Fair Isle Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

Latest sightings

21st September 2021
Weather:
sunny spells with a force 5-7 westerly turning south-westerly wind
A very windy day with not much new in, other than the first Whooper Swans and Common Scoter of the autumn. More very strong south-westerlies forecast in the near future, so we might be in for a quiet few days.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Woodchat Shrike: adult male still present
Bluethroat: ringed bird in Gilsetter
Common Rosefinch: one in South Raeva

Sightings of note: 19 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 9 Whooper Swan (first of the autumn), 31 Wigeon, 24 Teal, 1 Common Scoter, 4 Oystercatcher, 1 Lapwing, 6 Golden Plover, 16 Ringed Plover, 8 Curlew, 122 Turnstone, 11 Dunlin, 22 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 45 Redshank, 12 Black-headed Gull, 13 Common Gull, 1 Razorbill, 1 Cormorant, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 7 Carrion Crow, 75 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 6 Swallow, 4 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird, 12 Song Thrush, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Robin, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Whinchat, 23 Wheatear, 3 Dunnock, 2 Grey Wagtail, 1 Pied Wagtail, 15 White Wagtail, 346 Meadow Pipit, 59 Rock Pipit, 122 Chaffinch, 1 Brambling, 172 Twite, 3 Linnet, 3 Siskin, 1 Snow Bunting

Year List: 196
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20th September 2021
Weather:
a clear and sunny morning clouding over in the afternoon, with a force 4-7 SW wind
A bright and breezy day for census, with not much new to report other than our first Red-breasted Flycatcher of the autumn, found by Dan at Upper Stoneybreck.

Red-breasted Flycatcher showing well at Upper Stoneybreck (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hobby: adult still present in the south
Woodchat Shrike: adult male still present
Barred Warbler: one at Burkle
Bluethroat: one trapped in Vaadal
Red-breasted Flycatcher: one at Upper Stoneybreck (first of the autumn)

Bluethroat in the hand at Vaadal (photo by AW Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 19 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 22 Wigeon, 11 Teal, 1 Water Rail, 3 Oystercatcher, 4 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 9 Ringed Plover, 7 Curlew, 47 Turnstone, 2 Ruff, 9 Dunlin, 3 Jack Snipe, 15 Snipe, 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 32 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 9 Common Gull, 1 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill, 1 Red-throated Diver, 3 Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 6 Carrion Crow, 101 Skylark, 7 Swallow, 10 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 10 Song Thrush, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 25 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, 4 Pied Wagtail, 15 White Wagtail, 502 Meadow Pipit, 47 Rock Pipit, 108 Chaffinch, 103 Twite, 3 Linnet, 15 Siskin

Other wildlife: 1 Silver Y, Shetland Bee (present), 1 Green Lacewing

Year List: 196
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19th September 2021
Weather:
fog with some heavy rain showers in the afternoon and a force 6-7 SSE wind
No census today as most of the Isle was under fog for the majority of the day, but we still managed to cover all of the hotspots between us - despite the poor weather conditions there were still plenty of birds in, with another good count of Chaffinch. A couple of year ticks were had today as well in quick succession of each other, with a Hobby reported flying east over South Harbour and then half an hour later, a Richard's Pipit flying south over Meadow Burn/Upper Leogh. The Hobby was seen another few times later in the day, favouring the Rippack/Brecks/Meoness area and chasing finches, but unfortunately the Richard's Pipit couldn't be relocated. Other notable sightings today include a Stock Dove flying west high over the Chapel, a Shoveler with the ever-increasing Wigeon flock and four Goosander flying north over Malcolm's Head.

Teal in the hand, trapped in Vaadal - not your typical Heligoland catch! (photo by AW Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hobby: adult first seen over South Harbour then in the SE of the Isle - new for the year
Woodchat Shrike: adult male still present
Barred Warbler: one at Schoolton
Richard's Pipit: one flying south over Meadow Burn - new for the year

Hobby showing well over Meoness (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

Sightings of note: 19 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 27 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Shoveler, 36 Wigeon, 31 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 4 Goosander, 1 Stock Dove, 1 Woodpigeon, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 7 Curlew, 78 Turnstone, 3 Dunlin, 1 Jack Snipe, 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 28 Redshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 3 Common Gull, 3 Grey Heron, 2 Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 2 Sand Martin, 6 Swallow, 9 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Blackbird, 4 Song Thrush, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Robin, 1 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 2 Tree Pipit, 130 Chaffinch, 6 Brambling, 3 Siskin

Year List: 196
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18th September 2021
Weather:
low cloud and fog in the morning and slightly brighter in the afternoon, with a force 2-3 SW/SE breeze
The Isle was far busier with birds today, mostly due to an influx of over 200 Chaffinches - their 'plinking' call was a constant presence on census! They brought a few Siskin and Brambling with them, but not a great deal else in the way of other migrants. Wildfowl numbers seem to be building day-by-day, as we now have decent numbers of Wigeon and Teal on the Isle, and the flock of Pale-bellied Brent Geese are clearly feeling very at home here. A few lingering scarcities are still about, but we're still waiting for that Lancie...

Nice to get some different birds in today, Brambling (left) and Chaffinch (right), trapped at Obs in the evening (photo by AW Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wryneck: one flew from Barkland to Field
Woodchat Shrike: adult male still present (now at the Kirk, present for 10 days)
Barred Warbler: two present - one at Chalet and one at Vaila's Trees
Bluethroat: one at Vaadal
Common Rosefinch: one trapped at Burkle in the evening

Sightings of note: 19 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 35 Wigeon, 24 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Woodpigeon, 3 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 6 Golden Plover, 14 Ringed Plover, 8 Curlew, 27 Turnstone, 5 Dunlin, 3 Jack Snipe, 34 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 51 Redshank, 10 Common Gull, 3 Razorbill, 1 Puffin, 2 Red-throated Diver, 4 Sooty Shearwater, 5 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 70 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 8 Swallow, 11 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Sedge Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 8 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 3 Goldcrest, 1 Blackbird, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Robin, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 5 Whinchat, 45 Wheatear, 3 Dunnock, 3 Pied Wagtail, 24 White Wagtail, 745 Meadow Pipit, 4 Tree Pipit, 66 Rock Pipit, 241 Chaffinch, 5 Brambling, 158 Twite, 15 Siskin, 1 Snow Bunting

Other wildlife: 1 Red Admiral

Year List: 194
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17th September 2021
Weather:
patchy sun in the morning and clouding over in the afternoon, with some low cloud throughout and a strong force 6-8 SSE wind
Not much to report for today - although a strong south-easterly was blowing, it doesn't appear to have brought many new migrants with it yet. There's a bit of mist and rain in the forecast overnight, so maybe census tomorrow will be a bit more interesting.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Woodchat Shrike: adult male still present at the shop

Sightings of note: 19 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 19 Wigeon, 21 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Woodpigeon, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 13 Golden Plover, 5 Ringed Plover, 7 Curlew, 88 Turnstone, 1 Dunlin, 50 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 20 Redshank, 2 Kittiwake, 12 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Arctic Tern, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 64 Skylark, 13 Swallow, 7 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Whinchat, 36 Wheatear, 3 Pied Wagtail, 22 White Wagtail, 3 alba Wagtail, 566 Meadow Pipit, 58 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 109 Twite, 2 Lapland Bunting

Other wildlife: 1 Painted Lady, 1 Silver Y

Year List: 194
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16th September 2021
Weather:
overcast with a 2-4 southerly breeze
A similar theme to yesterday in terms of long-staying migrants remaining, however we did get a few more nice species for the autumn, including a year tick! Alex and I had the net open at Chalet, as it had been reported that there was a difficult, skulky warbler in the rosa that just wouldn't give good field views - we didn't catch the target, but we did catch a Barred Warbler and our first Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn! It's always very exciting to see the first Yellow-brow of the year, and it definitely felt like autumn had ramped up yet another gear, as earlier in the day the first Lapland Buntings of the autumn were found, and the first flock of Pink-footed Geese flew overhead in the afternoon when we were at Chalet. Exciting times ahead as we move into the weekend, with some strong and persistent south-easterlies forecast.

Here they come! Yellow-browed Warbler in the hand at Chalet (photo by AW Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Woodchat Shrike: adult male still present at the shop
Yellow-browed Warbler: one trapped at Chalet (first of the year)
Blyth's Reed Warbler: still one at Midway thistles
Barred Warbler: one trapped at Chalet
Melodious Warbler: one still at Neddertaft
Common Rosefinch: one at Chalet

Sightings of note: 19 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 24 Pink-footed Goose (first of the autumn), 18 Wigeon, 4 Teal, 2 Woodpigeon, 1 Moorhen, 1 Oystercatcher, 3 Lapwing, 12 Golden Plover, 18 Ringed Plover, 10 Curlew, 33 Turnstone, 1 Sanderling, 4 Dunlin, 45 Snipe, 35 Redshank, 5 Kittiwake, 6 Common Gull, 2 Guillemot, 4 Razorbill, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 6 Carrion Crow, 77 Skylark, 4 Swallow, 19 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler, 6 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Goldcrest, 2 Blackbird, 1 Redwing, 2 Robin, 3 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Redstart, 3 Whinchat, 35 Wheatear, 8 Pied Wagtail, 29 White Wagtail, 1 alba Wagtail, 600 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 85 Rock Pipit, 1 Brambling, 77 Twite, 5 Siskin, 3 Lapland Bunting (first of the autumn)

Another iconic Fair Isle autumn speciality - Lapland Bunting at the Airstrip (photo by AW Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present), 1 Minke Whale (seen off the Good Shepherd just north of the Isle)

Year List: 194
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15th September 2021
Weather:
generally overcast with a force 3-5 southerly wind
Another fairly quiet day with a few lingering scarcities remaining and not much new in, other than a new Bluethroat.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Woodchat Shrike: adult male still present at the shop
Blyth's Reed Warbler: still one at Midway thistles
Melodious Warbler: one still at Neddertaft
Bluethroat: one in Slogar (on the east side of Buness)

Sightings of note: 19 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 6 Wigeon, 12 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 6 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 3 Golden Plover, 10 Ringed Plover, 2 Curlew, 41 Turnstone, 2 Dunlin, 6 Purple Sandpiper, 20 Snipe, 31 Redshank, 5 Kittiwake, 7 Common Gull, 1 Puffin, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 55 Skylark, 2 Swallow, 20 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Blackbird, 2 Robin, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Redstart, 3 Whinchat, 28 Wheatear, 4 Pied Wagtail, 20 White Wagtail, 2 alba Wagtail, 549 Meadow Pipit, 4 Tree Pipit, 51 Rock Pipit, 66 Twite, 1 Siskin

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present)

Year List: 193
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14th September 2021
Weather:
sunny spells and some low cloud with a force 4-5 SSE wind
A relatively quiet day in terms of numbers, with a bit of a clearout of migrants. Having said that, a Blyth's Reed Warbler was at Midway thistles, a nice find from Dan, and a Melodious Warbler at Neddertaft which we assume is the same bird that was at Lower Leogh a few days ago. The Pale-bellied Brent Geese are still here and feasting on the Isle's sea lettuce crop, and the Woodchat Shrike remains.

Woodchat Shrike at Vaila's Trees (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Woodchat Shrike: adult male still present around Vaila's Trees
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one at Midway thistles
Barred Warbler: two present - one at Shirva and one at Barkland
Melodious Warbler: one reappeared at Neddertaft
Common Rosefinch: one at Leogh

Sightings of note: 19 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 2 Wigeon, 5 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 4 Oystercatcher, 4 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 15 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 5 Curlew, 26 Turnstone, 1 Knot, 1 Dunlin, 15 Snipe, 22 Redshank, 5 Common Gull, 1 Razorbill, 2 Cormorant, 6 Grey Heron, 2 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 66 Skylark, 2 Swallow, 15 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Blackbird, 2 Robin, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 3 Redstart, 4 Whinchat, 42 Wheatear, 2 Grey Wagtail, 3 Pied Wagtail, 23 White Wagtail, 1 alba Wagtail, 484 Meadow Pipit, 55 Rock Pipit, 95 Twite, 1 Siskin

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present)

Year List: 193
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13th September 2021
Weather:
a clear start but clouding over mid-morning, with a force 2-4 southerly breeze
Another nice day of birding, with a few new species for the autumn as well - with Jack Snipe, Little Bunting and Bluethroat, it certainly feels like autumn has moved on a stage today. Also present was a showy Wryneck around Shirva/Midway, several Barred Warblers around the crofts and the Woodchat Shrike still, now on his 5th day of being on the Isle.

Wryneck posing nicely at North Shirva (photo by Ranger Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wryneck: one at Shirva/Midway
Woodchat Shrike: adult male still present around Chapel/Vaila's Trees
Marsh Warbler: one in Walli Burn
Barred Warbler: four present - one at North Shirva, one at Burkle, one at Schoolton and one at Vaila's Trees
Bluethroat: one in Gilly Burn
Common Rosefinch: two birds in the south
Little Bunting: one in the ditch west of Springfield

A gorgeous Little Bunting at Springfield (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

Sightings of note: 19 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 2 Wigeon, 5 Teal, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Water Rail, 6 Oystercatcher, 3 Lapwing, 9 Golden Plover, 9 Ringed Plover, 12 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 28 Turnstone, 3 Sanderling, 3 Dunlin, 1 Jack Snipe (first of the autumn), 26 Snipe, 26 Redshank, 1 Kittiwake, 3 Common Gull, 1 Arctic Skua, 3 Guillemot, 3 Razorbill, 1 Red-throated Diver, 4 Cormorant, 9 Grey Heron, 2 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 69 Skylark, 8 Swallow, 19 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Reed Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 5 Garden Warbler, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush (first of the autumn), 3 Robin, 5 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Redstart, 4 Whinchat, 34 Wheatear, 2 Pied Wagtail, 29 White Wagtail, 4 alba Wagtail, 624 Meadow Pipit, 73 Rock Pipit, 161 Twite, 5 Siskin

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present), 4+ Dolphin sp. distantly off South Green

Year List: 193
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12th September 2021
Weather:
clear and mostly dry with a force 4-6 NNW wind
A final end to the fog allowed us out on census today, with a chilly north-west wind blowing. A fair few birds were in with a distinctly autumnal feel, with the first couple of Redwings and flocks of geese, including a lovely group of 19 Pale-bellied Brent Geese (consisting of 6 adults and 13 juveniles), a record flock size for Fair Isle. A juvenile Turtle Dove flushed out of Plantation this morning was another highlight, and the Woodchat Shrike remains around the Haa/Chapel Plantation.

Some of the Pale-bellied Brent Geese enjoying the crop of sea lettuce in South Harbour - a real treat to see! (photo by AW Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Turtle Dove: juvenile initially in Plantation then at Barkland
Woodchat Shrike: adult male still at the Haa
Barred Warbler: three present - one at Shirva, one at Chalet and one at Burkle
Common Rosefinch: two birds in the south

Sightings of note: 19 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 5 Greylag Goose, 5 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 2 Water Rail, 9 Oystercatcher, 5 Golden Plover, 21 Ringed Plover, 12 Curlew, 24 Turnstone, 3 Sanderling, 7 Dunlin, 14 Snipe, 20 Redshank, 1 Kittiwake, 3 Black-headed Gull, 6 Common Gull, 2 Guillemot, 2 Razorbill, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Merlin, 3 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 53 Skylark, 8 Swallow, 1 Wood Warbler, 22 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Reed Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Blackbird, 2 Redwing (first of the autumn), 2 Robin, 7 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 5 Whinchat, 99 Wheatear, 1 Grey Wagtail, 4 Pied Wagtail, 54 White Wagtail, 2 alba Wagtail, 848 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 88 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 161 Twite, 3 Siskin

A stunning Grey Wagtail in the hand at the traps (photo by AW Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present)

Year List: 193
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11th September 2021
Weather:
persistent fog and heavy rain showers and a force 5-6 NE wind
The unbirdable weather continues, with fewer breaks in the rain today. Still a few birds around, probably regretting their decision to stop here!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Woodchat Shrike: adult male still at the Haa
Common Rosefinch: one at Burkle

Sightings of note: 4 Wigeon, 7 Teal, 1 Oystercatcher, 1 Knot, 2 Sanderling, 6 Dunlin, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Kittiwake, 2 Common Gull, 4 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill, 1 Cormorant, 4 Carrion Crow, 2 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Redstart, 1 Whinchat, 1 Tree Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Brambling (first of the autumn)

Year List: 193
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10th September 2021
Weather:
more low cloud and rain throughout the day and a force 3 NE wind
Another day of fog, rain and no census - a few birds still around the crofts, including yesterday's Woodchat Shrike still present in the morning. Fortunately the fog lifted slightly from mid-afternoon onwards, as Dan found an interesting looking Flycatcher on the cliffs at Shalstane with a large white primary patch, turning out to have all of the characteristics of a Collared Flycatcher! The bird was active on the rocks around Shalstane and South Light, making it quite tricky to keep track of - it certainly had a knack for disappearing! Hopefully it's still here tomorrow, but for now the team are happy with the ID from photos and good views in the field.

Probable Collared Flycatcher at Shalstane (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

HIGHLIGHTS:
COLLARED FLYCATCHER: a strong candidate for this species was at Shalstane in the afternoon, showing all features necessary - the 8th Fair Isle record and first since 2016
Woodchat Shrike: adult male still at the Haa
Barred Warbler: three birds present - one at Shirva, one at Leogh and one at Stoneybreck
Common Rosefinch: two present at Skerryholm/Chapel Plantation

Sightings of note: 4 Wigeon, 6 Teal, 1 Water Rail, 1 Oystercatcher, 6 Golden Plover, 4 Curlew, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Sanderling, 6 Dunlin, 23 Snipe, 1 Common Gull, 1 Guillemot, 2 Razorbill, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 7 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 12 Willow Warbler, 4 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Robin, 1 Redstart (first of the autumn), 1 Whinchat, 1 Siskin

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present), Bat sp. recorded on the NocMig

Year List: 193
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9th September 2021
Weather:
low cloud and heavy showers throughout the day and a force 4-5 NE wind
No census today due to the dreich weather - the first time we have had proper rain for a while though! A couple of seawatching sessions produced 4 Sooty Shearwaters and 2 Risso's Dolphins, and some birding in the crofts this afternoon was fairly uneventful until Dan found a smart adult male Woodchat Shrike at the Haa. A fantastic looking bird, giving great views as it navigated along fencelines and stone walls, posing occasionally and allowing us to get quite close - a brilliant way to brighten up a rainy September day!

Gorgeous adult male Woodchat Shrike at the Haa (photo by AW Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Woodchat Shrike: adult male at the Haa/Skerryholm - first since 2017 and 32nd record for Fair Isle
Melodious Warbler: one at Lower Leogh

Sightings of note: 10 Teal, 10 Oystercatcher, 7 Golden Plover, 4 Curlew, 2 Knot, 3 Sanderling, 6 Dunlin, 5 Kittiwake, 2 Common Gull, 1 Guillemot, 2 Puffin, 4 Sooty Shearwater, 5 Grey Heron, 2 Merlin, 4 Swallow, 10 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Whinchat

Other wildlife: 2 Risso's Dolphin (off South Light)

Year List: 192
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8th September 2021
Weather:
another very warm and humid day with patches of low cloud and a force 2-3 southerly breeze
A decent day with lots of Meadow Pipit movement, some common migrants and a few more scarcities in. An actual red Rosefinch was a surprising sight at the Obs, something that doesn't turn up very often in amongst the brown ones! A juvenile Red-backed Shrike was still present at the Obs and ringed in the evening, and three Barred Warblers were scattered throughout the south of the Isle. Finally, can you believe it (because we can't) - two Melodious Warblers were sighted today, with one around Utra/Auld Haa and one at Meadow Burn, both reported at the same time by Alex and Dan. The madness continues!

A very heavily cropped photo of the red Rosefinch at Obs - that certainly caught my eye! (photo by Ranger Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: still a juvenile at Obs
Melodious Warbler: two present - one seen at Utra/Auld Haa and one at Meadow Burn (seen at the same time by different observers so definitely two separate birds)
Barred Warbler: three birds present - one at Schoolton, one at the traps and one at Shirva
Common Rosefinch: eight across the Isle - 6 at Quoy and 2 at Obs, including one red bird

Sightings of note: 2 Wigeon, 12 Teal, 1 Moorhen, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 5 Golden Plover, 22 Ringed Plover, 4 Curlew, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 23 Turnstone, 1 Knot, 2 Sanderling, 8 Dunlin, 15 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 24 Redshank, 1 Kittiwake, 1 Black-headed Gull, 4 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Guillemot, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 6 Carrion Crow, 48 Skylark, 6 Swallow, 1 Wood Warbler, 21 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 9 Garden Warbler, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Goldcrest (first of the autumn), 1 Fieldfare, 2 Robin, 2 Whinchat, 80 Wheatear, 2 Pied Wagtail, 52 White Wagtail, 9 alba Wagatil, 810 Meadow Pipit, 2 Tree Pipit, 105 Rock Pipit, 180 Twite, 1 Crossbill

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present), 22 Red Admiral

First double-figures of butterflies since the spring here today, with Red Admirals enjoying the sunshine (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

Year List: 191
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7th September 2021
Weather:
a warm, humid day with patchy low fog with sunny spells and a force 4-5 SW wind
A bit quieter today, without much new in other than a slight increase in Willow Warblers, a Whinchat in the Parks and a Red-backed Shrike at the Obs in the afternoon.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: one at Obs
Barred Warbler: two birds present - one at Chalet and one at Auld Haa
Common Rosefinch: eight at Schoolton

Sightings of note: 5 Teal, 3 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 24 Ringed Plover, 7 Curlew, 31 Turnstone, 8 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 25 Snipe, 31 Redshank, 40 Kittiwake, 5 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill, 3 Grey Heron, 3 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 6 Carrion Crow, 18 Hooded Crow (flock), 42 Skylark, 6 Swallow, 1 Wood Warbler, 21 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 3 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 1 Whinchat, 64 Wheatear, 20 White Wagtail, 5 alba Wagatil, 395 Meadow Pipit, 90 Rock Pipit, 155 Twite

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present), 2 Red Admiral

Year List: 191
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6th September 2021
Weather:
light cloud and a force 3-4 SW wind
A decent calm day with a light drifty breeze, which had brought some migrants with it. A Wryneck on Hoini was a welcome sighting, as the country seems to be full of them at the moment and we were feeling left out! The first Marsh Warbler of the autumn was seen at Chalet, and a Melodious Warbler was at Lower Leogh, which is the fourth Isle record for the season - I think this counts as an influx now! A group of four Orca lethargically milling around off Meoness/South Harbour was nice to see, even if they did stay quite far out - one of the bulls was huge, and tail slapping a bit as well. We're hoping that they might stick around the Isle, and maybe come a bit closer so that we can identify the individuals (the 27s and 64s are still kicking about Orkney at the moment, so fingers crossed they stop off here again soon!).

Wryneck posing at the back of Hoini (photo by AW Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wryneck: one on the cliffs at Muckle Geo O' Hoini
Marsh Warbler: one at Chalet - first of the autumn
Melodious Warbler: one at Lower Leogh - potentially a fourth bird for the Isle this year!
Barred Warbler: three birds present - two at North Shirva and one at Chalet
Common Rosefinch: at least six around the south of the Isle

Sightings of note: 4 Wigeon, 8 Teal, 1 Water Rail (first of the autumn), 3 Oystercatcher, 12 Ringed Plover, 6 Curlew, 16 Turnstone, 4 Dunlin, 14 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 25 Redshank, 29 Kittiwake, 3 Common Gull, 1 Guillemot, 2 Razorbill, 8 Grey Heron, 1 Merlin, 3 Peregrine, 7 Carrion Crow, 22 Skylark, 5 Swallow, 13 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler, 4 Garden Warbler, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 58 Wheatear, 4 Pied Wagtail, 26 White Wagtail, 3 alba Wagatil, 386 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit (first of the autumn), 87 Rock Pipit, 183 Twite

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present), ORCA - a group of four, consisting of 3 bulls and a female, milling around off Meoness for most of the afternoon (unfortunately too far out to be able to identify the individuals)

Year List: 191
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5th September 2021
Weather:
overcast with sunny spells and a force 5-6 SE wind
A day of strong south-easterlies always feels good, even if we don't get much to show for it! A few migrants dotted around the Isle today, including the first Whitethroat of the autumn. Maybe more will be out there tomorrow...

HIGHLIGHTS:
Barred Warbler: two birds present - one at Shirva and one at Schoolton
Common Rosefinch: at least four around the south of the Isle

Sightings of note: 2 Wigeon, 9 Teal, 6 Oystercatcher, 1 Golden Plover, 6 Ringed Plover, 9 Curlew, 48 Turnstone, 2 Knot, 1 Sanderling, 5 Dunlin, 9 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 19 Redshank, 5 Kittiwake, 12 Common Gull, 1 Arctic Tern, 4 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill, 1 Puffin, 2 Red-throated Diver, 4 Grey Heron, 1 Merlin, 4 Carrion Crow, 18 Skylark, 7 Swallow, 13 Willow Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat (first of the autumn), 1 Blackbird, 2 Robin, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 25 Wheatear, 3 Pied Wagtail, 20 White Wagtail, 1 alba Wagatil, 328 Meadow Pipit, 77 Rock Pipit, 106 Twite

Grasshopper Warbler in Wirvie Burn - this had us going, as we're very nearly into Lanceolated Warbler season! (photo by Ranger Georgia Platt)

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present), 1 Red Admiral

Year List: 191
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4th September 2021
Weather:
overcast with a force 1-2 southerly breeze
A few birds around today, with a handful of new migrants in - lovely calm weather made for a pleasant but quiet census.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Barred Warbler: one at Barkland
Common Rosefinch: four around the south of the Isle

Sightings of note: 5 Teal, 1 Moorhen, 3 Oystercatcher, 1 Golden Plover, 57 Ringed Plover, 15 Curlew, 29 Turnstone, 10 Dunlin, 31 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 20 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 16 Common Gull, 3 Guillemot, 5 Razorbill, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 6 Cormorant, 5 Grey Heron, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 8 Carrion Crow, 26 Skylark, 23 Swallow, 1 Wood Warbler, 10 Willow Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Pied Flycatcher, 22 Wheatear, 2 Grey Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtail, 25 White Wagtail, 12 alba Wagatil, 677 Meadow Pipit, 67 Rock Pipit, 137 Twite

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present), 2 Harbour Porpoise, 2 Risso's Dolphin

Year List: 191
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3rd September 2021
Weather:
an overcast and showery morning followed by a sunny afternoon, with a force 3-4 NW wind
Still not much around in the way of new birds, with a scattering of lingering common migrants and the flock of 7 Rosefinch still bombing around the south east of the Isle. We've had north-westerlies for a while now, which has produced a surprising number of birds, but we're definitely in need of a change of wind direction again! Southerlies forecast for the weekend so we'll see what that brings...

HIGHLIGHTS:
Barred Warbler: one at Barkland
Common Rosefinch: flock of 7 at Schoolton

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 3 Teal, 1 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 8 Golden Plover, 22 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 7 Curlew, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 19 Turnstone, 8 Dunlin, 31 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 20 Redshank, 2 Kittiwake, 4 Common Gull, 1 Guillemot, 18 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Merlin, 4 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 24 Skylark, 5 Swallow, 1 Wood Warbler, 12 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Robin, 13 Wheatear, 4 Pied Wagtail, 25 White Wagtail, 5 alba Wagatil, 396 Meadow Pipit, 58 Rock Pipit, 147 Twite

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present)

Year List: 191
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2nd September 2021
Weather:
overcast with a force 3 NW wind
Overall a quiet day for census, although Dan somehow pulled off a Melodious Warbler hat-trick by finding the third of the year at Setter! It was unringed, so that confirmed that it was a different bird to the one at Burkle the other day, which was trapped and ringed. Absolute madness, and still no Icterine yet this autumn!

Melodious Warbler at Setter (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Melodious Warbler: one at Setter - the third record of the autumn and the 23rd for Fair Isle
Barred Warbler: one bird at Chalet
Citrine Wagtail: one at Da Water
Common Rosefinch: 3 around the Isle

Barred Warbler in the hand at Chalet (photo by AW Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 3 Wigeon, 2 Oystercatcher, 7 Golden Plover, 35 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 13 Curlew, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, 23 Turnstone, 3 Knot, 6 Dunlin, 15 Snipe, 83 Redshank, 10 Kittiwake, 1 Common Gull, 1 Razorbill, 2 Puffin, 3 Grey Heron, 2 Merlin, 3 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 9 Skylark, 28 Swallow, 6 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Robin, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 11 Wheatear, 4 Pied Wagtail, 14 White Wagtail, 8 alba Wagatil, 491 Meadow Pipit, 63 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 161 Twite

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present)

Year List: 191
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1st September 2021
Weather:
overcast and drizzly at times with a force 4 NW wind
A few birds lingering today, but the highlight was a new in Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Easter Lother Water. The bird was discovered by Alex on north census, and fortunately was quite content feeding there as it stayed for the rest of the day, allowing the rest of the team to get nice views and good photo opportunities.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Easter Lother Water (photo by AW Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
BOOTED WARBLER: still present at Quoy
Buff-breasted Sandpiper: one at Easter Lother Water - the 19th Fair Isle record and first since 2017 (new for the year)
Barred Warbler: two birds present - one at Chalet and one at Schoolton (trapped later at Burkle)
Citrine Wagtail: at least one seen at multiple locations (Da Water, Buness and South Harbour)
Common Rosefinch: at least 5 around the Isle

Sightings of note: 4 Teal, 4 Oystercatcher, 6 Golden Plover, 8 Ringed Plover, 8 Curlew, 10 Turnstone, 11 Dunlin, 15 Snipe, 14 Redshank, 4 Common Gull, 1 Guillemot, 1 Puffin, 2 Grey Heron, 3 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 6 Carrion Crow, 1 Hybrid Crow, 25 Skylark, 20 Swallow, 6 Willow Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Robin, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 15 Wheatear, 1 Pied Wagtail, 23 White Wagtail, 6 alba Wagatil, 305 Meadow Pipit, 58 Rock Pipit, 108 Twite

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present)

Year List: 191
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31st August 2021
Weather:
cloud in the morning turning into a sunny afternoon, with a force 4-5 NW wind
A good number of migrants in today despite the wind direction, including a flock of at least 7 Rosefinch at Quoy rig, the second Melodious Warbler of the week (and the year) at Burkle and the first Citrine Wagtail of the autumn at Da Water. The Booted Warbler from Quoy turned up again at Burkle after going missing for a couple of days, feeding happily along the fencelines, and a new Barred Warbler was found at Schoolton - the south east of the Isle was clearly the place to be today!

Melodious Warbler at Burkle (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

HIGHLIGHTS:
BOOTED WARBLER: one reappeared around Burkle/Quoy
Barred Warbler: two birds present - one at Field Ditch and one at Schoolton
Melodious Warbler: one caught at Burkle
Citrine Wagtail: 1cy bird on Da Water
Common Rosefinch: flock of 7 moving around the south east

Distant views of a 1cy Citrine Wagtail at Da Water (photo by Ranger Georgia Platt)

Barred Warbler showing well at Schoolton (photo by Ranger Georgia Platt)

Sightings of note: 1 Wigeon, 9 Teal, 104 Eider, 4 Oystercatcher, 1 Lapwing, 9 Golden Plover, 13 Ringed Plover, 13 Curlew, 15 Turnstone, 5 Dunlin, 21 Snipe, 13 Redshank, 2 Common Gull, 1 Guillemot, 4 Grey Heron, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 6 Carrion Crow, 25 Skylark, 19 Swallow, 1 Wood Warbler, 18 Willow Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 57 Wheatear, 111 House Sparrow, 4 Pied Wagtail, 37 White Wagtail, 7 alba Wagatil, 410 Meadow Pipit, 82 Rock Pipit, 87 Twite

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present)

Year List: 190
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30th August 2021
Weather:
overcast with a force 3-5 northerly wind
A fair bit of movement today despite the strong northerly wind, with a count of over a thousand Meadow Pipits passing over - great to see migration in action! A bit of a clear out of other migrants, but that's to be expected.

Sightings of note: 11 Teal, 4 Oystercatcher, 1 Lapwing, 9 Golden Plover, 25 Ringed Plover, 12 Curlew, 15 Turnstone, 3 Knot, 2 Dunlin, 19 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 78 Redshank, 1 Kittiwake, 1 Black-headed Gull, 7 Common Gull, 3 Guillemot, 2 Razorbill, 1 Puffin, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 7 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 3 Peregrine, 6 Carrion Crow, 31 Skylark, 11 Swallow, 17 Willow Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 71 Wheatear, 1 Grey Wagtail, 4 Pied Wagtail, 30 White Wagtail, 29 alba Wagatil, 1,213 Meadow Pipit, 75 Rock Pipit, 94 Twite

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present)

Year List: 190
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29th August 2021
Weather:
bright but cloudy with a force 2-4 northerly breeze
Another nice day with a good number of migrants in, including a few Wood Warblers and the first Lesser Whitethroats of the autumn. The wind is getting stronger and staying northerly for the next few days, so we might not see many new interesting migrants - then again, this is Fair Isle, and anything can turn up at any time!

A rather confiding, gleaming bright Wood Warbler at Chalet (photo by Ranger Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Barred Warbler: ringed bird still at Setter

Other sightings of note: 4 Teal, 2 Woodpigeon, 4 Oystercatcher, 1 Lapwing, 5 Golden Plover, 31 Ringed Plover, 10 Curlew, 20 Turnstone, 5 Dunlin, 16 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 31 Redshank, 1 Common Gull, 1 Guillemot, 1 Puffin, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 25 Skylark, 20 Swallow, 3 Wood Warbler, 22 Willow Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler, 4 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Robin, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 90 Wheatear, 6 Pied Wagtail, 26 White Wagtail, 7 alba Wagatil, 292 Meadow Pipit, 77 Rock Pipit, 99 Twite

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present)

Year List: 190
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28th August 2021
Weather:
sun in the morning followed by a cloudy afternoon, with a light force 1-2 northerly breeze
A stunning day in terms of weather - it felt like a day in the peak of summer! A lovely, flat calm sea and a bit of sunshine in the morning made for a warm and pleasant census, with some birds still in from yesterday and a few new birds around as well. A possible Booted Warbler at Quoy allotment was reported late last night, and on far better views this morning it was indeed confirmed as a Booted, making it the second record for this species on Fair Isle this month, which is incredible seeing as they are not even an annual visitor! Yesterday's Arctic Warbler was refound at Midway, whilst a second one appeared at Wirvie Burn in the north. A repeat event of last year, having two Arctic Warblers arrive in two successive days in late August! A decent day overall, leaving the team happy.

Booted Warbler showing well near Quoy (photo by visiting birder Steve Arlow)

A large flock of Swallows enjoying using the roof of the Auld Haa for sunbathing (photo by Ranger Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
BOOTED WARBLER: one around Quoy
Arctic Warbler: two present - the mobile bird still at Midway/Lower Leogh and one at Wirvie Burn
Barred Warbler: ringed bird at Setter
Common Rosefinch: one at Plantation

Other sightings of note: 5 Wigeon, 14 Teal, 2 Woodpigeon, 4 Oystercatcher, 1 Golden Plover, 11 Ringed Plover, 15 Curlew, 17 Turnstone, 3 Dunlin, 12 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 10 Redshank, 3 Kittiwake, 1 Common Gull, 3 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 4 Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 17 Skylark, 69 Swallow, 1 Wood Warbler, 25 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 6 Garden Warbler, 2 Blackbird, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Robin, 5 Pied Flycatcher, 106 Wheatear, 4 Pied Wagtail, 30 White Wagtail, 329 Meadow Pipit, 93 Rock Pipit, 104 Twite

Lots of lovely, bright yellow juvenile Willow Warblers enjoying the Angelica plants at the moment (photo by Ranger Georgia Platt)

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present), 8 Risso's Dolphin (2 groups of 4 seen, one group off the NW and one off Buness), 11 Harbour Porpoise (2 off the Good Shepherd and the rest seen from different points around the Isle)

Year List: 190
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27th August 2021
Weather:
overcast with a light force 2-3 northerly wind
A far better day for birds, probably the best of the autumn so far, with a nice number of scarcities in amongst double figures of Willow Warblers. After several pushes of the Vaadal and Plantation traps, Alex managed to catch a Wood Warbler, Pied Flycatcher and a Barred Warbler - you don't get trap rounds like that very often!

From left to right: Barred Warbler, Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler in the hand (photo by visiting birder Steve Arlow)

In the afternoon, Steve reported an Arctic Warbler at Midway - a Fair Isle late August specialist, this rare migrant can be expected to turn up here at this time of year. The bird was very mobile, going between Midway and Shirva, using the vast number of Angelica plants and the flies they attract for feeding on. Unfortunately the AWs didn't see it (but not for lack of trying!), so hopefully it is still around tomorrow.

Arctic Warbler showing well at Midway (photo by visiting birder Steve Arlow)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Arctic Warbler: a mobile bird at Midway/Shirva (new for the year)
Barred Warbler: one trapped in Plantation
Common Rosefinch: two at Chalet

Sightings of note: 1 Wigeon, 8 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 8 Golden Plover, 24 Ringed Plover, 2 Curlew, 12 Turnstone, 1 Knot, 6 Sanderling, 1 Dunlin, 13 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 8 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 6 Common Gull, 1 Arctic Tern, 1 Razorbill, 7 Grey Heron, 1 Merlin, 3 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 23 Skylark, 29 Swallow, 1 Wood Warbler, 34 Willow Warbler, 3 Garden Warbler, 1 Blackbird, 3 Robin, 3 Pied Flycatcher, 103 Wheatear, 8 Pied Wagtail, 20 White Wagtail, 4 alba Wagtail, 270 Meadow Pipit, 69 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 110 Twite

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present), 4 Risso's Dolphin (4 off Sheep Rock), 1 Harbour Porpoise (off South Light)

Year List: 190
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26th August 2021
Weather:
generally overcast with a force 4-5 northerly wind
Not much to report from census today, as there didn't seem to be any new birds in - unsurprising given the wind direction! The team are having to be patient with this slow start to early autumn and all the forecast northerlies...

Sightings of note: 2 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 1 Moorhen (juv on Da Water), 6 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 23 Ringed Plover, 9 Curlew, 35 Turnstone, 1 Sanderling, 3 Dunlin, 13 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 12 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 5 Common Gull, 1 Arctic Skua, 3 Guillemot, 5 Grey Heron, 4 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 26 Skylark, 21 Swallow, 7 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 78 Wheatear, 3 Tree Sparrow, 10 Pied Wagtail, 6 White Wagtail, 2 alba Wagtail, 218 Meadow Pipit, 87 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 100 Twite

Year List: 189
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25th August 2021
Weather:
fog for most of the day but clearing mid-afternoon, with a force 4-5 NNW wind
Another day of fog and no census, although the sun broke through at around 3pm to give some nice bright and breezy weather to bird around the crofts and other Isle hotspots - nothing new in of note. We'll see what tomorrow brings!

Sightings of note: 3 Teal, 1 Lapwing, 5 Golden Plover, 10 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 7 Curlew, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Knot, 1 Sanderling, 4 Dunlin, 2 Black-headed Gull, 4 Common Gull, 1 Guillemot, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 4 Swallow, 6 Willow Warbler, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Whinchat, 3 White Wagtail

Year List: 189

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present)
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24th August 2021
Weather:
blue skies and sun until the fog rolled in mid-morning and then stayed for the rest of the day, with a force 3-4 westerly wind
We set off on census in glorious early autumn sunshine, only for the fog to reappear about an hour in! There were a few birds in though, and it seemed like the Obs in the north was stealing the show with a handful of migrants there - a couple of Spotted Flycatchers, a Rosefinch and a hippolais warbler which upon good field views and subsequent catching, turned out to be a Melodious Warbler! A decent migrant for Fair Isle, with this being only the 21st record and the first since 2019 - the 6th record in a decade.

Melodious Warbler at Obs garden, showing quite a strong wing panel much like Icterine, but with a different facial expression and short primary projection (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

The wing panel is far less obvious in the hand, and with some biometrics taken to confirm, this was no doubt a Melodious Warbler (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

Not much else of note other than some significant Cormorant movement and a few Willow Warblers around the crofts and on the NE cliffs.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Common Rosefinch: two present - one at the Obs and one at Golden Water
Melodious Warbler: one trapped in the Obs garden

Other sightings: 3 Greylag Goose, 1 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 1 Collared Dove, 2 Oystercatcher, 1 Golden Plover, 17 Ringed Plover, 4 Curlew, 41 Turnstone, 7 Knot, 5 Sanderling, 13 Dunlin, 13 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 17 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 1 Kittiwake, 3 Black-headed Gull, 5 Common Gull, 1 Arctic Tern, 1 Razorbill, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Storm Petrel (from the Good Shepherd), 17 Cormorant, 4 Grey Heron, 2 Short-eared Owl, 1 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 20 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin, 48 Swallow, 10 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Spotted Flycatcher (first of the autumn), 1 Robin, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 84 Wheatear, 9 Pied Wagtail, 2 White Wagtail, 2 alba Wagtail, 170 Meadow Pipit, 67 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 118 Twite

Year List: 189

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present), ORCA - at least two seen (and heard) in Hjukni Geo, presumeably from the same pod as yesterday, but fog was too thick to see properly and continue watching
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23rd August 2021
Weather:
thick fog in the morning which burned off revealing a lovely sunny afternoon with a force 4 SW wind
Another morning without census today, due to very thick fog - again! This afternoon made up for it though, as the sun came out and we were treated to 4 hours of Orca watching! A couple of Shetland pods, the 27s and the 64s, had come back up from Orkney and spent the afternoon circumnavigating the Isle, chasing seals and Eiders along the way and giving us some incredible views as they stuck close to the coastline. It's amazing to see these intelligent animals working together, and at the very end of the afternoon when they were slightly further out off South Light, they were even tail-slapping and send some poor seal flying into the air! An unforgettable afternoon, and a long-overdue Orca visit.

Nothing beats the sight of an Orca surging up through the surface of the water! (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

It was brilliant to see the Orca so clearly underwater as they cruised past (photo by AW Alex Penn)

This seal had a close call! (photo by AW Alex Penn)

There still isn't much in the way of birds, maybe a handful more migrants appearing in the crofts late this afternoon. Hopefully the fog will stay off and we can get out for a proper census tomorrow.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Common Rosefinch: one at the Obs

Other sightings of note: 1 Swift, 5 Lapwing, 13 Golden Plover, 11 Curlew, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Knot, 4 Ruff, 2 Sanderling, 11 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank, 5 Kittiwake, 16 Common Gull, 4 Arctic Tern, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 52 Storm Petrel (trapped in the Haven overnight), 1 Blue Fulmar, 1 Grey Heron, 5 Carrion Crow, 9 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, 1 Pied Flycatcher (first of the autumn), 3 Tree Sparrow, 1 White Wagtail

A lovely, crisp juvenile Sanderling in Muckle Uri Geo (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

Year List: 188

Other wildlife: ORCA - a minimum of 10 were seen as they spent the afternoon exploring the coastline of the entire island, 4 Risso's Dolphin (milling around/fishing in South Harbour)
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22nd August 2021
Weather:
thick fog all day with a force 3-4 southerly wind
No census due to thick fog all day, which is a shame as we had decent winds. Nothing of note found in the crofts though, and not much in the rest of the country either, so perhaps birds aren't moving in numbers just yet.

Sightings of note: 10 Teal, 5 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Knot, 1 Sanderling, 15 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 9 Common Gull, 5 Carrion Crow, 25 Swallow, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Robin, 4 Tree Sparrow, 1 White Wagtail, 1 Chaffinch

Year List: 188

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present), Green Lacewing (one found at the Airstrip)
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21st August 2021
Weather:
a day of constant rain and drizzle, with a force 5-6 south easterly wind
Today was a bit anticlimactic given the strong south-easterly, but constant rain also made it pretty unpleasant to be birding in. A bit of excitement was found by Alex, as a Spotted Redshank flew over Meoness, fortunately calling lots which helped with a quick ID (the call is distinctly different to Common Redshank) - the 106th Fair Isle record for this species.

Lovely juv Spotted Redshank flying into Muckle Uri Geo, showing key identifying features such as very long legs and no white in the wings in flight (photo by AW Alex Penn)

If the rain stays off tomorrow, then we could hopefully be in for seeing some more migrants!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Spotted Redshank: a juvenile flew over Meoness and continued to tour the south of the Isle before settling in Muckle Uri Geo with a few Common Redshank. An excellent record, new for the year list and the first on Fair Isle since 2018

Other sightings: 1 Teal, 141 Rock Dove (a notable count), 13 Oystercatcher, 5 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 25 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 8 Curlew, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 29 Turnstone, 4 Knot, 1 Ruff, 13 Dunlin, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 19 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 24 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 54 Common Gull, 1 Grey Heron, 3 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 21 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 12 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Whinchat, 121 Wheatear, 3 Tree Sparrow, 7 Pied Wagtail, 5 White Wagtail, 4 alba Wagtail sp., 192 Meadow Pipit, 76 Rock Pipit, 70 Twite

Year List: 188
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20th August 2021
Weather:
a pleasant day with light cloud and sunny spells, and a force 2-3 NE wind, swinging to easterly later in the day
No census this morning as the team were helping out with rounding up the hill sheep in the north of the Isle, to clip any sheep that we missed last time. It was a successful morning, and always leaves you pretty knackered as it involves lots of running up and down hills! Some birding in the afternoon didn't produce an awful lot other than a Rosefinch at Vaila's Trees and the first Tree Sparrows since mid-June, but it seemed that today was a day to look at the sea, as we had multiple cetacean sightings along with a few Sooty Shearwaters cruising past. We're now into a spell of easterlies for a couple of days followed by very calm weather, so birding should pick up a bit this weekend, fingers crossed!

First Rosefinch of the autumn at Vaila's Trees - hopefully a sign of more to come! (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Common Rosefinch: one at Vaila's Trees (first of the autumn)
Rose-coloured Starling: adult male still at Brecks

Other sightings: 1 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 2 Curlew, 3 Knot, 1 Sanderling, 8 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 8 Common Gull, 2 Arctic Tern, 3 Sooty Shearwater, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Peregrine, 18 Swallow, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 3 Tree Sparrow, 5 White Wagtail

Year List: 187

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present), 12 Harbour Porpoise (4 seen off South Light and 8 off Buness), 1 Minke Whale (off Buness), 7 White-beaked Dolphin (seen fairly close in, feeding off Sheep Rock and Buness for an hour or so in the early afternoon)
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19th August 2021
Weather:
a drizzly start turned into a much nicer day, with light cloud and a decreasing 3-5 NNW wind
A quiet census had this morning, followed by a visiting cruiseship in the afternoon. The team were helping out with walking folk up to the Hall and the Museum, answering lots of questions and pointing anything out along the way. A successful afternoon, with everyone on the Isle now ready to tackle Sheep Hill tomorrow morning. The winds are turning easterly tomorrow afternoon and stay like that for a couple of days, so surely we'll get some movement this weekend!

This Wheatear that fledged on the Isle earlier this year has a genetic condition called 'Schizochromaticism', where all plumage colour appears washed out and pale. We've got used to it now, but it certainly made you look every time you saw it at first! (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Rose-coloured Starling: adult male reappeared at Brecks

Other sightings: 2 Greylag Goose, 13 Oystercatcher, 4 Lapwing, 4 Golden Plover, 18 Ringed Plover, 2 Curlew, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 57 Turnstone, 6 Sanderling, 10 Dunlin, 11 Snipe, 17 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 19 Common Gull, 8 Arctic Tern, 2 Sooty Shearwater, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Merlin, 3 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 29 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 19 Swallow, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Garden Warbler, 168 Wheatear, 11 Pied Wagtail, 6 White Wagtail, 2 alba Wagtail sp., 220 Meadow Pipit, 82 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 141 Twite

Year List: 187

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present), 3 Harbour Porpoise (seen off South Light)
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18th August 2021
Weather:
a dreich, showery morning with some sun in the afternoon and a force 5-6 NW wind
The team woke up to another dreich morning, but the forecast was only for showers so we waited until 10am to start census. Only got caught out in a few light and brief showers, so that wasn't so bad. Not many birds around though, apart from some waders.

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 1 Teal, 1 Moorhen, 17 Oystercatcher, 6 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 28 Ringed Plover, 11 Curlew, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 43 Turnstone, 5 Knot, 1 Ruff, 13 Dunlin, 11 Snipe, 37 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 6 Common Gull, 25 Arctic Tern, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 32 Skylark, 18 Swallow, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 176 Wheatear, 11 Pied Wagtail, 5 White Wagtail, 195 Meadow Pipit, 62 Rock Pipit, 53 Twite

Year List: 187

Other wildlife: 1 European Eel (seen in the early hours whilst dazzling at Utra scrape)
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17th August 2021
Weather:
thick fog in the morning which eased off later in the day, with a force 3-5 NW breeze
No census today due to thick fog, so we took the chance to catch up on indoor jobs, such as ringing data entry and summarising seabird data collected over the breeding season. A productive morning in the end, followed by some birding around the crofts in the afternoon, which didn't produce much in the way of migrants.

Sightings of note: 2 Teal, 1 Lapwing, 9 Golden Plover, 6 Knot, 2 Ruff, 3 Sanderling, 17 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 8 Common Gull, 9 Arctic Tern (at South Light), 1 Grey Heron, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 17 Swallow, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 1 White Wagtail

Year List: 187

Other wildlife: 6 Risso's Dolphin (fishing close in off South Light), Shetland Bee (present)
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16th August 2021
Weather:
mostly sunny with a force 5-7 NNW wind
A bright and breezy day, but very quiet for birds. A bit of an easterly wind forecast for the weekend, so the team are staying hopeful for some more migrants turning up soon.

Fly-by death stare from a Short-eared Owl at Setter (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Rose-coloured Starling: adult male still at Brecks

Other sightings: 4 Greylag Goose, 1 Teal, 2 Moorhen, 24 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 5 Golden Plover, 25 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 15 Curlew, 9 Turnstone, 1 Ruff, 2 Sanderling, 11 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 8 Snipe, 19 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 8 Common Gull, 10 Arctic Tern (at South Light), 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 24 Skylark, 11 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackbird, 2 Robin, 165 Wheatear, 9 Pied Wagtail, 2 White Wagtail, 210 Meadow Pipit, 44 Rock Pipit, 89 Twite

Year List: 187

Other wildlife: 2 Silver Y
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15th August 2021
Weather:
continual heavy rain showers and a force 4-5 NNW wind
No census today due to heavy rain.

Sightings of note: 3 Teal, 2 Moorhen (adult and juv on Da Water), 1 Greenshank, 1 Merlin, 1 Hybrid Crow, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 1 White Wagtail

Year List: 187
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14th August 2021
Weather:
a cloudy start gave way to sun in the afternoon, with a NW breeze increasing throughout the day
Numbers of migrants remain fairly low, although we're still getting some nice counts of waders moving through. In the afternoon we revisited our Fulmar productivity plots, to count how many chicks were present where there were incubating adults present previously. Some plots didn't have many chicks at all, but others saw a productivity of over half, which is an encouraging figure. We finished off counting fledged Bonxies as well, and ended with a count of 42 - a very poor figure, seeing as there were over 500 nests mapped earlier in the season, giving a productivity of just 0.079. This of course will be a head-on impact from the recent spread of Avian Influenza in the Bonxie population, which has sadly killed many breeding adults - it will be interesting to see what the breeding population on the Isle will be like next year.

One of our breeding pairs of Swallows with their four recently fledged young at Chalet (photo by AW Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Rose-coloured Starling: adult male still at Brecks
Red-backed Shrike: one juvenile at Chapel Plantation/Meadow Burn

Other sightings: 5 Swift, 35 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 51 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 4 Curlew, 15 Turnstone, 2 Ruff, 12 Sanderling, 20 Dunlin, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 12 Snipe, 25 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 5 Black-headed Gull, 59 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 11 Arctic Tern (at South Light), 1 Grey Heron, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 5 Carrion Crow, 26 Skylark, 22 Swallow, 5 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird, 1 Black Redstart, 230 Wheatear, 7 Pied Wagtail, 268 Meadow Pipit, 90 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 69 Twite

Year List: 187

Other wildlife: 1 Painted Lady, Shetland Bee (present)
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13th August 2021
Weather:
blue skies and sun with a force 3-4 southerly wind
A boost in numbers of waders today, and a clearout of warblers that were around yesterday. Tomorrow's forecast indicates a change in wind direction, from prevailing southerly to north-westerly, which could bring some interesting birds along with it.

Two juvenile Ruff on Da Water (photo by Ranger Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Rose-coloured Starling: adult male still at Brecks
Red-backed Shrike: one juvenile at Chapel Plantation/Meadow Burn

Other sightings: 1 Swift, 31 Oystercatcher, 6 Lapwing, 3 Golden Plover, 78 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 5 Curlew, 17 Turnstone, 5 Knot, 2 Ruff, 14 Sanderling, 21 Dunlin, 13 Purple Sandpiper, 20 Snipe, 18 Redshank, 2 Wood Sandpiper (Gilsetter and Da Water), 1 Greenshank, 63 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Arctic Tern (13 at South Light and 1 on Buness), 2 Grey Heron, 2 Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 1 Hybrid Crow, 23 Skylark, 23 Swallow, 4 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 2 Robin, 224 Wheatear, 10 Pied Wagtail, 256 Meadow Pipit, 93 Rock Pipit, 62 Twite, 1 Crossbill

Year List: 187

Other wildlife: 1 Red Admiral, Shetland Bee (present)
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12th August 2021
Weather:
a mostly sunny day clouding over in the evening, with an increasing SW to SE wind
A few more migrants in today around the crofts, including another Barred Warbler, whilst the Booted Warbler remained at the North Shirva thistles. A few Swifts were dotted around the Isle and the two juvenile Red-backed Shrikes were still around, making for pleasant birding in the early autumn sunshine.

Common Swift over Setter (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

HIGHLIGHTS:
BOOTED WARBLER: one still at North Shirva thistles
Red-backed Shrike: two juveniles still - one at Chapel Plantation/Burkle and one at Plantation
Rose-coloured Starling: adult male still at Brecks
Barred Warbler: two present - one at Chalet and one trapped at Lower Leogh

Other sightings: 2 Teal, 5 Swift, 49 Oystercatcher, 4 Lapwing, 17 Ringed Plover, 12 Curlew, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 16 Turnstone, 4 Sanderling, 14 Dunlin, 12 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 16 Redshank, 1 Wood Sandpiper (Gilsetter), 2 Black-headed Gull, 20 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Arctic Tern (16 at South Light and 4 on Buness), 1 Grey Heron, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 1 Hybrid Crow, 21 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 14 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler, 3 Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Garden Warbler, 1 Blackbird, 2 Robin, 213 Wheatear, 12 Pied Wagtail, 182 Meadow Pipit, 56 Rock Pipit, 73 Twite

Year List: 187

Other wildlife: 2 Painted Lady, 2 Silver Y, Shetland Bee (present)
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10-11th August 2021
Weather:
generally overcast with some low cloud and a changeable wind - force 4-5 NE on 10th and force 5-6 SE on 11th
No census on these days as some of the team were away to mainland Shetland for their second Covid vaccine. Nevertheless, new birds have been arriving on the Isle, including the first Barred Warbler of the autumn at The Haa on the 10th, followed by a Booted Warbler at Shirva on the 11th. The latter showed extremely well in the early evening as it fed amongst the thistles - an excellent start to the autumn!

Booted Warbler showing well at North Shirva (photo by AW Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
BOOTED WARBLER: one at Shirva on the 11th (new for the year - 18th Fair Isle record pending acceptance of a bird last autumn)
Red-backed Shrike: two juveniles - one at Meadow Burn and one trapped in Vaadal
Rose-coloured Starling: adult male still at Brecks
Barred Warbler: one at The Haa on the 10th and at Skerryholm on the 11th (first of the year)

Other sightings: 1 Greylag Goose, 1 Teal, 1 Collared Dove, 5 Lapwing, 4 Golden Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 10 Curlew, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Ruff, 7 Sanderling, 5 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Wood Sandpiper (Boini Mire), 1 Greenshank (Golden Water), 1 Black-headed Gull, 26 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Arctic Tern (47 at South Light), 2 Sooty Shearwater (4-5 miles North from Good Shepherd), 1 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 1 Hybrid Crow, 6 Swallow, 1 Wood Warbler (ringed bird still in South Raeva), 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 9 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail

Year List: 187

Other wildlife: ORCA (one male seen briefly off South Light heading east, not seen again), 1 Painted Lady, Shetland Bee (present)
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9th August 2021
Weather:
overcast and showers with some low cloud and a force 3-4 NE wind
A similar scene to yesterday, with nothing new in of note, apart from a Greenshank on Golden Water. The Wood Warbler ringed at Plantation yesterday had moved to South Raeva and a Willow Warbler was in North Raeva, making them the first migrants found on cliffs of the autumn - hopefully plenty more of that to come!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Sandwich Tern: one in the Haven
Red-backed Shrike: juvenile at Midway/Schoolton
Rose-coloured Starling: adult male still at Brecks

Sandwich Tern in flight in the Haven (photo by AW Alex Penn)

Other sightings: 1 Greylag Goose, 2 Moorhen (adult and juv on Da Water), 44 Oystercatcher, 1 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 11 Ringed Plover, 9 Curlew, 22 Turnstone, 1 Ruff, 4 Sanderling, 5 Dunlin, 6 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Wood Sandpiper (Boini Mire), 14 Redshank, 1 Greenshank (Golden Water), 2 Black-headed Gull, 40 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Arctic Tern (59 at South Light), 3 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 5 Carrion Crow, 25 Skylark, 8 Swallow, 1 Wood Warbler (ringed bird in South Raeva), 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Robin, 203 Wheatear, 15 Pied Wagtail, 176 Meadow Pipit, 63 Rock Pipit, 85 Twite

Year List: 185

Other wildlife: 2 Painted Lady, 2 Silver Y, Shetland Bee (present)
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8th August 2021
Weather:
warm with sunny spells and patchy showers, with a force 3-5 easterly wind
A few nice birds in today, including an unexpected Wood Warbler in Plantation and a Reed Warbler at Obs, which is the first Acrocephalus warbler on the Isle of the autumn. The elusive young Red-backed Shrike reappeared at Midway, whilst the Rosy Starling still remains at Brecks, and a Sandwich Tern was found in the tern roost off South Light in the afternoon - although the Isle is still fairly quiet, it definitely feels like we're moving into autumn now. Surely it won't be long until our first Barred Warbler of the season!

Juvenile Ruff (right) and juv Dunlin (left) at Da Water (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

A gorgeous, frosty young Sanderling in Mid Geo (photo by AW Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Sandwich Tern: one in the Arctic Tern roost at South Light
Red-backed Shrike: juvenile at Midway
Rose-coloured Starling: adult male still at Brecks

Other sightings: 1 Shoveler (female), 2 Moorhen (adult and juv on Da Water), 60 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 4 Golden Plover, 24 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 24 Curlew, 57 Turnstone, 1 Knot, 1 Ruff, 3 Sanderling, 6 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 15 Snipe, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Green Sandpiper, 1 Wood Sandpiper (Boini Mire), 16 Redshank, 51 Common Gull, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Arctic Tern (57 at South Light and 54 on Buness), 4 Grey Heron, 1 Merlin, 3 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 2 Hybrid Crow, 31 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin, 9 Swallow, 1 Wood Warbler (trapped in Plantation), 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler (Obs), 3 Garden Warbler, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Robin, 266 Wheatear, 12 Pied Wagtail, 254 Meadow Pipit, 74 Rock Pipit, 104 Twite

Twite lining up for a photo at Kirn O' Skroo (photo by Ranger Georgia Platt)

Year List: 185

Other wildlife: 2 Red Admiral, 3 Painted Lady, 8 Silver Y, Shetland Bee (present)
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7th August 2021
Weather:
sun and showers with a force 4-7 SE wind
A further increase in waders today, including the arrival of 3 Green Sandpipers and a Wood Sandpiper. Some more warblers are trickling in as well, including a couple of nice fresh juvenile Willow Warblers, and the Rosy Starling is still present at Brecks, on its 12th day of staying on the Isle. The rarest sighting today wasn't a bird for once, as Alex caught a glimpse of a Hawker type Dragonfly against the road at Field Ditch as it flew off towards Pund. Sadly it couldn't be refound to identify, but this is only the 5th Odonata record in Fair Isle history, and the first since 2004!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Rose-coloured Starling: adult male still at Brecks

Other sightings: 1 Shoveler (female), 49 Oystercatcher, 7 Lapwing, 16 Ringed Plover, 11 Curlew, 73 Turnstone, 2 Knot, 1 Ruff, 5 Sanderling, 8 Dunlin, 6 Snipe, 3 Green Sandpiper (Gilly Burn, Boini Mire and Vaadal), 1 Wood Sandpiper (Boini Mire), 20 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 68 Common Gull, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Arctic Tern (99 at South Light and 70 on Buness), 3 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 5 Carrion Crow, 1 Sand Martin, 9 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Garden Warbler, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Robin, 10 Pied Wagtail, 1 Chaffinch, 75 Twite

A young Fieldfare in Walli Burn (photo by AW Alex Penn)

Year List: 185

Other wildlife: 3 Red Admiral, 1 Painted Lady, 7 Silver Y, Shetland Bee (present), DRAGONFLY SP. (seen briefly at Field Ditch, thought to be Hawker type)
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6th August 2021
Weather:
overcast with patchy sun and a warm, strong force 5-6 ESE wind
A few new bits around today, including a couple of young Common Terns in the Arctic Tern roost at South Light, a Black Redstart acting 'fresh-in' also at South Light, and a lovely juvenile Red-backed Shrike at Midway in the afternoon. The strong southerly winds tempted some seawatching as well, but nothing out of the ordinary was seen - this kind of weather can be good for the odd Shearwater species cruising past the Isle. Some more strong ESE winds forecast overnight with some heavy rain, which hopefully will land us some migrants for the morning!

Juvenile Red-backed Shrike at Midway (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: juvenile at Midway
Rose-coloured Starling: adult male still at Brecks

Other sightings: 1 Teal, 1 Moorhen (juvenile on Da Water), 81 Oystercatcher, 5 Lapwing, 9 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 6 Curlew, 27 Turnstone, 4 Knot, 4 Sanderling, 9 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 5 Snipe, 25 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 41 Common Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Common Tern (in the roost at South Light, first of the year), Arctic Tern (64 at South Light and 135 on Buness), 6 Grey Heron, 1 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 6 Swallow, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackbird, 1 Black Redstart, 12 Pied Wagtail, 1 Chaffinch, 65 Twite

A very confiding juvenile Dunlin amongst the seeding Thrift on Meoness (photo by Ranger Georgia Platt)

Year List: 185

Other wildlife: 1 Red Admiral, 1 Painted Lady, Silver Y (present), Shetland Bee (present)
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5th August 2021
Weather:
warm with some sunny spells and patchy low cloud, and an increasing force 5-7 southerly breeze
Today marked the start of autumn daily census, where the Isle is split into three main areas and birds are counted in each area, and we'll carry this on every morning, all the way through until the end of October. It was a quiet one today, with nothing new in other than a Garden Warbler in Plantation (it's something!), but it was a lovely morning to be out birding, so a welcome start to this phase of the season. The adult male Rosy Starling is still hanging around at Brecks, mainly attracted to the peanut feeder.

Adult male Rose-coloured Starling posing at Brecks (photo by AW Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Rose-coloured Starling: adult male trapped at Brecks

Other sightings: 44 Oystercatcher, 8 Lapwing, 3 Golden Plover, 16 Ringed Plover, 7 Curlew, 19 Turnstone, 1 Knot, 2 Sanderling, 6 Dunlin, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 5 Snipe, 20 Redshank, 18 Common Gull, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Arctic Tern (89 at South Light and 160 on Buness), 1 Grey Heron, 2 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 13 Swallow, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 7 Pied Wagtail, 1 Chaffinch, 52 Twite

A couple of smart-looking Arctic Skua fledglings at the Airstrip (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

Year List: 184

Other wildlife: 1 Painted Lady, Silver Y (present), Shetland Bee (present)
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30th July-4th August 2021
Weather:
generally clear with patches of low cloud and a slight breeze
Not much happening over this last week, as the seabird season is properly winding down and only a handful more jobs left to do a bit further into August. On the 30th we concluded a side project of fitting 20 breeding adult Puffins with GLS (Global Location Sensor) trackers from Norwegian project SEATRACK, in order to find out where the breeding population spend their winters. A brilliant opportunity to get involved with conserving this red-listed species, and hopefully some valuable data will be collected when recovering the tags next year.

GLS tags on Puffins - left photo shows a bird tagged on Buness, sporting it's new tracking gear, and right photo shows a close up of the tracker (photos by AW Alex Penn)

As the vast majority of Arctic Tern chicks have now fledged, on the night of the 2nd/3rd we headed to the colony on Buness to catch and ring some birds at the roost. A decent number of birds were caught, including a mix of fledglings and adults, but the main interest of this activity is to recapture some previously ringed adults, to see when and where they were ringed, which is always valuable in a long-lived, long-distance migratory seabird. We only had a couple of retrapped adults - one was ringed in 2019 as a chick on Buness, and the other was ringed back in 1994 in Shetland, also as a chick, which made it older than anyone on the Obs team. That's what ringing is all about!

Arctic Terns caught at the roost on Buness, showing an adult in the foreground and one of this year's fledglings in the background (photo by Ranger Georgia Platt)

Still quiet on the bird news front, although autumn census is starting up again tomorrow, with some encouraging strong south-easterlies in the forecast. Let's see what's out there!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Common Rosefinch: one at Schoolton on 1st
Rose-coloured Starling: adult male still present at Brecks throughout

Other sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Moorhen (adult and a juvenile on Da Water), 1 Golden Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Turnstone, 1 Knot (juvenile), 2 Sanderling, 13 Dunlin, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 5 Redshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 164 Arctic Tern (roost at South Light on 2nd, including juvs), 1 Red-throated Diver, 14 Storm Petrel (trapped on Buness whilst catching Terns), 1 Grey Heron, 1 Peregrine, 1 Merlin, 4 Carrion Crow, 3 Sand Martin, 4 Swallow, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Robin, 1 Chaffinch

Year List: 184

Other wildlife: ORCA (pod of 5+ seen off the Good Shepherd on the 2nd, 4 miles north of the Isle), Harbour Porpoise (8+ off the Good Shepherd on the 2nd, 7 miles north), Minke Whale (just off the rocks at South Light on the 4th), 1 Painted Lady (31st), Shetland Bee (present on 4th)
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25th-29th July 2021
Weather:
continual low cloud and fog with a slight breeze
The 25th was the first time the sun had shone in about 2 weeks, which was more than welcome as we also had a cruiseship visiting that day! Around 60 passengers came ashore and the team lead groups of folk around the Isle, taking them to see knitwear, the musuem and of course, Puffins. It was overall a successful morning to be repeated again on the afternoon of the 27th, which went just as smoothly, although sadly the fog was back and the Puffins on Buness weren't showing very well - classic unpredictable wildlife! That evening we ran a Storm Petrel ringing session at South Haven, and caught 298 birds (including 21 retraps) in just over 4 hours, a great effort from a team of four!

European Storm Petrel taking in its surroundings before fluttering back off into the night (photo by AW Alex Penn)

Bird news is still pretty thin, although a Bar-tailed Godwit flying over Utra on the 29th was note-worthy, as well as a smart male Rosy Starling frequenting the peanuts at Brecks on the 27th and 28th. The Honey Buzzard finally left after staying for 16 days, but didn't get very far as it was discovered on Unst a couple of days later! A Ruff over Meoness on 28th was a first for the year list, and a few more common wader species are starting to build in numbers.

Bar-tailed Godwit flying over Utra (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Honey Buzzard: still present on 25th, then reported on Unst on 27th
Rose-coloured Starling: adult male at Brecks on 27th and 28th and at Kenaby on 29th

Adult male Rosy Starling at Brecks (photo by Max Hellicar)

Other sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 1 Shelduck (present on 25th), 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Swift, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Moorhen (same bird on Da Water), 58 Oystercatcher (large flock on 29th), 1 Golden Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit (on 29th), 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 50 Turnstone, 2 Knot, 1 Ruff (first of the year on 28th), 5 Sanderling, 24 Dunlin, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 13 Redshank, 9 Black-headed Gull, 240 Common Gull (flock on 28th), 9 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 82 Arctic Tern (roost at South Light on 29th, including juvs), 298 Storm Petrel (trapped at Haven on 27th/28th), 1 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 2 Sand Martin, 8 Swallow, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 1 White Wagtail (in South Harbour on 26th), 1 Chaffinch

Year List: 184

Other wildlife: 1 Harbour Porpoise (off South Light on 26th), 3 Red Admiral (on 25th and 1 on 29th), 1 Painted Lady (25th & 29th), Silver Y (present on 25th & 26th), Shetland Bee (present on 25th, 26th & 27th)
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20th-24th July 2021
Weather:
overcast and chilly, with a slight NE breeze at times
The team have had a long week of Puffin monitoring, starting with the annual food sampling on Tor O' Da Ward Hill. This is where we catch birds in a mist net as they swirl around, and collect any fish that they drop as they hit the net - we collected 34 samples and caught 61 Puffins, including 2 retraps. Well worth the 4:15am start!

Adult Puffin in the hand at Tor O' Da Ward Hill (photo by AW Alex Penn)

After food sampling, I did a long guided walk around the SW coast and up to the Haven, and saw a Rosy Starling at Finniquoy on the way! A nice treat for the visitors and the first sighting of this species in 19 days, so it was assumed to be a different bird to the one hanging around Vaasetter previously. We weren't finished with Puffin monitoring for the day just yet, as we took advantage of the lack of swell and paddled over to Greenholm in our inflatable dinghy in the afternoon! All marked burrows were checked and chicks had their biometrics taken - it seems like the chicks are growing pretty slowly this year, but a few were at fledging size, so that's encouraging at least. Whilst on Greenholm, Dan also ringed a few Fulmar chicks and myself and Alex ringed 8 Kittiwakes.

Adult Kittiwake in the hand at Greenholm - it always feels like a huge privilege to handle this red-listed species (photo by Ranger Georgia Platt)

The following day (the 22nd), we spent much of the day sorting through the food samples that we collected - this involves identifying, measuring and weighing each individual fish, even down to the tiniest sandeel! A good job to get done, and some valuable data collected. On the 23rd we rounded off the Puffin monitoring with the annual all-day feedwatch, where we note whenever a Puffin carrying fish enters a marked burrow from dawn til dusk. It really feels like we're getting through the seabird work now, as the monitoring is nearing an end for a lot of species - just have to digitise all the data collected now!

A typical Puffin food sample, consisting of small sandeels and larger young gadoids (photo by Ranger Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Honey Buzzard: one still present throughout, touring the Isle - it has been present for 15 days, making it the longest staying Honey Buzzard in Fair Isle history. It still looks very healthy, with some speculation that it is feeding on frogs rather than insects. On the 23rd it was sighted at Guidicum, where it gained height and went out to sea, but was harassed by Bonxies and came inland again.
Rose-coloured Starling: adult at Finniquoy

Other sightings of note: 1 Shelduck (present throughout at South Harbour), 1 Shoveler (female on 21st and 22nd), 5 Teal, 3 Red-breasted Merganser (male on 21st, two red-heads on 22nd and 23rd), 2 Swift, 1 Woodpigeon, 76 Oystercatcher (large flock on 21st), 1 Golden Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 39 Turnstone (on 22nd), 1 Knot, 4 Sanderling, 5 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 21 Redshank (on 22nd), 5 Black-headed Gull, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Red-throated Diver (23rd), 2 Grey Heron, 3 Peregrine (3 chicks fledged on 23rd), 4 Carrion Crow, 3 Swallow, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Siskin

Year List: 183

Other wildlife: 1 Painted Lady (on 23rd)
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16th-19th July 2021
Weather:
a mixed bag of weather, with force 6-7 SW winds at the weekend. Otherwise overcast and chilly with some patchy fog, but fairly calm.
A fairly quiet few days, with bits and pieces of seabird work and sheep hill on the 19th. On the 16th we headed down to the Razorbill productivity monitoring plot at Easter Lother, to find that many of the chicks had fledged - a few were still left, so by the next time we visit they should be gone (or nearly gone) as well. Weather at the weekend was fairly poor with high winds and rain, so Saturday was a rare day-off for us, and indoor jobs were all caught up with. Sheep hill on Monday was a long but fun day, as we started at 9am and didn't finish until 6pm! The weather turned dreich in the afternoon, so we were all shearing sheep in the constant drizzle - hot showers afterwards were much needed!

All the hill sheep being released into the mist from the cru at the end of the day (photo by AW Alex Penn)

Obs staff can turn their hands to anything! Photo shows Georgia in the foreground and Max behind, shearing Schoolton croft's sheep (photo by AW Alex Penn)

Not much around in the way of birds at the moment, other than the long-staying Honey Buzzard which was present throughout - it's been here for 11 days now! A few more waders passing through, and a few Manx Shearwaters (rarer than Sooty Shearwater here) at the weekend when there were strong south-westerlies blowing.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Honey Buzzard: one still present throughout, still favouring the Leogh/Skerryholm area

Other sightings of note: 1 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Cuckoo (female), 2 Collared Dove, 1 Moorhen (same bird on Da Water), 1 Golden Plover, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 42 Turnstone, 1 Knot, 2 Sanderling, 3 Dunlin, 18 Purple Sandpiper, 33 Redshank, 36 Black-headed Gull, 97 Common Gull, 15 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 5 Manx Shearwater (on 17th off South Light), 3 Grey Heron, 1 Merlin, 2 Peregrine (plus 3 chicks again), 5 Carrion Crow, 3 Swallow, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 60 Meadow Pipit (flock on Ward Hill on 19th), 1 Chaffinch, 1 Linnet

Year List: 183

Other wildlife: 1 Minke Whale (from Good Shepherd, 2 miles north of Isle), 2 Magpie Moth, Shetland Bee (present throughout)
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12th-15th July 2021
Weather:
mostly clear, with some mist and a slight breeze
The last few days have been very productive, with lots of various species of seabird and gull chicks ringed, plus a decent Stormie ringing session. On the 12th we visited the mixed Gull colony at Goorn, where we ringed a good number of Herring Gull chicks, one Lesser Black-backed Gull chick and a healthy brood of three Great Black-backed Gulls. A brood of Swallows and a few Arctic Skua chicks were then ringed at the Mast, and on the night of 12th/13th we headed to South Haven for a Storm Petrel ringing session, with 151 birds caught plus 2 Leach's Petrels. It's always exciting to catch a Leach's - such beasts compared to European Stormies!

Leach's Petrel in the hand - double the size of a European Stormie! (photo by AW Alex Penn)

On the 14th we visited the Puffin productivity plot at Greenholm again - all chicks still present, albeit growing quite slowly, so hopefully they'll make it to fledging size. In terms of other birds, the Honey Buzzard is still sticking around and currently enjoying the cut silage fields, and two gorgeous summer plumage Great Northern Divers were showing well and calling in South Haven yesterday evening (14th). Today (15th), Alex discovered three large and healthy looking Peregrine chicks, nearly ready to fledge at Guidicum. We have long suspected that a pair are breeding in the north-west, so it's brilliant to confirm this! Some strong south-westerlies coming up, so who knows what could turn up now.

Summer plumage Great Northern Divers showing some courting behaviour in South Haven (photo by AW Alex Penn)

Peregrine chicks on the cliffs at Guidicum - Alex noticed the pair of adults alarm-calling and managed to spot these! (photo by AW Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Honey Buzzard: one still present throughout, touring the crofts

The Honey Buzzard comes under near-constant harrassment from Arctic Skuas during its lengthy stay on the Isle (photo by AW Alex Penn)

Other sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 1 Wigeon, 1 Teal, 2 Swift, 1 Cuckoo (female), 1 Moorhen (same bird on Da Water), 3 Golden Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Turnstone, 1 Knot, 3 Sanderling, 8 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 15 Redshank, 1 Greenshank (first of the year), 12 Black-headed Gull, 58 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Great Northern Diver, 151 Storm Petrel (caught on 12th/13th), 2 Leach's Petrel (caught on 13th - first of the year), 1 Manx Shearwater (off Good Shepherd), 5 Grey Heron, 2 Peregrine (plus 3 chicks), 4 Carrion Crow, 2 Sand Martin, 4 Swallow, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Linnet

Year List: 183

Other wildlife: 1 Harbour Porpoise (off Sheep Rock on 14th), 1 Red Admiral, 1 Painted Lady, 1 Magpie Moth, Silver Y (present thoughout), Shetland Bee (present throughout)
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9th-11th July 2021
Weather:
a few days of very calm, much clearer weather with occasional fog rolling in
The fog finally lifted for a little while over the last few days, coming in again this afternoon (11th). The 10th was calm and clear with sunny spells, so we used that opportunity to do the annual all-day Guillemot feedwatch at the colony at Pietron, which involves the team taking shifts to watch the colony and record any birds coming in, and if they are carrying fish for their young. On my way to my shift at 2pm I noticed some Starlings and Waders making a fuss over Lower Leogh, stopped the car and saw the cause of the upset - a Honey Buzzard! A fantastic bird to see on Fair Isle, and it gave nice views as it soared low over the road to Skerryholm. It was then seen several times later in the day by the rest of the team and a fair few islanders, and was still present the next day.

In the evening we were treated to this unusual view of the Honey Buzzard, as it sat amongst the wildflowers eating insects in Boini Mire (photo by AW Alex Penn)

The 11th saw more excitement, as Max reported a Stone-curlew flying around Skadan then lost towards Hesti Geo. The bird proved to be very mobile and was refound in South Harbour, where it again flushed to Skadan and around South Light and Shalstane, and back over to Utra. Fortunately the whole team connected as it flew around, but we lost it in the fog as it flew from Utra to the base of Malcolm's Head. The 10th record for Fair Isle, with the last 3 records of this species being in 2020, 2009 and 1995 - a fantastically bizarre bird, and very nice to see!

Stone Curlew giving us fly-pass views as it headed to Utra over Shalstane (photo by AW Dan Gornall)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stone-curlew: one flying around the south-west of the Isle on the 11th, initally seen on Skadan - the 10th Fair Isle record
Honey Buzzard: one touring the south of the Isle on the 10th and again on the 11th, favouring the Boini Mire area - the 60th Fair Isle record and first since 2018

Other sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 2 Swift, 1 Moorhen (same bird on Da Water), 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Golden Plover, 6 Whimbrel, 5 Turnstone, 4 Dunlin, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 12 Redshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 6 Swallow, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Brambling

Year List: 181

Other wildlife: 1 Red Admiral, Silver Y (present thoughout), Shetland Bee (present throughout), 1 Harbour Porpoise (on 10th and 11th)
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4th-8th July 2021
Weather:
consistent low cloud and fog with a few breaks in the weather in the afternoons, and a moderate breeze
The start of July has brought lots of fog with it - there has only been one plane able to come in this month so far! It's fortunate that the Good Shepherd isn't affected by poor visibility. In the afternoons the cloud has been lifting slightly, so that has given an opportnity to get a bit of seabird work done at least. We could do with another few clear days! On the night of the 8th/9th we did our first Storm Petrel ringing session of the year, catching 30 birds (27 new and 3 retraps, including 2 British controls) in just over an hour - a nice and steady introduction back into Stormie ringing for the season!

European Storm Petrel in the hand at South Haven (photo by Ranger Georgia Platt)

Sightings of note: 4 Greylag Goose, 1 Teal, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Golden Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Turnstone, 2 Dunlin, 5 Purple Sandpiper, 8 Redshank, 8 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 30 Storm Petrel (caught in a ringing session on night of 8th/9th, first of the year), 1 Sooty Shearwater (first of the year, seen from the Good Shepherd), 2 Grey Heron, 1 Carrion Crow, 6 Swallow, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 1 Crossbill

Year List: 179

Other wildlife: 2 Risso's Dolphin (off South Light on 4th), 6 Red Admiral, Silver Y (present), Diamond-backed Moth (present), Shetland Bee (present)
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29th June-3rd July 2021
Weather:
more fog and low cloud on the 29th, 2nd and 3rd, calm and sunny on 30th and 1st, with a chilly northerly breeze at times
The last few days have brought in more fog and drizzle, but a nice and sunny break on the 30th June and 1st July meant that we could finally get some seabird work done again. On 30th we were back out mapping Bonxie nests, and are up to 372 nests now, with a few more places to cover. Quite a few birds are still on eggs, but most nests seem to consist of small chicks, which have a habit of wandering and making the actual nest site a bit trickier to find!

The 1st was a packed day of monitoring the Razorbill productivity plot at Easter Lother in the morning and visiting Greenholm for the Puffin productivity in the afternoon. We ringed and took biometrics on a good number of chicks throughout the day, taking full advantage of the decent weather. The first (incredibly cute) Fulmar chicks were noted on Greenholm whilst we were there, and we also caught and ringed a few Kittiwakes after the Puffin monitoring.

Left to right: Razorbill chick at Easter Lother, Guillemot chick also at Easter Lother and a Fulmar chick on Greenholm (photos by Ranger Georgia Platt)

A handful of migrants over the last few days, with another Rose-coloured Starling present, a Marsh Warbler on 29th and a few more waders moving through.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Marsh Warbler: one at Vaila's Trees on 29th
Rose-coloured Starling: an adult on 29th seen by visitors and seen again at Johnny's Peats on 2nd

Other sightings of note: 15 Greylag Goose, 2 Teal (pair on Da Water), 1 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, 1 Moorhen (same bird at Da Water), 17 Lapwing, 5 Golden Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit (first of the year), 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Turnstone, 1 Dunlin, 6 Purple Sandpiper, 8 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Red-throated Diver, 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 6 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 1 Wood Warbler (retrapped at Obs on 29th), 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Linnet

Year List: 177

Other wildlife: 1 Harbour Porpoise (off South Light on 2nd), 1 Large White (on Buness on 2nd), 1 Painted Lady, 1 Silver Y, Shetland Bee (present)
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24th-28th June 2021
Weather:
some varied weather over the last few days, with mostly cloud or fog with a fairly strong, chilly wind throughout
Seabird work has had to be put mostly on hold over the last few days due to unfavourable weather conditions, which although annoying, gives a good chance to catch up on indoor jobs. There's been a trickling of migrants, including some waders and a few passerines, with the highlight being a Wood Warbler trapped by Max at the Obs Garden today (28th). Quite random given the weather, although a strong SW wind could be what helped it along - the 4th record so far this year.

Sightings of note: 17 Greylag Goose, 1 Wigeon, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Moorhen (same bird at Da Water), 1 Golden Plover, 35 Curlew (migrant flock), 16 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Turnstone, 1 Dunlin, 2 Black-headed Gull, 1 Red-throated Diver, 4 Carrion Crow, 7 Swallow, 1 Wood Warbler (trapped and ringed at Obs Garden), 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Robin, 1 Chaffinch

Year List: 176

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present)
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23rd June 2021
Weather:
low cloud and drizzle for most of the day, with some brighter spells and a light SW-NW wind
A rather impromptu trap round payed off on this grey and damp afternoon, as Alex trapped a gem of a Green Warbler at Vaadal. These gorgeous, bright Phylloscs are incredibly rare in the UK, with this bird being the 9th record for Britain and the 3rd for Fair Isle, and in typical late-spring-mega fashion, it turned up completely unannounced on light south-westerly winds. A fantastic way to brighten up a fairly dull late-June day!

Green Warbler in the hand at the ringing hut (photo by LTV Max Hellicar)

HIGHLIGHTS:
GREEN WARBLER: one trapped and ringed at Vaadal, which went on to feed around the Setter/Ringing Hut/Plantation area after release - the 3rd Fair Isle record of this species

Other sightings: 1 Collared Dove, 3 Whimbrel, 16 Curlew, 3 Redshank, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Carrion Crow, 2 Swallow, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Chaffinch

Year List: 176

Other wildlife: Shetland Bee (present)
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