Fair Isle Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

Latest sightings



Sunday 17th June
Weather: NE2 becoming SW3/4, cloudy at first with poor visibility and fog in the morning but clearing in the afternoon with a bit of sunshine.

HIGHLIGHTS:
'EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER': still present, seen at the Chapel Plantation
Hobby: one at the Obs at 7am, which was perched on the garden fence before flying north towards Roskillie
Marsh Warbler: one still present at the Obs

Other sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 2 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 2 Teal, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated Diver, 86 Oystercatcher, 4 Golden Plover, Ringed Plover (fledged chick near Swarzi), Whimbrel, 5 Dunlin, Redshank, 11 Black-headed Gull, 4 Collared Dove, Carrion Crow, Swallow, 5 Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler (Burkle), 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Common Crossbill (singles at North Light, Hoini and Guidicum).

Other Wildlife:
3 Red Admiral, 3 Painted Lady, 50+ Silver Y (a large arrival)

Year list: 167
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Saturday 16th June
Weather: a complete contrast in the weather, with a SE 2/3 wind and a largely pleasant day, with cloud and sunny spells

HIGHLIGHTS:
Serin: a female found between Kristal Kame and North Light by Richard as he was on his way back from Guillemot plot counts was very flighty and elusive, although thankfully was rather vocal. It was seen a few times in flight, and a couple of times briefly on the ground, around North Light often loosely associating with Twite, before disappearing less than 40 minutes after it was found. After a brief sighting at Easter Lother, it again vanished. Just the 4th record for Fair Isle, and the first since 1964, it was also only the 10th record for Scotland.
Marsh Warbler: one still at the Obs

Other sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 7 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 3 Teal (2 males and a female), 2 Manx Shearwater (from the Good Shepherd), Golden Plover, 3 Dunlin, 2 Collared Dove (displaying at the Obs), Carrion Crow, 3 Swallow, House Martin, 5 Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler (Schoolton), Redwing (Bull's Park then the Plantation), Black Redstart (North Light), Dunnock (a new bird trapped at the Obs), Common Crossbill (male at North Light).

Other Wildlife:
Painted Lady, c20 Silver Y, 3 Diamond-back Moth

Year list: 167
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Friday 15th June
Weather: Strong WSW wind easing and backing SW. Heavy rain in early hours and heavy showers until late morning, after which sunny and dry.

HIGHLIGHTS:
EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER’: female still at Burkle
Marsh Warbler: one still present at the Obs

Other sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 4 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 2 Teal (male and female), 2 Manx Shearwater (South Light), Whimbrel, Sanderling (first of the month), 3 Dunlin, 8 Black-headed Gull, 15 Lesser Black-backed Gull (on Meoness only), 3 Collared Dove, Cuckoo (School), Kestrel, Swallow, 6 Chiffchaff, Wheatear (first fledged young of the year, at Malcolm’s Head), Dunnock (Obs).

Year list: 166
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Thursday 14th June
A day that was not much good for anything other than a catch up with the office work.
Weather: Gale force SW then WSW winds, with gusts up to severe gale force, with heavy showers, some prolonged and some sunny spells.

Sightings:
2 Canada Goose (flew north over the Obs at around 0800hrs), Barnacle Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 2 Teal (male and female), 2b (off South Light), 13 Manx Shearwater (off South Light), Sparrowhawk (Plantation), 14 Turnstone, Collared Dove, 3 Carrion Crow, Dunnock (Obs).

Year list: 166
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Wednesday 13th June
A change in the weather at last! Not necessarily a good one, but it’s been well forecast and some rain will do the island some good.
Weather: S 2 or 3 becoming SW 5-6 later. Cloudy throughout, with rain from later in the evening, becoming heavy overnight.

HIGHLIGHTS:
EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER’: the lingering bird still present
Marsh Warbler: 3; the two still lingering at the Obs and one still singing at Schoolton

Other sightings:
Canada Goose (one in the afternoon on Da Water then circling the island; first of the year. A ‘large’ bird, it was presumed to be of British origins), Barnacle Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 3 Teal (male and 2 females), Eider (3 ducklings in South Haven were the first of the year), Red-throated Diver, c10 Storm Petrel (at the Kirn o’ Skroo in the early hours of the morning; first record of the year), Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin, Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, Kestrel, 2 Carrion Crow (including one on Dronger apparently paired with Hooded Crow), 7 Raven (a family party at Millens Houllan was thought to be the Gunnawark family on the move), 5 Swallow, 5 Chiffchaff, Pied Wagtail (fledged youngsters at the Obs), ‘Mealy Redpoll’, 7 Common Crossbill (4 males and 3 females in Guidicum), Siskin.

Year list: 166
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Tuesday 12th June
Weather: NW 3 or 4, cloudy with some more light drops of rain, although it still hasn’t really got going.

HIGHLIGHTS:
BLACK KITE: still present
EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER’: the female still present
Marsh Warbler: one still singing at the Obs

Other sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 2 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Teal (female), Dunlin, Redshank, Arctic Tern (190 occupied nests found, 188 on Buness and 2 on Brecks), Woodpigeon, 4 Collared Dove, 2 Swallow, 4 Chiffchaff, Lesser Whitethroat, ‘Mealy Redpoll’, Siskin.

Year list: 164
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Monday 11th June
A few new migrants (mostly ones associated with earlier spring migration) as spring migration is now slowly winding down.
Weather: N or NW, cloudy at first but brightening up later with just a few light drops of rain again. The island has been dry for a remarkably long time now.

HIGHLIGHTS:
BLACK KITE: still present
EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER’: still present in the Burkle and Schoolton area
Marsh Warbler: 4; two at both the Obs and Schoolton (with one singing at each site)


Black Kite (right) and Arctic Skua, Airstrip (David Parnaby)

Other sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 4 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Teal (female), Sparrowhawk (a male at the Mast was an unusual record for the time of year), 12 Lapwing (in a flock at Pund, suggesting a post-breeding gathering), 2 Whimbrel, 4 Redshank, Common Tern (one in North Haven; first of the year), Woodpigeon, 4 Collared Dove, Kestrel (one in the North), Carrion Crow, 5 Swallow, Willow Warbler (Plantation), 8 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, Garden Warbler (singing at the Obs), Blackbird (male caught in Double Dyke), Robin (Gully), Dunnock (Obs), Grey Wagtail (Gully), Meadow Pipit (first fledged youngsters seen), Greenfinch (male still present), 2 ‘Mealy Redpoll’.

Year list: 164
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Sunday 10th June
Weather: NE2/3 becoming NW later, cloudy at first, although sunny later.

HIGHLIGHTS:
BLACK KITE: still wandering around the Isle
EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER’: reappeared at Burkle after a few days lurking unseen somewhere
Marsh Warbler: 4; 2 lingering at the Obs with singles at Shirva and Stackhoull

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Pintail (female again on Da Water), Teal (female), Red-throated Diver, Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin, Redshank, Razorbill (first chicks seen, in North and South Ramnigeo), Short-eared Owl, 3 Swift, 2 Carrion Crow, 5 Swallow, Willow Warbler (singing in the Gully), 3 Chiffchaff, Lesser Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat (School), Dunnock (Obs), Greenfinch (a singing male at Obs and Plantation was an unusual summer record), 2 ‘Mealy Redpoll’.

Other Wildlife:
5 Silver Y

Year list: 163
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Saturday 9th June
A very familiar feel to the birds, the weather and the general look of the island!
Weather: NE3, cloudy but dry.

HIGHLIGHTS:
BLACK KITE: still present
Marsh Warbler: one still singing at the Obs

Other sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Teal (female), 2 Red-throated Diver, 4 Golden Plover, Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin, 3 Collared Dove, Carrion Crow, 5 Swallow, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher (male in the Gully still), Dunnock (Obs), ‘Mealy Redpoll’ (Schoolton), Siskin.

Year list: 163
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Friday 8th June
Weather: NE3, cloudy throughout, although it remained dry despite a few attempts at spitting rain.

HIGHLIGHTS:
BLACK KITE: still present and wandering around the Isle
Marsh Warbler: one singing at the Obs

Other sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Teal (female), 2 Red-breasted Merganser, Golden Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin, 2 Collared Dove, Carrion Crow, 5 Swallow, 4 Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackbird, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher (male in the Gully), 2 Dunnock, ‘Mealy Redpoll’ (Schoolton).

Year list: 163
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Thursday 7th June
A nice enough day for some mist-netting, trap rounds and seabird work. There were a few new migrants and an unexpected present for Susannah’s birthday sent from North Ronaldsay in the afternoon!
Weather: Light NE or E wind, with some cloud at first, although mostly clearing later.

HIGHLIGHTS:
BLACK KITE: one reported leaving North Ronaldsay after lunch was found near the Plantation at around 1630hrs. It is the bird that has been present on Orkney since at least March (and probably November) and, although it was reported once as an escape, this appears to be based entirely on plumage wear. Whilst it is, no doubt, a rather battered individual, it is a 2CY bird, which would be expected to have worn wing and tail feathers at this time of year. Pictures on the internet show how worn birds can be by late spring (although admittedly, this one is perhaps even more so than the examples online). It is certainly unringed and shows no obvious signs of captivity. Although its appearance is unseasonal, it appears to be a integrade between the nominate and lineatus subspecies (i.e. an ‘Eastern Black Kite’), so actually, wintering in Scotland would not be unusual for a vagrant that had arrived in Scotland in late-autumn.
Marsh Harrier: a female over Gilsetter then returned south at around 1250hrs
Marsh Warbler: 3; 2 still at the Obs and one still at Lower Leogh


Black Kite, Tarryfields (David Parnaby)

Other sightings:
Barnacle Goose, Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Pintail (female on Da Water), Teal (female), Red-throated Diver, Grey Heron (a wandering bird), 3 Whimbrel, 3 Knot, Dunlin, Woodcock (a late bird in the Wirvie Burn), 14 Common Gull, Bonxie (first chick seen; on Vaasetter), Collared Dove, 2 Cuckoo (one around the traps and another in the south), Short-eared Owl, 3 Carrion Crow, 15 Swallow, 6 Chiffchaff, Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackbird, Redwing (Plantation), Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Dunnock (Obs and Schoolton), ‘Mealy Redpoll’.

Other Wildlife:
2 Red Admiral, 9 Silver Y, Narrow-winged Pug (one at Gilsetter)

Year list: 163
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Wednesday 6th June
Weather: Still light NE winds and mostly cloudy.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Marsh Warbler: 3; 2 still at the Obs and one at Lower Leogh (where there was possibly a second)

Other sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, 3 Wigeon (2 males and a female, Da Water), Teal (female), Red-throated Diver, Golden Plover, 2 Whimbrel, Dunlin, Redshank, Cuckoo (Obs), Short-eared Owl, 4 Carrion Crow, Skylark (the first fledged youngster seen at Dumlin Sinks), 8 Swallow, Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackbird, Fieldfare (Houll), Redwing (Schoolton), Whinchat (Meadow Burn), House Sparrow (first fledged young, at North Shirva), Grey Wagtail (male, Gully), Rock Pipit (first fledged chicks, on Lerness), ‘Mealy Redpoll’ (Schoolton).

Other Wildlife:
2 Painted Lady, Diamond back Moth

Year list: 162
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Tuesday 5th June
It was too windy for most of the seabird work (and there was too much swell for the Good Shepherd to sail) that we’re falling behind on, although an end to the fog was helpful for getting through some of it.
Weather: NE 4/5, with patchy cloud but dry with decent visibility.

HIGHLIGHTS:
EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER’: still present at Burkle and Schoolton
Hobby: what was presumably the same bird from yesterday was on the cliffs at South Green then running around on Utra scrape feeding, presumably on insects
Red-backed Shrike: male still in the Meadow Burn
Icterine Warbler: the Schoolton bird still present
Marsh Warbler: one still at the Obs

Other sightings:
5 Barnacle Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 3 Whimbrel, Dunlin, 8 Black-headed Gull, Puffin (first chicks noted on a monitoring visit to Greenholm), Cuckoo (male singing at the Obs), Swallow, 2 Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler, Blackbird, Dunnock (Obs), Grey Wagtail (Gully), Linnet (female).

Other Wildlife:
6 Silver Y

Year list: 162
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Monday 4th June
The fog cleared faster than was expected, so there were flights, although it remained cloudy. A full census was possible (the whole island was visible for the first time this month!).
Weather: NE2/3, although still cloudy with some attempted spits of rain but good visibility.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Rose-coloured Starling: 3; the ringed bird was still around Gilsetter, with the two still present on Lerness. The highest ever count for Fair Isle
EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER’: seen briefly at Schoolton
Hobby: a very tired-looking bird was on the beach at Hjukni Geo, with what was presumed to be the same bird over the airstrip later
Red-backed Shrike: male at Meadow Burn
Icterine Warbler: still present at Schoolton
Marsh Warbler: 3; one trapped in the Gully, a new (unringed) bird at the Obs and one at Meadow Burn
Quail: one was heard at Quoy (just the third record of the year)

Other sightings:
6 Barnacle Goose (the lingering flock of 5 plus one on Buness), 2 Whooper Swan, Teal (female), Shag (the first chicks of the year were seen), 100 Oystercatcher, 8 Lapwing, 22 Ringed Plover, 5 Whimbrel, 5 Curlew, 2 Black-tailed Godwit (Meadow Burn area), 6 Turnstone, 5 Dunlin, Great Black-backed Gull (first chicks of the year, on Greenholm), Stock Dove, 3 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, Cuckoo (still present), 2 Short-eared Owl (airstrip), 8 Carrion Crow (along with 5 Hooded Crows with them that may have been migrants), 47 Skylark, 2 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Starling (the first fledged youngsters seen), 2 Blackbird, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, Robin (Schoolton), 2 Pied Flycatcher, 38 Wheatear, Dunnock (Obs), ‘White Wagtail’, 4 Pied Wagtail, 35 Meadow Pipit, 77 Rock Pipit, 27 Twite, Linnet (male).

Other Wildlife:
2 Painted Lady, 11 Silver Y

Year list: 162
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Sunday 3rd June
The seabird work is taking a bit of a hit, with it being impossible to see most of the seabirds in continued fog!
Weather: more fog, with a NW or W wind, force 2/3.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Rose-coloured Starling: one trapped in the Plantation in the evening
Red-backed Shrike: female at the Vaadal
Icterine Warbler: still at Schoolton
Marsh Warbler: 2; singles at Pund and the Obs


Rose-coloured Starling, Plantation (Ian Andrews)

Other sightings:
5 Barnacle Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 4 Teal (3 males and a female), Water Rail (one in the Vaadal was a late record), 3 Golden Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 11 Dunlin (including a singing bird on Swey), Purple Sandpiper, Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, Cuckoo (still present in the same area), 2 Carrion Crow, Swallow, House Martin, 3 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 3 Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Blackbird, 4 Pied Flycatcher, Dunnock (Obs), Linnet.

Other Wildlife:
Painted Lady, Netted Pug (one attracted to Obs lights in the evening), White-tailed Bumblee (one at Lower Stoneybrek).

Year list: 162
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Saturday 2nd June
Weather: Another day of fog with just light winds.

HIGHLIGHTS:
‘EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER’: still present, although somewhat elusive
Rose-coloured Starling: 2 together on Lerness
Red-backed Shrike: 2; female at the Obs and male at Malcolm’s Head
Icterine Warbler: 2; one still in the Burkle/Schoolton area and one at Meadow Burn
Marsh Warbler: still at the Obs

Other sightings:
5 Barnacle Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 2 Teal, 2 Golden Plover, Whimbrel, 6 Dunlin, 2 Purple Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper (one flew south over Chalet), 2 Collared Dove, Cuckoo (female around Malcolm’s Head and Utra), Short-eared Owl (still present), Kestrel, 3 Carrion Crow, 3 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, Robin (Kenaby), 4 Pied Flycatcher, Black Redstart (still at School), 2 Redstart (females at Ward Hill and Muckle Uri Geo), Dunnock (Obs), ‘White Wagtail’ (South Light).

Other Wildlife:
Red Admiral

Year list: 162
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Friday 1st June

Weather: Foggy with poor visibility for most of the day, although a light SW wind brought some brighter patches.

HIGHLIGHTS:
‘EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER’: a female at Lower Stoneybrek was trapped to confirm the subspecific identification
THRUSH NIGHTINGALE: one still present around the Gully and Hyon Dyke
Marsh Warbler: 4; 2 at Haa with singles at Burkle and the Obs
Icterine Warbler: one still at Schoolton
Red-backed Shrike: female still at the Mast
Bluethroat: two males still present
‘Grey-headed Wagtail’: male at the upper Wirvie Burn


'Eastern Subalpine Warbler', Lower Stoneybrek (Ian Andrews)

Other sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, 2 Teal, 2 Golden Plover, Whimbrel, 5 Dunlin, 2 Purple Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Stock Dove (still present), Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Short-eared Owl (Wirvie Burn still), Kestrel, 2 Carrion Crow, Swallow, 7 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, Blackcap, 6 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, 4 Blackbird, 4 Pied Flycatcher, Black Redstart (School), Whinchat (Boini Mire).

Other Wildlife:
Red Admiral, 2 Painted Lady, 49 Silver Y, 27 Diamond back Moth

Year list: 162
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Thursday 31st May
A great day's birding, with some good totals, some nice headliners and the real feeling of something exceptionally rare being possible.
Weather: NE2 increasing to 3/4, becoming E3, with a sunny start giving way to hazy then foggy conditions.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Rose-coloured Starling: one at South Naaversgill then Lerness is the 47th record for Fair Isle, although just the 12th in spring (May and June) and the first in that season since 2008
Hobby: one at the Houll is the 63rd record for the Isle
THRUSH NIGHTINGALE: both birds still present at the Obs, with one singing briefly
Marsh Warbler: 7; a record day-count for the Isle, with two at both Haa (one of which was singing) and Pund and singles at Obs (a lingering bird that was briefly singing), Plantation and Shirva
Icterine Warbler: 6 (the highest count since 2012); singles at Planation, Gully, Obs, Malcolm's Head, Gunnawark and Schoolton
Red-backed Shrike: 5 (males at Pund and Meadow Burn, with females at Meadow Burn, Haa and the Mast)
Bluethroat: 3 (the female still present, at Bull's Park, with males at Setter and the Plantation)

Other sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, Mallard (another brood of ducklings, with ten in the Vaadal), 4 Teal, Tufted Duck (male), Red-throated Diver, Sparrowhawk (one at the Obs), 111 Oystercatcher, 5 Golden Plover, 3 Whimbrel, Sanderling, 4 Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Cuckoo (North Park), Short-eared Owl (Wirvie Burn), 3 Carrion Crow, 57 Skylark, Swallow, 23 Willow Warbler, 11 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, 6 Blackcap, 18 Garden Warbler (highest count of the year so far), 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Whitethroat, 9 Blackbird, 7 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Robin, 9 Pied Flycatcher, Black Redstart, 7 Redstart, Whinchat, 50 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, Blue-headed Wagtail (male on Buness, with another flava wagtail around the traps), 49 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit (Schoolton), 44 Twite, Redpoll sp.

Other Wildlife:
10 Painted Lady, 7 Red Admiral, 2 Humming-bird Hawkmoth (South Light and Schoolton), 365 Silver-Y (a minimum count), 57+ Diamond-back Moth.


Humming-bird Hawkmoth, Schoolton (David Parnaby)

Year list: 162
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Wednesday 30th May
Much better weather and the suggestion that things were arriving in the afternoon, when virtually all the good birds were found. The forecast for tomorrow looks potentially rather good if we can steer clear of the fog.
Weather: NE 2/3, patchy cloud, with some showers in the afternoon

HIGHLIGHTS:
THRUSH NIGHTINGALE: 2, both trapped in the Plantation, about 5 hours apart. The 64th and 65th records for Fair Isle, although just the second and third in spring since 2013 (when there were three, including the last multiple occurence, on 29th May).
Bluethroat: 2; females at Field Ditch and Malcolm's Head
Marsh Warbler: 3 (ringed bird still at the Obs, one trapped at the Plantation and another at Gilly Burn which was probably the bird then seen at Lower Stoneybrek and Shirva)
Red-backed Shrike: 5; males at Da Water, Schoolton and Hoini and females at Burkle and Malcolm's Head
Icterine Warbler: one on the cliffs at Muckle Geo o' Hoini

Other sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, Teal (female), Tufted Duck (male), 4 Goosander (the joint highest count for the Isle, alongside the same number on 5th October 1993), 2 Red-breasted Merganser, Great Northern Diver, 132 Oystercatcher, 3 Golden Plover, Ringed Plover (first chicks of the year at South Light), 4 Whimbrel, 4 Dunlin, Arctic Tern (first eggs of the year on Buness), Stock Dove, 3 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Cuckoo, Short-eared Owl (Wirvie Burn), 6 Carrion Crow, 57 Skylark, 4 Swallow, 9 Willow Warbler, 7 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 5 Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, 6 Blackbird, 7 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Pied Flycatcher, 3 Redstart, Whinchat, 41 Wheatear, 49 Meadow Pipit, Scandinavian Rock Pipit (Tineside), 49 Twite, 'Mealy Redpoll'.

Other Wildlife:
Red Admiral, Humming-bird Hawkmoth (South Light), 153 Silver-Y, 20+ Diamond-back Moth, Large Yellow Underwing (one on Dronger was the first of the year and presumably a migrant).

Year list: 160
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Tuesday 29th May
A fog-dominated day meaning that full census couldn't be undertaken. A lot of the migrants from yesterday had cleared out, whilst, of those that remained, many were around the Mast and Ward Hill.
Weather: NE2, fog throughout in the north, with occasional sunny spells in the south

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: 2 males; one still at Da Water and the other trapped in the Plantation
Icterine Warbler: one at Chalet
Marsh Warbler: still present in the Obs garden

Other sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, Teal (female on Da Water), Tufted Duck (male), 3 Whimbrel, 5 Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Stock Dove, 2 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Cuckoo (Ward Hill), 3 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 4 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Sedge Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 5 Garden Warbler , 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird, 8 Spotted Flycatcher, 5 Pied Flycatcher (highest count of the year), 3 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 61 Wheatear, Dunnock, 4 White Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtail, 49 Meadow Pipit.

Other Wildlife:
13 Silver-Y

Year list: 159
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Monday 28th May
Weather: a light easterly breeze, bringing regular patches of fog, although all three scheduled flights managed to get in and out. Sunny spells.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: an impressive 8 (eight), with four males (North Light, Meadow Burn, School Brae and Plantation then Obs) and four females (Field Ditch, Vaadal, Mast and Pund); the highest day count since 2013
Bluethroat: 2; a female at Gilly Burn and another female (revealed through photographs to be a different individual) at South Raeva
Icterine Warbler: 2; one still in the south and a presumed new arrival at Wirvie Burn
Marsh Warbler: one trapped in the Vaadal then lingered around the Obs
Common Rosefinch: 2 still in the south
Corn Bunting: still present in the south of the island

Red-backed Shrike, School Brae (David Parnaby)

Other sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, 2 Shoveler (a pair flew into Hesti Geo, circled then carried on their way; first record since October 2016), 2 Tufted Duck (males), 111 Oystercatcher, Golden Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 3 Sanderling, 8 Dunlin, Stock Dove (still around Pund), 2 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, Carrion Crow, 65 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin, 22 Swallow, 4 House Martin, 11 Willow Warbler, 10 Chiffchaff (the first day this year that Willow Warblers have outnumbered Chiffs), 2 Sedge Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 11 Garden Warbler (highest count of the year), 9 Lesser Whitethroat (highest count of the year), 4 Whitethroat, 4 Blackbird, 17 Spotted Flycatcher (highest count of the year), Robin, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 9 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 61 Wheatear, Dunnock, 4 White Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtail, 49 Meadow Pipit.

Other Wildlife:
Killer Whale: 6 (including one large bull) were off Wester Lother, where they killed two Grey Seals (one was carried slightly out to sea whilst still alive, was tail-slapped by several individuals before eventually being killed by the bull) then headed round into Roskillie.
Silver Y: an arrival was notable in the afternoon with 40 counted
Diamond-back Moth: at least 30 were present in the afternoon, with the actual number probbaly considerably higher

Year list: 159
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Sunday 27th May
Weather: NE 3 becoming more E later and dropping. Sunny (with a '6' on the Met Office UV chart!), warm and pleasant.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one trapped and ringed at Chalet, where it went on to show well in the evening; first of the year, 48th Fair Isle record and 15th in the spring
Marsh Warbler: one in the upper Wirvie Burn in the late afternoon (the third of the year)
Common Rosefinch: 3 (three) in the south of the Isle
Red-backed Shrike: 2 still present, with the male at Chalet singing and a female roaming the south of the island
Icterine Warbler: 2 still present in the south of the Isle
Corn Bunting: still present in the south of the island

Other sightings:
Pink-footed Goose (one mobile bird), Barnacle Goose (one on Easter Lother then flew down the island before returning to Easter Lother in the evening), 2 Whooper Swan, Teal (female, Da Water), 2 Tufted Duck (males), 94 Oystercatcher, 3 Whimbrel, 6 Dunlin, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Short-eared Owl (again at Kirn o' Skroo), Swift, 2 Carrion Crow, 57 Skylark, 9 Swallow, House Martin, 6 Willow Warbler, 9 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler (a new bird in the Walli Burn), 2 Blackcap, 6 Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, 3 Blackbird, 7 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Redstart, 61 Wheatear, Pied Wagtail (carrying food in the Haven), 45 Meadow Pipit, 2 Linnet, Lesser Redpoll.

Year list: 158
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Saturday 26th May
Weather:
NE3, foggy throughout most of the morning, but cleared in the afternoon (allowing the planes to get in and out).

HIGHLIGHTS:
Common Rosefinch: a first-summer male at the Obs, with presumably the same bird later at Stackhoull (first of the year)
Red-backed Shrike: 2; the male still at Barkland and a female at Schoolton
Icterine Warbler: 2 still present around the middle of the south of the island
Corn Bunting: still present around Utra
Glaucous Gull: 3CY bird present in the south again

Sightings:
2 Greylag Goose (first record since 14th May), 2 Whooper Swan, Mallard (female with 12 ducklings on Da Water), Pintail (female still on Da Water), Teal (female, Da Water), 2 Tufted Duck (males), 120 Oystercatcher, 3 Golden Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Sanderling, 5 Dunlin, Arctic Skua (first eggs), Stock Dove, 5 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Jackdaw, 3 Carrion Crow, 55 Skylark, 5 Swallow, 4 Willow Warbler, 7 Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, 4 Blackbird, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher (still at the Mast), 3 Redstart, 56 Wheatear, 2 Tree Sparrow, 36 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, 2 Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin.

Year list: 157
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Friday 25th May
Weather: although fog and low cloud lingered in the north for most of the day, the south saw some sunny spells, although conditions never improved enough to let planes in. Light NE wind.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: a fine male at Chalet, where it showed well for the afternoon
Icterine Warbler: 2; both initially in the Schoolton and Quoy area, with one moving down to South Harbour and Haa
Corn Bunting: the singing male still around Leogh

Other sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, Pintail (female still on Da Water), Teal (female, Da Water), 2 Tufted Duck (males), Great Northern Diver (a presumed 2CY bird flew north up the island), 77 Oystercatcher, 2 Golden Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 3 Sanderling, 5 Dunlin, Stock Dove, 3 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, Short-eared Owl (again at Kirn o' Skroo), Kestrel, 5 Carrion Crow, 69 Skylark, 7 Swallow, House Martin, 4 Willow Warbler, 13 Chiffchaff, 2 Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler (Chalet), 2 Blackcap, 3 Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, 5 Blackbird, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, Robin, 2 Redstart, 58 Wheatear, Dunnock, White Wagtail, 56 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, Linnet, Siskin.

Year list: 156
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Thursday 24th May
Weather: a moderate, and cool, SE wind, with fog for most of the day, although it lifted somewhat in the afternoon (when it was still generally murky)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Icterine Warbler: still present in the Burkle area

Sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, Pintail (female still on Da Water), Teal (female, Da Water), 2 Tufted Duck (males), 125 Oystercatcher, 4 Whimbrel, 3 Sanderling, 15 Dunlin, Stock Dove, 4 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Short-eared Owl (Kirn o' Skroo), 2 Swift, 5 Carrion Crow, 49 Skylark, 5 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 3 Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler (the ringed bird had moved to Chalet), Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 7 Blackbird, Robin, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 53 Wheatear, Dunnock, 2 White Wagtail, 39 Meadow Pipit, 2 Redpoll sp?, Siskin.

Year list: 156
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Wednesday 23rd May
Weather: a light variable wind, freshening slightly from the SE later, some patchy cloud, but mostly sunny.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Osprey: one flew over the east of the island before thermaling and disappearing off high to the north
Icterine Warbler: one at Schoolton appeared to be a new bird based on plumage differences to the previous sightings
Marsh Warbler: one singing at Shirva also commuted between there and Midway
Red-backed Shrike: a male on Dronger was a new arrival
Dotterel: one still on Ward Hill
Corn Bunting: still singing at Upper Leogh
Glaucous Gull: 3CY still present, in the south of the island

Sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, Pintail (female still on Da Water), Teal (female, Da Water), 2 Tufted Duck (males), Eider (two apparently incubating females in Steensi Geo), 81 Oystercatcher, 5 Whimbrel, 6 Dunlin, Stock Dove, 2 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, Cuckoo (one singing at Wirvie was later seen on the west coast near the Raevas), Swift, Merlin (female), 10 Carrion Crow, 52 Skylark, Sand Martin, 9 Swallow, 10 House Martin, 3 Willow Warbler, 15 Chiffchaff, 2 Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler (still at Setter), 6 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, 5 Blackbird, Robin, 3 Pied Flycatcher, 120 Wheatear, Grey Wagtail, 4 White Wagtail, 3 Pied Wagtail, 55 Meadow Pipit, 72 Rock Pipit (including a bird at Shalstane carrying food), 2 Goldfinch, Siskin.

Other Wildlife:
6 Silver-Y

Year list: 156
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Tuesday 22nd May
Weather: NE2-3, patchy cloud but dry with good visibility.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Subalpine Warbler: a female at Lower Leogh was generally elusive and wasn't seen well enough to identify to (sub)specific level
Bluethroat: female at Springfield then Burkle
Dotterel: male still on Ward Hill
Corn Bunting: still present and singing at Upper Leogh
Red-backed Shrike: female still around the Chalet area
Icterine Warbler
: still present and mobile in the south
Glaucous Gull
: the lingering 3CY bird still present

Sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, Pintail (female, Da Water), 2 Tufted Duck (males), 101 Oystercatcher, 4 Golden Plover, 5 Whimbrel, Knot, Sanderling, 41 Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Stock Dove (still present), 6 Woodpigeon, 5 Collared Dove, 2 Short-eared Owl, 2 Swift, 52 Skylark, 8 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 8 Chiffchaff, 3 Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler (Setter), Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, 5 Blackbird, Black Redstart, Redstart, 92 Wheatear, Dunnock, flava wagtail, Grey Wagtail, 2 White Wagtail, 6 Pied Wagtail, 39 Meadow Pipit, 2 Tree Pipit, 2 Lesser Redpoll (and 2 Redpoll sp.), 2 Goldfinch, Siskin.

Year list: 155 (including 'Subalp sp?')
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Monday 21st May
Weather: fog spent most of the day covering the island, whilst the wind switched from a moderate southerly to a fresh northerly later with rain in the late afternoon. Not a very pleasant day all in all, with new birds being somewhat limited (as were flights, which were cancelled) and census counts being hampered by large areas of the north and west cliffs not being visible.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Corn Bunting: relocated at Utra then moved to Upper Leogh where, despite being elusive at times, it showed to a number of people and was even heard singing.
Red-backed Shrike
: 2; a female at Boini Mire and a male in the afternoon at Chalet
Icterine Warbler: still present
Glaucous Gull: 3CY still present at Easter Lother

Sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, Pintail (female, Da Water), 2 Tufted Duck (males), 2 Golden Plover, Whimbrel, 51 Turnstone, 7 Sanderling, 22 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpiper, 6 Redshank, 24 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Stock Dove (still around the Pund area), Woodpigeon, 7 Collared Dove, 2 Short-eared Owl, 2 Swift (first of the year), 2 Jackdaw, 10 Carrion Crow, 14 Swallow, 6 House Martin, 6 Chiffchaff, 4 Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler (Setter), 2 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whithethroat, 2 Whitethroat, 5 Blackbird, 2 Black Redstart, Whinchat, 65 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, Grey Wagtail, 3 Pied Wagtail, 34 Meadow Pipit, 'Mealy Redpoll', 2 Lesser Redpoll, 4 Goldfinch, Siskin.

Reed Warbler, Setter (Richard Cope). This very dull individual was initially considered to be a good candidate for Blyth's Reed Warbler. However, as the bird dried out a bit and the day brightened slightly, it started to look less convincing, and Reed Warbler seemed the more likely option. It was trapped to confirm the identification and biometrics confirmed it as the commoner species, albeit most measurements were in the overlap zone between the two species. An interesting bird!

Year list: 154
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Sunday 20th May
Weather: S4-5, cloudy at first, but brighter for a while in the afternoon. Occasional light showers throughout.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Bluethroat: female in the Gilly Burn in the afternoon
Red-breasted Flycatcher: still present, at Lower Stoneybrek, and showing well at times
Red-backed Shrike: female still around Charlie's Trees
Icterine Warbler: still present, between Quoy and Aesterhoull
Glaucous Gull: 2 still present

Sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, Pintail (female, Da Water), 2 Tufted Duck (males), Red-throated Diver (over Buness), Cormorant, 113 Oystercatcher, 2 Golden Plover, 2 Whimbrel, Sanderling, 13 Dunlin, Common Sandpiper (Gully), 22 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Stock Dove (still near Pund), 7 Woodpigeon, 6 Collared Dove, Kestrel, 2 Jackdaw, 10 Carrion Crow, 54 Skylark, 16 Swallow, 3 House Martin, Willow Warbler, 11 Chiffchaff, 3 Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler (the ringed bird still present), Blackcap, 2 Whitethroat, 6 Blackbird, 2 Redwing (including a singing bird), Black Redstart, 75 Wheatear, 2 Tree Sparrow (Dronger), 2 Dunnock (Dronger and Obs), Grey Wagtail, 'White Wagtail', 2 Pied Wagtail, 43 Meadow Pipit, 2 Tree Pipit, 2 Linnet, 'Mealy Redpoll', 2 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Goldfinch.

Other Wildlife:
4 Silver-Y

Year list: 153
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Saturday 19th May

HIGHLIGHTS:
Corn Bunting: one flushed from Field Ditch then seen briefly near Field; first record since 2012
Marsh Warbler: one singing at Schoolton; first of the year and the second-earliest ever record, following one on 18th May 2013
Red-breasted Flycatcher: still present and showing well at Upper Stoneybrek
Red-backed Shrike
: 2; both females around Charlie's Trees
Icterine Warbler
: one still at Schoolton
Dotterel: one still on Ward Hill
Glaucous Gull
: 2; both the 2CY and 3CY still present

Sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, Pintail (female, Da Water), 4 Tufted Duck (three males and a female, Da Water), Goosander (male in South Harbour; third record of the year), Water Rail (Vaadal), 96 Oystercatcher, 5 Whimbrel, 2 Knot, 4 Dunlin, Greenshank (one in the North), Stock Dove (still at Pund), 8 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, Short-eared Owl (Peat Cuttings), Kestrel, 2 Jackdaw, 7 Carrion Crow, 60 Skylark, Sand Martin, 26 Swallow, House Martin, 16 Chiffchaff, 5 Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler (the ringed bird at Burkle), 3 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird, Redwing (Pund), Pied Flycatcher (Obs), Black Redstart, 120 Wheatear, Dunnock (South Light), 'Blue-headed Wagtail' (male at north Light, with other flava wagtails at Vaasetter and Utra), 'White Wagtail', 6 Pied Wagtail, 43 Meadow Pipit, 3 'Mealy Redpoll', 5 Goldfinch, Siskin.

Other Wildlife:
4 Silver-Y

Year list: 153
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Friday 18th May
The star bird attracted another charter plane and a handful of visitors on the scheduled flights and, although it was a bit more elusive, everyone went away happy again - but were its wanderings a sign that it will be moving further afield soon? There was a spring-like feeling, with Blackcap, Sedge Warbler and several Chiffchaffs singing, whilst the Skooties returned to the island en-masse and filled the air with their delightful display calls.
Weather: SW3, sunny spells although mostly cloudy.

HIGHLIGHTS:
!!! SONG SPARROW !!!: still present, although wandering between the Plantation and Gully
Red-breasted Flycatcher: a female or first-summer male at Upper Stoneybreck
Red-backed Shrike: 2; a pair at Field Ditch
Icterine Warbler: still at Schoolton
Dotterel: a single first-year male remained on Ward Hill
Glaucous Gull: 2; the lingering 3CY bird and a 2cy bird in the south

Sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Pintail (female still on Da Water), 4 Tufted Duck (three males and a female now on Da Water), 103 Oystercatcher, Golden Plover (one singing bird), 5 Whimbrel, 2 Knot, 2 Dunlin, c30 Arctic Skua (birds returned to most of their territories today, with lots of display noted), Stock Dove (still at Pund), 18 Woodpigeon, 5 Collared Dove, Long-eared Owl (around the Plantation in the morning), Kestrel, 2 Jackdaw, 17 Carrion Crow (also a hybrid Hooded x Carrion Crow), 48 Skylark, 7 Swallow, House Martin, 12 Chiffchaff, 4 Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler (the ringed bird still at Lower Stoneybrek, it had been ringed at Icklesham, Sussex on 19th September 2017; the first English-ringed Reed Warbler to be caught on Fair Isle), 6 Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, Ring Ouzel (Dronger), 5 Blackbird, Song Thrush, Robin, 2 Black Redstart, 89 Wheatear, Dunnock (still singing on Dronger), flava wagtail (around Suka Mire and Pund), 2 'White Wagtail', 2 Pied Wagtail, 42 Meadow Pipit, 2 Tree Pipit, Linnet, 3 'Mealy Redpoll' (plus another Common Redpoll unidentified to subspecies), 3 Goldfinch, 2 Siskin.

Other Wildlife:
2 Silver-Y

Year list: 151
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Thursday 17th May
Although one of the big birds was not seen today, the arguably more popular one remained and attracted another charter plane, as well as at least one more birder from Shetland. It continues to feel a bit drifty and, whilst this weather isn't likely to bring more than a scatter of new birds, it always feels like there's potential for one of them to be something good.
Weather: SW beocming W 2/3 but decreasing. A cloudy start clearing later to a beautiful calm evening.

HIGHLIGHTS:
!!! SONG SPARROW !!!: still present at the Obs, generally remaining in the plantation at the back of the Obs but coming out regularly below the feeder next to the library windows and showing very well
Icterine Warbler: one at Schoolton; first of the year
Dotterel: six still on Ward Hill, where they showed very well at times
Glaucous Gull: the 3CY bird still present

Sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, Pintail (female still on Da Water), 3 Tufted Duck (still two males and a female), Water Rail (Gilsetter), 75 Oystercatcher, 4 Golden Plover, 6 Whimbrel, 2 Knot, 28 Sanderling (a very good spring count), 7 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpiper, c250 Arctic Tern, Stock Dove (the fourth of the spring was at Pund), 3 Woodpigeon, 6 Collared Dove, Short-eared Owl (Airstrip), Kestrel, 9 Carrion Crow (also 2 suspected migrant Hooded Crows and a hybrid), 51 Skylark, 6 Swallow, 2 House Martin, Willow Warbler (singing at the Obs), 13 Chiffchaff, 2 Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler (the ringed bird was at Lower Stoneybrek where it was trapped and confirmed to be carrying a British ring), 4 Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, 2 Ring Ouzel, 5 Blackbird, Spotted Flycatcher, Robin, Black Redstart, 97 Wheatear, 4 Tree Sparrow, 2 Dunnock (Dronger, including a singing bird), 3 'White Wagtail', 5 Pied Wagtail, 47 Meadow Pipit, 2 Tree Pipit, 5 'Mealy Redpoll', Lesser Redpoll, Siskin.

Other Wildlife:
2 Silver-Y

Year list: 150
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Wednesday 16th May
A much quieter day for migrants generally, but the two major rarities remained (and were successfully twitched by birders from Shetland and another charter plane), whilst there were also a couple of good year ticks.
Weather: NW3 becoming SW later, some patchy cloud, but mostly sunny.

HIGHLIGHTS:
!!! SONG SPARROW !!!: present all day at the Obs, where it is lurking in the planted area of the garden, making regular trips to the bird feeder next to the library window.
!!! CRAG MARTIN !!!: still present at Furse throughout the day, where it showed very well at times.
Curlew Sandpiper: one at Utra scrape is just the 4th spring record for Fair Isle and the first record in any season for the island since 2011
Buzzard: one high over North Haven drifted south-west over the Obs. The first record since one overwintered in 2014/15 and the first spring migrant since 2012.
Dotterel: six again on Ward Hill.
Bluethroat: 2; a male (trapped at Single Dyke on morning trap round) and female.
Glaucous Gull: the 3CY bird was on Meoness.

Sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, Pintail (female, Da Water), 2 Teal, 3 Tufted Duck (two males and female still), Sparrowhawk (first of the month), 92 Oystercatcher, 2 Golden Plover, Whimbrel, 2 Knot, 28 Sanderling (a very good spring count), 4 Dunlin, Greenshank (one in the North; first record of the month), 15 Woodpigeon, 8 Collared Dove, Short-eared Owl (Gilsetter), Kestrel, 12 Carrion Crow, Raven (fledged chick at Gunnawark), 59 Skylark, 13 Swallow, 4 House Martin, 6 Willow Warbler, 27 Chiffchaff, 3 Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler (a ringed bird at Stoneybrek was presumably the bird seen in the North Haven on 13th-14th), Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, Ring Ouzel, Blackbird, Robin, Pied Flycatcher, 2 Black Redstart, Redstart, 143 Wheatear, 5 Tree Sparrow, 2 'White Wagtail', 5 Pied Wagtail, 52 Meadow Pipit, 4 Tree Pipit, 3 'Mealy Redpoll', Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Reed Bunting.

Other Wildlife:
18 Silver-Y

Year list: 149
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Tuesday 15th May
On the 41st anniversary of the first White-crowned Sparrow for Britain, it was another North American 'spug' that was the headline act. Not a bad supporting cast either (who'd have thought that Crag Martin would already be second best bird of the day!).
Weather: a fairly light SE wind at first, although by the evening, a brisk SW wind developed. Although the day started sunny again, cloud came in later on and brought showers for a while.

HIGHLIGHTS:
!!! SONG SPARROW !!!: caught in the Plantation on the morning trap round then present around the Obs for the rest of the day, where it showed well. If accepted, the fourth record for Fair Isle (from eight records for the UK, so a real 'Fair Isle special'!) and the first in the UK since 1994. The previous three Fair Isle records have lingered for at least thirteen days, so there's hope for potential twitchers (to join the two charter planes and five people who arrived on scheduled transport today).
!!! CRAG MARTIN !!!: still present, where it showed very well in Furse.
Red-necked Phalarope: two on Da Water
Quail: one flushed from Gilsetter in the evening
Hawfinch: the female still around the Plantation and Obs
Dotterel: three still on Ward Hill
Bluethroat: 4 (males at South Haven and Hjukni Geo and two females)
Glaucous Gull: the 3CY bird was again in Easter Lother


Song Sparrow, Obs (David Parnaby)


Crag Martin and Fulmars (David Parnaby)

Sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, Pintail (female still on Da Water), 3 Tufted Duck (two males and female still present), Red-breasted Merganser, Water Rail (Gilsetter), 108 Oystercatcher, 4 Golden Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Knot, 3 Dunlin, 4 Common Sandpiper, 12 Arctic Skua, 18 Woodpigeon, 8 Collared Dove, Jackdaw (one went north over Stackhoull; the first record since 2016), 17 Carrion Crow, 62 Skylark, 30 Swallow, 5 House Martin, 7 Willow Warbler, 32 Chiffchaff, 5 Sedge Warbler, 5 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Whitethroat, Ring Ouzel (Ward Hill), 10 Blackbird, Redwing (singing at the Obs), Song Thrush, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, Robin, 3 Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, 136 Wheatear, 4 Tree Sparrow, 3 Dunnock (including one singing on Dronger), 3 'White Wagtail', 6 Pied Wagtail, 53 Meadow Pipit, 6 Tree Pipit, 9 'Mealy Redpoll', Lesser Redpoll, 3 Siskin, 2 Reed Bunting.

Other Wildlife:
37 Silver-Y

Year list: 147
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Monday 14th May
A great day of birding, topped off with a major rarity. Lovely!
Weather: a calm, sunny day, with just a light SW then SE breeze.

HIGHLIGHTS:



Crag Martin, North Haven (David Parnaby)

!!! CRAG MARTIN !!!: found in the North Haven late in the evening, where it fed along the cliffs just above the breakwater, before disappearing shortly before dusk, presumably having gone to roost somewhere on Buness. An unexpected addition to the Fair Isle list (the 391st species for the island if it is accepted) and a brilliant end to a good day's birding
Red-necked Phalarope: a male on Da Water; the 35th individual recorded on Fair Isle
Hawfinch: a female at Stackhoull was later trapped at the Obs, continuing the excellent spring for the species
Dotterel: 6 (two females and four males) on Ward Hill, the highest count since 2008
Bluethroat: 4; males at Hjukni Geo and Quoy, with females at Setter and Barkland (all were probably lingering birds)
Red-backed Shrike: 2; a female wandering in the south-east and a male at Lower Leogh
'Grey-headed Wagtail': a female-type flava wagtail at Utra appeared to be of this species
Wood Sandpiper: a showy bird on Da Water then Utra; first of the year
Glaucous Gull: the 3CY bird was again in Easter Lother


Wood Sandpiper, Utra (David Parnaby)

Sightings:
4 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Wigeon, Pintail (female again on Da Water and Utra), 3 Tufted Duck (two males and female still present), Cormorant, Water Rail (Vaadal), 89 Oystercatcher, 4 Golden Plover, 4 Whimbrel, Knot, 8 Dunlin (including singing birds at Da Water and Swey), 143 Arctic Tern, 9 Arctic Skua, 29 Woodpigeon (highest count of the year), 8 Collared Dove, Kestrel, 7 Carrion Crow, 53 Skylark, 5 Sand Martin(highest count of the year, although just the fourth record of the spring), 64 Swallow (highest count of the year so far), 6 House Martin, 26 Willow Warbler (highest count of the year so far, including one acredula bird), 73 Chiffchaff (highest count of the year so far, including one 'Siberian Chiffchaff'), 7 Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler (still in North Haven), 11 Blackcap, Garden Warbler, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 13 Whitethroat (highest count of the year so far), Ring Ouzel, 9 Blackbird, Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Robin, Pied Flycatcher, 4 Black Redstart, 4 Redstart (highest count of the year so far), Whinchat, Stonechat (female), 214 Wheatear, 6 Tree Sparrow, 4 Dunnock, 2 'White Wagtail', 6 Pied Wagtail, 90 Meadow Pipit, 10 Tree Pipit (highest count of the year so far), Chaffinch, Brambling, 3 Linnet, 4 'Mealy Redpoll', Lesser Redpoll (and three unidentified redpolls), 6 Siskin, Yellowhammer (Quoy), Reed Bunting.

Other Wildlife:
Minke Whale (from the Good Shepherd, six miles North of Fair Isle)
52 Silver-Y
Red Admiral (first butterfly of the year!)

Year list: 145
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Sunday 13th May
That's more like it! Not a massive fall, but there were highest counts of the year for several species, three additions to the year list and a good scatter of scarcities. A nightingale sp? at Quoy was seen only in flight and once, very briefly, on the ground, before vanishing, so couldn't be pinned down to species, which was frustrating, but otherwise it was a good day all round.
Weather: E4 becoming SE3 later and even calmer by late evening. A sunny start gave way to cloud, with heavy rain from just after 6pm onwards.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Bluethroat: 8 (eight); 2 males and six females; the highest count since 2009. There were males at the Gully (trapped, before moving to Gilly Burn) and Walli Burn, with females at Setter, Gully, Furse, Suka Mire, Lerness and Meadow Burn
Red-backed Shrike: a female at Wester Lother and a male at Chalet; first of the year
Iceland Gull: 2CY in the south late in the afternoon
Glaucous Gull: the lingering 3CY still present

Sightings:
4 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Wigeon, Pintail (female still on Da Water), 3 Tufted Duck (the lingering pair were joined by another male), blue Fulmar (Furse), 79 Oystercatcher, 10 Golden Plover, 3 Whimbrel, Knot, Sanderling, 10 Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, 63 Arctic Tern, 5 Arctic Skua, 13 Woodpigeon, 4 Collared Dove, 2 Carrion Crow, 67 Skylark, 41 Swallow (highest count of the year so far), 3 House Martin, 16 Willow Warbler (highest count of the year so far), 43 Chiffchaff (highest count since 15th April), 7 Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler (a ringed bird in North Haven; first of the year), Grasshopper Warbler (Mast), 14 Blackcap (highest count of the year so far), Garden Warbler, 7 Lesser Whitethroat (highest count of the year so far), 9 Whitethroat (highest count of the year so far), 7 Blackbird, 2 Song Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher (Dronger; first of the year), 3 Robin, 3 Pied Flycatcher (highest count of the year so far), 4 Black Redstart, 2 Redstart (highest count of the year so far), 2 Whinchat, 162 Wheatear, 4 Tree Sparrow, 2 Dunnock, flava wagtail (Walli Burn), 8 'White Wagtail', 5 Pied Wagtail, 72 Meadow Pipit, 6 Tree Pipit (highest count of the year so far), Linnet (male, Quoy), 2 'Mealy Redpoll', Goldfinch (female at Obs), 2 Siskin, Yellowhammer (again at Quoy), 3 Reed Bunting.

Other Wildlife: 36 Silver-Y (first of the year)

Year list: 142
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Saturday 12th May
Another day that promised more than it delivered. The Good Shepherd was cancelled due to the swell, but the planes made it (which was just as well given the large number of people coming and going). No doubt all the fresh eyes that turned up today will join in scouring the Isle tomorrow and so we're still optimistic of new birds!
Weather: SE4/5 decreasing 3/4. Mostly cloudy, with a few spits of rain and some hazy cloud over the hills.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Long-tailed Skua: one seen from an offshore survey vessel around 16 miles SW of Sumburgh Head (i.e. in Fair Isle waters) was the first record since 2016 and the first in spring since 2015
Dotterel: a female still on Ward Hill
Glaucous Gull: the lingering 3CY still at Easter Lother


Dotterel (and Wheatear), Ward Hill (David Parnaby)

Sightings:
4 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Wigeon, Pintail (female on Da Water), 2 Tufted Duck (pair still), 109 Oystercatcher, Lapwing (first chick seen in Kirki Mire), 5 Golden Plover, 3 Whimbrel, Knot, 2 Sanderling (including a colour-ringed bird in North Haven), 15 Dunlin, 51 Purple Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, 5 Arctic Skua, 12 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, 2 Short-eared Owl (Pund), 10 Carrion Crow, 56 Skylark, 10 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 11 Chiffchaff, 3 Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, 6 Blackbird, Robin, Black Redstart (Easter Lother), Redstart, 138 Wheatear, 7 Tree Sparrow, Dunnock, 2 'White Wagtail', 3 Pied Wagtail, 92 Meadow Pipit, Brambling, 'Mealy Redpoll', Goldfinch (female again at the Plantation), Siskin, 2 Reed Bunting.


Sanderling, North Haven (David Parnaby)

Year list: 139
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Friday 11th May
A somewhat underwhelming day in the end, with the increasing wind dropping the temperature, but not bringing the birds we had hoped for. We're still hopeful for tomorrow though.
Weather: SE4-5, sunny at first but clouding over and feeling cooler in the breeze.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Quail: one flushed near North Light; first of the year
Hawfinch: the male still present around the Obs and Plantation
Glaucous Gull: still at Easter Lother

Sightings:
8 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Wigeon, 2 Tufted Duck (the pair on Utra), Grey Heron, 86 Oystercatcher, 3 Golden Plover, 3 Whimbrel, Knot, Dunlin, 56 Purple Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, 78 Arctic Tern, 6 Arctic Skua, Guillemot (first egg seen, in Dog Geo), Razorbill (apparently incubating adult in Maver's Geo), 14 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, Short-eared Owl (Parks), Merlin, Peregrine, 6 Carrion Crow, 43 Skylark, 8 Swallow, House Martin, 6 Willow Warbler, 11 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, 5 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Blackbird, 4 Robin, Whinchat, 135 Wheatear, 8 Tree Sparrow, 2 Dunnock, 5 'White Wagtail', 3 Pied Wagtail (and 4 alba wagtails), 54 Meadow Pipit, Brambling, 'Mealy Redpoll', Goldfinch (Obs), Siskin, Yellowhammer (still at Quoy), Reed Bunting.


Knot (second left), two Turnstones and two Purple Sandpipers (right), Mid Geo (David Parnaby)

Year list: 138
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Thursday 10th May
As hoped, things continued to arrive, with a couple of new scarcities - and that's before the very promising weather tomorrow...
Weather: SW 3/4 decreasing to a very calm evening. Cloudy at first, but a very pleasant, sunny afternoon.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Bluethroat: a male in Wirvie Burn; first of the year
Hawfinch: a male arrived at the Obs just before dinner
Dotterel: three on the North side of Ward Hill were considered likely to be the same as the birds seen three days ago on Meoness
Glaucous Gull: still present at Easter Lother, where it was sat on a ledge on the cliff



Dotterels, Ward Hill (Richard Cope)

Sightings:
5 Barnacle Goose, Greylag Goose, 10 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Wigeon, 2 Tufted Duck (pair on Da Water), 2 Red-breasted Merganser, Great Northern Diver (one went south off Buness in the morning), Manx Shearwater (one from the Good Shepherd; first of the year), Grey Heron, Cormorant, 101 Oystercatcher, Golden Plover, 2 Whimbrel, Knot, 2 Sanderling, 2 Dunlin, 28 Purple Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, 20 Black-headed Gull, 13 Arctic Tern, Great Skua (first eggs found), 6 Arctic Skua, 16 Woodpigeon, 9 Collared Dove, Cuckoo (one around the Plantation and Obs), Short-eared Owl (one came in off the sea at Buness), Kestrel, Peregrine, 7 Carrion Crow, 62 Skylark, 28 Swallow, 5 House Martin, 10 Willow Warbler, 10 Chiffchaff (including one still singing at the Obs), 7 Sedge Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler (one near Pund), 7 Blackcap, Garden Warbler (near Plantation), 3 Lesser Whitethroat, Ring Ouzel, 9 Blackbird, 2 Fieldfare, Robin, 2 Black Redstart, Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 243 Wheatear, 7 Tree Sparrow, 5 Dunnock, flava Wagtail (one flew over Walli Burn), 4 'White Wagtail', 5 Pied Wagtail, 178 Meadow Pipit, 4 Tree Pipit, 100 Rock Pipit, 2 Brambling, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', 2 Siskin, Yellowhammer (female still at Quoy).

Year list: 137
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Wednesday 9th May
More decent weather (until the afternoon) and more common migrants arriving, with the continued feel of something better coming.
Weather: SSE 3/4, fresher in the afternoon when it clouded over and then rained.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: still present at Easter Lother.

Sightings:
5 Barnacle Goose, 8 Greylag Goose, 10 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Wigeon, Red-breasted Merganser, Grey Heron, 101 Oystercatcher, 6 Golden Plover, 3 Whimbrel, Knot, 2 Sanderling, 2 Dunlin (including one singing at Utra), 6 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, Great Skua (first copulation noted), 12 Arctic Skua, 20 Woodpigeon, 10 Collared Dove (highest count since 2011), 2 Cuckoo (one singing at Dronger that was later seen at Tineside, with another at Wirvie), Kestrel, 13 Carrion Crow, 65 Skylark, 21 Swallow, 10 House Martin, 6 Willow Warbler, 12 Chiffchaff, 5 Sedge Warbler, 6 Blackcap, Garden Warbler (Plantation), 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Whitethroat, 11 Blackbird, 3 Song Thrush, 2 Robin, 3 Black Redstart, Redstart (female at Burkle; first of the year), Whinchat, 222 Wheatear, 7 Tree Sparrow, 2 Dunnock, Yellow Wagtail (female), 9 'White Wagtail', Pied Wagtail, 143 Meadow Pipit, 4 Tree Pipit, 3 Linnet, 4 'Mealy Redpoll' (plus 10 unidentified redpolls), Siskin, Yellowhammer (female still at Quoy), 2 Reed Bunting.


Cuckoo, Dronger (David Parnaby)

Year list: 135
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Tuesday 8th May
Weather: SE3/4 quite clear at first although clouding over later with showers in the afternoon. A bit hazy out to sea.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: the lingering 3CY bird was in the North again.

Sightings:
5 Barnacle Goose, 5 Greylag Goose, 10 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Wigeon, 2 Grey Heron, 87 Oystercatcher, 9 Golden Plover, Whimbrel, Knot, 2 Sanderling, 6 Dunlin, 29 Purple Sandpiper, 62 Arctic Tern, 20 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Kestrel, Short-eared Owl, 22 Carrion Crow, 50 Skylark, 27 Swallow, 4 House Martin, 5 Willow Warbler, 9 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler (one at Ditfield that was trapped at Double Dyke), 2 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, Goldcrest, Ring Ouzel, 7 Blackbird, 2 Robin, 2 Whinchat, 162 Wheatear, 4 Tree Sparrow, Dunnock, Yellow Wagtail (Utra), 17 'White Wagtail', 3 Pied Wagtail, 130 Meadow Pipit, 6 Tree Pipit, 'Scandinavian Rock Pipit' (one at Gunnawark), 2 Brambling, 3 'Mealy Redpoll' (plus 2 unidentified redpolls), 4 Siskin, Yellowhammer (female, Quoy), Reed Bunting (male Plantation).

Purple Sandpipers, South Light (David Parnaby)

Year list: 132
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Monday 7th May
No big rarity for Grace's birthday, but a continuation of the slow arrival of spring migrants. The afternoon brought worse weather, but a feeling that there could be a few more birds (after four blank trap rounds and one cancelled by rain, the after-dinner traps saw two Chiffchaffs trapped, which is maybe the start of something...).
Weather: NNE 2/3 becoming more E 3/4 later. Cloudy, then rain from around 2pm, heavy for a time.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Dotterel: 3 (two females and a male) on Meoness; the highest count since 2015.
Glaucous Gull
: the lingering 3CY bird was on a tour of the island, being seen in all three census areas.

Sightings:
5 Barnacle Goose, 20 Greylag Goose, 9 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Pintail (male on Da Water), Teal, Tufted Duck (male on Da Water), 2 Grey Heron, 80 Oystercatcher, 11 Golden Plover, 6 Whimbrel, Knot, 6 Dunlin, 4 Purple Sandpiper, Arctic Tern (one at Buness), 15 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Short-eared Owl, Kestrel, 3 Carrion Crow, 73 Skylark, 11 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 3 Willow Warbler, 11 Chiffchaff, 2 Sedge Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 2 Whitethroat, Goldcrest, Ring Ouzel, 3 Blackbird, Fieldfare, Robin, Whinchat, 235 Wheatear, 8 Tree Sparrow, 20 'White Wagtail', 3 Pied Wagtail (and 2 alba wagtails), 224 Meadow Pipit, 2 Tree Pipit, Brambling, 2 unidentified redpolls, 3 Siskin.

Year list: 132
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Sunday 6th May
A steady, albeit small, trickle of new birds, with the day's highlight being another pre-breakfast bird.
Weather: NE2 becoming E2/3 later, clear at first but clouding over, a spell of rain and low cloud in the mid-afternoon.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Marsh Harrier: a female drifted south past the Obs and over Gilsetter before circling up over Vaasetter and Sheep Rock and seemingly leaving the island. A nice early morning treat for those at the nets and on trap round and the 55th Fair Isle record.
Glaucous Gull: the 3CY still present, at Easter Lother.

Sightings:
5 Barnacle Goose, 18 Greylag Goose, 9 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 3 Teal, Grey Heron, Moorhen (a dead bird in South Haven), 99 Oystercatcher, 20 Golden Plover, 2 Whimbrel, Knot, Dunlin, 28 Purple Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Arctic Tern (one over Buness; first of the year), 7 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, Peregrine, Rook, 10 Carrion Crow, 52 Skylark, 36 Swallow, 5 House Martin, 4 Willow Warbler, 8 Chiffchaff, 3 Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat (Guidicum), Whitethroat, Goldcrest, 2 Ring Ouzel, 6 Blackbird, 2 Robin, Pied Flycatcher, Whinchat, 254 Wheatear (highest count of the year), 10 Tree Sparrow, 'Blue-headed Wagtail' (South Harbour), Grey Wagtail (male), 20 'White Wagtail', 8 Pied Wagtail (and 2 alba wagtails), 241 Meadow Pipit, 3 Tree Pipit, 3 Brambling, 33 Twite, 2 Linnet, 2 unidentified redpolls, 9 Siskin.


House Sparrow, North Light (David Parnaby). A common resident on the Isle, but this male at North Light was well away from most of the breeding population.

Year list: 132
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Saturday 5th May
A lot of promise in the day as migrants started trickling in and, after a relatively quiet spell (bar the Red-rumped Swallow), it feels like spring is here, and is perhaps about to kick-in in an even more interesting manner (especially as it felt like a bit more had arrived later on this evening). The threat of sea fog during the week ahead may spoil things, but hopefully tomorrow will be clear and perhaps we'll get a famous 'Sunday Lunch spoiler' (a rare bird found just as everyone is about to sit down to their roast!)!
Weather: S2/3 becoming SE later. Clear at first, but clouding over

Sightings:
4 Barnacle Goose, 25 Greylag Goose, 9 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Teal, Great Northern Diver (breeding-plumaged adult off North Haven), Grey Heron, 93 Oystercatcher, 3 Golden Plover, 3 Whimbrel, Knot, 19 Purple Sandpiper, 41 Black-headed Gull, 34 Common Gull, 24 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 12 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, Short-eared Owl (high over the Obs in the evening), 3 Rook, 38 Carrion Crow (minimum), 10 Hooded Crow (not including the resident birds, along with 3 hybrid crows), 73 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin, 27 Swallow, 4 House Martin (first of the year), 3 Willow Warbler, 14 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat (North Light), 3 Whitethroat (first of the year), Goldcrest, 3 Ring Ouzel, 23 Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Song Thrush, 2 Robin, 2 Pied Flycatcher (North Raeva), 139 Wheatear (highest count of the year), 8 Tree Sparrow, 'Blue-headed Wagtail' (South Harbour, and one flava wagtail), 12 'White Wagtail', 3 Pied Wagtail (and 2 alba wagtails), 184 Meadow Pipit, 5 Tree Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 3 Brambling, 31 Twite, Linnet (male), Lesser Redpoll (and three unidentified redpolls), 4 Siskin, Yellowhammer (female at the Houll then Chalet), 2 Reed Bunting.

Other Wildlife:
Killer Whale: 4 (3 adult females or immature males and a calf seen from the Good Shpeherd off North Light)

Year list: 130
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Friday 4th May
Although the morning was written off by rain, the afternoon brightened up and a few new birds had obviously come in. With some southerly and southeasterly winds due during the next week, there could well be some more birds soon...

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-rumped Swallow: again in Furse.
Glaucous Gull: the 3CY still present, at Easter Lother.

Other sightings:
4 Barnacle Goose, 23 Greylag Goose, 9 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 2 Wigeon, 2 'blue' Fulmars (one on cliffs in Guidicum and one around Wirvie), Moorhen (Da Water), 96 Oystercatcher, 9 Golden Plover, 3 Whimbrel, Knot, Sanderling (South Harbour; first of the year), 10 Purple Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, 23 Common Gull, 32 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Stock Dove (Pund), 5 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, 58 Carrion Crow (the highest count since 2011), 76 Skylark, Sand Martin, 5 Swallow, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, Ring Ouzel, 11 Blackbird, Fieldfare, 4 Song Thrush, 3 Robin, Pied Flycatcher (male in the Plantation; first of the year), 86 Wheatear, 3 Tree Sparrow, 2 Dunnock, 11 'White Wagtail', 8 Pied Wagtail (and 16 alba wagtails), 222 Meadow Pipit, 3 Tree Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, Brambling, 28 Twite, Lesser Redpoll, Goldfinch.

Year list: 129
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Thursday 3rd May
It's been a while since a pre-breakfast scramble, but Richard turning up the first rarity of the month just after seven o'clock got a few people jumping out of bed, although everyone was rewarded with good views in the end.
Weather: SW3-4, bright at first but clouding over, a drizzly morning with some heavier rain later. Visibility moderate or good.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-rumped Swallow: one found on morning trap round near the Double Dyke was mobile and elusive for a while before settling at Furse. The 12th Fair Isle record, with half of these having occurred in the last decade.
Glaucous Gull: one still present.

Red-rumped Swallow, Furse (David Parnaby). Usually a species associated with spring hirundine passage, this one turned up after a day with no hirundines at all, and with just one other Swallow for company in the morning (although 5 were present by the end of the day). It is also the joint second-earliest record for Fair Isle.

Other sightings:
4 Barnacle Goose, 26 Greylag Goose, 9 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 3 Wigeon, Tufted Duck (male), Red-breasted Merganser (male), 2 Moorhen (Obs and Da Water), 73 Oystercatcher, 10 Golden Plover, Whimbrel, Knot, 28 Purple Sandpiper, 4 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Merlin, Peregrine, Rook, 53 Carrion Crow (the highest count since 2011), 78 Skylark, 5 Swallow, Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler (Vaadal), Blackcap (female at Furse and the Obs), 14 Blackbird, 2 Fieldfare, Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 4 Robin, 80 Wheatear, 3 Tree Sparrow, 4 Dunnock, Grey Wagtail (lingering ringed female), 8 'White Wagtail', 6 Pied Wagtail, 132 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, Chaffinch, 41 Twite, Lesser Redpoll, Goldfinch (male still at Obs), Siskin (male still at Obs).

Year list: 126
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Wednesday 2nd May
Weather: SW4, cloudy with drizzle in the morning becoming heavy rain late morning before clearing in the afternoon

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: the 3CY bird still present in the North

Other sightings:
4 Barnacle Goose, 24 Greylag Goose, 9 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 3 Wigeon, Pintail (female in the Ringing hut Mire), Tufted Duck (male Da Water), 72 Oystercatcher, 4 Golden Plover, Whimbrel, Dunlin, 25 Purple Sandpiper, Woodcock, Green Sandpiper, 5 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Kestrel, 23 Carrion Crow (highest count of the year so far), 7 Chiffchaff, 13 Blackbird, 3 Fieldfare, Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, Robin, 7 Tree Sparrow, 2 Dunnock, 5 'White Wagtail', 2 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling, Lesser Redpoll, Goldfinch (male singing at the Obs), Siskin (male at the Obs with a foreign ring, but it evaded capture).

Year list: 125
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Tuesday 1st May
May day saw a pleasant start to the month with a few new birds and the hint of maybe a few more bits coming in on the forecasted fresh overnight wind.
Weather: SE2-3, increasing a bit later on. Sunny at first but clouding over.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: the 3CY bird still present around the Obs

Other sightings:
4 Barnacle Goose, 24 Greylag Goose, 9 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 2 Wigeon (drakes), 3 Teal, Tufted Duck (male on Golden Water then back on Da Water), 'blue' Fulmar, Water Rail (Lower Stoneybrek), Moorhen (Da Water), 89 Oystercatcher, 86 Purple Sandpiper, 6 Arctic Skua, 4 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, 13 Carrion Crow (highest count of the year so far), 81 Skylark, 10 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 7 Chiffchaff, Blackcap (female), Goldcrest, Ring Ouzel (Wirvie Burn), 17 Blackbird, 2 Fieldfare, Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, 4 Robin, 95 Wheatear, 7 Tree Sparrow (Obs; first of the year), 2 Dunnock, 'White Wagtail', 8 Pied Wagtail, 114 Meadow Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 4 Brambling, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', Lesser Redpoll, Goldfinch (Obs), Siskin.

Tree Sparrow, Obs (David Parnaby)

Year list: 125
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Monday 30th April
Another glorious day of weather in what has been a particularly fine spell. Not too many birds on the move, although one or two things were new in and there always felt like potential for more. April saw a fantastic start, with lots of easterlies and a great fall of thrushes, Robins and good finch passage, but the 'summer' migrants have generally been thin on the ground, despite some early records for some species.
Weather: Light NW breeze, sunny and dry. Nice.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Blue Tit: three were seen in the garden of Stackhoull; a remarkable spring record
Glaucous Gull: the 3CY bird was sharing a dead Grey Seal with a Bonxie in Furse

Other sightings:
4 Barnacle Goose, 46 Greylag Goose, 9 Pink-footed Goose (the first sighting since the small wintering flock departed in late February), 2 Whooper Swan, Wigeon (male), Tufted Duck (male still on Da Water), 2 Red-breasted Merganser, Cormorant, 3 Moorhen (2 on Da Water and one on the Obs scrape), 56 Oystercatcher, 44 Purple Sandpiper, 4 Arctic Skua, 3 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, 9 Carrion Crow (highest count of the year so far, with 5 presumed migrant Hooded Crows also seen), 70 Skylark, 4 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat (one singing at the Obs), Goldcrest, Ring Ouzel, 14 Blackbird, 2 Redwing, 2 Robin, 133 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, Grey Wagtail (female in the Gully), 5 'White Wagtail', 152 Meadow Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 3 Brambling, Linnet (Male singing at Skadan), 'Mealy Redpoll', Lesser Redpoll, Goldfinch (Obs), Siskin.

Other Wildlife:
Minke Whale: one seen off South Light
Harbour Porpoise: one distantly off Dronger

Year list: 124
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Sunday 29th April
Weather: NNW 2/3, becoming N1 later, some patchy cloud and excellent visibility as the lovely weather continued.

Sightings:
4 Barnacle Goose, 76 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Wigeon (male), 5 Teal, Tufted Duck (male still on Da Water), 2 Moorhen (Pig Street and Vaadal), 48 Oystercatcher, Common Sandpiper, 4 Woodpigeon, Short-eared Owl, Peregrine, 58 Skylark, Swallow, Willow Warbler, 9 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, 15 Blackbird, 2 Fieldfare, Redwing, Song Thrush, 8 Robin, 113 Wheatear, 6 Dunnock, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, 4 'White Wagtail', 143 Meadow Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling, 24 Twite, 3 Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', 2 Lesser Redpoll (and 4 unidentified redpolls), Siskin.

Year list: 124
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Saturday 28th April
An early start for the Breeding Bird Survey and another beautiful day. Richard has a good track record of flyover duck sightings and finding Killer Whales and managed both today, with a Pintail that flew up Skinner's Glig before circling over his head and then heading north (although it was later seen on Da Water and elsewhere in the south) and a late evening walk on Buness producing another sighting of one of the most exciting of all cetaceans.
Weather: NW2, bright and first although clouding later when the breeze picked up slightly and it became cooler.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hawfinch: a female in the Plantation

Other sightings:
4 Barnacle Goose (on Meoness; just the second sighting of the year), 54 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Wigeon (male), Pintail (female that flew up the west coast then reappeared in the south of the island; first of the year), Tufted Duck (male still on Da Water), 2 Moorhen (Da Water, although elusive at times), 92 Oystercatcher, 6 Golden Plover, 18 Ringed Plover, Whimbrel, Greenshank (one heading north over Da Water calling and even singing briefly; first of the year), 3 Arctic Skua, Guillemot (large numbers still on the cliffs), 5 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, Carrion Crow, 79 Skylark, 4 Chiffchaff, Blackcap (male in Plantation), Lesser Whitethroat (the only record involved one found dead), 20 Blackbird, 2 Fieldfare, Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, 8 Robin, 73 Wheatear, 4 Dunnock, flava wagtail (over Utra), 5 'White Wagtail', 161 Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Brambling, 39 Twite, Linnet, 3 'Mealy Redpoll' (and 4 unidentified redpolls), Siskin.

Other Wildlife:
Killer Whale: a group of probably six animals seen in the evening off Landberg before heading north up the coast. They included a calf and two bulls. So far, the only animal identified from photographs was a female that was not recorded in the group a few days ago (although not all animals were photographed on each occasion).


Killer Whales, Buness (David Parnaby)

Year list: 124
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Friday 27th April
A beautiful day of weather - not many birds, but a pleasure to be out and hopefully there'll be more migrants along soon!
Weather: NW2, some cloud at first but clearly to a sunny day.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: the lingering 3CY was seen several times throughout the day

Other sightings:
85 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Wigeon (male), Tufted Duck (male), Cormorant, 2 Moorhen (Da Water), 75 Oystercatcher, 14 Golden Plover, 20 Ringed Plover, Whimbrel, 20 Purple Sandpiper, Arctic Skua, Guillemot (large numbers returned to the cliffs), 7 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Merlin, Peregrine, Carrion Crow (also 6 presumed migrant Hooded Crows and a hybrid), 75 Skylark, Swallow, 7 Chiffchaff, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 15 Blackbird, 2 Redwing, 10 Robin, Black Redstart, 86 Wheatear, 5 Dunnock, 6 'White Wagtail', 175 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, 88 Rock Pipit (including one littoralis bird), 2 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling, 25 Twite, 3 Linnet, 5 'Mealy Redpoll', Lesser Redpoll (and 3 unidentified redpolls), 4 Siskin.

Other Wildlife:
European Eel: a large individual was in the Gully

Year list: 122
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Thursday 26th April
A lovely day of weather, but safety work on the cliff access systems and trap repairs took up most of the day, so counts were limited.
Weather: WSW 3-4, some cloud at first, but a developing into a beautiful sunny afternoon.

Sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, Wigeon, Hen Harrier (a ringtail drifted North over the Plantation at about 1430; first of the year), 4 Moorhen (still one at the Vaadal, 2 on Da Water and one at Walli Burn), 2 Woodpigeon, 2 Peregrine, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Ring Ouzel, 4 Redwing, Whinchat (Buness), 3 Dunnock, White Wagtail, Tree Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, Brambling, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', 2 Lesser Redpoll, 2 redpoll sp?, Goldfinch, 4 Siskin.

Year list: 122
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Wednesday 25th April
A reasonable day of birds, although migration is quite slow at the moment, but the highlights were definitely non-avian, with all eyes on the seas.
Weather: SW3-4, variable cloud with some showers in the afternoon.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: the adult again on Meoness
Glaucous Gull: the lingering 3CY

Other sightings:
74 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Wigeon, 8 Teal, Red-throated Diver (one south off Buness), Water Rail (Lower Stoneybrek), 2 Moorhen (still on Da Water, where they seem quite settled together), 55 Oystercatcher, 33 Golden Plover, 17 Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper (South Harbour; first of the year), Green Sandpiper, 39 Common Gull, 8 Lesser Black-backed Gull, c120 Bonxie (good numbers now on territory across the island), Arctic Skua (dark-phased bird at the airstrip, one of the birds tagged by the BTO last year), 6 Woodpigeon, Short-eared Owl, Kestrel, Merlin, 2 Peregrine (male and female), 4 Carrion Crow (also 3 presumed migrant Hooded Crows and a hybrid), 96 Skylark, 3 Swallow, Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Goldcrest, 2 Ring Ouzel, 24 Blackbird, 2 Fieldfare, 4 Redwing, Song Thrush, 11 Robin, Black Redstart, 73 Wheatear, 6 Dunnock, 7 'White Wagtail', 183 Meadow Pipit, 2 Tree Pipit, 5 Chaffinch, 6 Brambling, 33 Twite, 3 Linnet, 7 'Mealy Redpoll', 2 Lesser Redpoll (and 2 unidentified redpolls), Goldfinch, 3 Siskin.


Short-eared Owl, Peat Cuttings (Richard Cope)

Other Wildlife:
Killer Whale: a lovely display of four animals (three adults, all females or immature males, and one calf) as they passed North Light and then went south off Buness, before being seen again in the afternoon heading south off Buness again. The first sighting of the year, with one of the animals having been seen last year on Fair Isle.
Minke Whale: what was probably the same animal was off Goorn in the morning and Easter Lother in the afternoon, the first of the year.


Killer Whale, Blue Geo (David Parnaby); this is No. 30 from the Scottish catalogue

Year list: 121
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Tuesday 24th April
Although it was a wet start, the day improved and transport was all go as we got planes and the Good Shepherd sailed. The wardening team's day was largely taken up with practical tasks (particularly some of the trap repairs that had to be postponed from the start of the season due to the large number of birds about!), so sightings were limited, although there didn't appear to be much movement. Last week the first bird caught in the Gully after some repairs to the wiring was a Danish-ringed Chiffchaff, whilst a British-ringed Reed Bunting was the first bird to be caught in the Plantation after it was worked on today! There was also a British-ringed Lesser Redpoll trapped at the Obs in a busy session on the spiral trap.
Weather: SW3-4, rain at first and a little drizzle later, although mostly sunny in the afternoon.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Pale-bellied Brent Goose: present again, having moved to Muckle Uri Geo and nearby areas.

Brent Goose,Skadan (Richard Cope)

Other sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, Wigeon, 2 Teal, Red-breasted Merganser, 29 Golden Plover, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, 2 Arctic Skua, 9 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Kestrel, Merlin, Carrion Crow, Lesser Whitethroat (Obs), 2 Ring Ouzel (including a male singing at Gilsetter), 3 Redwing, Blue-headed Wagtail (male at Wirvie), Grey Wagtail, 4 'White Wagtail', Tree Pipit, 4 Chaffinch, 14 Brambling, 2 Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', 2 'Lesser Redpoll', 3 Siskin, Reed Bunting.

Year list: 120
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Monday 23rd April
A breezy day (enough to stop planes), but pleasant enough. Census was also very nice, although without much sign of new migrants. The afternoon was spent putting up the fence to protect the Oysterplant population in Muckle Uri Geo and repairing the Skadan crop strip fencing, with an unexpected year-tick seen from the car on the drive back!
Weather: SW 4-5, heavy rain early in the morning, but cleared up in time for morning trap round and stayed largely sunny throughout.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Pale-bellied Brent Goose: one on Meoness in the evening was the first of the year of this less than annual visitor
Iceland Gull: the unringed adult present again on Meoness
Glaucous Gull: 3CY still present

Other sightings:
78 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 3 Wigeon, 5 Teal, 2 Water Rail (Lower Stoneybrek and one trapped in the Gully), 3 Moorhen (2 still on Da Water and one in the Vaadal), 46 Oystercatcher, 42 Golden Plover, 25 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit (one still at Utra), Green Sandpiper, 14 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Arctic Skua (pale-phased birds at the airstrip), 5 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, Kestrel (male in the Obs garden), Merlin, Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 73 Skylark, Swallow, Willow Warbler, 12 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler (presumably the same bird that was at the Obs yesterday was at Vatstrass), 3 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Goldcrest, Ring Ouzel, 30 Blackbird, 5 Fieldfare, 4 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, 3 Mistle Thrush, 14 Robin, 56 Wheatear, 12 Dunnock, Grey Wagtail, 11 'White Wagtail', 7 Pied Wagtail (and 3 alba wagtails), 163 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, 6 Chaffinch, 11 Brambling, 29 Twite, Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', Lesser Redpoll (and 3 unidentified redpolls), Goldfinch, 3 Siskin, 3 Reed Bunting.

Year list: 120
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Sunday 22nd April
A day with fog hampering efforts slightly (although the south of the Isle wasn't too bad), but a few birds sneaking in, including a few more additions to the year list.
Weather: SE2-3, freshening from the SW before dying away in the evening. Generally cloudy, with low cloud over the hill and misty fog during the morning with a few isolated showers.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: an adult in South Harbour turned out not to be yesterday's darvic-ringed bird

Iceland Gull, South Harbour (David Parnaby)

Other sightings:
77 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 2 Wigeon, 5 Teal, 2 Water Rail (Burkle and Haa), 2 Moorhen (still on Da Water), 66 Oystercatcher, 17 Golden Plover, Black-tailed Godwit (one at Utra; first of the year), Knot, 6 Dunlin, Jack Snipe (one again showing in Boini Mire), 61 Snipe, 5 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, Merlin, 2 Carrion Crow, 87 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin, Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 10 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler (one at the Obs; first of the year), Blackcap, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Ring Ouzel, 24 Blackbird, 19 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing, 5 Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, 10 Robin, 47 Wheatear, 10 Dunnock, flava Wagtail (one unidentified to subspecies flew over Gilsetter; first of the year), Grey Wagtail, 8 'White Wagtail', 4 Pied Wagtail (and 4 alba wagtails), 153 Meadow Pipit, 4 Chaffinch, 12 Brambling, 21 Twite, 2 Linnet, 4 'Mealy Redpoll', Lesser Redpoll (and seven unidentified redpolls), 2 Siskin, 2 Reed Bunting.


Male Wheatear, near Gully (David Parnaby). This colour-ringed bird was first caught on 2nd May 2012

Year list: 119
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Saturday 21st April

Weather: SSW or SW 2/3, cloudy at first but brightening later, although low cloud lingered for most of the day on Ward Hill.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: an adult that flew south over Houll had a yellow darvic ring, although unfortunately, the details couldn't be made out
Glaucous Gull: the lingering 3CY bird still present.

Other sightings:
94 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, Wigeon, 2 Teal, Slavonian Grebe (adult in breeding plumage in Swarzie Geo), Water Rail (Boini Mire), 2 Moorhen (still on Da Water), 52 Oystercatcher, Golden Plover, Whimbrel (one north over Suka Mire; first of the year), 9 Curlew, Dunlin, 25 Purple Sandpiper, Jack Snipe (one showing well in Boini Mire), 45 Snipe, Green Sandpiper, 4 Black-headed Gull, 26 Common Gull, 28 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Arctic Skua, Black Guillemot (the early morning survey of the east coast monitoring plot saw 199 adults in breeding plumage counted), 4 Woodpigeon, Short-eared Owl, Carrion Crow (and 4 migrant Hooded Crow), 102 Skylark, Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 16 Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Goldcrest, 2 Ring Ouzel, 36 Blackbird, 15 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing, 7 Song Thrush, 2 Mistle Thrush, 18 Robin, Black Redstart (Vaadal reservoir), Whinchat (male at North Light; first of the year and earliest arrival since 1988), 61 Wheatear, 16 Dunnock, 5 'White Wagtail', 3 Pied Wagtail (and 3 alba wagtails), 151 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, 91 Rock Pipit, 4 Chaffinch, 10 Brambling, 27 Twite, Linnet, 'Mealy Redpoll', Lesser Redpoll, (and one unidentified redpoll), 2 Reed Bunting, Snow Bunting.


Whinchat, North Light (David Parnaby)

Year list: 116
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Friday 20th April

Weather: SW2, cloudy spells and excellent visibility.

Sightings:
92 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 2 Wigeon, 4 Teal, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, Water Rail (Boini Mire), Moorhen (3; 2 on Da Water and one at the Haa), 89 Oystercatcher, 11 Golden Plover, 11 Curlew, Woodcock, 68 Snipe, Green Sandpiper, 9 Black-headed Gull, 40 Common Gull, 14 Lesser Black-backed Gull, c50 Bonxie, Arctic Skua (dark-phase bird at Double Dyke; first of the year), Guillemot (lots on cliffs), 28 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Long-eared Owl (still at the Obs), Kestrel (female), 4 Carrion Crow (and 8 migrant Hooded Crow, along with 2 hybrids), 109 Skylark, Swallow, Willow Warbler, 20 Chiffchaff, Grasshopper Warbler (a dead bird near Midway was probably th ebird seen nearby on 12th), 4 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Goldcrest, 4 Ring Ouzel, 71 Blackbird (with birds heading north out to sea in the evening), 134 Fieldfare, 10 Redwing, 14 Song Thrush, 3 Mistle Thrush, 20 Robin, Black Redstart (male on Ward Hill), 45 Wheatear, 14 Dunnock, 9 'White Wagtail', 2 Pied Wagtail (and 7 alba wagtails), 156 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, 56 Rock Pipit, 6 Chaffinch, 17 Brambling, 32 Twite, 2 Linnet, 'Mealy Redpoll', Leeser Redpoll (and one unidentified redpoll), 10 Siskin, 2 Reed Bunting.

Year list: 114
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Thursday 19th April

Weather: SSW 2-3, patchy cloud, hazy at first but clearing.

HIGHLIGHTS:
BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER: still in the Gully
Iceland Gull: the 4CY bird again present on Meoness before being seen later around the Haven
Glaucous Gull: the lingering 3CY bird was wandering in the North

Other sightings:
98 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 8 Teal, Grey Heron, Water Rail (Boini Mire), Moorhen (on the scrape Obs scrape), 70 Oystercatcher, 23 Goloden Plover, 14 Curlew, 149 Turnstone, 3 Woodcock, 2 Jack Snipe, 82 Snipe, 2 Green Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, 13 Lesser Black-backed Gull, c35 Bonxie, 14 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Long-eared Owl (Obs), Merlin, 3 Carrion Crow, 127 Skylark, 3 Swallow, Willow Warbler, 22 Chiffchaff, 6 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Goldcrest, 8 Ring Ouzel, 133 Blackbird, 162 Fieldfare, 35 Redwing, 63 Song Thrush, 5 Mistle Thrush, 83 Robin, 2 Black Redstart, 87 Wheatear, 28 Dunnock, Grey Wagtail, 12 'White Wagtail', 10 Pied Wagtail (and 2 alba wagtails), 170 Meadow Pipit, 95 Rock Pipit (including one littoralis bird), 12 Chaffinch, 14 Brambling, 27 Twite, 2 Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', Lesser Redpoll (Obs; first of the year), 4 Siskin, 2 Reed Bunting.

Year list: 113
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Wednesday 18th April
Although there had obviously been a huge clear out of thrushes, there were still plenty of birds about involving a couple of additions to the year list and some decent numbers of common migrants still. What's more, the weather was distinctly spring-like, with a bit of warmth in the air at times.
Weather: SSE 3-4 beocming more southerly for a while and calming before freshening again from the SSE. Sunny at first, although becoming more hazy later on.

HIGHLIGHTS:
BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER: one still in the Gully
Hawfinch: two, generally around the Plantation, including a new female trapped and ringed (the 7th individual of the spring)
Iceland Gull: a 4CY bird
Glaucous Gull: 3CY again in the North

Other sightings:
86 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 11 Teal, 2 Long-tailed Duck (males in Mavers Geo; first record since January), Cormorant (adult lingering around Buness), Sparrowhawk, 2 Water Rail, 3 Moorhen (2 in Walli Burn at one at the Obs the highest spring count since 2001), 66 Oystercatcher, 13 Golden Plover, 140 Turnstone, Dunlin, 5 Woodcock, 2 Jack Snipe, 41 Snipe, Green Sandpiper, 3 Black-headed Gull, c30 Bonxie, 12 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove (a wandering bird; first of the year), 2 Long-eared Owl (singles at the Obs and Burkle), Merlin, 3 Carrion Crow, 134 Skylark, 5 Swallow (including a singing male at Skerryholm), 28 Chiffchaff, Blackcap, 2 Goldcrest, 13 Ring Ouzel, 118 Blackbird, 142 Fieldfare, 29 Redwing, 69 Song Thrush, 9 Mistle Thrush, 110 Robin, 2 Black Redstart (including a 2CY male singing in South Harbour), 2 Stonechat (male and female), 50 Wheatear, 47 Dunnock, 2 Grey Wagtail, 4 'White Wagtail', 16 Pied Wagtail (and 2 alba wagtails), 243 Meadow Pipit, 69 Rock Pipit (including one littoralis bird), 14 Chaffinch, 18 Brambling, 26 Twite, 3 Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', Common Crossbill (one North over Hoini; first of the year), 2 Goldfinch, 7 Siskin, Reed Bunting.

Year list: 112
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Tuesday 17th April
A day ruined by weather - still plenty of birds about, although not too much new was seen and census was cancelled. Part of the afternoon was spent photographing a ringed Siskin in the Obs garden (which was deftly avoiding getting caught), which turned out to have been ringed in Finland - just the 6th Finnish ringed bird to be found on Fair Isle (after two Starlings, 2 Blackbirds and a Long-eared Owl)! Sunshine is forecast for tomorrow and the Good Shepherd should be sailing, so we'll be up to a full compliment of staff and ready to start the season!
Weather: SSE 6/7, calming off later on. Cloudy at first, although brighter spells later. Heavy rain in the morning but dry in the afternoon, when visibility improved.

HIGHLIGHTS:
BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER: one still in the Gully
Hawfinch: the female ringed at the Obs on 9th was still present and was joined by a new female

Other sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, Cormorant, 17 Golden Plover, 5 Woodcock, Jack Snipe, Green Sandpiper, 14 Woodpigeon, 2 Blackcap, 6 Ring Ouzel, Black Redstart, Stonechat (female), 10 Chaffinch, 8 Brambling, Linnet (male still at the Obs), 'Mealy Redpoll', Goldfinch (one at the Obs; first of the year), 5 Siskin.

Finnish-ringed Siskin, Obs (David Parnaby)

Year list: 110
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Monday 16th April
Still plenty of birds about, although less favourable weather for watching them today as a col wind picked up and most of the North census area vanished in the cloud.
Weather: ESE 4-5, stronger at times, low cloud and poor visibility for most of the day, although brighter in the south of the island for a spell.

HIGHLIGHTS:
BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER: the unringed bird still present in the Gully
Hawfinch: a female still around the traps
Glaucous Gull: 3CY still in the North

Other sightings:
75 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 2 Wigeon (the first sighting since 14th March), Mallard (a freshly predated egg in Kirki Mire), 15 Teal, Red-throated Diver (north off Buness), Sparrowhawk (female still in the North), Water Rail (Walli Burn), 71 Oystercatcher, 7 Golden Plover, 91 Turnstone, Dunlin, 52 Woodcock, Jack Snipe (Da Water), 95 Snipe, Green Sandpiper, 3 Black-headed Gull, 65 Common Gull, 10 Lesser Black-backed Gull, c20 Bonxie, 18 Woodpigeon, Long-eared Owl (Plantation), 2 Short-eared Owl, Kestrel (male still in the North), Carrion Crow, 137 Skylark, 3 Willow Warbler, 38 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap, 4 Goldcrest, 18 Ring Ouzel, 727 Blackbird, 280 Fieldfare (highest count of the year so far), 178 Redwing, 117 Song Thrush, 14 Mistle Thrush, 118 Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat (female Restensgeos), 30 Wheatear, 26 Dunnock, 3 Grey Wagtail, 10 'White Wagtail', 8 Pied Wagtail (and 2 alba wagtails), 290 Meadow Pipit, 49 Rock Pipit (including one littoralis bird), 17 Chaffinch, 20 Brambling, 32 Twite, Linnet (male), 3 'Mealy Redpoll', 4 Siskin, 2 Reed Bunting.

Year list: 109
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Sunday 15th April
Wow, what a great day! The fog lifted early on and it was obvious there were more birds about, with the nets and traps busy first thing (a total of 81 birds were ringed during the day, which is a very good spring total for Fair Isle). Census brought some good counts and some very enjoyable birding as the remarkable spring continued (check the archived sightings from this time last year for a comparison of what it can be like at this time of year if the winds are less favourable!).
Weather: SE 2/3, becoming E 3/4, some lingering fog early on over the hills, but clearing, although still largely cloudy, with low cloud returning to the hills in the evening.

HIGHLIGHTS:
BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER: 2; Richard's suspicion that the Wirvie bird of the 13th April was a new individual was confirmed when one was trapped in the Vaadal at the same time as another was being watched in the Gully this afternoon. Years with multiple occurences are unusual, and the only previous occasion more than one individual has been present on the island at the same time was autumn 2002. The 39th Dipper record for Fair Isle
Hawfinch: various sightings around the island related to at least two individuals (a male and female)
Glaucous Gull: 3CY still present in the North where it was eating a Puffin

Other sightings:
122 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 17 Teal, Cormorant, Sparrowhawk, Water Rail (Meadow Burn), Moorhen (Da Water), 72 Oystercatcher, 8 Golden Plover, 24 Ringed Plover, 115 Turnstone, 82 Woodcock (the highest spring count since 100 on 26th March 1988), Jack Snipe, 114 Snipe, 2 Green Sandpiper, 30 Redshank, 4 Black-headed Gull, 32 Common Gull, 8 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 25 Bonxie, Puffin (lots on land throughout the day), 15 Woodpigeon, 5 Short-eared Owl (including one coming in off the sea at South Light and another leaving Buness to head towards Shetland), Kestrel, Merlin, 4 Carrion Crow, 120 Skylark, Swallow, Willow Warbler, 56 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap, 15 Goldcrest, 16 Ring Ouzel, 1115 Blackbird (highest count of the year so far and highest spring count since 2006), 234 Fieldfare (highest count of the year so far), 282 Redwing, 140 Song Thrush, 16 Mistle Thrush, 235 Robin (highest count of the year so far), 4 Black Redstart, Stonechat (female in Boini Mire), 39 Wheatear (highest count of the year so far), 63 Dunnock (highest spring count since 2012), 5 Grey Wagtail, 17 'White Wagtail', 13 Pied Wagtail (and 5 alba wagtails), 303 Meadow Pipit, 2 Tree Pipit, 69 Rock Pipit, 17 Chaffinch, 138 Brambling, 33 Twite, 2 'Mealy Redpoll' (plus an unidentified Redpoll sp.), 6 Siskin, 6 Reed Bunting, Lapland Bunting (one over Meoness; first of the year).


'White Wagtail', South Harbour (Richard Cope)

Year list:109
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Saturday 14th April
Thick fog all day was a real blow as it made birding the cliffs (and most of the North of the Isle) impossible, so we had to make do with some hints of an increased number of birds.
Weather: SE or SSE 2/3, foggy.

HIGHLIGHTS:
BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER: still present in the Gully
Hawfinch: female still present

Other sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, 10 Teal, 3 Water Rail (North Shirva, Meadow Burn and Field Ditch), 11 Golden Plover, Green Sandpiper, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow (Parks), 2 Willow Warbler, 35 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat (South Light), 3 Goldcrest, 14 Ring Ouzel, 4 Mistle Thrush, Black Redstart, 21 Wheatear, 29 Dunnock, 4 Grey Wagtail, 9 'White Wagtail', 14 Pied Wagtail, Tree Pipit (South Light; first of the year), 17 Chaffinch, 3 Brambling, 2 Linnet, 'Mealy Redpoll'.

Year list:108
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Friday 13th April
A not too unlucky day at all from a birding point of view, with a couple of new species for the year list, but even better, the beginnings of a rather nice fall, with birds obviously arriving throughout the day, especially when the wind increased and brought rain with it later. Birding became pretty tricky in the afternoon, but there should be more to see tomorrow (although the threat of fog may hamper our efforts somewhat).
Weather: SE or ESE 3 becoming E 4-5 later, cloudy throughout with showers early on, then more persistent rain from around 3pm, with visibility decreasing later.

HIGHLIGHTS:
BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER: still present in the Gully in the morning, whilst what was assumed to be the same individual was in the Wirvie Burn in the afternoon.
Hawfinch: 2; the ringed female was still present and was accompanying an unringed male in the Obs garden
Glaucous Gull: 2CY still present

Other sightings:
2 Whooper Swan, 10 Teal, Cormorant, 56 Oystercatcher, 11 Golden Plover, 18 Ringed Plover, 115 Turnstone, 4 Knot (South Light; first of the year), 4 Woodcock, 78 Snipe, 28 Redshank, 19 Bonxie, Merlin, 2 Carrion Crow (including a migrant with 4 Hooded Crows on Meoness), 188 Skylark, Willow Warbler, 45 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat (singles at Pund and the Obs were the first of the year and a record earliest arrival date, beating the previous earliest record of 20th April 2009), 17 Goldcrest, 22 Ring Ouzel, 563 Blackbird, 110 Fieldfare, 172 Redwing, 134 Song Thrush, 9 Mistle Thrush, 172 Robin (including several quite light weight birds trapped), 2 Black Redstart, Stonechat (female at the Kirk), 22 Wheatear, 14 Dunnock, 6 Grey Wagtail, 4 'White Wagtail', 15 Pied Wagtail (and 2 alba wagtails), 206 Meadow Pipit, 52 Rock Pipit (including one littoralis in South Harbour), 20 Chaffinch, 6 Brambling, 27 Twite, 4 'Mealy Redpoll' (plus an unidentified Redpoll sp.), 3 Siskin, 3 Reed Bunting.

Year list:107
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Thursday 12th April
A very pleasant day to be out, with a couple more new arrivals for the year and the feeling that the north-west coast (where the majority of the sheltered spots were) is starting to build up a few birds and has potential over the next couple of days for something decent...
Weather: SE4-5, largely sunny and pleasantly warm out of the breeze.

HIGHLIGHTS:
BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER: seen again in the Gully, although it is generally quite elusive
Hawfinch: 2; male and female both still in the Plantation and Gully area

Other sightings:
105 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 7 Teal, Red-breasted Merganser, Cormorant, 3 Water Rail (Meadow Burn, Vaila's Trees and Boini Mire), 33 Oystercatcher, 8 Lapwing, 6 Golden Plover, 25 Ringed Plover, 7 Curlew, 69 Turnstone, 4 Dunlin, 71 Purple Sandpiper, 5 Woodcock, 55 Snipe, 18 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 8 Common Gull, 12 Bonxie, Stock Dove, 21 Woodpigeon, Long-eared Owl (Haa), Kestrel (male in Guidicum; first of the year), Merlin, 2 Carrion Crow, 86 Skylark, 16 Chiffchaff, Grasshopper Warbler (one at Lower Leogh; first of the year. 18 days earlier than 2017 and only 5 days later than the earliest ever arrival), 5 Goldcrest, 6 Ring Ouzel, 481 Blackbird, 92 Fieldfare, 171 Redwing, 97 Song Thrush, 11 Mistle Thrush, 122 Robin, 23 Wheatear, 7 Dunnock, 4 Grey Wagtail, 9 'White Wagtail', 11 Pied Wagtail, 158 Meadow Pipit, 47 Rock Pipit, 20 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling, 15 Twite, Linnet (male), 'Mealy Redpoll' (one trapped in Plantation), Redpoll sp. (one over Haa).

Year list:105
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Wednesday 11th April
Another good day, with a fresher wind delivering some new birds.
Weather: SE 3 increasing 4 later, mostly cloudy at first but clearing somewhat later.

HIGHLIGHTS:
BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER: still present in the Gully
Hawfinch: 2; the female from Monday was retrapped in the Plantation (having gained 1.4g in two days) along with a new male



Black-bellied Dipper, Click Mills (Gully), (Richard Cope)

Other sightings:
95 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 10 Teal, 2 Cormorant, 56 Oystercatcher, 9 Lapwing, 7 Golden Plover, 24 Ringed Plover, 15 Curlew, 78 Turnstone, 4 Dunlin, 23 Purple Sandpiper, 5 Woodcock, 40 Snipe, Green Sandpiper (Field Ditch; first of the year and ten days later than 2017's record arrival), 19 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 10 Common Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 6 Bonxie, 18 Woodpigeon, Long-eared Owl (one flushed from the Plantation in the morning was presumably the same bird seen later at Vaila's Trees; first of the year), Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 76 Skylark, Swallow (one at Shirva; first of the year and two days later than the first arrival in 2017), 14 Chiffchaff, Blackcap (male in South Haven; first of the year and ten days later than the first arrival in 2017), 3 Goldcrest, 3 Ring Ouzel, 710 Blackbird, 110 Fieldfare, 184 Redwing, 103 Song Thrush, 13 Mistle Thrush, 144 Robin, 2 Black Redstart, 24 Wheatear, 9 Dunnock, 4 Grey Wagtail, 5 'White Wagtail', 14 Pied Wagtail, 153 Meadow Pipit, 59 Rock Pipit (including one 'Scandinavian' bird), 14 Chaffinch, 5 Brambling, 15 Twite, Linnet (male), 'Mealy Redpoll', Siskin, Reed Bunting.


Blackbird (left) and Ring Ouzel, Obs, (Susannah Parnaby)

Year list:103
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Tuesday 10th April
Taking advantage of the calm weather, the wardening team were up early for a Tystie survey and there were also a good number of birds taking advantage of the calm weather to move north.
Weather: E2 increasing to a SE4 later, cloudy throughout, although brightening a bit later.

HIGHLIGHTS:
BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER: still present, being seen in the Gully

Other sightings:
112 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 6 Teal, 130 Eider (62 males and 68 females; the highest spring count since 2013), Common Scoter (female still in Furse), Goldeneye (female in North Haven), Red-breasted Merganser (male still lingering around the south coast), Cormorant, Water Rail (Boini Mire), Moorhen (one found dead in the Good Shepherd's noost), 102 Oystercatcher (including several flocks moving north), 15 Lapwing (including an incubating bird), 23 Golden Plover (including some heading north), 24 Ringed Plover, 19 Curlew, 54 Turnstone, 2 Dunlin, 22 Purple Sandpiper, 5 Woodcock, Jack Snipe (Gilsetter), 85 Snipe, 54 Redshank (including small flocks moving north), 17 Black-headed Gull, 77 Common Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 12 Bonxie, 135 Black Guillemot (breeding-plumaged birds on the east coast, about 50-60 less than counts in recent years, although a moderate swell in the North in particular probably resulted in a lower count), Puffin (the first birds seen on land), 20 Woodpigeon, Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, Peregrine, Rook, 109 Skylark, Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 4 Goldcrest, Ring Ouzel, 683 Blackbird (including some flocks dropping in later on), 98 Fieldfare, 169 Redwing, 66 Song Thrush, 7 Mistle Thrush, 123 Robin, 27 Wheatear, 11 Dunnock, 6 Grey Wagtail, 'White Wagtail', 20 Pied Wagtail (along with 8 alba wagtails), 737 Meadow Pipit (including several flocks moving north), 73 Rock Pipit, 17 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling, 16 Twite, Redpoll sp., Siskin, Reed Bunting, 3 Snow Bunting.

Year list: 99
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9th April
A fresh NE (3-4) breeze, generally cloudy throughout and a few new bits coming through as the decent spring continued

HIGHLIGHTS:
BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER: relocated in the Vaadal
Hawfinch: a female at the Obs in the afternoon was probably a new arrival, being found to be around 48g in weight and carrying no fat
Iceland Gull: 2CY at Setter then headed north
Glaucous Gull: the lingering 2CY still present

Other sightings:
118 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 3 Teal, Cormorant, 45 Oystercatcher, 12 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 21 Ringed Plover, 8 Curlew, 31 Turnstone, 4 Dunlin, 7 Woodcock, 5 Black-headed Gull, 20 Common Gull, 7 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 6 Bonxie, Puffin (several around the coast), 21 Woodpigeon, Merlin, Peregrine, Rook, 3 Carrion Crow (Setter, Malcolm's Head and Dronger), 58 Skylark, Sand Martin, 9 Chiffchaff, 5 Goldcrest, 511 Blackbird, 144 Fieldfare, 268 Redwing, 75 Song Thrush, 5 Mistle Thrush, 108 Robin, 2 Black Redstart (Stoneybrek and Wirvie), 8 Wheatear, 82 House Sparrow (50 male and 32 female), 11 Dunnock, 5 Grey Wagtail, 10 Pied Wagtail, 434 Meadow Pipit, 8 Chaffinch, 6 Brambling, 18 Twite, Mealy Redpoll, Siskin, 2 Snow Bunting.

Year list: 99
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8th April
NE 2-3, cloudy, with drizzly rain and fog at first, although clearing slightly later.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Ring-billed Gull: Nick Riddiford had an adult briefly outside Schoolton, before it flew off in a north-easterly direction and couldn't be relocated
Glaucous Gull: the regular 2CY bird
'Scandinavian Rock Pipit': one still in Furse

Other sightings:
109 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 8 Teal, Common Scoter, Water Rail (Chalet), 48 Oystercatcher, 13 Lapwing, 5 Golden Plover, 22 Ringed Plover, 7 Curlew, 45 Turnstone, 6 Dunlin, 3 Woodcock, 77 Snipe, Black-headed Gull, 8 Common Gull, 10 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Bonxie, Puffin (hundreds offshore), 18 Woodpigeon, Merlin, Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 92 Skylark, Sand Martin, 5 Chiffchaff, 3 Goldcrest, Ring Ouzel (North Gunnawark), 596 Blackbird, 122 Fieldfare, 160 Redwing, 95 Song Thrush, 4 Mistle Thrush, 105 Robin, Black Redstart (Quoy), 6 Wheatear, 10 Dunnock, 5 Grey Wagtail, 13 Pied Wagtail, 216 Meadow Pipit, 47 Rock Pipit, 11 Chaffinch, 3 Brambling, 35 Twite, 2 Mealy Redpoll (plus one unidentified Redpoll), 2 Siskin, Yellowhammer (one at the Obs in the evening), Reed Bunting, Snow Bunting.

Other wildlife:
Nathusius's Pipistrelle: a bat sp? at Koolin was possibly the presumed Nathusius's Pipistrelle seen at the same site in January

Year list: 99
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7th April
A good day's birding, with a promising looking cloudy start with SE winds ('it looks rare' was Susannah's judgement) giving way to a beautiful and mild, sunny day as the wind switched more round to the west. Although census had produced a few new birds, there was perhaps not that much new, but after lunch things picked up, with a couple of year ticks and Freyja helping to make good Susannah's prediction!

HIGHLIGHTS:
BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER: one landed on the old slip in North Haven less than a couple of metres from where Freyja was sunbathing. For a five year old, her description wasn't bad (brown on top, with a white tummy, about as big as three Robins), but luckily, Susannah was also on hand to clinch the identification as Fair Isle's 38th Dipper. A few phone calls saw the wardening team on hand in time to see it on the cliff top at the west end of the North Haven before it went scooting past them and south over the beach out towards Ditfield. It was no surprise when it was seen in the Gully later, although it appeared not to linger there very long either. Three of the previous records have been brown-bellied birds (either from the UK, or cenrtal Europe), with the others all thought to be 'Black-bellied' birds from northern Europe (only 11 have been accepted by the BBRC, although this reflects the fact that most of the earlier records lack the necessary description to confirm the subspecific identification).


Black-bellied Dipper, North Haven (David Parnaby)


Graph showing the occurence of Dippers on Fair Isle by decade. After a strong showing in the 200s, there have been just two records since, with today's being the first since 2011.

Hawfinch:
two; possibly the birds from earlier in the week
'Scandinavian Rock Pipit': one in Furse

Other sightings:
92 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 6 Teal, Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Water Rail (Boini Mire and Schoolton), Moorhen (one lingering around the buildings in North Haven was presumably the bird seen on Buness on 1st April), 69 Oystercatcher, 8 Lapwing, 10 Golden Plover, 14 Ringed Plover, 6 Curlew, 97 Turnstone, Dunlin, 3 Woodcock, Jack Snipe, 57 Snipe, 27 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Bonxie (just the third individual seen this year, with no Puffins again today), 9 Woodpigeon, Merlin, 2 Peregrine (adult female and immature male), 137 Skylark, Sand Martin (one heading north through the Haven; first of the year), Willow Warbler (one in the Gully in the evening; first of the year), 4 Chiffchaff, 8 Goldcrest, 628 Blackbird, 120 Fieldfare, 173 Redwing, 79 Song Thrush, 3 Mistle Thrush, 119 Robin, Stonechat (male), 3 Wheatear, 9 Dunnock, 6 Grey Wagtail, 9 Pied Wagtail (and 3 alba wags), 224 Meadow Pipit, 87 Rock Pipit, 11 Chaffinch, 4 Brambling, 34 Twite, Mealy Redpoll (the first record since 2nd January), 3 Siskin, Snow Bunting.

Year list: 98
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6th April
A light SE breeze, increasing throughout the day and bringing heavy showers then some prolonged spells of rain later in the afternoon.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: the lingering 2CY bird was seen again around North Light and the Obs

Other sightings:
113 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 3 Teal, 2 Cormorant, Water Rail (near Double Dyke), 50 Oystercatcher, 9 Lapwing, 4 Golden Plover (plus a recently predated bird in Gilsetter that had presumably fallen prey to the lingering Peregrine), 22 Ringed Plover, 6 Curlew, 2 Woodcock, 69 Snipe, 3 Black-headed Gull, 7 Lesser Black-backed Gull, lots of Razorbill around on the sea but just a couple of Guillemot, 100+ Puffin (the first mass arrival saw many birds on the sea off the west coast, although none were noted coming into the colonies in the evening), 16 Woodpigeon, Peregrine (immature male), 141 Skylark, 3 Chiffchaff, 5 Goldcrest (first of the year), 536 Blackbird, 112 Fieldfare, 260 Redwing, 144 Song Thrush, 16 Mistle Thrush (highest count of the year so far), 138 Robin, Wheatear, 5 Dunnock, 2 Grey Wagtail, 5 Pied Wagtail, 59 Meadow Pipit, 40 Rock Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, Brambling, 16 Twite, Yellowhammer (female), Reed Bunting, 2 Snow Bunting.

Year list: 95
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5th April
A blustery W breeze (4-5) with some bitter snow showers, particularly in the afternoon, when it felt quite wintry at times.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Dotterel: one at South Green was an unexpected find, arriving almost three weeks earlier than the previous earliest record.
Glaucous Gull: a 3CY bird at Ditfield


Dotterel, South Green (Richard Cope). The previous earliest arrival date was 25th April 1973 and, with a lack of common summer migrants (there were no Wheatears recorded today for example), this was a real surprise.

Other sightings:
93 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 6 Teal, Red-breasted Merganser (male off Shalstane), 3 Cormorant, 2 Water Rail (the regular Schoolton bird and one in Boini Mire), 47 Oystercatcher, 8 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 16 Ringed Plover, 6 Curlew, 53 Turnstone, 3 Dunlin, 6 Purple Sandpiper, 7 Woodcock, 58 Snipe, 4 Black-headed Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 17 Woodpigeon, Merlin, Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 65 Skylark, 2 Chiffchaff, 867 Blackbird, 186 Fieldfare, 426 Redwing, 161 Song Thrush, 11 Mistle Thrush, 141 Robin, Stonechat (male at Chalet), 2 Dunnock, Grey Wagtail, 4 Pied Wagtail (plus 3 alba subsp.), 41 Meadow Pipit, 62 Rock Pipit, 14 Chaffinch, 3 Brambling, 19 Twite, Linnet (female at Bull's Park).

Year list: 94
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4th April
A moderate or light NE breeze became westerly later on, with cloud increasing slightly, although it remained dry with sunny spells.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hawfinch: sightings at Shirva and Haa were probably one of the lingering females
Glaucous Gull: a 2CY off North Light was thought to be the lingering bird
'Scandinavian Rock Pipit': one still in South Harbour

Other sightings:
116 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 10 Teal, Red-breasted Merganser (male), Red-throated Diver (one north off Buness), 57 Oystercatcher, 14 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 7 Ringed Plover, 9 Curlew, 51 Turnstone, 7 Dunlin, 20 Purple Sandpiper, 9 Woodcock, 71 Snipe, Lesser Black-backed Gull, 16 Woodpigeon, Merlin, 3 Carrion Crow (the lingering pair at Malcolm's Head, whilst the third wintering bird had moved to its summer residence of Lerness, where it was hanging out with a Hooded Crow), 64 Skylark, 3 Chiffchaff, 1057 Blackbird (highest count of the year so far), 203 Fieldfare, 437 Redwing, 181 Song Thrush (highest count of the year so far), 15 Mistle Thrush (highest count of the year so far), 178 Robin, 2 Stonechat (male in Gilsetter, female in Boini Mire), Wheatear, Dunnock, 5 Grey Wagtail (a decent count, including a male present around Golden Water/Wirvie for its fourth day that was singing), 4 Pied Wagtail (plus one alba subsp.), 23 Meadow Pipit, 52 Rock Pipit, 11 Chaffinch, 7 Brambling, 22 Twite.

Year list: 93
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3rd April
A quite strong NE wind with frequent wintry showers, which became more persistent later. A general feel that there was not much new in, with some counts remaining rather low for the time of year. The forecast for Friday is looking rather interesting, with potentially quite big SE winds, which coudl bring another wave of arrivals.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hawfinch: an (unringed) female at Haa and Burkle, presumably a lingering bird wandering again
Glaucous Gull: presumably the same 2CY over Landberg then at Lericum
'Scandinavian Rock Pipit': 2; singles at Buness and South Harbour

Other sightings:
76 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 7 Teal, Common Scoter (female still in Furse), Cormorant, Water Rail (Burkle), 68 Oystercatcher, 13 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 14 Ringed Plover, 9 Curlew, 70 Turnstone, 4 Dunlin, 160 Purple Sandpiper (a very large spring count), 21 Woodcock, 69 Snipe, Lesser Black-backed Gull, 8 Woodpigeon, Peregrine (immature male), 2 Carrion Crow, 155 Skylark, Chiffchaff, 820 Blackbird, 216 Fieldfare, 431 Redwing, 138 Song Thrush (largest count of the year so far), 13 Mistle Thrush (highest count of the year so far), 163 Robin, Wheatear, 5 Dunnock, 2 Grey Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtail, 8 Meadow Pipit (a rather low count for the time of year), 42 Rock Pipit, 14 Chaffinch, 5 Brambling, 26 Twite, Reed Bunting.

Year list: 93
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2nd April
A pleasant sunny day, albeit with a cool, light NE breeze. A similar set of birds to recent days.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hawfinch: two females remained at the Obs
Glaucous Gull: 2CY again on Buness

Other sightings:
95 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 17 Teal, Common Scoter (female, Furse), Cormorant, Sparrowhawk (female), 48 Oystercatcher, 12 Lapwing, 6 Golden Plover, 16 Ringed Plover, 10 Curlew, 12 Dunlin, 7 Purple Sandpiper, 12 Woodcock, Jack Snipe, Lesser Black-backed Gull, 6 Woodpigeon, Merlin, Peregrine (immature male), 3 Carrion Crow, 122 Skylark, Chiffchaff, 902 Blackbird, 218 Fieldfare, 376 Redwing, 88 Song Thrush, 11 Mistle Thrush, 213 Robin, 2 Stonechat (females), Wheatear, 3 Dunnock, 2 Grey Wagtail, 9 Pied Wagtail, 17 Meadow Pipit, 72 Rock Pipit, 8 Chaffinch, 5 Brambling, 18 Twite, Yellowhammer (male between Meadow Burn and Shirva; first of the year).

Year list: 93
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1st April
A remarkable day of contrasts, with a bright start giving way to a heavy snow shower that left a dusting on the ground. Although sheltered spots maintained some snow throughout the day, the sun came out and it was really rather warm on bits of census, although a blizzard that swept through the north was distinctly unpleasant, although it missed the south of the island!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hawfinch: two females still at the Obs
Glaucous Gull: 2CY on Buness

Other sightings:
110 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 13 Teal, Common Scoter (female, Furse), Cormorant, Water Rail (Shirva), Moorhen (one at Slogar on Buness was the first of the year), 60 Oystercatcher, 22 Lapwing, 3 Golden Plover, 17 Ringed Plover, 12 Curlew, 68 Turnstone, 4 Dunlin, 16 Purple Sandpiper, 32 Woodcock, 44 Snipe, 32 Redshank, Kittiwake (a few dotted around, including birds back at the cliffs at Millens Houllan), Bonxie, Lesser Black-backed Gull, lots of Guillemots and Razorbills offshore, Puffin (one from the Obs in the evening; first of the year), 11 Woodpigeon, Short-eared Owl (Wester Lother), Merlin, Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 96 Skylark, 3 Chiffchaff, 934 Blackbird, 194 Fieldfare, 461 Redwing, 116 Song Thrush, 6 Mistle Thrush, 229 Robin, 2 Wheatear, 5 Dunnock, 2 Grey Wagtail, 4 Pied Wagtail (plus 2 'alba' wags), 35 Meadow Pipit, 64 Rock Pipit, 7 Chaffinch, 7 Brambling, 15 Twite, Reed Bunting, Snow Bunting.


Woodcock, Gorson's Geo (Richard Cope)

Year list: 92
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31st March
A calm day, with a slightly fresher NW breeze by the end of the day. The first full census of the year involved having to ditch fleeces as it was too warm, whilst the number of birds made it one of the best March day's birding for a few years. A total of 46 birds were ringed today (including 21 Robins) as spring migration really kicked in.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hawfinch: two females feeding at the Obs throughout the day.

Other sightings:
80 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 7 Teal, 5 Grey Heron, Cormorant (one flew north), 7 Water Rail (birds at Lower Stoneybrek, Plantation and Burkle were all likely to be wintering individuals, whilst those at Houll, Pund, Gilly Burn and Chalet may have been migrants), 30 Oystercatcher, 25 Lapwing, 5 Golden Plover, 24 Ringed Plover, 17 Dunlin, 49 Woodcock (the highest spring count since 30th March 2001), Jack Snipe, 73 Snipe, 19 Redshank, Bonxie (one over Wester Lother in the evening; first of the year), lots of Guillemots and Razorbills offshore, with a few on the cliffs, 14 Woodpigeon, 2 Short-eared Owl (one at Da Water and one seen coming in off the sea at South Light), Merlin, 2 Carrion Crow (the regular birds at Malcolm's Head), 10 Raven (flocks of eight and two seen heading south were presumed to be migrants), 127 Skylark, 6 Chiffchaff, 894 Blackbird (the highest spring count since 2006), 170 Fieldfare, 303 Redwing, 81 Song Thrush, 5 Mistle Thrush, 268 Robin (the highest spring count since 2012), Stonechat (female in Boini Mire), Wheatear (female at Utra; first of the year), 7 Dunnock, Grey Wagtail (Wirvie Burn), 'White Wagtail'. 4 Pied Wagtail, 20 Meadow Pipit, 10 Chaffinch, 8 Brambling, Greenfinch, 18 Twite, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Snow Bunting.

Year list: 90
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30th March
A very cool E wind with a couple of sunny spells, but also a fairly bitter spell of persistent wintry showers around the middle of the day. The AWs arrived and got stuck straight in, so it'll be census tomorrow and hopefully more birds...

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hawfinch: female roamed the island in the morning then settled at the Obs in the afternoon.


Hawfinch (female), Obs (David Parnaby)

Other sightings (all counts are minimum totals):
2 Whooper Swan, 2 Teal, Goldeneye (male on Obs scrape), Cormorant (one flew south), Sparrowhawk (female at the Obs, where it ate a Blackbird), Water Rail (Burkle), Golden Plover, 10 Dunlin, 2 Woodcock, 5 Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Chiffchaff (one at the Obs in the evening; first of the year and 17 days later than last year's first), 95 Blackbird, 5 Song Thrush, 2 Mistle Thrush, Dunnock, Grey Wagtail (Leogh), 2 Pied Wagtail, 7 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling, Greenfinch (male still at the Obs), Siskin (male at Haa), 2 Snow Bunting.

Year list: 88
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27-28th March
A strengthening E wind picked up to a gale force SE overnight on Tuesday, bringing heavy rain for most of Wednesday. There were obvioulsy some birds in, with a few more Robins and thrushes for example, although the conditions were poor for birding.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: two 2CY birds on Meoness on 28th

Other Sightings (counts generally refer to the maximum number recorded in the period):
2 Whooper Swan, Shelduck (one roaming then settling on Da Water on 28th; first of the year), Common Scoter (female still in Furse), Goldeneye (male on Golden Water on 28th; first sighting of the month), Water Rail (one trapped in the Plantation on 28th had been ringed there on 22nd October 2017), 2 Woodcock (28th; both flushed from the roadside and a sure sign ofnew arrivals), 9 Black-headed Gull (28th), 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull (28th), Short-eared Owl (Boini Mire on 28th; first of the year), Merlin, Snow Bunting.

Year list: 83
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16th-26th March

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: single 2CY on 20th and 23rd

Other Sightings (counts generally refer to the maximum number recorded in the period):
122 Greylag Goose, 8 Whooper Swan (the lingering two juveniles throughout then a family party of six on Golden Water on 26th), 6 Teal, Common Scoter (male), Red-breasted Merganser (female, 18th), Red-throated Diver (one east over the island on 22nd; first of the year), Cormorant (one flew north on 23rd), 5 Water Rail (all lingering wintering birds), 20 Lapwing, Golden Plover, Dunlin (one near Muckle Uri Geo on 18th; first of the year), 38 Purple Sandpiper, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Guillemot (large numbers appearing offshore by the end of the period), Razorbill (lots on 18th and from 24th, including birds on Easter Lother on 26th), 2 Woodpigeon, Merlin, 2 Rook (21st-25th; first of the year), 18 Hooded Crow (a single flock in the south on 23rd presumably involved at least some migrants), Blackbird (obvious increase), 16 Song Thrush (on 18th, along with small numbers of other thrushes) 6 Mistle Thrush (peak on 18th, wth smaller numbers throughout), Black Redstart (one in Mavers Geo on 20th and Obs on 23rd; first of the year), Stonechat (female 24th), 3Dunnock (first on 17th, then small numbers throughout), Grey Wagtail (Quoy 21st-26th; first of the year), 2 Pied Wagtail, 'White Wagtail' (23rd), 8 Meadow Pipit (small numbers throughout), Rock Pipit (singing from 18th), Chaffinch (male 25th-26th), 8 Twite, Linnet (male at Haa 25th; first of the year), 4 Siskin (at Obs on 21st, then one at Haa 24th-25th; first of the year), Reed Bunting (male at the Obs on 18th, then females on 23rd and 24th, with another male on 25th-26th; first of the year), 9 Snow Bunting.



Siskins, Obs, 21st March (David Parnaby)

Year list: 81
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14th-15th March
A strengthening SE wind reached Severe Gale Force 9 on Thursday and brought birds with it, albeit in not the easiest of circumstances for birding. Hopefully a calmer weekend will bring more sightings of interest.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: an adult on 14th with 2 (2CY and 3CY) on 15th
Glaucous Gull: 2 (both 2CY) on 14th and 3 (all 2CY) on 15th
Blue Tit: a pair chasing around Schoolton on 14th

Other Sightings (counts generally refer to the maximum number recorded in the period):
11 Wigeon, 7 Teal, Tufted Duck (male on Da Water on 15th), Common Scoter (male and female on 15th), Grey Heron, Water Rail, Lapwing (probably more on 15th, as small numbers appeared scattered across the island), 2 Golden Plover, 12 Ringed Plover, 35 Purple Sandpiper, 6 Woodcock (15th), 7 Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult on 14th-15th; first of the year), 2 Woodpigeon (15th), Merlin, 7 Mistle Thrush (15th), 5 Robin (15th; on the North cliffs and around the traps only, so obviously involving new migrants), 2 Stonechat (14th in Boini Mire, with one on 15th in Homisdale), 2 Pied Wagtail (15th; first of the year), 2 Meadow Pipit (15th; first of the month), 7 Snow Bunting.

Year list: 72
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9th-13th March
The wind remained in the east, bringing a few more birds, although hopefully not using up all our easterlies too early in the season (personally, I'm, hoping for a repeat of 2014 in which the early part of the year contained a lot of SE wind and resulted in one of the best springs ever for rarities on Fair Isle). Although generally remaining cool, there were one or two days that brought more spring-like conditions.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: 2CY at South Light on 10th
Blue Tit: the two ringed birds were at the Obs on 10th, with two down the Isle on 13th, it seems possible that one bird has disappeared during the cold spell
Iceland Gull: a freshly dead 2CY bird in North Haven on 13th

Other Sightings (counts generally refer to the maximum number recorded in the period):
121 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 2 Wigeon, 9 Teal, Common Scoter (female), Goosander (male on Golden Water on 9th), Grey Heron, 3 Water Rail, 28 Oystercatcher, 32 Lapwing, 3 Golden Plover, 18 Ringed Plover, 8 Curlew, 9 Purple Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull (an adult moved north through the Haven on 10th), Common Gull (one on territory at Pund on 13th), Guillemot (a few offshore on 10th), Razorbill (one landed on the cliffs at South Raeva on 13th; first of the year), Woodpigeon (11th-13th; first of the year), Merlin, 3 Carrion Crow (all three wintering birds still present; 2 at Utra, one at Setter), 123 Skylark (large influx on 13th, with the first singing bird noted from 9th), 88 Blackbird (an arrival from 12th, with the peak count referring to the south of the island and Obs only on 13th), 118 Fieldfare (13th, in the south only), 26 Redwing, 9 Song Thrush (in the south only on 13th, a clear arrival), Mistle Thrush (one at the Obs/Furse on 12th-13th, with one also at the Raevas on 13th), 5 Robin, Stonechat (male Boini Mire 9th, female Da Water 12th), 16 Twite.

Other Wildlife:
Common Frog: large numbers gathering in Golden Water and the Obs Scrape, with spawn noted at the latter site on 13th.

Year list: 70
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1st-8th March
Very cold weather and snow at the start of the month saw a lot of birds seemingly clear out of Fair Isle and, other than a couple of Woodcock and Jack Snipe (which may have been wintering birds becoming more obvious as they, and many Snipe, sought unforzen areas in gardens, roadsides etc), there was little evidence of any hard weather arrivals. Towards the end of the spell, the easterly airflow started to bring a few migrants, including increasing numbers of waders and some classic early spring migrants.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: 2 (2CY and 3CY) on 2nd, with 2CY bird seen on 3rd, 5th and 6th
Blue Tit: at least two still present (one at Obs and one down island)

Other Sightings (counts generally refer to the maximum number recorded in the period):
139 Greylag Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 11 Wigeon, 12 Teal, Common Scoter (female 5th-6th), Goosander (male on Da Water then in the Haven on 8th), Red-breasted Merganser (male, 7th), Grey Heron, 4 Water Rail, 17 Oystercatcher, 20 Lapwing, 2 Ringed Plover, 16 Curlew (including a pair displaying on 6th), Jack Snipe (2nd, Pund), 46 Snipe (in the south only on 6th), Stock Dove (Upper Stoneybrek, 7th), Merlin, Peregrine (adult male, which was presumably responsible for the freshly predated Common Gull on 6th), 2 Carrion Crow (the lingering pair at Malcolm's Head), 11 Skylark (including birds seen coming in off the sea at South on 6th, with a larger influx on 8th), 6 Blackbird, 32 Fieldfare, 13 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush (one at the Obs on 7th; first of the year), 2 Stonechat (Shirva on 8th; first of the year), Chaffinch (lingering female at Midway), 16 Twite, Snow Bunting.


Mistle Thrush (left) with Fieldfare, Obs, 7th March (David Parnaby). Mistle Thrush is a classic early migrant with easterlies in early/mid March often producing records.

Year list: 68
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1st-28th February

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: records of single 2CY birds on 8th, 15th and 21st may have been a lingering bird
Glaucous Gull: three on 15th, with singles on 13thm 19th and 28th
Blue Tit: three birds lingering still

Other Sightings (counts generally refer to the maximum number recorded in the period):
230 Greylag Goose, 7 Pink-footed Goose (decreasing to 6 later in the month), 2 Whooper Swan (the wintering juvenile joined by a second from 22nd), 8 Wigeon, 31 Mallard, 10 Teal, Red-breasted Merganser (male), 2 blue Fulmar (20th February, one from the Good Shepherd IV and another patrolling the cliffs at the Restengeos), Grey Heron (adult throughout), Gannet (plenty present offshore and noted on the ledges of Sheep Craig from 10th), 2 Cormorant (singles on 20th and 27th with two on 21st), 5 Water Rail, 16 Oystercatcher (numbers rising slowly throughout the month peaking on 20th, after which numbers declined again), 15 Lapwing, 3 Golden Plover, 8 Ringed Plover (first recorded on 3rd-4th, then small numbers building from 20th), 23 Curlew, 150 Turnstone, 10 Purple Sandpiper, Woodcock (just singles noted on 13th, 24th and 28th), Jack Snipe (singles on three dates), 60 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 3 Common Gull, Guilemot (a few offshore), Merlin, Peregrine (21st and 22nd; first of the year), 2 Carrion Crow, Skylark (small numbers building in the last week, to a peak of 55 on 22nd), 'Fair Isle Wren' (singing noted from 3rd, although birds had gone quiet again by the end of the month), Blackbird (11 was the peak count as numbers remained low), Fieldfare (around 100 at the start of the month declined steadily, but an arrival on 20th saw at least 153 present), 50 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, 3 Robin, Chaffinch (female at Midway from 26th; first of the year), 30 Twite, 9 Snow Bunting (21st, with 2 on 27th).

Year list: 65
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30th - 31st January

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: 2CY on 31st

Other Sightings (counts generally refer to the maximum number recorded in the period):
3 Wigeon, 25 Mallard, Teal, Water Rail, c200 Turnstone, c80 Redshank, Black-headed Gull, 80 Fieldfare, 10 Redwing, Robin.

Year list: 61
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22nd-29th January

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: after a dead 4CY bird in South Haven on 23rd, a 2CY was in the Parks on 24th; first of the year
Glaucous Gull: present virtually daily, with peak of 4 (all 2CY) on 24th
Blue Tit: still regular sightings throughout - the species made it onto the Big Garden Birdwatch for the first time in Fair Isle history!

Other Sightings (counts generally refer to the maximum number recorded in the period):
257 Greylag Goose, 8 Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, 23 Mallard, 12 Teal, Common Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, 2 Red-breasted Merganser (24th; first of the year), Grey Heron (26th-27th; first of the year), Cormorant (juvenile on Landberg on 25th; first of the year), 4 Water Rail, 3 Oystercatcher, 18 Lapwing (arrival on 24th), 8 Golden Plover, 33 Curlew, 172 Turnstone, 25 Purple Sandpiper, Woodcock, Merlin, 2 Carrion Crow, 84 Fieldfare (arrival on 24th, with good numbers lingering after this date), other thrushes present in small numbers, with perhaps just a slight increase in Redwing, 58 Twite (25th).

Year list: 61
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17th-21st January
A snowy day on 16th saw the end of flights for the week as ice lingered for several days. Some calm (but cold) spells interspersed with some fresh south-easterly or southerly winds and rain returning on 21st.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: adult on 19th and 2CY on 21st
Blue Tit: 3 still throughout

Other Sightings (counts generally refer to the maximum number recorded in the period):
184 Greylag Goose (with some movement noted), 8 Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, 14 Wigeon, 11 Teal, Great Northern Diver (still present until 18th at least, although it was looking somewhat lethargic towards the latter date), 6 Water Rail (probably all wintering birds, perhaps becoming more visible in icy conditions - i.e. a bird in the Obs garden on 19th was a ringed individual which was presumably the one trapped at the Obs on 29th October that has not been seen since 23rd November!), Oystercatcher, 3 Lapwing, 7 Golden Plover (21st), 15 Curlew, 160 Turnstone, Woodcock (singles on three dates), Jack Snipe (Walli Burn, 21st), Guillemot (some on cliffs on 18th), Merlin, Carrion Crow, still a reasonable number of Fieldfare and smaller numbers of other thrushes and Robins about, Meadow Pipit (one by the Vaadal on 20th; first of the year), 14 Twite.


Great Northern Diver, North Haven, 17th January (David Parnaby)

Year list: 57
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7th-16th January
Some rather strong south-easterly then southerly winds (the lounge lights in the flat were swaying on the night of 14th as the Obs faced the winds head-on!) brought a few more birds, with snow falling throughout on 16th.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: present almost daily, with a peak count of 4 (10th and 13th) and at least 6 individuals present
Blue Tit: 3 still in the usual haunts

Other Sightings (counts generally refer to the maximum number recorded in the period):
217 Greylag Goose, 8 Pink-footed Goose, 5 European White-fronted Goose (a family party on 14th, with 7 [the same 5 plus two other single adults] on 15th), Whooper Swan, 15 Wigeon, 10 Teal, Common Scoter (female again in Furse), Long-tailed Duck (female in Furse), Goldeneye (a male in South Harbour on 7th and female on Da Water on 10th), Goosander (an unusual winter record on 12th), Great Northern Diver (still lingering in North Haven and Furse), Water Rail, 3 Oystercatcher (with a couple of birds now coming in to join the two wintering individuals), 10 Lapwing (a small arrival on 15th), Golden Plover, 21 Curlew, Woodcock (one flushed from a snowy Obs garden on 16th), Black-headed Gull, 2 Carrion Crow, 55 Fieldfare (15th, mostly small numbers scattered around the island, so the total may have been higher in what appeared to be a small arrival), 24 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 2 Twite, 15 Snow Bunting (7th, North Light).


European White-fronted Geese, Upper Stoneybrek, 15th January (David Parnaby)

Other Wildlife:
Nathusius's Pipistrelle: a small bat seen in flight at Busta on 10th was seen to land under the eaves of a shed there (where it was still present until 12th at least), and was most probably this species - an extraordinary winter record.

Year list: 56

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1st-6th January
Happy New Year, FIBO hopes you all had an enjoyable festive period and that your 2018 is filled with good birds.
The weather began unremarkably, although temperatures were pleasant at times, but strong north-easterly winds at the end of the period brought a chill. Not much movement bird-wise (other than in the order of Log, as we followed the BOU in adopting the IOC list from 1st January), although some strong SE winds are forecast, so there's perhaps a chance of some cold weather movement from the continent.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: sightings were virtually daily, with a peak of 3 on 2nd and at least four individuals (2 adults, 3CY and 2CY involved)
Blue Tit: all three birds lingering from October 2017 remained in situ, with two patrolling the gardens of the south and one enjoying the Obs peanuts feeders.

Other Sightings (counts generally refer to the maximum number recorded in the period):
288 Greylag Goose (notable movement from 4th saw numbers increase on the island), Whooper Swan (juvenile still present, a rare overwintering attempt), 17 Wigeon, 8 Teal, Tufted Duck (a female on 6th was a rare winter occurence), Great Northern Diver (the bird that has been lingering in North Haven since 6th December was still present, such a long stay is unusual), Slavonian Grebe (winter occurences are rare, but what was presumably the bird seen twice in December was in Furse on 4th), Water Rail (at least one still present), 2 Oystercatcher (not an annual wintering species, but birds remained at the Haven and at Skadan), 2 Lapwing, Jack Snipe (one on the beach near Utra/Hesti on 2nd), Merlin, 3 Carrion Crow (the pair present since spring 2016 remained around South Light and Utra and the other wintering bird remained at Suka Mire), Skylark, 35 Fieldfare (a small influx from 1st), 3 Song Thrush (minimum), Twite, 3 Mealy Redpoll (Shirva on 1st, with one still there on 2nd at least).


Mealy Redpoll, Shirva, 2nd January (David Parnaby)

Year list: 46