Fair Isle Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

Latest sightings

 Wednesday 24th May
A fog dominated day, with planes cancelled and little new noted, even during the clearer periods.

Weather: Low cloud and wet fog at first, clearing somewhat later, although lingering around the hills and kind of bouncing up and down a bit. Generally warm.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Quail: one flushed from near Springfield
'Northern Bullfinch': the female still present

Sightings:
Bar-headed Goose (still present), 3 Pink-footed Goose, 10 Greylag Goose, 2 Teal, Tufted Duck, 2 Great Northern Diver (off South Light), Sparrowhawk, 8 Golden Plover, 5 Whimbrel, 2 Sanderling, 17 Dunlin, 3 Common Sandpiper, 144 Arctic Tern (including birds seen copulating), Woodpigeon, Long-eared Owl (again in the Chapel Plantation, although looking either Fulmar-oiled or perhaps just very soggy), Swift, Kestrel, 14 Carrion Crow, 14 Swallow, 12 House Martin, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap, Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, 4 Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler (yesterday's bird relocated to Setter), 2 Blackbird, Song Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Robin, Pied Flycatcher, 3 Black Redstart, 2 Dunnock, flava Wagtail, 'White Wagtail', 4 Tree Pipit, Linnet.

Other wildlife:
Buff-tailed Bumblebee

Year list: 165
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Tuesday 23rd May
A cruiseship in the morning kept the Wardening team busy for a couple of hours, but there were a few birds in when we got out to census.

Weather: W or SW 2-4, sunny start to the day and pleasantly warm.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-rumped Swallow: one at Hesswalls in a mixed hirundine flock was seen by the finder only
Hobby: one over the Haven was nicely timed for the Wardening team as they met incoming cruiseship passengers
Grey-headed Wagtail: a male at Meadow Burn
Red-backed Shrike: female still at Chalet
'Northern Bullfinch': the female still present

Sightings:
Bar-headed Goose (still present), 3 Pink-footed Goose, 10 Greylag Goose, 2 Teal, Tufted Duck, Red-throated Diver, Hen Harrier (a ringtail seen at Da Water in the morning and then Suka Mire later), 4 Golden Plover, 30 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, Ruff (male still), 2 Sanderling, 8 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpiper, 45 Arctic Tern, 4 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove (including 2 that hitched a lift on the Ortelius from somewhere in the North Sea between the Netherlands and Aberdeen, before disembarking near Fair Isle), 6 Swift, Kestrel, 10 Carrion Crow, 30 Swallow, 17 House Martin, 13 Chiffchaff, 5 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, 4 Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler (one in Plantation), Ring Ouzel, Blackbird, Song Thrush, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Robin, 4 Black Redstart, Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 150 Wheatear, Dunnock, Yellow Wagtail (male at South Light), 'White Wagtail', 4 Tree Pipit, 3 Linnet (including a Shetland-ringed bird trapped in the Plantation), Lesser Redpoll.

Other wildlife:
Buff-tailed Bumblebee

Year list: 165
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Monday 22nd May
A bright start around the traps and garden, although in the end, new migrants were generally thin on the ground.

Weather: SE or ESE 3-4 increasing 4-5 later. Sunny at first but clouding over with a little rain in the evening.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-breasted Flycatcher: one trapped in the Gully on morning trap round went on to show well around the Obs; first of the year
Icterine Warbler: one at Easter Lother in the afternoon; first of the year
Red-backed Shrike: female still at Chalet
'Northern Bullfinch': the female still present and roaming the island

Sightings:
Bar-headed Goose (one at South Green later joined a flock of Greylags and appeared to be trying to head north, but later reappeared near South Light; the 4th island record of this common escape from captivity), 10 Greylag Goose, Tufted Duck (male), Goosander (a female flew up the island), 6 Golden Plover, 37 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, Ruff (male still present), 2 Sanderling, 15 Purple Sandpiper, 4 Common Sandpiper, Woodcock, Arctic Skua (first egg of the year found in Johnny Arcus Park), 26 Arctic Tern, Kittiwake (first eggs of the year seen in Dog Geo), Rock Dove (a fledged juvenile caught in the Plantation), 3 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, 2 Turtle Dove (the ringed bird still in the south and an unringed bird at Setter), 12 Swift, 3 Kestrel, 8 Carrion Crow (including one still lingering suspiciously around the Holms and Dog Geo), 13 Swallow, 11 House Martin, 28 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler, 8 Blackcap, 3 Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Whitethroat, 6 Sedge Warbler, 3 Blackbird, 3 Song Thrush, 6 Spotted Flycatcher, Robin, Pied Flycatcher, 3 Black Redstart, Redstart, Whinchat, 167 Wheatear, Dunnock, Yellow Wagtail (male at South Light), 4 'White Wagtail', 10 Tree Pipit, 2 Linnet, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 4 'Mealy Redpoll', 4 Siskin, Reed Bunting.


Bar-headed Goose, Utra (David Parnaby)

Other wildlife:
5 Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Silver-Y

Year list: 164
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Sunday 21st May
That's more like it! A lovely sunny day and a good selection of birds (including four that were new for the year), with a real hope of more tomorrow (not that we're greeedy).

Weather: variable 2-3, with a largely southerly element and becoming more SE as the day progressed. Sunny, warm and pleasant.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: female at Chalet; first of the year
'Northern Bullfinch': a female at Shirva early in the morning was later trapped at the Obs; only the second spring record since 2006

Sightings:
2 Greylag Goose, 3 Teal, Tufted Duck (male), 4 Golden Plover, 44 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, Knot, Ruff (a male at various locations in the south of the island; first of the year and only the fourth spring record since 2001), 2 Sanderling, 7 Purple Sandpiper, Woodcock (one on Dronger was a late spring record), 49 Arctic Tern, 4 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, Turtle Dove, Cuckoo (a showy female around the Barkland area), Long-eared Owl (one at Burkle moved to Schoolton then towards the west coast), 6 Swift, Kestrel, 13 Carrion Crow, Goldcrest, 3 Sand Martin, 31 Swallow, 23 House Martin, 17 Chiffchaff, 13 Willow Warbler, 5 Blackcap, Garden Warbler, 6 Lesser Whitethroat, 7 Whitethroat, Grasshopper Warbler (trapped at the Obs), 7 Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Ring Ouzel, Blackbird, Redwing, 7 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Robin, Pied Flycatcher, 5 Black Redstart, Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 168 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, Blue-headed Wagtail (male), 3 'White Wagtail', 6 Tree Pipit, 2 Linnet, 3 Lesser Redpoll, 4 'Mealy Redpoll', Common Crossbill (a male trapped in the Plantation; first of the year), 3 Siskin, Yellowhammer, 4 Reed Bunting.

Year list: 162
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Saturday 20th May
A wash out of a day, with only a couple of hours late in the afternoon that weren't rained off. Low cloud also persisted, resulting in no flights (with the Good Shepherd also being cancelled today due to the weather). Hopefully things will be better tomorrow, with an improved forecast (although no flights still) and then maybe very interesting on Monday as SE winds return...

Weather: A fresh NE wind calming and becoming variable. Rain and low cloud for most of day.

Sightings:
5 Wigeon, 3 Teal, Tufted Duck (male), Goosander (a pair through north through the Haven; first of the year), 2 Golden Plover, Whimbrel, 8 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, Turtle Dove, Short-eared Owl, Goldcrest, House Martin, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, Garden Warbler, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Sedge Warbler, Blackbird, Redwing, Robin, 2 Whinchat, Dunnock, 6 Tree Pipit, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', Snow Bunting, Yellowhammer.

Year list: 158
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Friday 19th May
After a bit of a clear out yesterday, and fog overnight, it was likely to be a quieter day - and so it was. Although the weather wasn't as bad on Fair Isle as had been predicted, low cloud at Tingwall stopped the flights for the day and tomorrow's weather isn't looking that clever for transport either. On the plus side, Monday's forecast looks potentially rare..

Weather: variable becoming easterly 2/3, occasionally 4, with cloud throughout, initially low over the hills but rising later. Rain in the evening.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Bluethroat: a female around the Stackhoull area

Sightings:
2 Pink-footed Goose, 5 Greylag Goose, 4 Teal, Tufted Duck (male), Red-throated Diver, Sparrowhawk, 5 Golden Plover (including a displaying male), 22 Ringed Plover (including a flock of 15 migrants on Meoness), 3 Whimbrel, 8 Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, 12 Woodpigeon, 5 Collared Dove, Turtle Dove, Short-eared Owl (Gilsetter), 3 Kestrel, 5 Carrion Crow, Goldcrest, 16 Swallow, House Martin, 7 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Whitethroat, 2 Sedge Warbler, 3 Blackbird, Fieldfare, 2 Redwing (including one singing near the Plantation), 3 Robin, Black Redstart (the lingering adult male at Houll/Schoolton), Redstart, Whinchat, 2 Dunnock, Yellow Wagtail (male at South Light), White Wagtail, 4 Tree Pipit, Lesser Redpoll, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', Snow Bunting (the lingering female at Bull's Park), Yellowhammer (male still at Setter), 2 Reed Bunting.

Other Wildlife:
Buff-tailed Bumblebee: 2. Counts from recent days have been estimated as 'modest double figures' by Nick Riddiford, with many investigating potential nest sites. These bees are likely to be immigrants from mainland Scotland (as the northern European form has different markings) and the queens will have mated further south last autumn, so will be capable of breeding on the Isle. It is certainly proving to be a fascinating event and it will be interesting to see how it compares to 2012 (the only other year the species has been recorded on Fair Isle) when sightings came to an end by mid-June, suggesting that any breeding did not proceed beyond egg or larval stage. Many thanks to Nick Riddiford for the extra information on this species.

Year list: 157
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Thursday 18th May

Weather: variable wind, generally light, sunny until around 8pm when fog rolled in

HIGHLIGHTS:
COLLARED PRATINCOLE: still present, although feeding with hirundines at Utra and last seen at around 1.40pm heading south over Leogh.
RED-THROATED PIPIT: again in the Meadow Burn area
Bluethroat: a mobile male at Lower Stoneybrek, Stackhoull and near Da Water

Sightings:
2 Pink-footed Goose, 5 Greylag Goose, 6 Teal, 2 Tufted Duck (pair), blue Fulmar (Easter Lother), Sparrowhawk, Water Rail (Gilsetter), 5 Golden Plover (including a displaying male), Whimbrel, 4 Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, Great Skua (first eggs seen, in North Park), Razorbill (eggs in Easter Lother on the first monitoring visit), 12 Woodpigeon, 4 Collared Dove, Turtle Dove, 3 Kestrel, 7 Carrion Crow, 3 Sand Martin, 56 Swallow, 24 House Martin, 18 Chiffchaff, 16 Willow Warbler, 5 Blackcap, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 9 Whitethroat, Grasshopper Warbler (Hjon Park), 6 Sedge Warbler, 2 Ring Ouzel, 4 Blackbird, Fieldfare, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Robin, 5 Black Redstart, Whinchat, 201 Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail (male), 3 White Wagtail, 10 Tree Pipit, Chaffinch, Lesser Redpoll, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', 4 Siskin, 2 Snow Bunting, Yellowhammer (male at Setter; first of the year), 2 Reed Bunting.

Other Wildlife:
Red Admiral: 1
'Shetland Bee': 2
Buff-tailed Bumblebee: 2

Year list: 157
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Wednesday 17th May

Weather: SSE 3-4, mostly sunny with some light, high cloud. Generally warm.

HIGHLIGHTS:
COLLARED PRATINCOLE: still performing in the upper Wirvie Burn near Easter Lother
RED-THROATED PIPIT: a lovely individual initially found at Shirva went on to show well near the Meadow Burn
Grey-headed Wagtail: 3; males at Golden Water and two in the south

Sightings:
3 Pink-footed Goose, 4 Greylag Goose, 2 Canada Goose, 7 Teal, Tufted Duck (female), 2 Sparrowhawk (male and female), 122 Oystercatcher (and also the first eggs of the season seen), 4 Golden Plover (including a displaying male), Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Sanderling, 5 Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, 25 Arctic Tern, 32 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 8 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, Turtle Dove (seen again in the Shalstane area before becoming trapped in the Utra garage, it was released unharmed), Cuckoo, 2 Swift, 2 Kestrel, 20 Carrion Crow, 3 Sand Martin, 76 Swallow, 27 House Martin, 25 Chiffchaff (including several singing birds), 12 Willow Warbler, 6 Blackcap, 3 Garden Warbler, 6 Lesser Whitethroat, 9 Whitethroat, 8 Sedge Warbler (including one singing at the Obs), Ring Ouzel (male in the Parks, which was singing in the evening), 3 Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, 15 Spotted Flycatcher, 6 Robin, Pied Flycatcher, Black Redstart, 3 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 231 Wheatear, Dunnock, Tree Sparrow, 8 White Wagtail, 13 Tree Pipit, Brambling, Lesser Redpoll, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', 2 Goldfinch, 2 Siskin, Snow Bunting, 5 Reed Bunting.

Other Wildlife:
Killer Whale:
at least two (including a large bull) were seen off Da Nizz then Buness before vanishing for an hour then being seen distantly north of the Stacks as they appeared to be feeding.
Buff-tailed Bumblebee: one
Eristalus intricarius: the bumblebee mimic hoverfly was noted for the first time this year




Killer Whales, Buness (Richard Cope). The top two images show the same animal, a magnificent bull, whilst the bottom image is the other animal (either a female or young male).

Year list: 156
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16th May

Weather: SSE3 becoming more S or SW 4-5 later, sunny, with cloud and showers appearing as a front passed late afternoon before clearing to sun again

HIGHLIGHTS:
COLLARED PRATINCOLE: still present and showing well at Easter Lother
THRUSH NIGHTINGALE: one discovered late in the afternoon at Utra showed well to everyone as it fed in the garden
Bluethroat: 2; females at Obs and Setter
Marsh Harrier: at least one still present
Hawfinch: one at Quoy then Schoolton
Grey-headed Wagtail: 2; males at Golden Water and Utra


Thrush Nightingale, Utra (David Parnaby)


Bluethroat, Setter (David Parnaby)

Sightings:
2 Pink-footed Goose, 5 Greylag Goose, 2 Canada Goose, 11 Teal, Tufted Duck (female), Red-throated Diver, 2 Sparrowhawk (male and female), 2 Golden Plover (including a displaying male), 2 Whimbrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Sanderling, 14 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpiper, 25 Arctic Tern, 6 Black-headed Gull, 51 Common Gull, 29 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Guillemot (first egg seen; in Dog Geo), 18 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, Swift, Kestrel, 29 Carrion Crow, 8 Sand Martin, 79 Swallow, 11 House Martin, 26 Chiffchaff, 20 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, Garden Warbler, 12 Lesser Whitethroat, 7 Whitethroat, Grasshopper Warbler, 10 Sedge Warbler, Ring Ouzel, 5 Blackbird, Fieldfare, 10 Spotted Flycatcher, 8 Robin, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Black Redstart, 3 Redstart, 4 Whinchat, Stonechat (female at Quoy), 297 Wheatear (including a couple of trapped birds that were 'Greenland Wheatears' on measurements), Dunnock, Tree Sparrow (one at Burkle then Skadan; first of the year), 8 White Wagtail, 17 Tree Pipit, 2 Brambling, Chaffinch (male singing at various sites in the south), 2 Linnet, 'Mealy Redpoll', Goldfinch, 3 Siskin, Snow Bunting, 7 Reed Bunting.

Other Wildlife:
Red Admiral:
one on Dronger

Year list: 155
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15th May

Weather: SE3-4, increasing 5-6. Cloudy with rain in the afternoon and visibility decreasing

HIGHLIGHTS:
COLLARED PRATINCOLE: still present in the same area, where it was successfully twitched from Shetland!
Bluethroat: 3; females at the Obs and Chalet and a male at Wirvie Burn
Marsh Harrier: 2; both 'cream-crowns', with one having possibly been oiled by a Fulmar
Grey-headed Wagtail: 2 males
Nightjar: the wing of a freshly dead female was found near Hjukni Geo

Sightings:
7 Whooper Swan (off North Light), 2 Pink-footed Goose, 5 Greylag Goose, 2 Canada Goose, 3 Wigeon, 6 Teal, Tufted Duck (female), 2 Sparrowhawk, 149 Oystercatcher, 9 Golden Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Dunlin, 36 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 19 Arctic Tern, 14 Black-headed Gull, 23 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 18 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Turtle Dove (one on Shalstane then Leogh; first of the year), Cuckoo (female), 5 Swift, Kestrel, 26 Carrion Crow, 41 Swallow, 12 House Martin, 23 Chiffchaff, 26 Willow Warbler, 5 Blackcap, Garden Warbler, 10 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Whitethroat, Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler (Lower Stoneybrek; first of the year), 5 Ring Ouzel, 10 Blackbird (including a male singing at the Obs), Fieldfare, Song Thrush, 3 Redwing, 9 Spotted Flycatcher, 10 Robin, 2 Pied Flycatcher, Black Redstart, 5 Redstart, 4 Whinchat, 225 Wheatear, Dunnock, 7 White Wagtail, 13 Tree Pipit, 2 Brambling, Lesser Redpoll, 6 'Mealy Redpoll', Goldfinch, 2 Siskin, Snow Bunting, 7 Reed Bunting.

Other Wildlife:
Buff-tailed Bumblebee:
at least four individuals of this species were seen (at Lower Stoneybrek, North Shirva, School and Obs).

Year list: 152
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14th May

Weather: SE2-3, occasionally 4, veering W1-2 later, cloudy at first, although sunny in the late afternoon. Persistent rain from late morning until early afternoon, then occasional showers until late afternoon, after which it remained dry and pleasant.

HIGHLIGHTS:
COLLARED PRATINCOLE: one around the Upper Wirvie Burn, near Easter Lother Water, was present from 11am until at least 9.20pm; the second Fair Isle record (the first was in 1971)
Mute Swan: 2 still, although relocated to Da Water and then seen heading south off Meoness at 6.15pm
Bluethroat: 3; males at the Obs and Upper Leogh and female at the Obs
Marsh Harrier: still roaming the island
Little Bunting: still present, although remaining remarkably elusive
Grey-headed Wagtail: 2 males


Collared Pratincole, Easter Lother (David Parnaby).


Collared Pratincole, Easter Lother (Ciaran Hatsell).

Sightings:
2 Pink-footed Goose, 5 Greylag Goose, 2 Canada Goose (seen to fly south off Buness late in the evening), 4 Wigeon, 15 Teal, Tufted Duck (female), Common Scoter (male in Furse), Red-breasted Merganser (female), Red-throated Diver (first of the month), Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk (male and female), Moorhen (one trapped in the Vaadal; first of the year), 6 Golden Plover (including a displaying male), 5 Whimbrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank (just the second record of the year), 38 Arctic Tern, 5 Black-headed Gull, 31 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Cuckoo, 2 Short-eared Owl, 2 Swift, Kestrel, 37 Carrion Crow (along with 4 migrant Hooded Crows and a hybrid), Goldcrest, 2 Sand Martin, 101 Swallow, 19 House Martin, 37 Chiffchaff, 36 Willow Warbler, 4 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 16 Lesser Whitethroat, 9 Whitethroat, 12 Sedge Warbler, 4 Ring Ouzel, 6 Blackbird, 4 Fieldfare, 2 Song Thrush, 2 Redwing, Mistle Thrush, 12 Spotted Flycatcher, 10 Robin, 5 Pied Flycatcher, Black Redstart, 8 Redstart, 6 Whinchat, 257 Wheatear, Dunnock, 8 White Wagtail, 26 Tree Pipit, Brambling, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', Goldfinch, Siskin, Snow Bunting, 17 Reed Bunting.

Year list: 149
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13th May

Weather: SE4-5, occasionally 6, with cloud throughout and occasionaly rain, sometimes heavy. Poor visibility, with low cloud shrouding North for the day.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Mute Swan: the two were on the sea off Hundi Stack in the morning then moved to Utra (after being hassled by a Gannet!) in the afternoon
Bluethroat: 3; males at the Double Dyke and Leogh and a female at the Obs that ran around a few inches from the library window
Wryneck: 2; singles again at Leogh and Chalet
Marsh Harrier: the wandering female was seen at several sites around the island, including Gilsetter where it was seen eating a Kittiwake that had died there a couple of days previously
Little Bunting: again elusively around the Obs area
Grey-headed Wagtail: two males (at the Obs scrape and Hjukni Geo), along with a male Blue-headed Wagtail at Meadow Burn


Mute Swans, Utra (David Parnaby). Notice the 'Polish' bird on the right.


Wryneck, Chalet (David Parnaby)

Sightings:
2 Pink-footed Goose, 7 Greylag Goose, 2 Canada Goose, 3 Wigeon, 7 Teal, Tufted Duck (female), Common Scoter (male in Furse), Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk (male), 10 Golden Plover, 5 Whimbrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, Knot, 3 Sanderling, 26 Dunlin, 84 Purple Sandpiper, 3 Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, 2 Arctic Tern, 2 Woodpigeon, Kestrel, 17 Carrion Crow, Goldcrest, Sand Martin, 52 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 36 Chiffchaff, 38 Willow Warbler, 4 Blackcap, 11 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, 11 Sedge Warbler, 5 Ring Ouzel, 5 Blackbird, 6 Fieldfare, 2 Song Thrush, Redwing, 6 Spotted Flycatcher, 8 Robin, Pied Flycatcher, Black Redstart, 3 Redstart, Whinchat, Dunnock, 5 White Wagtail, 22 Tree Pipit, 2 Brambling, 2 Chaffinch, Linnet, 4 'Mealy Redpoll', 2 Goldfinch, 2 Siskin, Snow Bunting, 13 Reed Bunting.


Knot, Muckle Uri Geo (David Parnaby)

Year list: 147
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12th May
More birds arriving and a few more highlights amongst them. The afternoon plane was brought forward to make sure it beat the weather - which may be just as well, as transport doesn't look great for the next few days. In fact, tomorrow is likely to be difficult for most things, including birding, but we'll keep trying as there's bound to be a few more things to be found.

Weather: SE4-5, cloudy, brightening for a while in the afternoon.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Mute Swan: 2 in South Harbour in the evening represent just the 11th island record
Bluethroat: 2; males at Upper Leogh/Meadow Burn and Walli Burn
Wryneck: 2; singles at Upper Leogh and Chalet
Hobby: one first seen near the Kirk lingered around the Houll, where it showed well at times; 61st record (49th in the spring) and first of the year
Marsh Harrier: a female first seen at Mire o' Vatnagaard later roamed the west coast; 51st record (40th in the spring) and first of the year
Quail: 2; singles flushed from Buness in the morning and near the Chapel plantation in the afternoon; first of the year
Little Bunting: still present at the Obs, where it was seen in the morning and again around lunchtime
Grey-headed Wagtail: three males in the south of the island, along with a male Blue-headed Wagtail


Hobby, Houll (Ciaran Hatsell)

Sightings:
2 Pink-footed Goose, 6 Greylag Goose, 2 Canada Goose, 2 Wigeon, 7 Teal, Tufted Duck (female), Common Scoter (male in Furse), 146 Oystercatcher, 9 Golden Plover, 6 Whimbrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, Knot, Sanderling, 36 Dunlin, 57 Purple Sandpiper, 16 Arctic Tern, 3 Woodpigeon, 23 Carrion Crow, Sand Martin, 68 Swallow (highest count of the year), 13 House Martin, 36 Chiffchaff (including a 'Siberian Chiffchaff'), 33 Willow Warbler, 6 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler (at Wester Lother and Shalstane; first of the year), 14 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Whitethroat, Grasshopper Warbler, 9 Sedge Warbler, Starling (chicks heard in nest at Midway), 2 Ring Ouzel, 7 Blackbird, 3 Fieldfare, 4 Song Thrush, 2 Redwing, 12 Spotted Flycatcher, 16 Robin, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 3 Black Redstart, 4 Redstart, 4 Whinchat, 260 Wheatear, 10 White Wagtail, 17 Tree Pipit, 2 Brambling, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', Goldfinch, 2 Snow Bunting, 14 Reed Bunting.


Willow Warbler (Ciaran Hatsell)

Other Wildlife:
Buff-tailed Bumblebee
has been confirmed as present on the island again this year, with several sightings of bees in recent days thought to be this species, and one was photographed today at Chalet.

Year list: 147
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11th May
A quiet start to census, but a lot of promise later, when birds started arriving in the evening. It's still looking good for the weekend...

Weather: NE becoming SE 3, cloudy at first but brighter spells later

HIGHLIGHTS:
Shorelark: one at the back of Ward Hill; first of the year
Little Bunting: still present
Grey-headed Wagtail: three males in the south of the island in the evening, along with a Blue-headed Wagtail

Sightings:
2 Pink-footed Goose, 4 Greylag Goose, 2 Canada Goose, 3 Wigeon, 7 Teal, Tufted Duck (female), Common Scoter (male in Furse), 3 Cormorant, 12 Golden Plover, 17 Whimbrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 35 Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, 2 Woodpigeon, 2 Kestrel, 11 Carrion Crow (along with 5 migrant Hooded Crows), 24 Swallow, 6 House Martin, 21 Chiffchaff, 19 Willow Warbler, 6 Blackcap, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 7 Whitethroat, Grasshopper Warbler, 5 Sedge Warbler, 5 Ring Ouzel, 6 Blackbird, 3 Fieldfare, 7 Song Thrush, 3 Redwing, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 8 Robin, 2 Pied Flycatcher, Black Redstart, 7 Redstart, 3 Whinchat, 263 Wheatear, 6 White Wagtail, 18 Tree Pipit, 246 Meadow Pipit, 8 Brambling, Chaffinch, Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, 'Mealy Redpoll', Goldfinch, Siskin, 5 Snow Bunting, 9 Reed Bunting.

Year list: 142
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10th May
Generally a bit of a clear out, but with some good birds sneaking in that hinted that the change in weather could bring us some more over the next few days.

Weather: starting off with a west wind that swung easterly during the day, with drizzle on and off throughout and low cloud for a lot of the day.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Bluethroat: a male in Meadow Burn; first of the year
Little Bunting: still present, although roaming and somewhat elusive
Grey-headed Wagtail: a mobile male in the south seen at Skadan then South Light
Great Tit: still present where it roosted at the Obs and was then feeding later at Upper Leogh

Sightings:
2 Pink-footed Goose, 11 Greylag Goose, 3 Wigeon, 12 Teal, 2 Pintail (pair on Da Water), Tufted Duck (female), Common Scoter (male in Furse), Sparrowhawk (female at the Obs and Vaadal), Water Rail (Vaadal), 143 Oystercatcher, 10 Golden Plover, 9 Whimbrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 83 Turnstone, Knot, Sanderling, 34 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, 3 Arctic Tern (minimum on Buness in the morning), 4 Black-headed Gull, Woodpigeon, Kestrel, 4 Carrion Crow, 9 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 17 Chiffchaff, 19 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, 5 Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, 3 Redwing, Spotted Flycatcher, 9 Robin, Redstart, Whinchat, 204 Wheatear, Dunnock, Grey Wagtail, 4 White Wagtail, 11 Tree Pipit, 'Scandinavian Rock Pipit', 10 Brambling, 4 Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, 4 'Mealy Redpoll', Goldfinch, 12 Snow Bunting, 11 Reed Bunting.


Wood Sandpiper, Easter Lother Water (Ciaran Hatsell)

Year list: 141
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9th May

Weather: WSW3, cloudy with sporadic rain, especially in the evening.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Little Bunting: still present, often near Single Dyke then roosting at the Obs
Great Tit: at Upper Leogh
Hawfinch: female again at Burkle

Sightings:
2 Pink-footed Goose, 9 Greylag Goose, 3 Wigeon, 7 Teal, 3 Pintail (flew up the west coast, with a pair on Da Water in the evening; first of the year), Tufted Duck (female), 2 Grey Heron, 6 Golden Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Dunlin (including a singing bird at Hill Dyke), 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Arctic Tern (from the Good Shepherd), 52 Common Gull, 26 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Swift (over North Krojeals then the Haven; first of the year), 3 Kestrel, 5 Carrion Crow (including a pair with nesting material), Goldcrest, 7 Swallow, House Martin, 22 Chiffchaff (including one 'Siberian Chiffchaff' at Chalet), 18 Willow Warbler (including an acredula-type bird), 5 Blackcap, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Whitethroat, 2 Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Ring Ouzel, 4 Blackbird, 3 Fieldfare, 5 Song Thrush, 2 Redwing, 10 Robin, Black Redstart, Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 2 Dunnock, 2 Grey Wagtail, 3 White Wagtail, 7 Tree Pipit, 9 Brambling, 2 Linnet, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 8 'Mealy Redpoll' (plus one unidentifed redpoll), Goldfinch, Siskin, 8 Snow Bunting, 11 Reed Bunting.

Year list: 139
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8th May

Weather: NNE 4 decreasing to 2/3, cloudy.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Little Bunting: still present, although roaming and elusive
Great Tit: still on the cliffs at Meoness (and ignoring various suitable peanut feeders around the island)
Canada Goose: 5 still present
Hawfinch: the female was at Burkle then flew to Schoolton

Sightings:
2 Pink-footed Goose, 9 Greylag Goose, 2 Wigeon, 7 Teal, 2 Tufted Duck (male and female), Sparrowhawk (female flew north along the west cliffs), Water Rail (Vaadal), 131 Oystercatcher (highest count of the month), 7 Golden Plover, 6 Whimbrel, Knot (breeding-plumaged bird), 5 Dunlin, Arctic Tern (one flew north; first of the year), Woodpigeon, 3 Kestrel, Peregrine (male), 5 Carrion Crow (including a bird in the south carrying nesting material again), 9 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 31 Chiffchaff (including 2 'Siberian Chiffchaff'), 18 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 8 Whitethroat, 2 Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler, 3 Ring Ouzel, 3 Blackbird, 3 Fieldfare, 4 Song Thrush, 9 Robin, Black Redstart, 3 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 2 Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, 5 Tree Pipit, 13 Brambling, 2 Linnet, Lesser Redpoll (a very smart male trapped in the Plantaion in the evening), 'Mealy Redpoll', Goldfinch, 11 Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting (one at Barkland), 9 Reed Bunting.

Year list: 137
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7th May

Weather: NNE5-6, cloudy throughout.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Great Tit: again on the cliffs at Meoness
Canada Goose: 5 still
Hawfinch: female again at Schoolton

Sightings:
2 Pink-footed Goose, 10 Greylag Goose, 2 Wigeon, 7 Teal, Tufted Duck (female), Sparrowhawk (female), 10 Golden Plover, 3 Whimbrel, Knot (breeding-plumaged bird at Utra), 3 Dunlin, Short-eared Owl, Kestrel, 4 Carrion Crow, 10 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 18 Chiffchaff, 14 Willow Warbler, 7 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Ring Ouzel, 2 Blackbird, 5 Fieldfare, 3 Song Thrush, 2 Redwing, 9 Robin, 2 Pied Flycatcher, Black Redstart, 2 Redstart, Blue-headed Wagtail (female at Walli Burn), 4 White Wagtail, 5 Tree Pipit, 13 Brambling, Chaffinch, 'Mealy Redpoll', Goldfinch, 5 Snow Bunting, 6 Reed Bunting.

Year list: 136
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6th May

HIGHLIGHTS:
Little Bunting: still roosting at the Obs, although elusive
Great Tit: at the Obs in the morning
Canada Goose: the 5 still roaming the south
'Siberian Chiffchaff': 1

Sightings:
2 Pink-footed Goose, 9 Greylag Goose, 2 Wigeon, 13 Teal, 3 Tufted Duck (2 males and a female again), Sparrowhawk (female), 9 Golden Plover, 3 Whimbrel, Knot (breeding-plumaged bird at Utra), 4 Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, 2 Woodpigeon, Short-eared Owl, 3 Kestrel, Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, Goldcrest, 2 Sand Martin, 19 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 38 Chiffchaff, 21 Willow Warbler, 6 Blackcap, 6 Lesser Whitethroat (including one singing at the Obs), 8 Whitethroat, Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Ring Ouzel, 6 Blackbird, 4 Fieldfare, 9 Song Thrush, 2 Redwing, 9 Robin, Pied Flycatcher (male at the Obs), Black Redstart, 2 Redstart, Whinchat, 2 Dunnock, White Wagtail, 12 Tree Pipit, 7 Brambling, Chaffinch, 'Mealy Redpoll', Goldfinch, 5 Snow Bunting, 13 Reed Bunting.

Other wildlife:
Killer Whale:
4 (including a bull and a mother and calf) that made their way up the west coast before being twitched as they passed quite close to North Light.

Year list:
136
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5th May

Weather: NE3, cloudy at first but clearing later.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wryneck: 2; one at the Double Dyke was perhaps the bird seen later at Easter Lother, whilst another was at Lower Leogh
Little Bunting: again at the Obs in the evening
Great Tit: seen briefly on the cliffs at Meoness
Canada Goose: 5 still

Sightings:
2 Pink-footed Goose, 9 Greylag Goose, 2 Wigeon, 4 Teal, 2 Tufted Duck, Common Scoter, 'blue' Fulmar (on the cliffs at Meoness), 2 Sparrowhawk (male and female), Water Rail, 11 Golden Plover, 6 Whimbrel, Knot (breeding-plumaged bird at Utra), 3 Dunlin, 28 Purple Sandpiper, 5 Woodpigeon, Cuckoo (one heard at the Gully), Short-eared Owl, Kestrel, 6 Carrion Crow, 2 Sand Martin, 31 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 33 Chiffchaff, 40 Willow Warbler, 8 Blackcap, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 9 Whitethroat, 2 Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler, 4 Ring Ouzel, 10 Blackbird, 2 Fieldfare, 8 Song thrush, 2 Redwing, 13 Robin, 6 Black Redstart, 4 Redstart, 2 Dunnock, 5 White Wagtail, 12 Tree Pipit, 9 Brambling, Chaffinch, 2 Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', 2 Goldfinch, Siskin, 7 Snow Bunting, 12 Reed Bunting.


'Blue' Fulmar, Meoness (Ciaran Hatsell)


Black Redstart, Mast (David Parnaby)

Year list: 136
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4th May

Weather: NE3, cloudy at first but clearing later.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Little Bunting: presumably the same bird was at Busta in the morning then roosted at the Obs again
Great Tit: one feeding on the cliffs at Buness was presumably yesterday's bird
Canada Goose: 5 still present
Hawfinch: female still at Burkle
Wryneck: remains of a predated bird on Skadan

Sightings:
2 Pink-footed Goose, 10 Greylag Goose, 2 Wigeon, 3 Teal, Tufted Duck (males), Common Scoter (male), Sparrowhawk (female), Water Rail (Gilsetter), 6 Golden Plover, 12 Whimbrel, Knot (breeding-plumaged bird still at Utra), 6 Dunlin, 3 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Kestrel, Peregrine (immature male), 8 Carrion Crow, Goldcrest, 4 Sand Martin, 43 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 78 Chiffchaff, 94 Willow Warbler, 10 Blackcap, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Whitethroat, 3 Grasshopper Warbler, 7 Ring Ouzel, 9 Blackbird, 10 Fieldfare, 15 Song Thrush, 4 Redwing, 13 Robin, 3 Pied Flycatcher, 4 Black Redstart, 7 Redstart, 4 Whinchat, Stonechat (female at Stackhoull), 207 Wheatear, Dunnock, Blue-headed Wagtail (male at Upper Leogh; first confirmed record of this subspecies this year), 8 White Wagtail, 8 Tree Pipit, 159 Rock Pipit, 9 Brambling, Chaffinch (male), 2 Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll' (plus an unidentified redpoll overhead), 2 Siskin, 9 Snow Bunting, 14 Reed Bunting.

Year list: 136
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3rd May
More new birds (the year list is bouncing along merrily, with 24 species added in the last 4 days) and good weather - it's all rather pleasant at the moment.

Weather: NE 3-4, light, high cloud with sunny spells, visibility a little hazy at times.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Great Tit: one that dropped into the Obs garden (and then the mistnet) briefly in the afternoon was the first record since 2013.
Canada Goose: a flock of five that appeared at Utra then roamed the south of the island was the first record since 2015 (and the largest flock since 2006).
Hawfinch: a female found at Schoolton then roamed the south of the island (first of the year)
Little Ringed Plover: still present on Da Water
Little Bunting: still at the Obs in the morning
Wryneck: an unringed bird at Lower Leogh




Canada Geese, Utra (top) and Little Ringed Plover, Da Water (David Parnaby). Note that the quackiness of the Canada Geese is enhanced by one sporting a plumage abnormality resulting in a white face.

Sightings:
2 Pink-footed Goose, 20 Greylag Goose, 2 Teal, 3 Tufted Duck (two males and a female), Common Scoter (male still), Sparrowhawk (female), 16 Golden Plover (including a male displaying over the airstrip), 6 Whimbrel, Knot (breeding-plumaged bird again at Utra), 4 Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Woodcock, 49 Common Gull, 4 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Cuckoo (Houll; first of the year), 2 Short-eared Owl, 3 Kestrel, 6 Carrion Crow, 3 Goldcrest, 4 Sand Martin, 32 Swallow, 3 House Martin, Wood Warbler (one at the back of Ward Hill; first of the year), 67 Chiffchaff, 104 Willow Warbler, 8 Blackcap, 7 Lesser Whitethroat, 11 Whitethroat, 5 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler, Wren (a British-ringed bird was trapped at the Obs; the first ever Wren ringed elsewhere to be caught on Fair Isle - we await the details with interest), 10 Ring Ouzel, 10 Blackbird, 7 Fieldfare, 14 Song Thrush, 6 Redwing, Spotted Flycatcher (Obs), 21 Robin, Pied Flycatcher, 6 Black Redstart, 7 Redstart, 9 Whinchat, Stonechat (female Lower Leogh), 212 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, flava wagtail, 9 White Wagtail, 9 Tree Pipit, 16 Brambling, Chaffinch (male), 2 Linnet, Lesser Redpoll (one at Ditfield in the evening; first of the year), 2 'Mealy Redpoll' (plus three unidentified redpolls), Goldfinch, 2 Siskin, 10 Snow Bunting, 16 Reed Bunting.

Other wildlife: 'Shetland Bee' (Midway).

Year list:
136
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2nd May
Another really good day, with plenty of variety and a few surprises.

Weather: SE or E 3-4, sunny.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Little Ringed Plover: one on Da Water was the rarest bird of the day in Fair Isle terms; just the 6th island record (previous records were in 1965, 1969, 1979 and 2016 [2])
Dusky Warbler: one on the cliffs at Dronger was the first spring record for Fair Isle (and just the 17th record overall)
Little Bunting: one at Ditfield in the morning was refound in the Obs mistnets in the evening; just the 30th spring record of this species and the first since 2014
Nightingale: the 56th record involved one briefly at Furse
Wryneck: one trapped in the Plantation in the evening
'Siberian Chiffchaff': 2



Dusky Warbler (bottom) with Willow Warbler, Dronger (David Parnaby). The Dusky Warbler caught mid wing-flick.

Sightings:
2 Pink-footed Goose, 14 Greylag Goose, 5 Teal, Common Scoter (male in South Harbour), 2 Sparrowhawk (including a female following the Good Shepherd to Shetland in the morning), 112 Oystercatcher, 13 Golden Plover, 12 Whimbrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Dunlin, 2 Green Sandpiper, 2 Jack Snipe, 2 Woodpigeon, 5 Kestrel, 2 Rook, 4 Carrion Crow, 3 Goldcrest, 3 Sand Martin, 56 Swallow, 61 Chiffchaff, 95 Willow Warbler, 11 Blackcap, 8 Lesser Whitethroat, 9 Whitethroat, 2 Grasshopper Warbler, 5 Sedge Warbler, Ring Ouzel, 6 Blackbird, 10 Fieldfare, 2 Song Thrush, 2 Redwing, Spotted Flycatcher (one in the Gully; first of the year), 17 Robin, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 6 Black Redstart, 6 Redstart, 5 Whinchat, Stonechat (female Lower Leogh), 284 Wheatear, 5 Dunnock, Yellow Wagtail (female and one flava wagtail), 15 White Wagtail, 17 Pied Wagtail, 12 Tree Pipit, 'Scandinavian Rock Pipit', 7 Brambling, Chaffinch (male), 2 Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll' (plus three unidentified redpolls), Goldfinch, 4 Siskin, 4 Snow Bunting, 14 Reed Bunting.

Year list: 130
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1st May
A brilliant day, with lots of migrants and a good variety of species. After such a slow start to the spring it is great to be amongst the birds again. There were a few additions to the year list and several species enjoyed their highest count of the spring so far. It looks like tomorrow could be decent as well and I reckon there will be more to come, perhaps including the odd scarcity or better...

Weather: SE or ESE 5-6, sunny at first but cloudy in the afternoon.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wryneck: one at Dronger (first of the year)

Sightings:
Pink-footed Goose, 13 Greylag Goose, 9 Teal, Common Scoter (male in South Harbour), Red-breasted Merganser (male in South Harbour), 3 Sparrowhawk (we weren't the only ones enjoying the migrants!), Water Rail (Gully), 96 Oystercatcher, 16 Golden Plover, 7 Whimbrel, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, Sanderling (South Harbour), 5 Dunlin, Common Sandpiper (one at Golden Water; first of the year), Green Sandpiper (mobile in south-east), 7 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Short-eared Owl (one at Houll; first of the year), 3 Kestrel, Rook, 10 Carrion Crow (plus a hybrid), 5 Sand Martin, 30 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 35 Chiffchaff (including 2 tristis birds at the Obs), 80 Willow Warbler, 10 Blackcap, 3 Lesser Whitethroat (first of the year), 7 Whitethroat, 3 Grasshopper Warbler (singles at Hjukni Geo, School and Upper Leogh), 5 Sedge Warbler, 8 Ring Ouzel, 5 Blackbird, 12 Fieldfare, 9 Song Thrush, 2 Redwing, 16 Robin, Pied Flycatcher (still in Wester Lother), 3 Black Redstart, 9 Redstart (first of the year), 5 Whinchat, Stonechat (female still around Barkland and Gilsetter), 273 Wheatear, 4 Dunnock, flava wagtail, 19 White Wagtail, 12 Pied Wagtail, 11 Tree Pipit, 152 Rock Pipit (including 4 'Scandinavian Rock Pipit'), Chaffinch (male), 4 'Mealy Redpoll', 3 Goldfinch (plus another dead), 4 Siskin, 5 Snow Bunting, 8 Reed Bunting.

Year list: 125
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30th April
That's more like it! Yesterday is gone and today was all about enjoyable birding as we got our first real arrival of migrants including seven new species for the year. There were birds arrivng throughout the day, with the afternoon's second lap of the island producing noticeably higher counts of several species. With south-easterlies forecast to continue tomorrow there'll hopefully be more to come...

Weather: SE 5-6, although sometimes gusting higher, with a largely cloudy start then some sunny spells later.



Waxwing, Obs (David Parnaby)

Sightings:
2 Pink-footed Goose, 19 Greylag Goose, Shelduck (South Harbour; first of the year), 2 Wigeon (pair on Da Water), 19 Teal, Common Scoter (male in South Harbour), Red-breasted Merganser (male south over Gilsetter then off South Light), 2 Sparrowhawk (male and female), 21 Golden Plover, 6 Whimbrel, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, 288 Turnstone, Knot (a rather lovely adult in breeding-plumage at Utra; first of the year), 8 Dunlin, 67 Purple Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper (Obs scrape), 2 Jack Snipe, 18 Arctic Skua, 10 Black-headed Gull, Iceland Gull (a juvenile drifted north over Gilsetter), 9 Woodpigeon, Kestrel (a female over Gilsetter; first of the year), Merlin, Rook, 16 Carrion Crow (and one hybrid), 6 Swallow, 24 Chiffchaff, 74 Willow Warbler, 10 Blackcap, 3 Whitethroat (at Dronger, South Harbour and the Plantation; first of the year), Grasshopper Warbler (Gilly Burn; first of the year), 2 Sedge Warbler (at Springfield and Gully; first of the year), Waxwing (adult at the Obs feeding on apples all day), 12 Ring Ouzel, 5 Blackbird, 9 Fieldfare, 7 Song Thrush, 9 Redwing, 7 Robin, Pied Flycatcher (one at Wester Lother; first of the year), 2 Black Redstart (singles at South Naaversgill and the Haven), 2 Whinchat (males at Dronger and Utra; first of the year), Stonechat (female at North Shirva and then Quoy), 247 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, 2 flava wagtail (singles over the Obs and Utra), 19 White Wagtail (along with 7 Pied and 5 alba), 5 Tree Pipit, 314 Meadow Pipit, 163 Rock Pipit (including 4 'Scandinavian Rock Pipit'), 10 Brambling, 3 Linnet, Redpoll sp?, Goldfinch, Siskin14 Snow Bunting, 6 Reed Bunting.



Whitethroat, South Harbour (David Parnaby)

Year list: 120
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29th April
One of those days where the south-easterlies don't really bring any birds, your football team gets relegated and your next door neighbours get a potential first for Britain. Still, tomorrow is another day.

Weather: SE 5-6 (occasionally gusting stronger), cloudy. Cold.

Sightings:
2 Pink-footed Goose, 21 Greylag Goose, 7 Barnacle Goose, 2 Wigeon (pair on Da Water), 6 Teal, Common Scoter (male still in South Harbour), Red-breasted Merganser (female in the Haven), Sparrowhawk (male), 19 Golden Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin (second record of the year), 64 Purple Sandpiper, 8 Arctic Sku, 4 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, 8 Carrion Crow (and one hybrid), Swallow, 4 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler, Blackcap, 2 Blackbird,Fieldfare,Song Thrush, 2 Redwing, Robin. 113 Wheatear, 11 Pied Wagtail (and 2 White Wagtail), Tree Pipit (one at Meadow Burn; first of the year), 4 Brambling, Goldfinch, Siskin, 11 Snow Bunting, Reed Bunting.

Year list: 112
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28th April
At last - sunshine (the first day without rain or snow since 18th April), but more importantly, some birds! Not a lot yet, but enough to give us hope and it was a relief to have the first day with no westerly component to the wind since 31st March (and the fog that day only gave way briefly before it rained heavily). Basically, it was the first day with decent conditions for census since the AWs first full day on the island back on 29th March! All that will be forgotten though if the weather and birds come good, which it looks like it just might...

Weather: NE2 veering SE 3/4, mostly sunny and feeling warm.

Sightings:
2 Pink-footed Goose, Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter, Red-throated Diver (one headed south over Buness in the evening), 2 Cormorant (just the second sighting of the year), Sparrowhawk (female), Water Rail, 101 Oystercatcher, 34 Golden Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Arctic Skua, 10 Carrion Crow (also a flock of 11 Hooded Crows, suggesting passage), 5 Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warbler (including singing birds at the Plantation and Stackhoull; first of the year), Blackcap (female in the Gully; just the second of the year), 3 Blackbird, Song Thrush, 15 Redwing, Robin, 124 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock (singles at Hill Dyke and Obs; first since 15th), 16 Pied Wagtail, 5 White Wagtail (also 5 alba wagtails), 275 Meadow Pipits, 173 Rock Pipit, Brambling (male in the Plantation), 3 Linnet, 58 Twite, Siskin, 17 Snow Bunting, 2 Lapland Bunting
(females at Da Water and Gunnawark).

Year list: 111
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27th April

Weather: NNW 4-5, sunny spells, although clouding over more later. A few heavy showers early on.

Sightings:
17 Pink-footed Goose, 128 Greylag Goose, 12 Teal, Common Scoter, Water Rail, 46 Golden Plover, 5 Whimbrel, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 218 Turnstone, 80 Purple Sandpiper, 18 Woodpigeon, Merlin, 2 Carrion Crow, 3 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackbird, 59 Redwing, Robin, Stonechat (a female near the Fire Station), 91 Wheatear, 10 Pied Wagtail, 4 'White Wagtail', 'Scandinavian Rock Pipit' (South Harbour), Brambling, 14 Snow Bunting, 6 Lapland Bunting (two males still at Lower Leogh, with a pair at Da Water, male at Burkle and female at Barkland).

Year list: 110
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26th April
Still very little movement, but be patient - it's coming! Today's highlight was non-avian, but those easterlies are starting to look very interesting from Saturday onwards. I'm going to stick my neck out and say we might get a few year-ticks over the weekend.

Weather: N4 becoming W3, sunny spells, although drizzly rain from around 4pm.

Sightings:
17 Pink-footed Goose, 2 'European White-fronted Goose', 104 Greylag Goose, 10 Teal, Common Scoter, Water Rail, 48 Golden Plover, Whimbrel, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 18 Woodpigeon, Peregrine (immature female), 6 Carrion Crow, 2 Blackbird, 36 Redwing, Robin, Black Redstart (one at the Chapel one of very few new arrivals today), 74 Wheatear, 4 White Wagtail, 252 Meadow Pipit, Brambling, Linnet, 18 Snow Bunting, 4 Lapland Bunting (3 at Shirva and one at Burkle).

Other wildlife:
Killer Whale: 6 (four adults and two calves) moved slowly south past the Rippack before heading south-west away from South Light. Although they never came in particularly close, it was good to get our first sighting of the species from the island since last July.

Year list: 110
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25th April

Weather: NNW 6-7, gusting stronger at times, cloudy with just occasional sunny spells and regular heavy, wintry showers.

Sightings:
9 Teal, Common Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser (male in North Haven), 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Black-headed Gull, 18 Lesser Black-backed Gull (away from Goorn), 17 Woodpigeon, 2 Rook, 4 Carrion Crow (and one hybrid Hooded x Carrion Crow), 2 Blackbird, Brambling, 4 Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting (male at Shirva).

Year list: 110
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24th April
A not especially pleasant day to be out and about (unless you like twirling around in the snow like a character from Frozen), but there were a few things on the move, with a distinctly Icelandic sort of feel to the migrants. We were happy enough to have recorded a few news bits and bobs considering the conditions, but the day ended with a dramatic highlight that we weren't expecting at all. With the forecast now showing a run of easterlies from this weekend (at a very promising time of year - remember the Cretzschmar's Bunting, Caspian Stonechat et al in 2014, or the run of good birds including Collared Flycatcher and Great Snipe in 2011?), perhaps this is the turning point for the spring?!

Weather: WNW4, occasionally stronger, cloudy but sunny spells breaking through increasingly in the afternoon. Snow showers, heavy at times and lying briefly on the hills. Visibility very good, except in the blizzards!


Great Skua in the snow over Swey (David Parnaby)

HIGHLIGHTS:
White-tailed Eagle: a superb adult found by Richard at the back of Ward Hill (as he was on Buness) initially drew attention to itself by flushing virtually everything on the island! It was first seen at around 4.15pm, then drifted back and forth over Vaasetter for a while before landing on Swey at around 4.35pm. It apparently slipped off unseen in a snowstorm and was presumed to be the bird seen earlier in the day in Shetland.
White-tailed Eagle has an interesting history on Fair Isle, having bred until sometime in the the mid-1800s. There were then records in 1935 and 1949 before an attempted reintroduction in 1968 that sadly didn't succeed. Another 12 records followed between 1981 and 2012, with four of them relating to known released birds from reintroductions elsewhere in Scotland (and at least some of the others suspected to have also involved released birds). This is the first adult to be recorded since 1949 and that, combined with the fact it's moving south in the spring, suggests it could be a wandering bird from the Scottish population.


White-tailed Eagle over the Parks (Ciaran Hatsell)

Sightings:
16 Pink-footed Goose, 'European White-fronted Goose', 249 Greylag Goose (a day of passage, although most birds remained grounded on the Isle in the end; highest count of the month), 14 Barnacle Goose (a flock that circled the island a few times having arrived from the south-west; first of the year), 16 Teal, Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser (female in South Haven), Sparrowhawk (female in the north), Water Rail (near Roadside trap), 111 Oystercatcher, 44 Golden Plover, 5 Whimbrel, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 51 Redshank, Arctic Skua, 200+ Great Skua (the presence of an eagle allowed a count as the island's birds all took to the skies!), 36 Common Gull, 21 Woodpigeon, 2 Rook, 6 Carrion Crow (and a hybrid), 2 Chiffchaff, 6 Blackbird (including two new birds ringed), 30 Redwing, 75 Wheatear, 8 Pied Wagtail, White Wagtail, 256 Meadow Pipit, 4 Brambling, 20 Snow Bunting (small flocks scattered across the island), 2 Lapland Bunting (including a male singing at Lower Leogh).





Wader numbers increased and included a Black-tailed Godwit near Meoness (top) and this tired Whimbrel in Gilsetter (David Parnaby)

Year list: 110
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21st-23rd April

Weather: W6-7, becoming WNW or NW 4-5 (gusting stronger at times). Cloudy with showers on 21st, a few wintry showers on 22nd and rather a lot of rain on 23rd. Cold.

Sightings (maximum counts in the period):
17 Pink-footed Goose, 2 'European White-fronted Goose', 80 Greylag Goose, 14 Teal, Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter, 47 Golden Plover, 8 Whimbrel (Muckle Uri Geo on 22nd, with one the following day), 4 Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, 175 Turnstone, Arctic Skua, 5 Black-headed Gull, 19 Woodpigeon, Merlin (female), Peregrine (adult female), 2 Rook, Carrion Crow (and one hybrid Hooded x Carrion Crow), 187 Skylark, 2 Chiffchaff, Ring Ouzel, 2 Blackbird, Song Thrush, 43 Redwing, 69 Wheatear, flava wagtail (one over Walli Burn on 22nd), 9 Pied Wagtail, White Wagtail, 315 Meadow Pipit, 'Scandinavian Rock Pipit', 3 Brambling, 6 Snow Bunting, 2 Lapland Bunting (22nd, with one on 23rd).

Year list: 108
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20th April
A day that started with poor weather and the wardening team assisting Kenny with repairing a leaky pipe ended with a Fair Isle rarity and happy faces all round (the wardening team having all missed the last Mandarin).

Weather: Low cloud and rain until early afternoon with a string SW wind picking up during the day.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Mandarin: a male flushed from South Harbour relocated to Mid Geo where it sat and dozed on a rock. Just the third island record, following a female in September 2010 and a male in April 2014.


Mandarin, Mid Geo (Susannah Parnaby)

Sightings:

18 Pink-footed Goose, 2 'European White-fronted Goose', 130 Greylag Goose, 5 Teal, Tufted Duck (a male over South Harbour; first of the year), Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter (male still in South Harbour), 2 Water Rail (Vaadal and Gully), 32 Golden Plover, 4 Black-tailed Godwit (flew over Boini Mire then landed near Stackhoull; first of the year), Arctic Skua (pale phase bird over the Rippack), 22 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Merlin (female), Peregrine (adult female), Rook (one trapped and ringed), 4 Carrion Crow, 3 Chiffchaff, Ring Ouzel (Stackhoull), 2 Blackbird, Song Thrush, 29 Redwing, Robin, 89 Wheatear (including at least one 'Greenland' bird), White Wagtail, 4 Brambling, Linnet, 2 Snow Bunting.

Year list: 108
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19th April

Weather: SW4/5, sunny with cloudy spells and good visibility.

Sightings:
15 Pink-footed Goose, 2 'European White-fronted Goose', 137 Greylag Goose, 7 Teal, Common Scoter, Water Rail (trapped in the Vaadal), Grey Plover (one over Meoness; first of the year and only the second spring record since 1995), 26 Golden Plover, 81 Curlew (a very good spring count, including flocks of 50 and 20 moving north), Bar-tailed Godwit, 26 Purple Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper (one on Mire of Vatnagaard), Arctic Skua (a dark-phase bird in the Parks; first of the year), 16 Black-headed Gull, 29 Common Gull, 22 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Merlin (female), Peregrine (female), 3 Rook, 5 Carrion Crow (and one hybrid Carrion x Hooded Crow), Goldcrest, 167 Skylark, Swallow, 8 Chiffchaff, Waxwing (one briefly at Burkle in the morning then flew high north over the Obs), 5 Blackbird, 2 Fieldfare, Song Thrush, 34 Redwing, 2 Robin, Black Redstart (Field), 51 Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail (a male at Walli Burn; earliest record since 1999), 9 Pied Wagtail (and 6 alba wagtail), 335 Meadow Pipit, 129 Rock Pipit, 5 Brambling, 2 Linnet, 53 Twite, 11 Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting.

Year list: 105
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18th April
A break in the wind made for a very pleasant day, with the wardening team out early for a 5.30am start for a Tystie count and a selection of bits and bobs on the move. There still doesn't seem to be much in the way of promise in the forecast though, although surely it can't stay westerly forever...

Weather: SE1-2 veering SW and increasing 4/5 later. A frosty start to the day, but warming in sunny spells before clouding over later. No rain, for the first time in a while!

Sightings:
14 Pink-footed Goose, 2 'European White-fronted Goose', 123 Greylag Goose, 12 Teal, 128 Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter (male on South Harbour; first of the year), Red-throated Diver (South Harbour), Shag (incubating), Water Rail (Gilsetter; the first sighting since 6th April, so possibly a migrant), 112 Oystercatcher, 13 Golden Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 19 Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit (Meoness), 25 Purple Sandpiper, Jack Snipe (Gilsetter; the first since 7th April, so possibly a migrant), 96 Snipe, 195 Black Guillemot (breeding-plumaged adults on the east coast), 3 Black-headed Gull, 26 Common Gull, 12 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Glaucous Gull (2CY over Vaasetter then headed north out to sea from North Light), 24 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove (including one singing at Schoolton), 3 Rook, 3 Carrion Crow, Hooded Crow (a flock of 9 on Hoini was likley to have involved migrants), 2 Goldcrest, 144 Skylark, House Martin, 13 Chiffchaff, 7 Blackbird, 2 Song Thrush, 46 Redwing, 2 Robin, Black Redstart, 60 Wheatear, White Wagtail (along with 4 PIed and 6 unidentified alba wagtails), 178 Meadow Pipit, 188 Rock Pipit (nicluding one littoralis on Meoness), 2 Brambling, Chaffinch, 3 Linnet (including a singing male at Springfield), 56 Twite, 'Mealy Redpoll' (male), 2 Siskin, 9 Snow Bunting, 5 Lapland Bunting (3 males at Kirki Mire and singles at Shirva and north over Field).


Lapland Bunting, Shirva (David Parnaby)

Year list: 102
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17th April
A weather delay to the morning flight put the official opening of the Obs for the season on hold for a couple of hours, but our first guests of 2017 eventually made it in. There were probably more people than birds arrived today though as the weather continues to hold migration at bay. It's tough going for the wardening team, although the Assistant Wardens spent the afternoon repairing the Hjon Dyke, meaning that all the major Helgolands are now operational - all we need now is some birds.


Weather: NNW 4, occasionally gusting higher, dropping to 3 or less later on. Cloudy at first with poor visibility and frequent heavy snow showers, although the snow only settled briefly on higher ground. Brighter later with sunny spells, although remaining cold.

Sightings:
Whooper Swan (2 unringed adults on Da Water were new arrivals), 15 Pink-footed Goose, 2 'European White-fronted Goose' (one of which was possibly a .new arrival), 100 Greylag Goose, 7 Teal, Sparrowhawk (female), 14 Golden Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit (one at Chalet was the second of the year), Merlin (female), 2 Rook, 2 Carrion Crow, 3 Blackbird, Brambling, Chaffinch, 2 Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting.


'Icelandic Redwing' at the Obs (David Parnaby). Good numbers are still lingering, presumably waiting for more favourable winds to get home. One trapped at the Obs this evening weighed 95g, so it's ready to leave. The calm weather tonight might be enough to enable them to get on their way.


Year list: 101
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16th April

Weather: NNW 3-4, occasionally stronger, mostly sunny alyhough a few small showers in the morning.

Sightings:
6 Teal, Sparrowhawk (female caught and ringed), 2 Black-headed Gull, 31Woodpigeon, Peregrine (immature female), 2 Rook, 2 Carrion Crow, 7 Chiffchaff, 6 Blackbird, Brambling, Chaffinch, 2 Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting.

Year list: 101
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15th April

Weather: NW 3-4 increasing 5-6, cloudy with sunny spells and a few wintry showers.

Sightings:
16 Pink-footed Goose, 'European White-fronted Goose', 114 Greylag Goose, 11 Teal, 4 Golden Plover, 211 Turnstone, 87 Snipe, large numbers of Bonxies now present and auks seem a bit more settled, 3 Black-headed Gull, 33 Woodpigeon, Merlin (female), 2 Carrion Crow, 3 Goldcrest, 2 Swallow, 7 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackbird, 78 Redwing, 2 Robin, 27 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, 96 House Sparrow (a fairly high count for the spring, following on from a good autumn last year), 6 Pied Wagtail, 2 'White Wagtail', 11 Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting (male at Shirva).

Year list: 101
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14th April

Weather: W3-4, cloudy with sunny spells and sporadic showers.

Sightings:
9 Pink-footed Goose, 7 Teal, Sparrowhawk (a female in the north was the first of the year), Golden Plover, Greenshank (one over the Haven was the first of the year), Puffin (hundreds returned, along with Razorbills and Guillemots, after yesterday's blank day), 7 Lesser Black-backed Gull (away from the colony at Goorn), 32 Woodpigeon, Rook, Swallow (still lingering at the Obs), Chiffchaff, 3 Blackbird, Brambling, 2 Chaffinch, Goldfinch (the Aberdeenshire-ringed bird still present at the Obs), Siskin (at the Obs).

Year list: 101
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13th April

Weather: W5-6, cloudy with sunny spells, showers that were wintry at times. Still rather unspringlike.

Sightings:
12 Pink-footed Goose, 'European White-fronted Goose', 126 Greylag Goose, 15 Teal, Long-tailed Duck, 3 Golden Plover, 174 Turnstone, 80 Bonxie (minimum count), the only auk other than Black Guillemots was a freshly dead Puffin on Ward Hill, 5 Black-headed Gull, 26 Common Gull, 31 Woodpigeon, 2 Merlin (including a smart male in Homisdale), Rook (one trapped and ringed at the Plantation; first of the year), 218 Skylark, Swallow, 3 Chiffchaff, Ring Ouzel (female near Golden Water), 76 Redwing (most, or possibly all, Icelandic birds including one singing at the Obs again), Robin, 25 Wheatear, Dunnock, 'White Wagtail' (South Harbour), 208 Meadow Pipit, 'Scandinavian Rock Pipit' (South Harbour), 2 Brambling (pair still at the Obs), 2 Chaffinch (both lingering males), Goldfinch (still at the Obs), 11 Snow Bunting, 3 Lapland Bunting (in the Shirva area).



Pink-footed Goose, Landberg (David Parnaby). Making its way onto the 2017 Kitchen Window List!

Year list: 99
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11th-12th April

Weather: a strong SW wind, becoming WNW on 12th, raining all day Tuesday with showers on Wednesday. Not very inspiring for spring migration.

Sightings:
Teal, Long-tailed Duck, 6 Golden Plover, 140 Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, 31 Woodpigeon, Merlin, Peregrine, Carrion Crow, Swallow (Ditfield, 12th), Chiffchaff, Ring Ouzel (12th Ditfield), Blackbird, Redwing (small numbers still present, including a singing bird at the Obs on 11th), 2 Robin, Dunnock (singing at the Obs, 11th), 2 Brambling, 3 Chaffinch, Goldfinch (still present at the Obs).



'Icelandic Redwing' (Turdus iliacus coburni) singing at the Obs despite the weather, 11th April (David Parnaby)

Year list: 98
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10th April: a cold and blustery day, but the Vaadal trap repairs were completed and a couple of interesting birds were noted.

Weather: NW becoming W 4/5, cloudy with a few showers. Cool.

Sightings:
Whimbrel (one over the Plantation; first of the year), Merlin, 2 Goldcrest, Ring Ouzel (female at Gully), White Wagtail (Obs), 2 Brambling, Chaffinch, Goldfinch (Obs).

Other news: the Goldfinch currently present at the Obs was ringed at Bogietang in Aberdeenshire on 22nd May 2016 (the first Goldfinch ringed elsewhere to be recorded on Fair Isle). It is interesting that it remained in Aberdeenshire late into spring last year, but appears to be on the move north much earlier this year. It was aged as a '5' in 2016 (a bird hatched the previous year), so perhaps it is migrating earlier as an adult.
We also received details of the Siskin we caught on 2nd April; it had been ringed in Peebles (Borders) on 18th March and had completed the 442km movement in 15 days. It's the first Siskin from the Borders to be caught on Fair Isle, although others from Ross & Cromarty (two), Northumberland, Cleveland, North Yorkshire,Cheshire, Derbyshire (an interesting record, as it was ringed in July 2011 and caught on Fair Isle in May 2012), Shropshire and Staffordshire have all previously made the same journey, often with a similar pattern of spring migration out of the country having apparently been wintering in the UK (or further south). One Siskin ringed on Fair Isle in September 1977 was found in Portugal of December the same year.
Remarkably, these are the only Siskin and Goldfinch we have caught so far this year!
Information from BTO online ringing report
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8th-9th April: sightings refer to 9th unless otherwise stated, with a reasonable movement noted on that date

Weather: SW becoming SSW 3-4, showery.

Sightings:
4 Pink-footed Goose, 2 'European White-fronted Goose', 181 Greylag Goose, 15 Teal, Long-tailed Duck, 118 Oystercatcher, 5 Golden Plover, 21 Ringed Plover, 10 Lapwing, 13 Curlew, 148 Turnstone, 98 Purple Sandpiper, 30 Redshank (including a displaying pair at Horstibrekkers), 69 Snipe, 40 Great Skua, Puffin (hundreds offshore), Guillemot (returned to cliffs), 2 Black-headed Gull, 16 Common Gull, 38 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove (one over South Harbour then roaming; first of the year), Merlin, 5 Carrion Crow, 9 Goldcrest, 245 Skylark, Swallow (Furse; first of the year), House Martin (3; single at Easter Lother and two at Furse; first of the year and the second earliest record), 17 Chiffchaff, Ring Ouzel (male at Kirn o' Skroo; fist of the year), 10 Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, 47 Redwing, 3 Robin, Stonechat (male at Bull's Park), 54 Wheatear, Dunnock (1 singing at Obs on 8th), Grey Wagtail (8th), 17 Pied, 4 White and 3 alba Wagtail, 498 Meadow Pipit, 'Scandinavian Rock Pipit' (North Light 8th, South Harbour 9th), 2 Brambling, 5 Chaffinch, Linnet, 95 Twite, Common Redpoll (2CY male trapped at the Obs; first of the year), Goldfinch (one at the Obs on 8th-9th; like Siskin, we've only trapped one this year and it is a British-ringed bird, we await the ringing information with interest!), 8 Siskin, 10 Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting (2 at Lower Leogh on 8th, one at Shirva on 9th).
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7th April

Weather: WSW4-5, cloudy at first with some drizzle, but clearing and sunny by the afternoon.

Sightings:
4 Pink-footed Goose, 2 'European White-fronted Goose', 115 Greylag Goose, 3 Wigeon, 12 Teal, 3 Long-tailed Duck, 82 Oystercatcher, 10 Golden Plover, 21 Ringed Plover, 8 Lapwing, 10 Curlew, 185 Turnstone, 9 Purple Sandpiper, 34 Redshank, 2 Jack Snipe, 97 Snipe, 25 Great Skua, Puffin (hundreds, with birds on land at the colonies in the evening), Razorbill (hundreds offshore), Guillemot (a few offshore), 3 Black-headed Gull, 8 Common Gull, Iceland Gull (2CY in South Harbour), 19 Woodpigeon, Merlin (female), 3 Carrion Crow, Goldcrest, 185 Skylark, Sand Martin, 2 Chiffchaff, 9 Blackbird, 2 Fieldfare, 32 Redwing, Robin, Stonechat (male by Double Dyke), 15 Wheatear, 249 Meadow Pipit, 'Scandinavian Rock Pipit' (South Harbour), Brambling, 5 Chaffinch, Linnet, 6 Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting (male at Shirva).
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4th-6th April

Weather: strong westerly or south-westerly winds, reaching gale force at times. Showery with low cloud as well at times. Generally not very pleasant or good for migration.

Sightings:
3 Pink-footed Goose, 2 'European White-fronted Goose', 87 Greylag Goose, 2 Wigeon, 4 Teal, 2 Long-tailed Duck, Red-throated Diver (one on sea off South Light on 6th; first of the year), Water Rail (Chalet), 14 Golden Plover (5th), 140 Turnstone, Sanderling (Landberg on 4th; first of the year), 10 Purple Sandpiper, 10 Great Skua, Puffin (hundreds offshore on 6th), 2 Black-headed Gull, 13 Common Gull, 26 Woodpigeon, 3 Carrion Crow, 3 Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, 2 Fieldfare, 15 Redwing, Robin, 4 Wheatear, Dunnock, Brambling (male at the Plantation and Obs 4th-6th; first of the year), 6 Chaffinch, Linnet (male at the Obs on 6th), Siskin (male at the Obs on 4th-5th), Snow Bunting (one still at South Light on 4th), Lapland Bunting (male in Field Ditch 6th).


Puffins off South Light, 6th April (David Parnaby). Possibly wishing they hadn't come back yet!
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3rd April
A day mostly concentrating on trap and habitat work, although a check of the island produced a few interesting sightings (but no Magpie). The next few days look very unpromising indeed, so we're not expecting too much in the way of migrants, but who knows what could be trying to push north and calls in on us on the way...

Weather: S or SW 3/4 increasing to 6 later. Sunny at first, although clouding over later with a little rain coming in later on.

Sightings:
3 Pink-footed Goose, 'European White-fronted Goose', 126 Greylag Goose, 4 Teal, 25 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Bonxie, 2 Black-headed Gull, 15 Woodpigeon, Merlin (female), Peregrine (female), Carrion Crow, Sand Martin (one over Utra then Lower Stoneybrek was the first of the year, just a day later than the record earliest arrival date), 3 Chiffchaff, 7 Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Wheatear, Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting.

Snow Bunting, South Lighthouse (David Parnaby)
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2nd April
The weather wasn't perfect for a Tystie census, but it's set to get much worse over the next few days, so we thought it was worth a go. It turned out to be a successful morning, although census overall was a bit quiet for birds. We'll admit to having one eye on North Ron's star bird today - there's still only one Shetland record of Magpie; a bird on Fair Isle in April 1987 that had been seen on North Ronaldsay previously (and today's weather has been a reasonable one for passage with a southerlyish wind, whilst this Mapie has already moved north from Eday...).

Weather: WSW 4/5, dropping off in the afternoon. Cloudy with some sunny spells and a few light showers in the morning. Cold at first, although the sheltered spots proved rather hospitable when the sun came out.

Sightings:
2 Whooper Swans (including a darvic-ringed bird), 3 Pink-footed Goose, 'European White-fronted Goose', 113 Greylag Goose, 5 Teal, 115 Eider (67 males, 48 females), 6 Long-tailed Duck, Great Northern Diver (South Light), Grey Heron, 76 Oystercatcher, Golden Plover, 22 Ringed Plover, 6 Lapwing, 16 Curlew, 46 Redshank, 3 Jack Snipe, Bonxie (the first of the year was seen over Buness in the afternoon), 214 Black Guillemot (breeding plumaged adults in the east coast monitoring plot - the highest count since 1997), 23 Common Gull, 24 Woodpigeon, 2 Carrion Crow, 12 Goldcrest, 160 Skylark (including birds heading north off the island), 3 Chiffchaff, 64 Blackbird, 14 Fieldfare, 4 Song Thrush, 94 Redwing, 7 Robin, Black Redstart (Ward Hill), 2 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, Grey Wagtail, 9 Pied Wagtail, 126 Meadow Pipit (including several heading north out to sea), 109 Rock Pipit, 11 Chaffinch, 68 Twite, 3 Siskin, 15 Snow Bunting, 3 Lapland Bunting.


Siskin, Obs, (David Parnaby). This young (you can make out the contrast in the greater coverts that helps to age this bird) male was at the Obs in the afternoon - the ring is someone else's, so we'll hopefully get details of its history from the BTO soon.
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1st April
A day concentrating on a rebuild of a large section of the Vaadal trap, so no full census, although some birding was still done and provided a few interesting sightings.

Weather: WSW 4-5, decreasing to 2. Cloudy at first, with a few spells of drizzle, but also some sunny patches then a spell of heavier rain in the late afternoon. Mild.

Sightings:
2 Whooper Swan (adults), 7 Teal, Water Rail (Vaadal), 5 Golden Plover, Green Sandpiper (one on Da Water; earliest ever Fair Isle record, beating the previous record of 5th April, set last year), 4 Puffin, 2 Black-headed Gull, 20 Woodpigeon, Long-eared Owl (one near the Plantation; first of the year), 5 Chiffchaff (including singing birds at the Obs and Chalet), Blackcap (a male trapped in the Plantation was three days earlier than the first in 2016, and the third earliest ever record after birds on 27th March 2012 and 28th March 2010), 15 Fieldfare, 49 Redwing, 7 Robin, 2 Dunnock. 9 Chaffinch, Linnet (Schoolton), 2 Snow Bunting, Reed Bunting (female at Lower Leogh).
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31st March
A foggy start saw census postponed until after lunch, and then cut short as heavy rain came in after a couple of hours. A decent amount of ground was covered in the intervening period though, and it appeared there was little in the way of new birds.

Weather: SSE 2-4, cloudy throughout, with fog throughout the morning and again late on, whilst rain on and off was heaviest in the afternoon.

Sightings:
3 Pink-footed Goose, 2 'European White-fronted Goose', 119 Greylag Goose, 3 Wigeon, 16 Teal, 2 Water Rail (Obs and Chalet), Golden Plover, 241 Turnstone, 2 Jack Snipe,Woodcock, 4 Puffin (the first sightings from land this year), 3 Black-headed Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 39 Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow (the pair that have been present since last May are still around, one was seen carrying nesting material, possibly the first 'pure' pair of Carrion Crows to attempt nesting on Shetland), 18 Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff, 78 Blackbird, 12 Fieldfare, 7 Song Thrush, 49 Redwing (including illiacus birds for the first time in a while), Mistle Thrush (Obs), 9 Robin, Wheatear, 3 Dunnock, Grey Wagtail, 4 Pied Wagtail, 8 Chaffinch, Greenfinch (Obs)3 Siskin, 7 Snow Bunting, 5 Lapland Bunting (3 at Shirva, two at the top of Ward Hill).
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30th March
An early start for Tystie census was scuppered by low cloud and poor visibility, so a leisurely breakfast was had instead! Conditions then improved enough for a pleasant census, although there were only a few new birds. Low cloud then set in again in the afternoon (scuppering chances for the afternoon plane) and the forecast is not looking that good for tomorrow - there may be birds, but seeing them may be tricky...

Weather: SSW becoming SE later, generally 2/3, low cloud, then clear before clouding again. There had been rain overnight, but the day remained dry.

Sightings:
3 Pink-footed Goose, 2 'European White-fronted Goose', 120 Greylag Goose, 3 Wigeon, 10 Teal, 3 Long-tailed Duck, 'blue' Fulmar over Buness, Water Rail (Chalet), 75 Oystercatcher, Golden Plover, 185 Turnstone, 41 Redshank, 4 Jack Snipe, 4 Woodcock, 92 Snipe, 2 Black-headed Gull, 8 Lesser Black-backed Gull (Goorn), 31 Woodpigeon, Merlin, Carrion Crow (Hoini), 24 Goldcrest, 307 Skylark, 3 Chiffchaff, 83 Blackbird, Fieldfare, 10 Song Thrush, 83 Redwing, Mistle Thrush (Obs), 15 Robin, 3 Wheatear, 3 Dunnock, Grey Wagtail, 8 Pied Wagtail, 131 Rock Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, Greenfinch (Obs), Linnet (on Hill Dyke; first of the year), 78 Twite, Siskin, 18 Snow Bunting, 4 Lapland Bunting (3 at Shirva, one at the top of Ward Hill).
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29th March
The first full census of the year - it's good to be back! A nice selection of birds in, although no additions to the year list.

Weather: easterly 3-5, mostly cloudy and cool, but good visibility.

Sightings:
3 Pink-footed Goose, 2 'European White-fronted Goose', 119 Greylag Goose, 3 Wigeon, 18 Teal, 3 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Water Rail (Chalet and Burkle), 69 Oystercatcher, 44 Ringed Plover, 23 Curlew, 134 Turnstone, 47 Purple Sandpiper, 33 Redshank, 4 Jack Snipe, Woodcock, 108 Snipe, Black-headed Gull, 25 Common Gull, 31 Woodpigeon, Merlin, 3 Carrion Crow (2 at South Light, 1 on Lerness), 18 Goldcrest, 338 Skylark, 5 Chiffchaff, 103 Blackbird, 4 Fieldfare, 12 Song Thrush, 69 Redwing, Mistle Thrush (Stackhoull), 15 Robin, 2 Wheatear, 4 Dunnock, 2 Grey Wagtail, 7 Pied Wagtail, 164 Meadow Pipit, 116 Rock Pipit, 7 Chaffinch, Greenfinch (Obs), 48 Twite, Snow Bunting (still at South Light).
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28th March

The Assistant Wardens have arrived and were into action straight away! Birds are still coming in, although the cold conditions and stiff breeze maybe kept things hiding a bit. We'll get into a full census tomorrow as the easterly airflow continues, so I imagine there'll be more to be found...

Sightings:
3 Pink-footed Goose, 2 'European White-fronted Goose', 100 Greylag Goose, 9 Teal, Long-tailed Duck, 23 Ringed Plover, 11 Purple Sandpiper, Jack Snipe (Walli Burn), 3 Black-headed Gull, 16 Common Gull, Glaucous Gull (juvenile in the Parks), 8 Woodpigeon, Peregrine (female), 2 Carrion Crow, 5 Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, 13 Blackbird, Song Thrush, 30 Redwing, 3 Robin, 2 Wheatear (males at the Obs scrape and Chatham's Land were the first of the year and the earliest arrival since 2014), 3 Dunnock, Grey Wagtail, 6 Chaffinch, Greenfinch (a male at the Obs; first of the year), 2 Siskin, Snow Bunting (male at South Light), 2 Lapland Bunting (a pair near North Shirva; first of the year).


Greenfinch, Obs (David Parnaby)
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27th March

A beautiful start to the day, which was perhaps a bit quiet bird-wise at first, but a freshening easterly breeze raised the excitment levels ahead of the Assistant Wardens returning tomorrow, as a few common migrants started to arrive later on. Tomorrow could be interesting, with Great Grey Shrike and Hawfinch amongst the possible scarce migrants at this time of year although we're overdue a Great Tit (last record 2013), Woodlark (2012) or Dipper (2011) and a long-range punt would be for something eastern that has been lurking somewhere in western Europe (Bluetail, Siberian Accentor, rare thrush...). It's the start of the season, so we're allowed to get carried away!

Sightings:
3 Teal, 2 Long-tailed Duck, Woodpigeon, 6 Goldcrest (around the traps and Obs late in the afternoon), Chiffchaff, 25 Redwing (single flock at the Obs in the evening), Robin (several wintering birds have been present, with four 'new ' birds ringed today), 2 Dunnock (at the Plantation and Obs in the afternoon), Meadow Pipit (movement evident, with several flocks present), Chaffinch.


Goldcrest, near Gully (David Parnaby)
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22nd-26th March

HIGHLIGHTS:
Blue Tit: present at the Haa, then Burkle, with a brief sojourn to the Obs on 23rd (where it became a useful addition to the kitchen window list!)
Stock Dove: still present around the middle of the island


Blue Tit, Obs, 23rd March (David Parnaby). The Obs 'stick' attracts another species!

Other species:
3 Pink-footed Goose, 'European White-fronted Goose' (juvenile), 108 Greylag Goose, 5 Teal, 2 Long-tailed Duck, Water Rail (Chalet), 3 Golden Plover (22nd), 23 Ringed Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit (one circling the south of the island on 26th; first of the year), 8 Purple Sandpiper, Razorbill (back in large numbers on 22nd, Guillemots also present regularly), 9 Black-headed Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 8 Woodpigeon, Peregrine (a female on 26th killed a Mallard, the unfortunate duck has been ringed as a youngster in Gilsetter last year and was the second of its brood to be eaten by a Peregrine), 2 Goldcrest (at Hesswalls and Plantation on 25th, with one still present on 26th; first of the year), 2 Chiffchaff (26th), Blackbird (some movement evidenced by the 7 trapped on 26th, all with a good weight and presumably heading north-east very soon), 4 Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing (small numbers, including a coburni trapped on 26th that weighed 99.4g - another bird that was presumably ready to go), Stonechat (females at Boini Mire on 23rd, Gilsetter on 25th and Field Ditch on 26th may all have been the same individual), Grey Wagtail (22nd and 26th; first of the year), Chaffinch (male at Obs from 25th), Siskin (one at Burkle on 25th, with 2 the next day; first of the year), 2 Snow Bunting.
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21st March

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


Blue Tit, Haa (David Parnaby).

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

Iceland Gull, South Harbour (David Parnaby)

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



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

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: 2 juveniles

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

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13th March

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

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

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


Chiffchaff, Obs (David Parnaby)


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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9th March

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

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

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

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


Iceland Gull, Stackhoull (David Parnaby).

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

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

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



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

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: juvenile

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

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: immature
Glaucous Gull:
2 juveniles

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



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

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

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



Oystercatcher, Obs (David Parnaby).
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2nd March

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

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







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

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

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February

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Year List: 53
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7th-20th January

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

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



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

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

Year List: 52
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1st - 6th January

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



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

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

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

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

Year List: 46