Fair Isle Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

Latest sightings

 Sunday 23rd June 2019
Weather: a light or slightly fresh ENE breeze, cloudy at first but the forecast fog never appeared and the sun shone until well into the afternoon. A perfect day for seabird monitoring and the wardening team were in the boat for the majority of the day, so sightings elsewhere were very limited.

Sightings:
10 Greylag Goose, 3 Collared Dove, Chiffchaff, Robin, 'Mealy Redpoll' (Schoolhouse).

Other wildife:
10+ Painted Lady, Diamond-back Moth

Year list: 178
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Saturday 22nd June 2019
Weather: rather pleasant, with sunshine and a light or moderate SW breeze. A good day for catching up on Bonxie monitoring, with the majority of the areas mapped an early indications suggesting just under 500 pairs this year, which seems to be roughly where the population is stabilising.

Sightings:
3 Greylag Goose, Whimbrel, 2 Collared Dove, 2 House Martin, Chiffchaff, 'White Wagtail' (an apparent summering bird at the Obs), 2 Linnet, Yellowhammer.

Other wildife:
27 Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Diamond-back Moth

Year list: 178
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Friday 21st June 2019
Weather: the longest day, it's all autumn from hereon in. Not very pleasant weather, with a generally blustery, cloudy and cool day with occasional showers, although it improved slightly towards afternoon.

Sightings:
15 Greylag Goose, Grey Heron, Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, Swift, 2 Chiffchaff, Blackcap (male, Gully).

Other wildife:
22 Painted Lady.

Year list: 178
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Thursday 20th June 2019
Weather: Somewhat murky for a lot of the day, although a brighter evening.

HIGHLIGHTS:
EASTERN OLIVACEOUS WARBLER: again seen briefly at Schoolton.

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, 2 Grey Heron, Golden Plover, 3 Collared Dove, House Martin, 2 Chiffchaff, Blackcap (female, Gully), Spotted Flycatcher (Lower Leogh), Robin, Dunnock, Yellowhammer (Burkle).

Other wildife:
18 Painted Lady, 10+ Diamond-back Moth

Year list: 178
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Wednesday 19th June 2019
Weather: a light SE wind, freshening from the SW. Sunny at first (the best drying day of the year by far), although some light rain late afternoon when it became somewhat cloudier. A busy day for seabird monitoring, which took up most of the staff time, although there were still some good birds on the Isle.

HIGHLIGHTS:
EASTERN OLIVACEOUS WARBLER: again seen briefly, this time around Barkland, before heading south.
'EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER': a male at Schoolton; presumably all three sightings this month have related to the same (elusively) lingering bird.
Common Rosefinch: the oiled bird still in the south.
Quail: 2; one singing near Busta and another at Yellow Head.

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, 2 Grey Heron, Turnstone, 11 Black-headed Gull (the first double-figure count of the month), Collared Dove, Swift, 10 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 5 Chiffchaff, Blackbird (female, Lower Leogh), Redwing (a singing bird in the Gully), Spotted Flycatcher (Lower Leogh), Wheatear (first fledged youngsters seen), 'White Wagtail'.

Other wildife:
KILLER WHALE: 3, includinga bull, seen from North Light at around 1500hrs as they headed east
204+ Painted Lady, 6 Red Admiral, 50+ Diamond-back Moth

Year list: 178
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Tuesday 18th June 2019
Weather: fresh south-easterly, cold at times with some showers.

HIGHLIGHTS:
RIVER WARBLER: still present, although relocated to the Gully where it was typically elusive.
Red-backed Shrike: female in the Parks.
Common Rosefinch: 2; the oiled bird at Schoolton and another in the Plantation.

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, Teal (male), Manx Shearwater (one off South Light), Grey Heron, Cuckoo (in north), 2 Dunlin, 2 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Swift, 6 Swallow, House Martin, 4 Chiffchaff, Blackcap (female, Plantation), Garden Warbler (Plantation), Spotted Flycatcher (Plantation), 'White Wagtail', Twite (first fledged youngsters seen), Siskin.

Other wildife:
15 Painted Lady, Red Admiral, 5 Diamond-back Moth

Year list: 178
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Monday 17th June 2019
Weather: a fresh to moderate SSE wind, a few showers, although a more pleasant late afternoon when the sun came out and the wind eased slightly.

HIGHLIGHTS:
EASTERN OLIVACEOUS WARBLER: still present, although it was only seen briefly at Schoolton.
Common Rosefinch: one at Schoolton that appeared to be oiled.
Quail: at Chalet, where it became a rare twitchable individual.

Other sightings:
9 Greylag Goose, Teal (male), Red-throated Diver (one 'singing' over the North of the Isle), Cuckoo (in north), Long-eared Owl (the oiled bird still present at the Obs), Kestrel, 12 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 4 Chiffchaff, Robin, Grey Wagtail (Gully), Linnet (male).

Other wildife:
61 Painted Lady, Red Admiral, small numbers of Diamond-back Moth

Year list: 178
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Sunday 16th June 2019
Weather: a light or moderate SE wind easing for a while then freshening later, some foggy spells at first then largely sunny.

HIGHLIGHTS:
EASTERN OLIVACEOUS WARBLER: one found at the Obs in the early afternoon was later trapped and was present at the Obs until around 5pm when it headed towards the Haven.
RIVER WARBLER: one glimpsed briefly at the Obs in the morning was trapped around lunchtime, but was not seen outside of these times.
Quail: one flushed from the Obs whilst opening the nets.



Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (top) and River Warbler, Obs (Sarah Harris)

Other sightings:
10 Greylag Goose, Teal (male), 3 Golden Plover, Dunlin (one at Mast acting as if it may have had chicks), Common Sandpiper, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, 2 Cuckoo, Skylark (first fledged young seen), 10 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 3 Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler (Setter), Whitethroat (Obs), ‘Fair Isle Wren’ (first fledged chicks seen; at Finnequoy), Robin (Gully), Dunnock (Stackhoull and Chalet), Grey Wagtail (Gully), ‘White Wagtail’, Linnet.

Other wildife:
116+ Painted Lady, 3 Red Admiral, hundreds of Diamond-back Moth

Year list: 178
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Saturday 15th June 2019
Weather: a light SSE wind, with poor visibility at times.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hobby: seen briefly again in the north

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, Teal (male), Golden Plover, Whimbrel, Turnstone, Dunlin, Long-eared Owl (still at Obs, although looking badly oiled), Kestrel, 4 Swallow, House Martin, 2 Chiffchaff (including one singing in Gully), Lesser Whitethroat (Gully), Grey Wagtail (Gully), Meadow Pipit (first fledged bird seen).

Other wildife:
5 Red Admiral, 12 Painted Lady, Diamond-back Moth (still plenty, although fewer than yesterday)

Year list: 176
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Friday 14th June 2019
Weather: a strong SE wind, with rain in the afternoon.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hobby: one seen several times across the Isle, presumably the one seen on 9th and 11th

Other sightings:
7 Greylag Goose, Teal (male), Oystercatcher (first chicks seen; at North Light and Buness), Ringed Plover (first fledged chick; on Buness), Dunlin, Arctic Tern (286 nests counted across the Isle and first chicks seen), Guillemot (first chicks seen; at Easter Lother and Pietron), Woodpigeon, Cuckoo (found dead in Gully), 7 Swallow (including a pair nest-building), Robin, Grey Wagtail (Gully), Common Crossbill (one at the Mast; first of the year).

Other wildife:
Large White (Schoolton), Red Admiral, 113 Painted Lady (a large arrival, with this count being a minimum number), Diamond-back Moth (a large arrival likely involving well over 1000).

Year list: 176
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Thursday 13th June 2019
Weather: a miserable day of rain and strong winds.

Sightings:
Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, Lapwing (first fledged youngsters seen), Woodpigeon, Cuckoo (Gully).

Year list: 175
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Wednesday 12th June 2019
Weather: strong NE or N wind, grey and cold, with occasional light showers. Little sign of movement, as expected given the weather, and feeling cold. Plenty juvenile Starlings in the traps at least!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Icterine Warbler: still present, at Schoolton

Other sightings:
7 Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, 3 Golden Plover, Cuckoo (Gully), Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, Blackcap, Robin, Pied Wagtail (first fledged chicks seen, at Lower Leogh).

Year list: 175
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Tuesday 11th June 2019
Weather: cloudy at first, with some low cloud and showers, but brightening up later as the wind started to freshen from the NW.

HIGHLIGHTS:
'EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER': presumably the male from 9th was at Lower Stoneybrek then Vaila's Trees
Icterine Warbler: the ringed bird from 9th still present, although relocated to Vaila's Trees
Hobby: presumably the bird from 9th seen at Ditfield then Wirvie

Other sightings:
4 Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Golden Plover, Bonxie (the first chicks seen; on High Holm), Cuckoo (still in Gully), 3 Swallow, 2 Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Robin, Dunnock (Lower Stoneybrek).

Other wildife:
3 Painted Lady

Year list: 175
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Monday 10th June 2019
Weather: a reasonable day of weather, with some sunshine and just a moderate SW wind.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: an unringed female at Quoy
Hawfinch: female still in the south of the Isle

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, Sparrowhawk, 2 Golden Plover, Whimbrel, 2 Collared Dove, Cuckoo (one trapped), Kestrel, Merlin, 4 Swallow, 3 Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Fieldfare (Boini Mire), 3 Spotted Flycatcher, Robin, 'White Wagtail'.

Other wildife:
7+ Diamond-back Moth

Year list: 175
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Sunday 9th June 2019
Weather: NNW4, cloudy with heavy rain until mid-morning.

HIGHLIGHTS:
'EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER': a somewhat elusive male at Lower Leogh
Hobby: a 2CY bird around Boini Mire, the second of the year
Red-backed Shrike: still present
Hawfinch: female still at Brecks

'Eastern Subalpine Warbler', Lower Leogh (Richard Cope)

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, Great Northern Diver (one off South Light), Grey Heron, 6 Whimbrel, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Razorbill (first chick seen, at Lericum), 2 Collared Dove, 3 Swallow, 2 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler (still in Plantation), Lesser Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, Robin, Pied Flycatcher (female at the Mast), 2 'White Wagtail', 'Mealy Redpoll'.

Other wildife:
28 Diamond-back Moth

Year list: 175
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Saturday 8th June 2019
Weather: N3 with moderate cloud.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Icterine Warbler: one trapped in the Plantation
Red-backed Shrike: female trapped in the Vaadal
Melodious Warbler: still in the Plantation (where it provided a good comparison with the Icterine Warbler)
Hawfinch: female at Gunnawark then Brecks

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Teal, Storm Petrel (another freshly predated bird at the Obs), 3 Whimbrel, Dunlin, Cuckoo, Long-eared Owl (Stackhoull), Short-eared Owl, Kestrel, Merlin, 6 Swallow, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Ring Ouzel (male trapped in Vaadal), 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Robin, 'White Wagtail', Linnet, 'Mealy Redpoll'.

Other wildife:
2 Red Admiral

Year list: 175
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Friday 7th June 2019
Weather: SE3, decreasing later. After a bright early morning, some low cloud (and fog) rolled in before the sun emerged for a very pleasant afternoon (giving us a half-day of summer at last!).

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hawfinch: female at Tineside
Melodious Warbler: the ringed bird reappeared in the Plantation
Common Rosefinch: one still present at School
Marsh Harrier: the female still present, where it showed well around the airstrip

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Collared Dove, 2 Swift, Kestrel, Sand Martin, 24 Swallow, 5 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler (singing bird trapped in the Plantation), 2 Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Starling (lots of chicks now fledged), Fieldfare (Steensi Geo), 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Robin, Dunnock (Stackhoull), Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll'.

Other wildife:
Minke Whale
(one seen from the Airtask plane about three miles north-west of the Isle)
4 Red Admiral, 2 Painted Lady, 25 Diamond-back Moth, 'Cabbage White'

Year list: 175
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Thursday 6th June 2019
Weather: with a mizzly start bringing some low cloud, there was no chance to do a Guillemot count (as we couldn't see the Guillemots!), but the Hondius made it in with around 160 passengers. The cool north breeze was soon joined by heavy rain, but for the birders the weather didn't matter, as Fair Isle's 392nd species (not including 'isabelline shrike sp?') was found on the Isle - having earlier been seen 3km south of us by passengers on the cruise ship!

HIGHLIGHTS:
FRANKLIN'S GULL: an unexpected record involved one seen at around 6.45am from a cruiseship around 3km south of Fair Isle - a somewhat extraordinary way to add a species to the Fair Isle list! Just before 11am it was found in Mansie's Pund (opposite Chatham's Land and west of the Chalet garden), where it lingered for about 45 minutes before heading east until it reached the coast, turning north then not being seen again. New for the Isle and the 7th record for Shetland (and first since 2009). Ten of the last eleven additions to the Fair Isle list have now occured in the spring
Common Rosefinch: at least one still present
Marsh Harrier: the female seen in Homisdale in the morning

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, Storm Petrel (remains of a freshly predated bird were found at the Obs), 2 Whimbrel, 5 Collared Dove, Cuckoo (still present around Chatham's Land), Kestrel, 3 House Martin, Chiffchaff, Lesser Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher (Hesti Geo), 2 Robin, Dunnock (Chalet), Linnet.

Year list: 175
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Wednesday 5th June 2019
Weather: a brisk NE wind became NW later and it was cold, with drizzly conditions adding to the unpleasant feel to the day (that also saw flights cancelled), although the evening was more pleasant, with a spectacular sunset.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one trapped in the Plantation in the evening; the 52nd record for Fair Isle and 16th in spring. A nice bonus considering it had been a quiet day for new arrivals and it has been a very quiet spring for acrocephalus warblers generally
Common Rosefinch: two still present, including one singing bird
Marsh Harrier: the female still roaming in the south

Other sightings:
3 Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, Tufted Duck (female), 'blue Fulmar' (one patrolling the cliffs at Pietron was later seen perched near Lericum), 7 Whimbrel, 4 Woodpigeon, 5 Collared Dove, Cuckoo, Short-eared Owl (Kenaby), Sand Martin, 20 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 3 Robin (presumed summering individuals at School, Springfield and Gully), Black Redstart (School), 51 Wheatear, 2 White Wagtail, 30 Twite, 2 Linnet, 'Mealy Redpoll'.

Year list: 174
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Tuesday 4th June 2019
Weather: strong SSW winds put paid to the cruiseship that was due to land in the morning, but with a calming wind and flattening sea, one was able to make it in the afternoon (when the sun came out as well). With cruiseships, census, ringing and seabird monitoring, it was a busy day for the staff - and then a couple of elusive rarities in the evening meant it kept going! All good fun and it will be interesting to see if there are more new arrivals in the morning.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Melodious Warbler: one at Vaila's Trees moved to Lower Stoneybrek; the 20th for Fair Isle, 7th in the spring and first record since 2017
THRUSH NIGHTINGALE: a very elusive bird around the Shirva area in the evening; 65th record for Fair Isle
Common Rosefinch: 2 still around the School, including one singing
Marsh Harrier: female still present

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, Tufted Duck (female), Storm Petrel (from Good Shepherd), 8 Whimbrel, 2 Wood Sandpiper, 57 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Woodpigeon, 5 Collared Dove, Long-eared Owl, 2 Kestrel, Merlin, 5 Carrion Crow, Sand Martin, 41 Swallow, 9 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 2 Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, Ring Ouzel, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher (Gully), 40 Wheatear, Grey Wagtail (female in South Haven), 22 Twite, 3 'Mealy Redpoll'.

Year list: 173
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Monday 3rd June 2019
Weather: a strong SW wind with occasional showers, with the afternoon in particular being really rather blustery. A decent day for birds though, with a few new arrivals.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Common Rosefinch: 2 at the School
Hobby: still present in the south of the Isle
Marsh Harrier: female in the Wirvie area

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, Tufted Duck (female), Red-throated Diver, 2 Golden Plover, 3 Whimbrel, Wood Sandpiper (Boini Mire), 37 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Arctic Skua (the first egg of the season was found), 8 Woodpigeon, Turtle Dove (after an abscence in 2018, it was pleasing to have one of these scarce visitors at Notrh Grind then later Stackhoull), 2 Collared Dove, Long-eared Owl (Obs and Lower Leogh), 2 Kestrel, 5 Carrion Crow, Raven (4 fledged chicks at Gunnawark), 3 Sand Martin, 53 Swallow, 27 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcap, Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, Starling (first fledged bird seen, at Setter), Ring Ouzel (Troila), 3 Blackbird, Fieldfare (Chatham's Land), 3 Spotted Flycatcher, Robin, Redstart (male, Leogh), 62 Wheatear, House Sparrow (first fledged bird seen), 'White Wagtail', Chaffinch (male), 26 Twite, 2 Linnet, 3 'Mealy Redpoll'.

Year list: 172
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Sunday 2nd June 2019
Weather: another day in which the weather was a significant factor (and not in a good way). A calm, sunny start lasted until about half past seven after which low cloud and rain dominated the day until the evening. Although there were a scatter of new birds, there didn't appear to be any large arrival, but the ability to find the one 'biggy' that is always hoped for in early June was limited by the conditions (although there was a pleasing addition to the year list found in a slightly brighter spell in the afternoon). On the plus side, the cruise ship scheduled for this morning made it in and the passengers who came ashore were treated to the delights of the very cooperative Puffins on Buness. The forecast is at least for sun tomorrow, so we're hoping for a better day in which we can get a few more jobs ticked off.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hobby: one, probably a 2CY bird, flew along South Harbour and out towards Meoness in the afternoon; 66th record for the Isle of this increasingly regularly-recorded visitor.
Common Rosefinch: still present, spending most of the morning eating dandelions at the Schoolhouse.

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Teal, Tufted Duck (female), Red-throated Diver, 5 Whimbrel, Puffin (one seen carrying food on Buness showed that the first chick had hatched), 2 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, Cuckoo (Midway), Long-eared Owl (Lower Leogh), 3 Carrion Crow, 3 Swallow, 7 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler (the ringed bird still present at the Obs), Blackcap (female trapped in the Plantation), Garden Warbler (still in the Gully), 2 Lesser Whitethroat (including a new bird trapped in the Obs), 2 Blackbird, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, Robin (Schoolhouse), 'White Wagtail', Chaffinch (the male now singing at the Obs), Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll'.

Other wildlife:
Diamond-back Moth - just small numbers today

Year list: 171
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Saturday 1st June 2019
Weather: with two cruise ships due in, as well as census and seabird monitoring, it was all set to be a very hectic day, but the weather played its part. A morning of heavy rain, strong SW wind and then fog scuppered plans for a Guillemot count and made the first cruise ship's visit somewhat soggy (although everyone seemed to enjoy themselves!) and, whilst the weather improved in the afternoon, with sunshine and an easing wind that veered more southerly, too much swell meant the second cruise ship didn't land. There were a few new arrivals, although typically for the time of year, numbers were small.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Common Rosefinch: a female or 2CY male at Midway.

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, Wigeon, 2 Teal, Tufted Duck (female), Red-breasted Merganser (female),Red-throated Diver, Golden Plover, 10 Whimbrel, Sanderling, 13 Dunlin, Woodcock (Wirvie Burn), 2 Wood Sandpiper (Golden Water), 2 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, 2 Cuckoo (singles at Field Ditch and Stackhoull), 2 Long-eared Owl (lingering birds at Obs and Shirva), Kestrel, 4 Carrion Crow, 24 Swallow, 11 House Martin, Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler (trapped in Vaadal), Garden Warbler (trapped in Gully), 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Ring Ouzel (Obs), 2 Blackbird, Robin (Springfield), Redstart, 'White Wagtail', Chaffinch (singing male now at Haa), Linnet, 'Mealy Redpoll', Reed Bunting.

Other wildlife:
75+ Diamond-back Moth

Year list: 170
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