 (second-winter and four juveniles)

Other species:
Water Rail (Plantation), 11 Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Merlin,







Glaucous-winged Gull, Ditfield (top two images) and Johnny's Peats (lower image, with four Glaucous Gulls), (David Parnaby)
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1st March

2 Pink-footed Goose, 3 Wigeon, 15 Teal, Water Rail (Lower Styoneybrek), 10 Ringed Plover, Jack Snipe (Da Water), 12 Twite, Snow Bunting.

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February

HIGHLIGHTS:
Waxwing: one on 13th; first of the year
'Tundra Bean Goose': 3 on 2nd and one until the end of the month
Glaucous Gull: 4 juveniles

Notable counts or records of other species (numbers usually refer to the peak count during the period, although note that coverage is limited during the winter: Whooper Swan (lingering juvenile and a total of three on 21st), 7 Pink-footed Goose, 4 'European White-fronted Goose', 138 Greylag Goose, 6 Wigeon, 19 Teal, 4 Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser (male on 26th; first of the year), Great Northern Diver (one from Good Shepherd on 15th, one in South Harbour on 28th), 5 Water Rail (two each at Chalet and Burkle/Schoolton, singles at Skerryholm), Oystercatcher (rapidly increasing in numbers through the month, with at least 65 by 22nd), Golden Plover, Ringed Plover (arriving from 16th and increasing to 11 by 26th), 3 Lapwing, 9 Purple Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Woodpigeon (18th; first of the year), Peregrine, Skylark (increasing in numbers from mid-month, with at least 40 by the end of the month), Fieldfare (18 at the end of the month), Song Thrush, 10 Redwing, 2 Meadow Pipit, 33 Twite.
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21st - 29th January

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: 7 (an adult and 6 juveniles) on 21st, with two juveniles still the next day, then five juveniles on 27th-28th and at least two still on 29th
Iceland Gull: a juvenile lingering in South Harbour until at least 28th, with a second-winter on 26th
'Tundra Bean Goose': one still present until 26th at least


'Tundra Bean Goose' (third from right) with Pink-footed Geese (rear two) and Greylag Geese, Setter, 26th January (David Parnaby)

Notable counts or records of other species (numbers usually refer to the peak count during the period, although note that coverage is limited during the winter:

Whooper Swan (juvenile), 4 Pink-footed Goose (came in off the sea at North Light on 21st, with up to four then present down the island), European White-fronted Goose (all seven still present on 21st, with six lingering until 29th, and being joined by two more on 28th-29th), 318 Greylag Goose (high count on 21st, with only 200 on 29th), 10 Wigeon, 4 Teal, 4 Long-tailed Duck, 'blue' Fulmar (flew up Wirvie Burn on 21st), 2 Water Rail (lingering at Chalet), 8 Oystercatcher (a gradual increase, with peak on 26th), Golden Plover (24th-26th), Lapwing (22nd), 22 Curlew, 8 Purple Sandpiper, Merlin, 2 Fieldfare (29th, probably under-recorded, although they do seem to have largely moved on), 8 Robin (minimum), 61 Twite (on 21st, with 45 the following day then the flock largely moved on),Goldfinch (28th, Schoolton; the first of the year).


'European White-fronted Geese' with Pink-footed Goose (sixth from left), Meadow Burn, 29th January (David Parnaby)

Year List: 53
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7th-20th January

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: probably present daily, with peaks of ten on 12th and 14 on 20th representing the highest counts since November 1985. Three were found dead during the period and at least 18 individuals were involved (4 adults and 14 juveniles).
Iceland Gull: present almost daily, a peak of three juveniles on 12th-13th, but also an adult and second-winter recorded
'Tundra Bean Goose': one still present

Notable counts or records of other species (numbers usually refer to the peak count during the period, although note that coverage is limited during the winter:
Whooper Swan the adult and juvenile remained and were joined by two more adults on 14th, after which only the juvenile was noted), 3 Pink-footed Goose, European White-fronted Goose (a juvenile on 18th was the first of the year, with an adult and five juveniles on 20th), 324 Greylag Goose (a noticeable increase at mid-month saw this peak count on 18th), 14 Wigeon, 7 Teal, 28 Mallard, 5 Long-tailed Duck, Slavonian Grebe (one in Furse on 17th was possibly the bird seen in December as this is a rare species on Fair Isle in the winter), 3 Water Rail (2 at Burkle and one at Chalet), 4 Oystercatcher, Golden Plover (last seen on 7th being pursued by a Peregrine...), Lapwing (14th-15th; first of the year), 223 Turnstone, 9 Common Gull, Peregrine, Carrion Crow, 14 Skylark (reflecting the larger than usual numbers overwintering), 32 Twite.



'European White-fronted Geese', Skerryholm, 20th January (David Parnaby)

Other wildlife:
Common Seal: one in South Harbour on 13th

Year List: 52
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1st - 6th January

Summary:
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Thanks to everyone out there who has supported FIBO throughout 2016 and welcome to 2017, hopefully another year full of great birds. The mild weather continued at the end of 2016, seeing a number of overwintering birds that would normally have left the island, with an otherwise typical spread of birds present. Colder weather arrived in early January and stormy westerly winds continued regularly (with more due), so despite the gradually lengthening days, it's still feeling very wintry.



A new year, a new dawn (well, actually this was the sunrise from 29th December, but I haven't got any pictures from 2017 yet). What will the new year bring? Maybe a first for Britain? Hopefully a good breeding season for the seabirds (and with the national seabird census, it should be very busy for the wardening team this year in the colonies). No doubt a busy year for migrants and visitors to the island. Part of the fun of Fair Isle is never quite knowing what's coming next, we look forward to sharing it with you over the next few months.

HIGHLIGHTS:
'Tundra Bean Goose': one still present
Iceland Gull: juvenile at South Light and Muckle Uri Geo on 1st
Glaucous Gull: 2 juveniles on 1st

Counts of other species:
4 Whooper Swan (the adult and juvenile remaining from 2016, with 2 adults south over Buness on 1st), 3 Pink-footed Goose, 118 Greylag Goose, 4 Wigeon, 7 Teal, 14 Mallard, Long-tailed Duck, 2 Water Rail (Schoolton and Chalet), 3 Oystercatcher (an unusually high wintering number), Golden Plover, Dunlin (at Quoy, 6th), 7 Purple Sandpiper, Jack Snipe (Boini Mire, 1st), Guillemot (present in large numbers on 1st, when also on cliffs), 2 Kittiwake (from Good Shepherd, 5th), Black-headed Gull, Merlin (1st and 3rd), Peregrine (juvenile, 1st), 3 Skylark, 12 Blackbird, 10 Fieldfare, 20 Redwing, Robin (3+), Meadow Pipit.

Other species present:
Eider, Fulmar, Gannet, Shag, Curlew, Turnstone, Redshank, Snipe, Black Guillemot, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Hooded Crow, Raven, 'Fair Isle Wren', Starling, House Sparrow, Rock Pipit.

Year List: 46