Fair Isle Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

Latest sightings



21st-25th November 2020
Weather:
After some Storm Force westerlies at the start of the period, winds remained fresh from a southerly or westerly direction until it eased on 25th. Showers and some spells of more prolonged rain throughout.
Very little to report in terms of birds, with the period having a largely settled feel to it, although the weather at least was exciting! 


HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull:
1cy past Burkle on 22nd
Glaucous Gull:
1cy in South Harbour on 21st
Tundra Bean Goose:
still present
Little Auk:
one off South Light on 22nd
Great Tit:
at least one still in the gardens

Other sightings (counts refer to high count during period unless otherwise stated):
317 Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, 5 Wigeon, 25 Mallard, 5 Teal, 2 Long-tailed Duck, Woodpigeon (Houll), 4 Water Rail (2 Schoolhouse, Quoy and Meadow Burn), Oystercatcher, 4 Lapwing, 5 Purple Sandpiper, Woodcock, 65 Redshank, Guillemot (small numbers, including birds ashore on 25th), Great Northern Diver (off South Light 22nd), Grey Heron (one in South Harbour was found moribund on 25th), Sparrowhawk (22nd onwards), 2 Long-eared Owl (Obs), 2 Merlin, 2 Carrion Crow, Skylark, 14 Blackbird, 3 Fieldfare, 8 Redwing, 8 Robin, 2 Twite, 'Mealy Redpoll', Lesser Redpoll, 7 Snow Bunting.

Year List: 212
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16th-20th November 2020
Weather:
largely strong SW winds with frequent rain, often heavy. NW severe gales (gusting Storm Force) on 19th with snow showers then SSE on 20th.
Generally unpleasant weather, a movement of Greylags brought a year tick with them and there was a bit of seawatching, but most birds were lingering, with few new arrivals. The
Good Shepherd IV made it back late on the evening of 17th (and its good to have it and the crew back), but planes were limited to one on Friday as the weather again dominated the week.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Tundra Bean Goose:
one with Greylags, usually around the Meadow Burn area, from 17th; first of the year
Glaucous Gull:
1cy past School on 18th
Little Auk:
3 past South Light on 20th
Great Tit:
at least one still

Other sightings (counts refer to high count during period unless otherwise stated):
470 Greylag Goose (movement noted throughout, with the peak count on 19th), 3 Pink-footed Goose, 9 Wigeon, 10 Teal, Common Scoter, 3 Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Water Rail (Schoolhouse and Meadow Burn), Oystercatcher, 4 Lapwing, 3 Woodcock, Red-throated Diver (South Harbour 16th), Long-eared Owl (Obs), Merlin, Chiffchaff (Burkle to 18th), 110 Fieldfare (18th; otherwise just small numbers of thrushes), 11 Twite, 'Mealy Redpoll', Lesser Redpoll, Goldfinch (16th).

Year List: 212
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11th-15th November 2020
Weather:
windy, initially from SE then SW or S. Some spells of heavy rain and largely grey, although sunshine at times on 14th-15th
The weather, and birding to some extent, got more wintry. The first plane for almost a week made it on on 13th, so we were connected to the outside world again and the Postie was busy. Hopefully the
Good Shepherd IV will be returning next week as well, having undergone its annual refit. The Scottish Government eased the restrictions on visiting homes from 13th, which was a huge relief as we lack any pubs, cafes etc for meeting up (it's not really the weather for meeting outdoors) and a large part of the Isle runs on chats over cups of tea! Counts below are again based on limited birding and even the peaks are from parts of the Isle only, with no full census possible at this time of year. There were little real signs of movement, although still reasonable numbers of birds around and a few seawatches produced one reasonably productive one (which is never guaranteed on Fair Isle!).

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull:
1cy at South Light on 11th
Glaucous Gull:
1cy South Harbour 11th
Little Auk:
3 past South Light in an hour on 11th
Great Tit:
at least two still present throughout

Other sightings (counts refer to high count during period unless otherwise stated):
65 Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, 16 Wigeon, 14 Mallard, 16 Teal, 2 Common Scoter, 3 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Woodpigeon, Water Rail (with sightings at Schoolhouse, Chalet and Vaila's Trees), Oystercatcher, 5 Lapwing, Dunlin (14th), 9 Woodcock, Jack Snipe (Vaadal, 14th), 56 Snipe (in South Harbour only on 12th), 16 Kittiwake (past South Light in an hour on 11th, showing slight movement), 29 Guillemot (past South Light in an hour on 11th), Great Northern Diver (one past South Light on 11th, one at North Haven on 12th), Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk (female still), Short-eared Owl (Da Water, 13th), Merlin, 2 Peregrine, Skylark, 2 Chiffchaff (Lower Leogh), 75 Blackbird, 300 Fieldfare, 60 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 3 Robin, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, 9 Twite, 'Mealy Redpoll', Lesser Redpoll, 2 Goldfinch, 22 Snow Bunting.

Year List: 211
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6th-10th November 2020
Weather:
starting with a moderate SW wind, then a calm day on 7th followed by fresh SE winds, becoming more SSE later. Mostly dry, just a few light showers, although cloudy (with some low cloud) on 9th-10th.
An exciting end to the autumn, with a couple of good birds on the first day of the period, some movement on 7th and an obvious fall on 9th-10th. The Good Shepherd remains on refit, although the
Snolda put in an appearance on 9th. Planes managed to fly on 6th and a charter on 7th, but that was it as the wind and cloud conspired against any more flights. Counts at this time of year are limited by the lack of observers, whilst the shorter days also mean that other commitments can have a (sometimes annoying!) impact on birding, so particularly during large falls, counts are likely to be an underestimate.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Richard's Pipit:
one flushed from School Brae on 6th flew towards Klinger's Geo then onto the Rippack; first of the year
Olive-backed Pipit:
one at Quoy on 7th
Glaucous Gull:
1cy over Sauversteen on 8th
Siberian Chiffchaff:
one ringed at Obs on 7th then two in Hjukni Geo on 9th
Great Tit:
at least two still present and roaming the crofts

Other sightings (counts refer to high count during period unless otherwise stated):
56 Greylag Goose, 3 Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, 9 Wigeon, 16 Mallard, 9 Teal, 3 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, Woodpigeon, 3 Water Rail (peak count; 5 individuals probably involved), Oystercatcher, 3 Lapwing, 77 Woodcock (after 13 on 7th and 12 on 9th, the Log count for 10th was 77, however, it was estimated from the numbers in the area covered in the north that the island total was likely to be 300+), Jack Snipe (Wirvie Burn 8th), 77 Snipe, Guillemot (several offshore on 8th), Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk, Hen Harrier (female, 6th; first of the autumn), 3 Long-eared Owl (after the first of the autumn at Chalet on 8th, the following day saw 2 at the Obs and a single in Meadow Burn), 3 Short-eared Owl (Gilsetter, 7th), 3 Merlin, 6 Skylark, 2 Chiffchaff (not including tristis birds), 7 Blackcap (peak on 7th), Garden Warbler (Shirva, 7th), 5 Goldcrest (3 on 9th were the first of the month, with 5 the following day), 430 Blackbird (numbers building to 10th, but this is still likely to be a large undercount given areas not covered), 680 Fieldfare (an arrival from 9th, with peak count on 10th), 3 Song Thrush, 310 Redwing (10th), 9 Robin, Black Redstart (Byerwalls, 10th), 3 Grey Wagtail, 2 Chaffinch, 3 Brambling, 7 Twite, 3 'Mealy Redpoll', Lesser Redpoll, 2 Goldfinch, 26 Snow Bunting, Reed Bunting.

Year List: 211
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1st-5th November 2020
Weather:
predominantly strong SW or WSW winds, some spells of heavy rain, cool.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Bluethroat:
the lingering bird was in a ditch at Aesterhoull on 4th
Little Auk:
one past South Light on 2nd
Great Tit:
at least two still present and roaming the crofts

Other sightings (counts refer to high count during period unless otherwise stated):
250 Greylag Goose, 30 Pink-footed Goose, 15 Whooper Swan (2nd, with 5 remaining the following day and 8 new adults on 5th), 16 Wigeon, 8 Teal, 2 Common Scoter, 4 Long-tailed Duck, Woodpigeon, Water Rail (Schoolhouse), Oystercatcher, 3 Lapwing, 267 Turnstone, 2 Woodcock, Bonxie (2nd), Red-throated Diver (2nd, South Harbour), Great Northern Diver (2nd, South Light), Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, Merlin, Peregrine, Blackcap (2nd), Grey Wagtail (5th), 3 Chaffinch, Brambling, 10 Twite, 3 'Mealy Redpoll', 'North-western Redpoll', Lesser Redpoll, 2 Goldfinch, Reed Bunting (4th).

Year List: 210
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Saturday 31st October 2020
Weather:
gale force SE wind, heavy rain at times, although some longer drier spells later.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Little Auk:
7 east past South Light in a 45 minute morning seawatch
Great Tit:
at least one still

Other sightings:
Wigeon, 5 Teal, 3 Common Scoter (past South Light), 5 Long-tailed Duck, Water Rail (Schoolhouse), Lapwing, Woodcock, Great Northern Diver (past South Light), 2 'blue' Fulmar (South Light).

Year List: 210
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Friday 30th October 2020
Weather:
strong SW wind, sunny but with some sharp, heavy showers.
That's all folks. With tomorrow's forecast being for winds gusting over 55mph and heavy rain for most of the day, there'll be no census, so this will be the last of the daily updates (although we'll continue to post updates at regular intervals). Our seasonal staff Alex, Dan and Georgia will be departing next week (if the weather allows!), so we'd like to say a big 'thank you' to them for all their hard work during what has been a very unusual season. They've found some great birds and allowed us to get through a good chunk of our seabird monitoring by throwing themselves into the work as soon as they arrived. COVID-19 restrictions have meant that their Fair Isle experience has not been the same as it would have been most years, but they've got in with things without complaining and we're very grateful to them.
Today's birding was quiet, as expected given the weather, although there was an intriguing increase in Woodcock and Short-eared Owls. The forecast suggests there could be a chance of more birds over the weekend (although tomorrow at least will make it hard to see any of them!), so we'll see whether the autumn is finished yet or not...

HIGHLIGHTS:
Siberian Chiffchaff:
three still in South Harbour
Great Tit:
one at North Shirva

Other sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose, 70 Greylag Goose, 37 Pink-footed Goose, 4 Wigeon, 6 Teal, Common Scoter, 6 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Woodpigeon, Lapwing, Golden Plover, 204 Turnstone, 13 Woodcock (highest count of the autumn), Jack Snipe, 46 Snipe, 62 Redshank, 5 Short-eared Owl (Gilsetter; highest count of the autumn), 2 Merlin, Peregrine, 41 Skylark, 5 Chiffchaff (in addition to the tristis birds), 6 Blackcap, Goldcrest, 102 Blackbird, 327 Fieldfare, 259 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 19 Robin, Wheatear, 42 Meadow Pipit, 2 Brambling, 28 Twite, 4 'Mealy Redpoll, 'North-western Redpoll' (School Brae), Lesser Redpoll, Goldfinch, 15 Snow Bunting.

Year List: 210
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Thursday 29th October 2020
Weather:
a light S or SW breeze, freshening from the S or SE in the evening, sunny.
A lovely day for census as we approach the end of the season, although it felt rather quiet and there'd been an obvious clear out. Some unsettled weather coming up, so the planes today may be the last transport to reach the Isle for a while.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Yellow-browed Warbler:
one at Schoolton in the morning
Bluethroat:
one still on School Brae
Siberian Chiffchaff:
three in South Harbour
Great Tit:
two still

Other sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose, 171 Greylag Goose, 37 Pink-footed Goose, 4 Wigeon, 4 Teal, Common Scoter, 4 Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Water Rail (Gully and Schoolhouse), Lapwing, 8 Golden Plover, 201 Turnstone, 3 Woodcock, 3 Jack Snipe, 63 Snipe, 54 Redshank, Merlin, 41 Skylark, Swallow (Obs), 3 Chiffchaff (in addition to the tristis birds), 10 Blackcap, 5 Goldcrest, 120 Blackbird, 244 Fieldfare, 281 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, 39 Robin, 2 Wheatear, Grey Wagtail, alba wagtail, 42 Meadow Pipit, 97 Rock Pipit (highest count of the month, with generally 50-70 in recent days), 3 Chaffinch, Brambling, 35 Twite, 5 'Mealy Redpoll, 'North-western Redpoll' (School Brae), 5 Goldfinch, 33 Snow Bunting (highest count of the month).

Year List: 210
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Wednesday 28th October 2020
Weather:
a light or moderate SW wind, after some heavy overnight rain that lingered until the morning it became mostly dry with some sunny spells.
Another interesting day, although most species had decreased in numbers, there were a few nice new bits and pieces and a lovely rarity to top things off. 

HIGHLIGHTS:
BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT:
the fifth for Fair Isle (subject to acceptance) was on Meoness, where it showed well, usually feeding around a small pool that had formed in the grass, although it could be flighty at times. Previous records were in 1953, 2007, 2010 and 2012 and all fell between 17th-29th September, so this is by far the latest record for Fair Isle.
Olive-backed Pipit:
one showed well at Da Water
Bluethroat:
what was presumably the bird that had been lingering around the Houll area was at School Brae then Da Water
Siberian Chiffchaff:
four, including three still in South Harbour
Great Tit:
probably three present, although wandering birds made it harder to say for certain how many are still on the Isle
Glaucous Gull: 1cy past South Light
Little Auk:
2 past South Light
Velvet Scoter:
one still in Furse

Other sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose, 160 Greylag Goose, 37 Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan (adult south down the Isle at last light), 24 Wigeon, 6 Teal, Common Scoter (Furse), 3 Long-tailed Duck, 3 Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Woodpigeon, Water Rail, 5 Woodcock, 6 Jack Snipe, 89 Snipe, 68 Redshank, Great Northern Diver (past South Light), 4 'blue' Fulmar (past South Light), 2 Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk (adult male at Shirva), Short-eared Owl, Kestrel (Barkland), Merlin, 63 Skylark, 7 Chiffchaff (in addition to the tristis birds), Grasshopper Warbler (Boini Mire; latest ever Fair Isle record), 16 Blackcap, 4 Goldcrest, 191 Blackbird, 511 Fieldfare, 566 Redwing, 5 Song Thrush, 40 Robin, Wheatear (South Haven), Pied Wagtail, 'White Wagtail' (and one unidentified alba wagtail), 42 Meadow Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 7 Brambling, 39 Twite, 6 'Mealy Redpoll, (and 3 Redpoll sp?), 5 Goldfinch, Lapland Bunting (Schoolton), Snow Bunting.

Year List: 210
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Tuesday 27th October 2020
Weather:
very calm at first, with a cool SE breeze developing. Dry and bright at times, becoming cloudier.
An interesting day, with birds in (several species recorded their highest totals for a few days at least) and a real feeling that the end of season biggy was just round the corner, although it was not to be unfortunately.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Dusky Warbler:
one feeding at the the top of Hill Dyke was the second of the autumn and 22nd record for Fair Isle
Little Bunting:
one at the top of Hill Dyke may well have been a new arrival (or possibly yesterday's Leogh bird relocating to the cliffs)
Siberian Chiffchaff:
four still (three at South Harbour and one at Stackhoull)
Great Tit:
at least two still (Quoy and Vaila's Trees)
Velvet Scoter: again in Furse

Other sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose, 172 Greylag Goose, 37 Pink-footed Goose, 16 Wigeon, Teal, Common Scoter (North Haven), 6 Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Woodpigeon, 2 Water Rail (Midway and Schoolhouse), 12 Golden Plover, 133 Turnstone, Knot (Buness), 5 Woodcock, 6 Jack Snipe, 45 Snipe, 94 Redshank, 6 Bonxie, 'blue' Fulmar (North Light), Gannet (the colonies are mostly empty now, but there was still an unfledged chick on Yellow Head), Grey Heron, Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, Rook, 64 Skylark, 5 Chiffchaff (in addition to the tristis birds), 21 Blackcap, 10 Goldcrest, 69 Wren (not usually counted on census, but migrants have swelled numbers since mid-October), 246 Blackbird, 412 Fieldfare, 546 Redwing, 18 Song Thrush, 75 Robin, Wheatear (South Haven), Dunnock, Grey Wagtail (Setter), 2 'White Wagtail', 65 Meadow Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 9 Brambling, 69 Twite, 8 'Mealy Redpoll, 'North-western Redpoll', 2 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Goldfinch, 14 Snow Bunting.

Year List: 209

Other wildlife: 4+ Risso's Dolphin moving north off the west coast
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Monday 26th October 2020
Weather:
fresh SE wind, with a couple of brief showers.
One or two new bits, although it felt largely like a similar spread of birds. The Good Shepherd IV made its sailing to Grutness ahead of its refit later in the week and there was a plane as well. With the clocks having gone back at the weekend there are at least lighter mornings, but the darkness drawing in in the afternoons is adding to the end of season feel. Not long left now, is there time for one last surprise?...

HIGHLIGHTS:
Little Bunting:
one at Lower Leogh may well have been a new arrival
Bluethroat:
one still around Boini Mire
Siberian Chiffchaff:
four still
Blue Tit:
one briefly on the School Brae before heading towards Stackhoull, although it was not relocated
Great Tit:
at least two still

Other sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 155 Greylag Goose, 37 Pink-footed Goose, 20 Wigeon, Common Scoter (North Haven), 3 Long-tailed Duck, 3 Woodpigeon, Water Rail (Setter), 11 Golden Plover, 181 Turnstone, Dunlin, 5 Woodcock, 3 Jack Snipe, 78 Snipe, 74 Redshank, Great Northern Diver, Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk (Dronger), 2 Short-eared Owl, Merlin, Rook, 102 Skylark, 2 Chiffchaff (in addition to the tristis birds), 6 Blackcap, Goldcrest, 172 Blackbird, 609 Fieldfare, 782 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, 48 Robin, Wheatear, Dunnock, 54 Meadow Pipit, 4 Chaffinch, 41 Twite, 5 'Mealy Redpoll, Lesser Redpoll (Schoolhouse), Lapland Bunting (Homisdale), 25 Snow Bunting.

Year List: 209
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Sunday 25th October 2020
Weather:
bright and sunny with a fresh southerly wind.
A much nicer day of weather, not many signs of migration, but still enough things to look through and a distinct feeling of something lurking to keep the interest up.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-breasted Flycatcher:
one in Swarzie Geo was either a lurking bird that has gone unseen for eight days, or a new arrival
Siberian Chiffchaff:
four still around the South Harbour area
Great Tit:
at least two still present

Other sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 105 Greylag Goose, 20 Pink-footed Goose, 41 Wigeon, Common Scoter, 3 Long-tailed Duck, 4 Woodpigeon, 14 Golden Plover, 181 Turnstone, 5 Woodcock, 3 Jack Snipe, 91 Snipe, 83 Redshank, Cormorant, Grey Heron, 4 Short-eared Owl, Merlin, Rook (Buness), 65 Skylark, 3 Chiffchaff (not including the tristis birds), 8 Blackcap, Goldcrest, 145 Blackbird, 613 Fieldfare, 650 Redwing, 6 Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush (Chalet), 45 Robin, Wheatear (lingering bird in South Haven), Dunnock (one still at Setter), 45 Meadow Pipit, 5 Chaffinch, 9 Brambling, 68 Twite, 6 'Mealy Redpoll, Lesser Redpoll (Schoolhouse), Lapland Bunting, 24 Snow Bunting (highest count of the autumn).

Year List: 209
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Saturday 24th October 2020
Weather:
south-east gale (gusting to 57mph) easing. Heavy rain until early afternoon then clearing to a dry afternoon with sunny spells.
A really horrible start to the day, with totally unbirdable conditions although the afternoon at least allowed some records to be gathered. Although the wind was SE, it wasn't the good type of SE - coming off the leading edge of an Atlantic low - if tomorrow's improved conditions see anything popping up that arrived yesterday, it seems as likely to be from the west as the east (although that would be a bit of a long shot - it's that time of year though where there could be one last biggy to be found somewhere...).

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull:
1cy at Furse; first of the autumn
Great Tit:
at least two still present

Other sightings:
3 Long-tailed Duck 2 Woodpigeon, 2 Water Rail (Schoolhouse and Setter), 12 Golden Plover, 2 Woodcock, Grey Heron, Merlin, 3 Blackcap, Grey Wagtail (Hesti Geo), Chaffinch, Brambling, 2 Snow Bunting.

Year List: 209
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Friday 23rd October 2020
Weather:
a strong SE wind, cloudy throughout with some showers and occasional prolonged spells of rain.
Although the wind looked quite promising on the face of it, it was actually a very localised south-easterly coming off the front of an Atlantic low and it therefore wasn't really expected to deliver much. There did seem to be rather little newly arrived, although the fact that there were plenty of birds to look at made for a nice enough day's birding (so long as you weren't in the rainy bits!). Perhaps the highlight of the day was the first FIBO Zoom Log, enabling some regular vistiors to join in with the roundup of the day's sightings.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Dusky Warbler:
the wandering ringed bird reappeared at Walli Burn
Little Bunting:
the ringed bird still in Boini Mire
Bluethroat:
one still around Aesterhoull
Siberian Chiffchaff:
still four in South Harbour
Great Tit:
at least two still present

Other sightings:
100 Greylag Goose, 39 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Teal, Velvet Scoter (Furse), 2 Long-tailed Duck 2 Goldeneye, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Woodpigeon, 13 Golden Plover, 7 Woodcock, 2 Jack Snipe, 81 Snipe, Grey Heron, 3 Short-eared Owl (Boini Mire and two on Dronger), 2 Merlin, 71 Skylark, 9 Chiffchaff (not including the tristis birds), 4 Blackcap, 7 Goldcrest, 2 Ring Ouzel, 307 Blackbird, 861 Fieldfare, 966 Redwing, 17 Song Thrush, 54 Robin, Dunnock, 43 Meadow Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 13 Brambling, 72 Twite, 7 'Mealy Redpoll' (plus 7 flyover Redpolls), 'North-western Redpoll' (still at School Brae), 15 Snow Bunting, Reed Bunting (Field Ditch).

Year List: 209
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Thursday 22nd October 2020
Weather:
a fresh NE wind easing slightly as the day went on. Cloudy with some brighter spells and a few showers blowing through.
At last, it was a day where we could get out birding properly. Three thrush species recorded their highest counts of the autumn (by the evening, Blackbirds were spiralling up above South Light and heading out to sea, so we expect the counts to be lower tomorrow), although there wasn't much 'small stuff' and the big rarity just didn't happen. A full day of transport, with the scheduled flight, workmen coming in from Inverness, a TV crew on a helicopter and the Good Shepherd IV making a late afternoon sailing to Grutness as the sea finally eased just about enough for a crossing. Tomorrow is the 'famous 23rd', which has produced Rufous-tailed Robin, two Siberian Rubythroats and two Black-throated Thrushes in previous years, so we're hoping for a repeat of something of that order...

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-THROATED PIPIT:
still present around the Meadow Burn
Olive-backed Pipit:
still present, being seen around Aesterhoull then School Brae
Little Bunting:
ringed bird still in Boini Mire
Waxwing:
one in flight past the Kirk was the first of the year
Bluethroat:
one still around the Aesterhoull and Boini Mire area
Hawfinch:
one still around Springfield
Siberian Chiffchaff:
two still in South Harbour
Great Tit:
three still around (Schoolhouse, Brecks and Haa)

Other sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 122 Greylag Goose (no real passage, but flocks milling around the Isle all day made estimates of the actual number rather difficult) , 27 Pink-footed Goose, 5 Whooper Swan (adults on the sea off Lerness), 43 Wigeon, 4 Teal, Velvet Scoter (reappeared in Furse), Common Scoter (South Harbour), 4 Long-tailed Duck (including one on the pool behind Troila Geo), 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Woodpigeon, Water Rail (Hill Dyke), 12 Golden Plover, 8 Woodcock, 2 Jack Snipe, 110 Snipe, Grey Heron, Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, Rook (first of the autumn), 65 Skylark, 6 Chiffchaff (not including the tristis birds), 7 Blackcap, 6 Goldcrest, 3 Ring Ouzel, 367 Blackbird, 1,626 Fieldfare, 1,924 Redwing, 17 Song Thrush, 69 Robin, 2 Wheatear, Dunnock, 53 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit (The Houll), 2 Chaffinch, 23 Brambling, 73 Twite, 6 'Mealy Redpoll', 'North-western Redpoll' (School Brae), 19 Snow Bunting.

Year List: 209
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Wednesday 21st October 2020
Weather:
A strong E or NE wind, rain from the morning becoming heavy and persistent in the afternoon.
A very disappointing day in many respects, with the weather spoiling the day and, although there were clearly birds in, there was a feeling that most of the small stuff was keeping its head down. The forecast for tomorrow is looking like the rain may finally stop, we're certainly hoping so...

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-THROATED PIPIT:
a flighty bird at Shirva was presumably a new arrival
Olive-backed Pipit:
one around the Houll area was the second of the autumn
Bluethroat:
one still around Shirva
Hawfinch:
one over Burkle was presumably the lingering bird
Siberian Chiffchaff:
4 still around South Harbour
Great Tit:
one still in the Schoolhouse garden

Other sightings:
72 Greylag Goose, 27 Pink-footed Goose, 4 Teal, Common Scoter (South Light), 3 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Goldeneye (Easter Lother; first of the autumn), 2 Woodpigeon, Water Rail (Schoolhouse), 11 Golden Plover, 23 Purple Sandpiper, 6 Woodcock, 2 Jack Snipe, 2 'blue' Fulmar, Sparrowhawk (adult male, Plantation; first of the autumn), 2 Short-eared Owl, 9 Chiffchaff (not including the tristis birds), 8 Blackcap, 2 Goldcrest, Ring Ouzel, 208 Blackbird, 1290 Fieldfare, 970 Redwing, 14 Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush (Hoini), 25 Robin, Redstart (female still at Burkle), Wheatear (South Haven), 10 Brambling, 2 'Mealy Redpoll' (School Brae), Lapland Bunting (Lower Stoneybrek).

Year List: 208
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Tuesday 20th October 2020
Weather:
very strong ESE wind, easing and becoming more east during the day. Heavy rain throughout.
Almost unbirdable, certainly no chance of a full census, although the areas that were checked suggested it could be really interesting as and when the weather improves (it's still forecast for heavy rain throughout tomorrow morning). Some counts are included below, but these should all be considered minima.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-breasted Flycatcher:
one in the Raevas
Bluethroat:
2 still (Shirva and Lower Stoneybrek)
Great Tit:
one still at Schoolhouse

Other sightings:
51 Pink-footed Goose, 7 Teal, 3 Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Woodpigeon, Water Rail (Burkle), 8 Purple Sandpiper, 7 Woodcock, Jack Snipe, Merlin, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Ring Ouzel, 26 Blackbird, 710 Fieldfare, 370 Redwing, 10 Song Thrush, Redstart (female still at Burkle), 8 Brambling (Kirn o' Skroo), 'North-western Redpoll' (Boini Mire), Lesser Redpoll (Schoolhouse).

Year List: 208
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Monday 19th October 2020
Weather:
a fresh SE wind developed through the day. Some heavy rain overnight had eased to showers by the morning, but became more persistent as the day went on.
Obviously birds in, but the conditions made birding increasingly difficult and not too much was able to be picked out from amongst them.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Short-toed Lark:
still present around the South Harbour area
Little Bunting:
still in Boini Mire
Bluethroat:
one still at Lower Stoneybrek
Yellow-browed Warbler:
one still at Schoolton
Little Auk:
one past South Light
Glaucous Gull:
1cy at Easter Lother in large gull roost
'Siberian Chiffchaff':
at least two still
Hawfinch:
one flying east over Shirva was presumed to be the lingering bird
Great Tit:
one still at Schoolhouse

Other sightings:
51 Pink-footed Goose, 5 Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Woodpigeon, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Woodcock, 143 Common Gull, Red-throated Diver (past South Light), 'blue' Fulmar, Blackcap (female Schoolhouse), 280 Fieldfare, 355 Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Wheatear, Grey Wagtail, Tree Pipit (Lower Leogh), 5 Brambling (Haa), 2 'Mealy Redpoll'.

Year List: 208

Other wildlife:
3+ Risso's Dolphins lingering off South Light
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Sunday 18th October 2020
Weather:
calm, with just a light variable breeze at times, some showers but mostly dry until later in the afternoon when there was some more prolonged rain.
A nice day for birding, the calm conditions encouraged a few things to pop up again after a few days lurking somewhere. Other than some birds at sea, there wasn't much indication of new arrivals though.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Short-toed Lark:
still around Haa and Pig Street
Dusky Warbler:
one still at Leogh
Little Bunting:
the ringed bird again in Boini Mire
Bluethroat:
2; one still at Lower Stoneybrek and one at Midway that was presumably the bird last seen four days ago
Yellow-browed Warbler:
one in the central crofts
Little Auk:
6; 5 past South Light and another past South Haven
Glaucous Gull:
1cy on the Skerries
'Siberian Chiffchaff':
9
Hawfinch:
the ringed female still feasting on Rose hips at Springfield
Great Tit:
at least three still present (Schoolhouse, Brecks and Haa)

Other sightings:
52 Greylag Goose, 53 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Whooper Swan (North off North Light), 50 Wigeon, 5 Teal, 5 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Woodpigeon, Water Rail (Setter), 10 Golden Plover, 129 Turnstone, Dunlin, 25 Purple Sandpiper, 3 Jack Snipe, 80 Snipe, 145 Kittiwake (a lrge arrival given the previous high this month of just 7), 25 'blue' Fulmar, 3 Sooty Shearwater (two off South Light and one off Buness), 2 Cormorant, Grey Heron, 3 Short-eared Owl, Merlin, Peregrine, 8 Carrion Crow (including two seen coming in off the sea at South Light), 73 Skylark, 2 Swallow, 14 Chiffchaff (not including the tristis birds), Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat (Brecks), 13 Goldcrest, 14 Blackbird, 8 Fieldfare, 65 Redwing, 12 Song Thrush, 98 Robin, 2 Redstart, Dunnock, Grey Wagtail, 84 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit (Leogh), 3 Chaffinch, Brambling, 60 Twite, 4 'Mealy Redpoll', Snow Bunting.

Year List: 208

Other wildlife:
2 Harbour Porpoise off South Light; the first land-based sightings since mid-August
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Saturday 17th October 2020
Weather:
Fresh NW wind, mostly bright but some showers.
A feeling of a clear out, with little signs of movement.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Short-toed Lark:
still around Haa and South Harbour
Dusky Warbler:
one still around Leogh
Little Auk:
one past South Light
'Siberian Chiffchaff':
15
Hawfinch:
the ringed female again at Springfield
Great Tit:
at least two still present
Velvet Scoter: still in Furse

Other sightings:
83 Greylag Goose, 56 Pink-footed Goose, 52 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 5 Woodpigeon, 16 Golden Plover, Dunlin, 7 Purple Sandpiper, Woodcock, 3 Jack Snipe, 58 Snipe, 13 'blue' Fulmar, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Merlin, Peregrine, 72 Skylark, 4 Swallow, 15 Chiffchaff (not including the tristis birds), 3 Blackcap, 6 Goldcrest, 23 Blackbird, 9 Fieldfare, 134 Redwing, 9 Song Thrush, 114 Robin, Redstart, Grey Wagtail, 86 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit (Burkle), 3 Chaffinch, 5 Brambling, 83 Twite, 3 'Mealy Redpoll', 3 Goldfinch, 6 Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting.

Year List: 208

Other wildlife:
9 Risso's Dolphin (6, including two calves, off Dronger and 3 off Meoness)
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Friday 16th October 2020
Weather:
Fairly light NNE wind, grey with occasional showers early on.
Very few new birds, although still a nice selection and those things that did arrive were again quite interesting!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-flanked Bluetail:
one in the Gully was later trapped and appeared to be a different individual to the Jivvy Geo bird from a couple of days ago
Red-breasted Flycatcher:
one in Swarzie Geo
RED-THROATED PIPIT:
one still around Quoy
Short-toed Lark:
still on Meoness, although elusive
Dusky Warbler:
one at Upper Leogh was presumably the same roaming individual
Bluethroat:
still present at Lower Stoneybrek
Yellow-browed Warbler:
one in Boini Mire
Glaucous Gull:
1cy Easter Lother Water
'Siberian Chiffchaff':
13
Great Tit:
at least three still present
Velvet Scoter: one still in Furse

Other sightings:
98 Greylag Goose, 55 Pink-footed Goose, 41 Wigeon, 4 Teal, 6 Woodpigeon, 4 Water Rail (Gully, Schoolhouse, Lower Stoneybrek and Setter), Lapwing, Golden Plover, Purple Sandpiper, Woodcock, 5 Jack Snipe, 85 Snipe, 2 Short-eared Owl, 3 Merlin, Peregrine, 81 Skylark, 2 Swallow, 28 Chiffchaff (not including the tristis birds), 5 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 16 Goldcrest, 36 Blackbird, 16 Fieldfare, 86 Redwing, 12 Song Thrush, 131 Robin, 2 Redstart, 4 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, 47 Meadow Pipit, 12 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling, 58 Twite, 'Mealy Redpoll', Goldfinch (Haa), 2 Lapland Bunting, 3 Snow Bunting, Yellowhammer (Haa), Reed Bunting.

Year List: 208

Other wildlife:
4+ Risso's Dolphin off South Light
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Thursday 15th October 2020
Weather:
a fresh or moderate NNW wind, regular showers but some sunny spells.
Not stacks of new birds (although a few species recorded their highest totals for a few days), but a continuation of the recent theme of rarities turning up regardless. Good, fun birding!

HIGHLIGHTS:
BROWN SHRIKE:
an absolute belter of a bird, found out on the ridge between North and South Naaversgill before heading to the cliffs and not being seen again. The third for Fair Isle following records on 21st October 2000 (the second for the UK at the time) and 13th October 2019
RED-THROATED PIPIT:
still present around Quoy
Dusky Warbler:
records at Field Ditch and Walli Burn were assumed to be the same bird as was seen at Shirva yesterday (a slightly unusual movement today, but unless photographs can show any differences, it will be assumed to be the same individual)
Short-toed Lark:
one at Meoness was the second of the year following one in May
Little Bunting:
the ringed bird still at Boini Mire
Bluethroat:
one still around Lower Stoneybrek
Hawfinch:
the ringed female was at Springfield
Yellow-browed Warbler:
one at North Shirva
'Siberian Chiffchaff':
12 (including two trapped)
Great Tit:
at least two still present
Velvet Scoter: still in Furse

Other sightings:
49 Greylag Goose, 61 Pink-footed Goose, 51 Wigeon, Teal, Long-tailed Duck (male past South Light), 7 Woodpigeon, 2 Water Rail (one still using the Schoolhouse pond and one trapped in the Gully), 2 Lapwing, 19 Golden Plover, Purple Sandpiper, Little Stint (Muckle Uri Geo), 4 Jack Snipe, 90 Snipe, 25 'blue' Fulmar (24 past South Light and one off Buness; the highest count of this colour morph since 2016), Sooty Shearwater (past South Light; the first of the month), 2 Short-eared Owl, 3 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 65 Skylark, 3 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 32 Chiffchaff (not including the tristis birds), Grasshopper Warbler (Boini Mire), 6 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 25 Goldcrest, 66 Blackbird, 28 Fieldfare, 174 Redwing, 15 Song Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher (still in South Harbour), 155 Robin, 4 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 6 Wheatear, Dunnock, Grey Wagtail, 67 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, 7 Chaffinch, 14 Brambling, 66 Twite, 5 'Mealy Redpoll', Goldfinch (over Midway; first of the autumn), Siskin, Lapland Bunting (Barkland), 7 Snow Bunting.

Year List: 208

Other wildlife:
4+ Risso's Dolphin (off South Light)
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Wednesday 14th October 2020
Weather:
a fresh NE wind, cloudy.
The Good Shepherd (now on its winter timetable of one sailing a week) made up for its lack of sailing yesterday, planes ran to schedule and the team carried on with daily census and a few odd jobs. Not many new birds in, but it feels like it's stepped up a notch or two on the rarity scale; the Chiffchaffs are getting more eastern and the birds that did turn up included a healthy proportion of good ones, including a couple of new rarities (even if Bluetail is technically a scarcity now, it still feels wrong to refer to it as such). Also, it was nice to be birding in dry conditions without it blowing a hooly, so a pleasant day all round.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Dusky Warbler:
the 21st for Fair Isle was found at Shirva before heading up towards Midway (exactly a year after the 20th for Fair Isle was found at Shirva!)
Red-flanked Bluetail:
one found in Jivvy Geo showed very well at times, the 23rd record for Fair Isle (14 of them having occured since 2014)
RED-THROATED PIPIT:
the elusive bird reappeared at Quoy
Little Bunting:
a ringed bird in Boini Mire
Bluethroat: 3;
one still at Lower Stoneybrek, one at the Meadow Burn area and one seen at Koolin later in the day
Hawfinch:
female trapped at the Obs
Yellow-browed Warbler:
one at Chapel Brae
'Siberian Chiffchaff': 
7 (highest count of the year so far)
Great Tit: 
at least three still present (one of which became a tick for the South Light stick!)
Velvet Scoter: the second of the year was in Furse

Other sightings:
154 Greylag Goose, 57 Pink-footed Goose, 55 Wigeon, 2 Teal, Red-breasted Merganser, 7 Woodpigeon, 2 Water Rail (Gully and Schoolhouse), 2 Lapwing, 19 Golden Plover, Knot, 9 Purple Sandpiper, Little Stint (Muckle Uri Geo), 7 Jack Snipe, 66 Snipe, 5 'blue' Fulmar (all off the south coast), Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 62 Skylark, 4 Swallow, Willow Warbler, 35 Chiffchaff (not including the tristis birds), 2 Blackcap, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 10 Goldcrest, 32 Blackbird, 33 Fieldfare, 84 Redwing, 13 Song Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher (South Harbour), 145 Robin, Redstart (Skadan), Whinchat, Wheatear, Dunnock, 97 Meadow Pipit, 12 Chaffinch, 13 Brambling, 67 Twite, Linnet, 'Mealy Redpoll', Siskin, Lapland Bunting (South Light stick!), 3 Snow Bunting, Yellowhammer (male, Midway), 4 Reed Bunting.

Year List: 207
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Tuesday 13th October 2020
Weather:
A fairly strong NE wind, largely bright with sunny spells and the occasional light shower.
A quiet day on census, still plenty birds to see, but a lack of much feeling of new arrivals.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Little Bunting:
one trapped and ringed in the Vaadal (the fifth of the autumn to be ringed, showing what a good season it has been for this species)
Bluethroat:
again at Lower Stoneybrek
Yellow-browed Warbler:
2; singles still at Lower Stoneybrek and Skadan
'Siberian Chiffchaff':
5
Great Tit:
2

Other sightings:
133 Greylag Goose, 51 Pink-footed Goose, 47 Wigeon, 5 Teal, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Woodpigeon, Water Rail (Ringing Hut Mire), Lapwing, 19 Golden Plover, Knot, Dunlin, Little Stint (Muckle Uri Geo), 7 Jack Snipe, 49 Snipe, 2 Grey Heron, Merlin, 92 Skylark, 5 Swallow, Willow Warbler, 19 Chiffchaff (not including the tristis birds), Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 12 Goldcrest, 18 Blackbird, 14 Fieldfare, 198 Redwing, 19 Song Thrush, 121 Robin, 2 Redstart, Whinchat, 3 Wheatear, 3 Dunnock, 72 Meadow Pipit, 11 Chaffinch, 5 Brambling, 76 Twite, Siskin, 2 Lapland Bunting, 7 Snow Bunting, Reed Bunting.

Year List: 205
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Monday 12th October 2020
Weather:
calm at first, with a light variable wind freshening slightly from the NE. Largely damp all day, with drizzle and rain in various states of heaviness.
A miserable day weather wise and it seems like there has been a continued clear out of most species. We keep plodding on though, as it always comes good again eventually and there are enough birds still turning up just a short sea crossing away (in all directions!) to keep the hope flickering...

HIGHLIGHTS:
Little Bunting:
one at the Obs in the morning
Yellow-browed Warbler:
one at Busta
Little Auk:
one feeding close in to the beach at South Haven
'Siberian Chiffchaff':
2; singles at Midway and Skadan
Great Tit:
2; one still at Schoolhouse and another at Quoy

Other sightings:
15 Barnacle Goose, 332 Greylag Goose, 36 Pink-footed Goose, 4 Whooper Swan (2 adults and 2 juveniles), 66 Wigeon, 6 Teal, 5 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 5 Woodpigeon, Water Rail (Schoolhouse), 2 Lapwing, Grey Plover (Buness), Knot (first of the month), 2 Dunlin, 2 Woodcock, 12 Jack Snipe, 100 Snipe, 38 Common Gull, 'Viking Gull' (an apparent Glaucous x Herring Gull hybrid at South Light), 3 'blue' Fulmar (past South Light), 3 Grey Heron, Short-eared Owl (Gilsetter), 3 Merlin, 86 Skylark, 4 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 37 Chiffchaff (not including the 2 tristis birds), 4 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat (South Harbour), 23 Goldcrest, 12 Blackbird, 108 Fieldfare, 99 Redwing, 22 Song Thrush, 150 Robin, 2 Redstart, 4 Whinchat, 2 Wheatear, Dunnock, Grey Wagtail, 84 Meadow Pipit, 7 Chaffinch, 6 Brambling, 149 Twite, 'Mealy Redpoll', 3 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Siskin, Lapland Bunting, 10 Snow Bunting, 2 Reed Bunting.

Year List: 205

Other wildlife:
10+ Risso's Dolphin went west past South Light in the afternoon
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Sunday 11th October 2020
Weather:
Fresh NNW wnd easing, sunny with showers, some heavy and prolonged.

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-THROATED PIPIT:
still present around Schoolton and Quoy, although elusive
Little Bunting: two (both unringed birds) in Boini Mire
Bluethroat:
still around Vaila's Trees
Great Tit:
one still at Schoolhouse

Other sightings:
12 Barnacle Goose, 86 Greylag Goose, 36 Wigeon, 2 Teal, Long-tailed Duck (one in Muckle Geo then later in South Haven), Common Scoter (one past South Light), 2 Red-breasted Merganser, Water Rail (Haa), Little Stint (Da Water then Muckle Uri Geo), 2 Purple Sandpiper, 4 Grey Heron (South Harbour), Short-eared Owl, Merlin (female, Gilsetter), Peregrine (adult female, Malcolm's Head), 4 Swallow, 35 Chiffchaff, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Fieldfare, 120 Redwing, 2 Redstart, 3 Whinchat, 12 Brambling, 'Mealy Redpoll'.

Year List: 205
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Saturday 10th October 2020
Weather:
NNW breeze, cool at first with cloudy patches but largely sunny later.
A good day for Sheep Hill (although the sheep didn't think so, so there was a lot of running around Ward Hill, Dronger and Lerness this morning!), less than ideal conditions for migration, but that didn't stop a couple of quality BB rares turning up. Also, is that some easterlies in the forecast for next week we see?... We're due a visit from the FIBOT Chairman soon, so hopefully he'll bring us some luck as well! You've got to love autumn on Fair Isle, and it's got a while to go yet.

HIGHLIGHTS:
SIBERIAN STONECHAT:
one at Midway then the Boini Mire area, a dropping was collected which it is hoped will provide a DNA sample to confirm the species identity
RED-THROATED PIPIT:
a smart adult at Schoolton; 93rd record for Fair Isle
Little Bunting: one still around Boini Mire and Midway
Bluethroat:
still around Lower Stoneybrek
Yellow-browed Warbler:
4; singles at Boini Mire, Mid Geo, Vaila's Trees and Chapel
Great Spotted Woodpecker:
one still roaming the crofts
'Northern Bullfinch': female still at the Obs
Great Tit:
three still present
Siberian Chiffchaff:
one in South Harbour

Other sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 34 Greylag Goose, 71 Pink-footed Goose, 8 Whooper Swan (2 families of 2 adults and 2 juveniles each landed in South Harbour), 51 Wigeon, 5 Teal, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 5 Woodpigeon, Water Rail (Sheep Cru), 2 Lapwing, Grey Plover (Buness), 2 Ruff, 3 Dunlin, Little Stint (Da Water), Woodcock, 13 Jack Snipe, 69 Snipe, 3 Grey Heron, 2 Merlin, 73 Skylark, 2 Swallow, 64 Chiffchaff, 6 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat (Vaadal), 28 Goldcrest, 16 Blackbird, 2 Fieldfare, 104 Redwing, 21 Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush (Malcolm's Head), 205 Robin, 3 Redstart, 6 Whinchat, 7 Wheatear, 7 Dunnock, Grey Wagtail, 2 'White Wagtail', 95 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit (South Harbour), 8 Chaffinch, 15 Brambling, 39 Twite, 3 Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', 2 Siskin, 9 Lapland Bunting, 7 Snow Bunting, 6 Reed Bunting.

Year List: 205

Other wildlife:
Sheep, lots of sheep!
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Friday 9th October 2020
Weather:
calm at first with a NW wind developing. Rain at first, some heavy and prolonged, then a dry afternoon with sunny spells
Census revealed a largely similar spread of species, with most showing reduced numbers from yesterday. There were still plenty of scarcities around though, including a couple of new arrivals, whilst the day's big excitement was an extremely big bird indeed.

HIGHLIGHTS:
HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL:
still present at Springfield (presumed to be the lingering bird)
White-tailed Eagle: an adult left Sumburgh Head at around 1305hrs and was seen off Buness at 1330hrs before wandering up and down the Isle (making  it onto several house lists and becoming possibly the most twitched bird of the year!) then apparently leaving high to the SW at around 1515hrs. The 17th record since a reintroduction attempt in 1968
Red-breasted Flycatcher:
one at Klinger's Geo was presumed to have moved up the Isle to Lower Stoneybrek and Schoolhouse
Little Bunting:
3; Obs, Chalet and North Shirva
Bluethroat:
one around Lower Stoneybrek and Vaila's Trees
Yellow-browed Warbler:
5; singles at Plantation, Burkle and Swarzi and two around Lower Stoneybrek
Great Spotted Woodpecker:
adult female at Skadan then touring the various feeders of the Isle (second of the year following a record in July)
'Northern Bullfinch': female still at Obs
Hawfinch:
the ringed male still roaming the crofts
Great Tit:
3; one at the Plantation still and two at Burkle, one of which was trapped and ringed (the fourth of the autumn to be ringed)

Other sightings:
253 Barnacle Goose, 202 Greylag Goose, 131 Pink-footed Goose, 6 Whooper Swan (family of 2 adult and 4 juveniles went south), Shoveler (Easter Lother Water), 80 Wigeon, 7 Teal, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Woodpigeon, 2 Water Rail (Gilsetter and one dead at Chalet), 20 Golden Plover, 2 Ruff, 4 Dunlin, Little Stint (Da Water), Woodcock, 20 Jack Snipe, 101 Snipe, Red-throated Diver (past South Light), Great Northern Diver (past South Light), Grey Heron, 2 Short-eared Owl, Kestrel, 3 Merlin, Peregrine, 180 Skylark, 4 Swallow, House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 39 Chiffchaff, 17 Blackcap, 38 Goldcrest, 2 Ring Ouzel, 20 Blackbird, Fieldfare, 93 Redwing, 67 Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush (Malcolm's Head), 201 Robin, 3 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 5 Wheatear, 3 Dunnock, 3 Grey Wagtail, 149 Meadow Pipit, 9 Chaffinch, 36 Brambling, 127 Twite, 2 Linnet, 'North-western Redpoll' (Mast), 4 Siskin, 6 Lapland Bunting, 7 Reed Bunting.

Year List: 203
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Thursday 8th October 2020
Weather:
fresh or moderate W or NW wind, cloudy with some brighter spells and some showers before a largely sunny afternoon.
Much of a muchness in terms of 'plenty birds around, a couple new scarce birds, no real big rarities and the feeling that there's still something out there!

HIGHLIGHTS:
HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL:
what was presumed to be the lingering bird was at South Light then South Green
Little Bunting: 4;
singles at Field Ditch, Lower Leogh, Boini Mire/Midway and Haa
Citrine Wagtail:
still in the ditch just south of Setter
Bluethroat:
one at Lower Leogh then Vaila's Trees (the second of the autumn)
Common Rosefinch:
one still around Schoolhouse
Yellow-browed Warbler:
4; Setter, Plantation, Boini Mire, North Shirva
Glaucous Gull:
1cy in gull roost in Homisdale
'Northern Bullfinch':
female still at the Obs
Hawfinch:
one still at Burkle
Great Tit:
2; one still around Burkle (where it was ringed) and another ringed in the Plantation
Little Grebe:
Easter Lother Water still  

Other sightings:
2 'Pale-bellied Brent Goose' (Muckle Uri Geo), Barnacle Goose, 17 Greylag Goose, 94 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Gadwall (pair on Golden Water; second record of the year), 62 Wigeon, 10 Teal, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, Woodpigeon, Water Rail (Boini Mire), 8 Golden Plover, 132 Turnstone, 3 Ruff, 4 Dunlin, Little Stint, Woodcock, 20 Jack Snipe, 105 Snipe, Common Sandpiper, 2 'blue' Fulmar (past South Light), Grey Heron, Short-eared Owl, Merlin, Peregrine, 191 Skylark, 5 Swallow, House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 88 Chiffchaff, Grasshopper Warbler (Boini Mire - not all October locustellas are rare ones!), 17 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat (Schoolton), 62 Goldcrest, Ring Ouzel, 23 Blackbird, 9 Fieldfare, 236 Redwing, 202 Song Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, 285 Robin, 9 Redstart, 3 Whinchat, Stonechat, 6 Wheatear, 8 Dunnock, 5 Grey Wagtail, 2 'White Wagtail', 128 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit (Vaila's Trees), 15 Chaffinch, 100 Brambling, 124 Twite, 3 Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', 10 Siskin, 6 Lapland Bunting, 8 Snow Bunting, 6 Reed Bunting.

Other wildlife:
Risso's Dolphin: four off South Light.

Year List: 203
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Wednesday 7th October 2020
Weather:
a freshening NW wind, some low cloud and drizzle, especially in the morning.
Another day with plenty of birds, another addition to the year list, but no big rarities (despite them being all around us!). It happens sometimes, but with another pre-dawn to dusk effort from the team it feels like they should have had a few more rewards! Maybe it's just one of those years where it isn't going to quite happen for us, maybe we'll get a few bits in the coming days or maybe we're saving up for something mind-blowing! The birding today was interesting, with fewer thrushes and a clear movement of things off the west cliffs and onto the crofts and the south coast.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Little Bunting: 4;
singles at Furse, Vaadal (the fourth of the year to be ringed, which is the most ever trapped in a year on Fair Isle), South Harbour/Chapel Brae and North Shirva/Boini Mire
Citrine Wagtail:
again around Setter
Common Rosefinch:
sightings at Schoolhouse, Midway and Field probably all referred to the same bird
Hawfinch:
one still present in the crofts
Yellow-browed Warbler:
4; Meadow Burn, Skadan, Lower Stoneybrek and North Shirva
'Northern Bullfinch':
a female trapped at the Obs was the first record since 2018
'Siberian Chiffchaff':
2 at Kirki Geo
Great Tit:
3; two around Schoolhouse in the morning with one still at Burkle. One in the Plantation may have been one of the School birds, or could possibly have been a new individual.
Blue Tit:
one at Brecks was a new arrival, with the Lower Leogh bird found dead earlier in the day
Little Grebe:
still on Easter Lother

Other sightings:
2 'Pale-bellied Brent Goose' (west past South Harbour; first of the autumn), Barnacle Goose, 31 Greylag Goose, 63 Pink-footed Goose, Shoveler (Easter Lother Water), 36 Wigeon, 13 Teal, Red-breasted Merganser, 10 Woodpigeon, Water Rail (Hill Dyke), 7 Lapwing, 22 Golden Plover, Grey Plover (over Homisdale), 155 Turnstone, 9 Dunlin, Little Stint (Da Water), 4 Woodcock, 17 Jack Snipe, 127 Snipe, Common Sandpiper (Utra), Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron, Short-eared Owl, 2 Kestrel, 2 Peregrine, 157 Skylark, 3 Swallow, House Martin, 3 Willow Warbler, 83 Chiffchaff (not including the tristis birds), 54 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 73 Goldcrest, 4 Ring Ouzel, 30 Blackbird, Fieldfare, 549 Redwing, 337 Song Thrush, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 394 Robin, 12 Redstart, 3 Whinchat, Stonechat, 8 Wheatear, 6 Dunnock, 2 Grey Wagtail, 164 Meadow Pipit, 13 Chaffinch, 95 Brambling, 119 Twite, 3 Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', Lesser Redpoll, 17 Siskin, 7 Lapland Bunting, 10 Snow Bunting, 7 Reed Bunting.

Other wildlife:
Risso's Dolphin: four lingering off the south coast.

Year List: 203
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Tuesday 6th October 2020
Weather:
a strong ENE wind easing through the day. Some heavy, prolonged showers in the morning, early afternoon and late evening, although most of the afternoon was rather pleasant, with some sunshine.
The conditions became unbirdable at times, but as it cleared there were clearly birds in, with the west cliffs littered with migrants. The year list was boosted by three species, although there was still a lack of new 'rarities' (despite all the year ticks being decent Fair Isle birds!). It's great birding when there are falls like this, although the Isle feels very large and it's frustrating on days like this when there are some ditches that we just don't have enough time and people to get around!

HIGHLIGHTS:
HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL:
one still around Springfield
Citrine Wagtail:
still present, returning to the field below Setter
Little Bunting:
3; singles in the Walli Burn, Haa and Boini Mire
Common Rosefinch:
one again at Schoolhouse
Hawfinch:
a mobile indivdual around the crofts
Yellow-browed Warbler:
3; singles at Lower Stoneybrek, Shalstane and Dog Geo
Great Tit:
3; one in the Quoy/Burkle area with two at Chalet later in the day. The 56th-58th individuals for Fair Isle, the first record since spring 2017 and the highest count since autumn 2012
Blue Tit:
one at Lower Leogh, the 27th individual for the Isle (and first since 2018), with 15 of these having occured since 2012
Shorelark:
one flew from the grass above Dog Geo and was later seen over Quoy (first of the year)
Little Grebe:
still present on Easter Lother

Other sightings:
50 Barnacle Goose, 21 Greylag Goose, 81 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Shoveler (still roaming the Isle), 57 Wigeon, 51 Teal, Red-breasted Merganser, 7 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove (Haa; first since July), 6 Lapwing, 13 Golden Plover, Grey Plover (Buness then Shalstane), 197 Turnstone, 3 Ruff, 7 Dunlin, Little Stint (still on Da Water), 29 Jack Snipe, 139 Snipe, Common Sandpiper (Utra), Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron, Short-eared Owl, 2 Kestrel, Peregrine, 169 Skylark, Sand Martin, 6 Swallow, 5 Willow Warbler, 55 Chiffchaff, 41 Blackcap, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 211 Goldcrest, 10 Ring Ouzel, 53 Blackbird, 8 Fieldfare, 833 Redwing, 463 Song Thrush, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 351 Robin, 10 Redstart, 3 Whinchat, 2 Stonechat, 17 Wheatear, 10 Dunnock, 230 Meadow Pipit, 34 Chaffinch, 90 Brambling, 64 Twite, Linnet, 'North-western Redpoll' (School Brae), Lesser Redpoll, 19 Siskin, 5 Lapland Bunting, 15 Snow Bunting, 16 Reed Bunting.

Other wildlife:
KILLER WHALE: a group of seven animals moved south down the west coast, apparently fishing as they did so.

Year List: 202
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Monday 5th October 2020
Weather:
strong or moderate ENE wind, largely bright with some cloudy spells.
Sheep Hill in the morning was assisted by the wardening team as usual and a busy day of birds followed. There were obviously one or two new birds, although the increase in some species may well have related to the improved conditions making birds more visible.

HIGHLIGHTS:
HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL:
the ringed bird reappeared at Brecks
RUSTIC BUNTING:
the ringed bird still present in Da Water
Citrine Wagtail:
relocated on Da Water
Little Bunting: 4
; two at Haa (including a ringed bird) and singles at Setter and Schoolhouse
Common Rosefinch:
one briefly at Schoolhouse
Hawfinch:
one trapped at Burkle
Yellow-browed Warbler:
6
Little Grebe:
still on Easter Lother Water

Other sightings:
45 Barnacle Goose, 74 Greylag Goose, 146 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Shoveler, 48 Wigeon, Pintail, 28 Teal, Tufted Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, 6 Woodpigeon, 3 Water Rail, 6 Lapwing, 40 Golden Plover, Grey Plover (South Light), 139 Turnstone, 3 Ruff, 11 Dunlin, Little Stint (Da Water), 2 Woodcock, 18 Jack Snipe, 75 Snipe, Red-throated Diver (North Haven), 2 Grey Heron, Short-eared Owl, 4 Kestrel, Merlin, 149 Skylark, 5 Swallow, House Martin, 4 Willow Warbler, 20 Chiffchaff, 107 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, 36 Goldcrest, 3 Ring Ouzel, 42 Blackbird, 9 Fieldfare, 1010 Redwing, 649 Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, 248 Robin, 7 Redstart, 3 Whinchat, 2 Stonechat, 11 Wheatear, 9 Dunnock, 2 Grey Wagtail, 333 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, 17 Chaffinch, 66 Brambling, 81 Twite, 4 'Mealy Redpoll', 4 Siskin, 2 Lapland Bunting, 17 Snow Bunting, 15 Reed Bunting.

Other wildlife:
Red Admiral (Bull's Park)

Year List: 199
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Sunday 4th October 2020
Weather:
a strong ENE wind throughout. Cloudy, with some prolonged showers in the morning and again in the later afternoon.
Still plenty birds to look through, but still somewhat hampered by the weather (although there was still full census again and a good deal more birding besides). We get sunshine and an easing wind tomorrow hopefully (and the first autumn round up of the Hill Sheep - which traditionally coincides with a big bird!).

HIGHLIGHTS:
RUSTIC BUNTING:
still in Boini Mire
Little Bunting:
3; one still in Boini Mire, with two at the Haa (including the bird ringed in the Vaadal yesterday)
Hawfinch:
one at Auld Haa
Yellow-browed Warbler:
just one, at Burkle
Little Grebe:
still present, although had made the short commute to Easter Lother Water

Other sightings:
552 Barnacle Goose (gathered on Meoness in the evening), 66 Greylag Goose (highest count so far this autumn), 110 Pink-footed Goose, 60 Wigeon, 49 Teal, Tufted Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Woodpigeon, Water Rail (ringed in the Vaadal), 6 Lapwing, 15 Golden Plover, Grey Plover (heard in a couple of locations over the Isle), Ruff, 10 Dunlin, Little Stint (relocated on Da Water), 3 Woodcock, 18 Jack Snipe, 59 Snipe, Red-throated Diver (South Harbour), Short-eared Owl, 5 Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine, 115 Skylark, 4 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 10 Chiffchaff, 37 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat (Haa), Whitethroat, 55 Goldcrest, 5 Ring Ouzel, 40 Blackbird, 9 Fieldfare, 898 Redwing, 537 Song Thrush, 2 Spotted Flycatcher (Loangie), 229 Robin, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 8 Redstart, 4 Whinchat, 3 Stonechat, 9 Wheatear, 6 Dunnock, 219 Meadow Pipit, 3 Tree Pipit, 24 Chaffinch, 68 Brambling, 100 Twite, 3 Siskin, 4 Lapland Bunting, 5 Snow Bunting, 12 Reed Bunting.

Year List: 199
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Saturday 3rd October 2020
Weather:
SE becoming more E strong throughout, showery (some heavy), with prolonged rain for a spell in the afternoon. Low cloud over the North for a lot of the day.
A day that felt impacted by weather, with counts likely to have been affected. A couple of new bits (including another year tick though). Notwithstanding the weather, there did seem to have been a genuine decrease in most species. Tomorrow also looks windy and wet, but the start of next week may be a bit more interesting...

HIGHLIGHTS:
RUSTIC BUNTING:
the ringed bird still at Boini Mire.
Little Bunting:
2; singles at Vaadal (trapped and ringed) and Boini Mire area.
Citrine Wagtail:
again at Setter
Barred Warbler:
Hjukni Geo
Common Rosefinch:
Quoy
Yellow-browed Warbler:
3
'Siberian Chiffchaff': Hesti Geo
Little Grebe:
still on Golden Water

Other sightings:
160 Barnacle Goose, 13 Greylag Goose, 105 Pink-footed Goose, 68 Wigeon, 36 Teal, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, Stock Dove (Malcolm's Head; the first of the year and first autumn record since 2011), 7 Woodpigeon, 3 Water Rail, 4 Lapwing, 34 Golden Plover, 2 Ruff, 7 Dunlin, Woodcock, 15 Jack Snipe, 99 Snipe, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Short-eared Owl, 2 Kestrel, Merlin, 132 Skylark, 3 Swallow, 5 Willow Warbler, 16 Chiffchaff (not including the 'Siberian' bird), 66 Blackcap, 62 Goldcrest, 30 Blackbird, 646 Redwing, 693 Song Thrush, 216 Robin, 2 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, Stonechat, 12 Wheatear, Dunnock, 3 Grey Wagtail, 252 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, 24 Chaffinch, 50 Brambling, 128 Twite, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', Lesser Redpoll, 24 Siskin, 4 Lapland Bunting, 5 Snow Bunting, 13 Reed Bunting.

Year List: 199

Other wildlife: the large unidentifed bat was at Quoy in the evening
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Friday 2nd October 2020
Weather:
gale-force SE winds overnight eased rapidly to a fresh breeze during the day. Rain cleared early on and the sun shone in the afternoon.
My word, that was quite a day. As is often the way when large numbers are involved, there weren't masses of rarities, but that said, there were some cracking highlights, decent scarcities and some big increases in common migrants (as well as two additions to the year list). We've not bothered listing 'highest count of the autumn' for all the species to which it applies below, as it's fairly obvious for most! It's long days of traps, census and nets for the team at the moment and they couldn't be happier, with some interesting weather still to come as well...

HIGHLIGHTS:
BOOTED WARBLER:
one briefly at Da Water was seen at the airstrip, then later at Shirva.
RUSTIC BUNTING:
the ringed bird still at Boini Mire.
Little Bunting: 3
; singles in Boini Mire/Da Water, Field Ditch and one trapped in the evening the Obs (with another at the Obs possibly one of the birds from down the Isle, although it was very possibly a 4th individual).
Citrine Wagtail:
the poorly-marked bird was back at Furse.
Red-breasted Flycatcher: 5
; singles at Midway, Schoolton, South Raeva, Steensi Geo and Shalstane, the joint-highest count for Fair Isle (five were also recorded on 5th September 1958 and 7th October 1988).
Yellow-browed Warbler: 15
; second-highest count of the autumn.
'Siberian Chiffchaff': one trapped in the Gully; first of the autumn
Little Grebe:
still on Golden Water.

Other sightings:
92 Barnacle Goose (all moving south), 22 Greylag Goose, 132 Pink-footed Goose, 30 Wigeon, Pintail (South Harbour; first of the autumn), 35 Teal, Common Scoter (past South Light; first since January), Tufted Duck, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 7 Woodpigeon, Slavonian Grebe (off South Light then Hesti Geo), 4 Lapwing, 34 Golden Plover, Grey Plover (one over Gilsetter was later relocated at Sprittery Hol; first of the year), Little Stint (Easter Lother Water; first of the year and first October record since 2006), 2 Woodcock (first of the month), 27 Jack Snipe, 91 Snipe, 7 Grey Heron, 2 Short-eared Owl, 3 Kestrel, Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 185 Skylark, 4 Swallow, 8 Willow Warbler, 30 Chiffchaff (not including the 'Siberian' bird), 3 Reed Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler (trapped at Burkle), 301 Blackcap (the second-highest ever Fair Isle count, with only an astounding 1,000 on 21st September 1981 being larger), 6 Garden Warbler, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, 191 Goldcrest (the highest count since 2016), 7 Ring Ouzel, 31 Blackbird, 3 Fieldfare, 850 Redwing, 468 Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush (first of the autumn), 2 Spotted Flycatcher (first since 31st August), 248 Robin, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 18 Redstart (only two singles this autumn prior to today), 7 Whinchat, 2 Stonechat, 4 'White Wagtail' (and 4 alba wagtails), 21 Wheatear, 350 Meadow Pipit, 2 Tree Pipit, 40 Chaffinch, 63 Brambling, 58 Twite, 'Mealy Redpoll', 'North-western Redpoll' (Boini Mire), 29 Siskin, 6 Lapland Bunting, 4 Snow Bunting, 12 Reed Bunting.

Year List: 198

Other wildlife: Red Admiral (Haa; first record since 16th September)
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Thursday 1st October 2020
Weather:
a light or moderate SE that increased during the day. Rain at first, then cloudy before rain set in after lunch and remained heavy for the afternoon.
A great day, with a lot of variety including several new arrivals. Census was slightly delayed by early rain and unfortunately conditions became pretty horrible earlier than forecast. We're hoping tomorrow will be drier as there is definitely more to be found.

HIGHLIGHTS:
WHITE'S THRUSH:
one at Wirvie Burn saw the species returned to their recent tradition of occurrences in the North census area. Photographs appeared to confirm that this was not the same as the individual on 26th September. There is a previous year with multiple records, with three recorded in 2008 (including two on 1st October that year).
RUSTIC BUNTING:
2; the lingering bird still at Boini Mire and an unringed bird at Utra; the first year with more than one autumn occurence since 2001.
HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL:
sightings at the Plantation in the morning and Schoolhouse in the afternoon were probably the same bird, which was presumed to be one of the lingering individuals.
Spotted Crake:
one showed well in Gilsetter before disappearing; the 52nd record for Fair Isle and first since 2016.
Citrine Wagtail:
one flew south over Da Water in the morning.
Red-breasted Flycatcher:
one on the cliffs at South Raeva; the second of the autumn.
Common Rosefinch:
two at Quoy.
Hawfinch:
one at Field.
Yellow-browed Warbler:
5
Little Grebe:
still present on Golden Water

Other sightings:
37 Barnacle Goose (south over Furse; first of the autumn), 52 Greylag Goose, 62 Pink-footed Goose, 15 Wigeon, 25 Teal, Tufted Duck (male still on Da Water), Red-breasted Merganser, Water Rail (Gilsetter), Slavonian Grebe (the second of the autumn was in South Harbour), 66 Golden Plover, 213 Turnstone, 3 Ruff, 13 Jack Snipe, 141 Snipe, Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine (adult male), 178 Skylark, 5 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler (Field Ditch), 43 Blackcap, Garden Warbler (Burkle), Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, 2 Goldcrest, 5 Ring Ouzel, 18 Blackbird, 2 Fieldfare, 208 Redwing, 96 Song Thrush, 4 Robin, Stonechat, 17 Wheatear, 317 Meadow Pipit, 7 Chaffinch, 24 Brambling, 99 Twite, 'North-western Redpoll', 2 Lesser Redpoll, 3 Siskin, 2 Snow Bunting, Reed Bunting.

Year List: 196
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Wednesday 30th September 2020
Weather:
a strong SSE wind, reaching gale-force at times, with light rain on and off during the morning then heavy rain from mid-afternoon.
A difficult day for birding, although there were a few birds coming in. Excitement mounting with the forecast though...

HIGHLIGHTS:
RUSTIC BUNTING:
one still around Boini Mire then Stackhoull
Citrine Wagtail:
one briefly at Setter was presumed to be yesterday's bird from Furse
Yellow-browed Warbler:
5
Little Grebe:
one at Golden Water (which could be remarkably elusive considering it's a small water body with virtually no cover) was the first record since 2017 and only the 43rd for Fair Isle.

Other sightings:
109 Pink-footed Goose, 9 Wigeon, 15 Teal, Tufted Duck (male, Da Water), 2 Long-tailed Duck (males in South Harbour; first of the autumn), Red-breasted Merganser, Woodpigeon (first of the month), Water Rail (Gully), 24 Golden Plover, 3 Ruff, 11 Jack Snipe, 89 Snipe, Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver,2 Kestrel, Merlin, 220 Skylark, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Goldcrest, Ring Ouzel, 7 Blackbird, Fieldfare, 72 Redwing, 131 Song Thrush, Redstart (male Obs; the first Redstart to arrive this September), Whinchat, Stonechat, 12 Wheatear, 2 alba wagtail, 324 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit (North Krojeals), 58 Rock Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 9 Brambling, 101 Twite, 4 Redpoll sp?, 2 Siskin, 3 Lapland Bunting, 4 Snow Bunting, Reed Bunting.

Year List: 195

Other wildlife:
Risso's Dolphin
: at least three moved slowly west past Green Holm
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Tuesday 29th September 2020
Weather:
SW2-3, a calm, pleasant and sunny day.
Another year without a birthday lifer for the Warden (it appeared to have gone to Yell instead!), but a lovely day to be out and about on the Isle. Plenty still to look at, but not too much new to report.

HIGHLIGHTS:
HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL:
2 still around Brecks (one of which spent the previous night in a box recuperating after stunning itself against a window, but which was none the worse for its encounter the following day)
RUSTIC BUNTING:
the ringed individual reappeared at Shirva
Citrine Wagtail:
one (a rather weakly-marked individual) at Furse before flying North
Little Bunting:
Wirvie Geo
Yellow-browed Warbler:
13

Other sightings:
107 Pink-footed Goose, 9 Wigeon, 9 Teal, Lapwing, 25 Golden Plover, Ruff, 10 Jack Snipe, 77 Snipe, Kestrel, Merlin, 218 Skylark, 4 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, 9 Blackcap, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat (Setter; first of the month), 5 Goldcrest, 12 Blackbird, 64 Redwing, 123 Song Thrush, Robin, Whinchat, Stonechat, 17 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock (first migrants of the autumn), White Wagtail (along with 5 alba wags), 390 Meadow Pipit, 57 Rock Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 9 Brambling, 152 Twite, 2 Linnet, 2 Siskin, 3 Lapland Bunting, 10 Snow Bunting, 5 Reed Bunting.

Year List: 194
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Monday 28th September 2020
Weather:
SE3-4, generally dull and overcast with a few light showers.
At last, a fall (of sorts) - so the worst day to be a staff member down due to sickness (don't worry, nothing serious and all better now!). Great birding and it finally felt a bit more like Fair Isle in the autumn, with thrushes arriving. After potential for a couple of quieter days, it looks like it could then get rather exciting...

HIGHLIGHTS:
Olive-backed Pipit:
one flew over Stackhoull
Yellow-browed Warbler:
9
Bluethroat:
still in the Obs garden

Other sightings:
103 Pink-footed Goose, 7 Wigeon, 8 Teal, 30 Golden Plover, 127 Turnstone, Knot, 2 Ruff, 10 Jack Snipe, 38 Snipe, Grey Heron, Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 157 Skylark, 3 Willow Warbler, 4 Blackcap, 8 Goldcrest, 3 Ring Ouzel (first of the autumn), 20 Blackbird, Fieldfare (Gilsetter; first of the autumn), 198 Redwing, 171 Song Thrush, 2 Robin, Pied Flycatcher, Stonechat, 10 Wheatear, 2 White Wagtail (along with Pied and 5 alba wags), 376 Meadow Pipit, 78 Rock Pipit, 5 Chaffinch, 8 Brambling, 43 Twite, Linnet, Common Redpoll, Lesser Redpoll, 3 Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting, 3 Reed Bunting.

Year List: 194
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Sunday 27th September 2020
Weather:
cool NNE breeze easing to a largely calm day, some sunny spells, but largely cloudy, occasional patches of low cloud and light drizzle.
A really good day's birding, although sadly the potential biggest bird of the day went frustratingly unconfirmed (a Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler seen once in flight by an experienced observer that sadly couldn't be relocated). Plenty to keep everyone happy though, with a decent selection of new arrivals and some real hope of more to come. With only one visiting birder at the moment, the Isle really does feel a big place for thos of us here to cover though!

HIGHLIGHTS:
HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL: 2
; the Wester Lother birds roamed the south of the Isle today, being seen at Midway, Walli Burn, Brecks and Springfield
RUSTIC BUNTING:
still present around the Plantation
Yellow-browed Warbler: 24; the actual number may have been higher as birds were arriving during the day, with most present in the crofts
Little Bunting:
one at Chalet in the evening then flew south
Bluethroat:
a 1cy ringed at the Obs at dusk
Hawfinch:
one at Chalet in the morning

Other sightings:
6 Greylag Goose, 111 Pink-footed Goose, 7 Wigeon, 9 Teal, Red-breasted Merganser, 55 Golden Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ruff, 10 Jack Snipe, 69 Snipe, 3 'blue' Fulmar (west off South Light), 2 Grey Heron, Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 252 Skylark, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 6 Blackcap, Garden Warbler (Lower Leogh), 5 Lesser Whitethroat (highest count of the autumn), 12 Goldcrest, 4 Blackbird, 11 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, Robin, Pied Flycatcher (Obs), 4 Whinchat, Stonechat, 14 Wheatear, Dunnock (Obs), 6 White Wagtail (along 3 Pied and 7 alba wags), 491 Meadow Pipit, 70 Rock Pipit, Chaffinch, 6 Brambling, 117 Twite, 9 Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', 'North-western Redpoll' (trapped at Obs), 2 Lesser Redpoll, 3 Crossbill, 7 Siskin (highest count of the autumn), 8 Lapland Bunting, 2 Reed Bunting.

Year List: 193

Other wildlife:
Killer Whale
: 4, including a large bull, close in off Dronger and North Light gave good views and proved twitchable
Silver Y: 1
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Saturday 26th September 2020
Weather:
strong (near gale force) NNE wind, sunny spells and dry, although cool.
This wasn't a day that was predicted to bring much. Strong northerly winds sometimes give the hope of something 'Arctic', so there's always the hope of a big white bird. After yesterday's big (for a redpoll) white rarity, there was a 'big' White's rarity today (which followed just an hour after the first migrant Blackbird of the autumn!). Late September on Fair Isle is always an exciting time, and with a calmer day forecast tomorrow, there's a chance of a bit more drifty stuff, so let's see whether we can keep up our good run.

HIGHLIGHTS:
WHITE'S THRUSH:
Fair Isle's 17th record (with five of these in the last eight years) was found at the Hill Dyke near Gunnawark and, after roaming around Hoini a bit, headed into North where it showed well.
HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL: 2
; both together and showing well at Wester Lother.
RUSTIC BUNTING:
still present at the Plantation, then near Chalet.
Yellow-browed Warbler: one at Haa

Other sightings:
5 Greylag Goose, 124 Pink-footed Goose, 6 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 62 Golden Plover, 3 Ruff, 3 Jack Snipe, 3 Grey Heron, Kestrel, 3 Merlin, 254 Skylark, 4 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat (an 'eastern' looking bird on the south coast), 3 Goldcrest, 3 Blackbird (including the first two migrants of the autumn), 13 Redwing, Robin, Whinchat, Stonechat (Midway), 17 Wheatear, Dunnock (Obs), 2 White Wagtail (along 7 alba wags), 403 Meadow Pipit, 74 Rock Pipit, Chaffinch, 57 Twite, 5 Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', Siskin, 8 Lapland Bunting, 5 Snow Bunting, Reed Bunting.

Year List: 193

Other wildlife:
Bat sp?: one seen in flight at Upper Leogh/Nether Taft appeared to be a larger individual than a pipistrelle.
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Friday 25th September 2020
Weather:
a fresh NNW wind, cloudy but dry with the occasional brighter spell and quite cool.
September is rapidly running out of time for any significant fall, but the unfavourable conditions for easterly vagrants did at least deliver a decent bird from the west.

HIGHLIGHTS:
HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL:
a confiding individual, which approached observers to one metre at times as it fed in the grass, at Wester Lother was a real 'snowball'. The 30th record of this subspecies and 96th Arctic Repoll (there are 55 accepted 'Coues's Arctic Redpolls') for Fair Isle (if accepted). A typical arrival date for this subspecies, which is often recorded earlier in the autumn than Coues's.
RUSTIC BUNTING:
still around the Vaadal reservoir.

Other sightings:
21 Greylag Goose, 95 Pink-footed Goose, 6 Wigeon, 2 Teal, Red-breasted Merganser, Slavonian Grebe (North Haven), 31 Golden Plover, 2 Ruff, 3 Jack Snipe, 58 Snipe, 5 Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron, Merlin, 272 Skylark, 4 Willow Warbler, Blackcap, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Goldcrest, 2 Blackbird (summering pair still present), 4 Redwing, Whinchat, 13 Wheatear, Dunnock (Obs), Grey Wagtail (Wirvie Burn), 2 White Wagtail (along with Pied and 7 alba wags), 599 Meadow Pipit, 64 Rock Pipit, Chaffinch, 110 Twite, 4 Linnet, 'Mealy Redpoll', 3 Lesser Redpoll, Crossbill (male found at the School by the pupils was later seen in around the crofts), 8 Lapland Bunting, 3 Snow Bunting, Reed Bunting (a ringed bird in the Meadow Burn).

Year List: 192
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Thursday 24th September 2020
Weather:
a strong WNW wind, some sunny spells but mostly cloudy.
A few signs of movement, but generally a quiet day as we still wait for the autumn to really get going.

HIGHLIGHTS:
RUSTIC BUNTING:
still present in the Plantation.
Yellow-browed Warbler: 2; singles still at Burkle and Lower Stoneybrek

Other sightings:
7 Greylag Goose, 131 Pink-footed Goose (mostly lingering birds after yesterday's passage), 9 Wigeon, 9 Teal, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, Water Rail (Gully), Slavonian Grebe (North Haven), 49 Golden Plover, 2 Sanderling, Dunlin, 3 Jack Snipe, 69 Snipe, 5 Cormorant, 4 Grey Heron, 2 Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 180 Skylark, 4 Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat (including an 'eastern' bird at Quoy), 3 Goldcrest, 8 Redwing, Song Thrush (North Raeva), Robin, Pied Flycatcher (Gully), 3 Whinchat, 29 Wheatear, Dunnock (Obs), Grey Wagtail, 7 White Wagtail (along with Pied and 7 alba wags), 480 Meadow Pipit, 76 Rock Pipit, 137 Twite, 3 Linnet, 'Mealy Redpoll' (along with 3 Redpoll sp?), 3 Siskin, 9 Lapland Bunting, 2 Snow Bunting, Reed Bunting (first of the autumn).

Year List: 191
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Wednesday 23rd September 2020
Weather:
a calm start, with the light west wind becoming more NE later. Dry and sunny, with clear skies; a pleasant day all in all
A lovely drifty feel, with decent goose passage and some clear increases in several species. Nothing too rare, but a nice enough day's birding.

HIGHLIGHTS:
RUSTIC BUNTING:
still present around the traps and Gilsetter.
Yellow-browed Warbler:
5 (singles still at Burkle, Vaila's Trees and Chalet, with presumed new arrivals at Field Ditch and the Obs).
Common Rosefinch:
one still at Quoy.

Other sightings:
3 Greylag Goose, 452 Pink-footed Goose, 6 Wigeon, 15 Teal, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, Slavonian Grebe (North Haven), 2 Lapwing, 72 Golden Plover, 2 Ruff, 3 Sanderling, 4 Dunlin, 6 Jack Snipe, 48 Snipe, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Sooty Shearwater (from the Good Shepherd IV), 4 Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron, Merlin, Peregrine (adult female), 4 Carrion Crow (along with 14 Hooded Crow and one hybrid), 199 Skylark, 9 Swallow, 7 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, 9 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Goldcrest, Blackbird (moulting female, Brecks), 7 Redwing, 4 Whinchat, 72 Wheatear, 104 House Sparrow (one of several resident species counted today as a snapshot of the numbers present), Dunnock (still at Obs), 4 White Wagtail (along with 3 Pied and 7 alba wags), 590 Meadow Pipit, 124 Rock Pipit, Chaffinch (male, Gully), 3 Brambling, 82 Twite, 7 Linnet, 'Mealy Redpoll' (Obs), Lesser Redpoll (Obs), 2 Redpoll sp?, Crossbill (male, Ditfield), 2 Siskin, 31 Lapland Bunting, 12 Snow Bunting.

Year List: 191

Other wildlife: Silver Y
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Tuesday 22nd September 2020
Weather:
rain, with a southerly wind that strengthened for a while during the morning as the rain became heavier and more persistent.
Most of the day was pretty much unbirdable, so full census wasn't possible, but that's not to say there were no birds!

HIGHLIGHTS:
RUSTIC BUNTING:
a 1cy male at the Plantation was trapped and ringed and went on to show well at the Vaadal reservoir. Prior to 2020 there were 138 accepted records for Fair Isle; this is only the second autumn record in the last 11 years.
Common Rosefinch:
one still at Quoy.
Hawfinch: male still at Burkle.

Other sightings:
67 Pink-footed Goose, 7 Wigeon, 5 Teal, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, Slavonian Grebe (still in North Haven), 14 Purple Sandpiper, 'blue' Fulmar (South Light), Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, Goldcrest, 3 Redwing, 20 Wheatear (minimum count, with the suggestion of an arrival later in the day).

Year List: 191
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Monday 21st September 2020
Weather:
a strong SW wind, rain after lunch and cloudy throughout.
Not easy conditions at times, although there was always the hope of something western (not much hope, but an Empidonax on Iceland shows what's possible - especially as we're now almost directly inbetween the two recent Western Palearctic records...). The forecast is still somewhat unpromising, but the next couple of days look a bit better at least. Whether it's good or not, we'll still be out there looking, so hopefully there'll be something to report soon.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Little Bunting:
the ringed bird was at Wirvie Burn
Yellow-browed Warbler:
3; one at Vaila's Trees and singles still at Burkle and Plantation
Common Rosefinch:
two still at Quoy

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, 5 Wigeon, 10 Teal, Water Rail (Boini Mire), Slavonian Grebe (still in North Haven), 24 Golden Plover, 3 Ruff, 3 Sanderling, 5 Dunlin, 5 Purple Sandpiper, 2 'blue' Fulmar (singles off Dronger and South Light), Grey Heron, Peregrine (adult male), 160 Skylark, 4 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 6 Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Goldcrest (Slogar), Blackbird (the summering female still at North Shirva), 3 Redwing, Song Thrush (Pund), 2 Whinchat, 13 Wheatear, 2 'White Wagtail' (and 7 alba wagtails), 318 Meadow Pipit, 102 Rock Pipit, 3 Brambling, 89 Twite, Linnet, Lesser Redpoll (School Brae), Siskin (Burkle), 28 Lapland Bunting.

Year List: 191
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Sunday 20th September 2020
Weather:
Fog, with occasional clearer spells, calm at first with freshening SW wind.
A poor day with census not possible, although the wind should hopefully clear things for tomorrow. The birding that was done suggested very little new in as the autumn continues to be generally tough going with a few more pleasant spells scattered amongst the poor conditions.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Yellow-browed Warbler:
2; singles still at Plantation and Burkle
Common Rosefinch:
two still at Quoy
Hawfinch: male still around Burkle

Other sightings:
23 Pink-footed Goose, 6 Teal, Slavonian Grebe (still in North Haven), 17 Golden Plover, Sanderling, 2 Dunlin, 6 Purple Sandpiper, 3 Common Tern (adult and two juveniles in North Haven), Storm Petrel (a juvenile found at the top of South Light was released unharmed at night), Sooty Shearwater (one off South Light), 2 Grey Heron, Sand Martin, 5 Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Goldcrest, Redwing, 2 Whinchat, 3 Brambling, Redpoll sp?, Siskin.

Year List: 191
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Saturday 19th September 2020
Weather:
calm, with a light SE breeze developing then becoming slightly more SW. Fog, with occasional clearer spells and some drizzle.
Full census wasn't possible due to the weather ruling out being able to see most of the Isle, but there was still reasonable coverage of those areas that could be seen, some trapping was possible. Other than geese that could be heard (and sometimes seen) passing over, there didn't appear to be much evidence of movement, with the fog possibly stopping birds finding us to some extent.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Little Bunting:
one still in Boini Mire
Yellow-browed Warbler:
5 still around the crofts and traps
Barred Warbler:
one still at Chalet, although looking somewhat unwell
Common Rosefinch:
two still at Quoy
Hawfinch: one still around Burkle and Chapel Plantation

Other sightings:
290 Pink-footed Goose (a minimum count given the lack of visibility), 3 Wigeon, 11 Teal, Slavonian Grebe (still in North Haven), 17 Golden Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit (Skadan: first of the autumn), Black-tailed Godwit (still present), 9 Dunlin, 7 Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron, Short-eared Owl (Da Water), Merlin (female), Sand Martin, 6 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff (Obs and Gully), 8 Blackcap, 3 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Goldcrest, Redwing, 2 Whinchat, 5 Brambling, 3 'Mealy Redpoll', Siskin, 10 Lapland Bunting.

Year List: 191
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Friday 18th September 2020
Weather:
a moderate SW wind, easing to calm later. Clear at first (although cloud on the hills), but low cloud dropping from late morning bringing some rain with it.
The reduced visibility and rain in the afternoon spoilt the birding a bit, although generally it seemed like things were a bit quieter for new arrivals today. With the wind dropping away, tomorrow has a chance of some nice 'drifty' birding, but whether the fog stays in and gets in the way a bit remains to be seen...

HIGHLIGHTS:
Little Bunting:
3; birds still in Field Ditch and Boini Mire, whilst the ringed bird was in South Restengeo
Yellow-browed Warbler:
6; mostly around the crofts
Barred Warbler:
one still at Chalet
Hawfinch: one around Burkle

Other sightings:
56 Pink-footed Goose, 6 Wigeon, 11 Teal, Slavonian Grebe (North Haven; first of the autumn), 19 Golden Plover, Black-tailed Godwit (Chatham's Land), Ruff (Barkland), Sanderling, 9 Dunlin, 43 Snipe, 10 Grey Heron, Short-eared Owl (Field Ditch), 156 Skylark, Sand Martin, 13 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff (trapped at the Obs), Sedge Warbler (Chalet), Reed Warbler (Setter), 5 Blackcap, Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Goldcrest, 6 Redwing, 3 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Whinchat, 20 Wheatear, Dunnock (one trapped at the Obs was the summering bird last seen on 9th August!), 4 White Wagtail and 6 alba wagtails, 263 Meadow Pipit, 125 Rock Pipit, Chaffinch (male), 3 Brambling, 89 Twite, 4 Linnet, 3 'Mealy Redpoll' (and two Redpoll sp?), 16 Lapland Bunting.

Year List: 191
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Thursday 17th September 2020
Weather:
blustery wind just east of south, cloudy.
A really fun day, with plenty of new birds including a few species debuting for the autumn. Many ditches were walked in the hope of something a bit rarer, but that will have to wait for now - we're not complaining though, it's all smiles after some great birding!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Little Bunting: 3
; one trapped in the Vaadal in the morning and other (unringed) birds seen concurrently at Field Ditch and Boini Mire
Red-breasted Flycatcher:
one in Steensi Geo; first of the autumn
Red-backed Shrike:
one in Linni Geo
Icterine Warbler:
one in North Raeva
Yellow-browed Warbler:
7 scattered amongst the crofts and on the cliffs
Barred Warbler: 3
; one trapped and ringed at Plantation early in the morning, an unringed bird at Chalet and one at Kirn o' Skroo
Common Rosefinch: 2; both at Quoy
Hawfinch:
male in North Raeva

Other sightings:
13 Pink-footed Goose, 7 Wigeon, 23 Teal, Lapwing (Da Water, first of the month), 15 Golden Plover, Black-tailed Godwit (1cy now around Chatham's Land), 3 Knot, 2 Sanderling, 3 Dunlin, 2 Jack Snipe (Da Water and Boini Mire), 57 Snipe, 82 Common Gull, Red-throated Diver (past Meoness), 3 Cormorant, 11 Grey Heron, Merlin, 285 Skylark (highest count of the autumn), Sand Martin, 10 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, 9 Blackcap (highest count of the autumn), 6 Garden Warbler, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Goldcrest, 14 Redwing (including the first migrants), 2 Song Thrush (Wester Lother and South Naaversgill), Robin, 9 Pied Flycatcher (highest count of the autumn), Stonechat (Quoy), 33 Wheatear, 9 alba wagtails, 449 Meadow Pipit, 135 Rock Pipit, Chaffinch (male, Plantation; first of the autumn), 4 Brambling (first of the autumn), 138 Twite, Linnet, 8 'Mealy Redpoll', 'North-western Redpoll' (Chapel Plantation), Lesser Redpoll (School Brae), 2 Siskin, 34 Lapland Bunting, 11 Snow Bunting.

Year List: 191
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Wednesday 16th September 2020
Weather:
a very strong northerly wind overnight had eased somewhat by the morning and veered from NW towards the SE during the course of the day. After a cloudy start, the sun came out and it became a very pleasant and rather mild day.
Not a bad haul at all, with no big numbers of migrants, but enough new bits and pieces to keep everyone happy.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Little Bunting:
one in Field Ditch; first of the year
Citrine Wagtail:
one in Field Ditch was very probably a new arrival
Yellow-browed Warbler:
still present at North Shirva
Rose-coloured Starling:
1cy again at Schoolhouse
Barred Warbler: 2
; one trapped and ringed at Schoolhouse and another at Chalet
Common Rosefinch: one on School  Brae

Other sightings:
2 Greylag Goose, Wigeon, 3 Teal, 6 Golden Plover, 3 Sanderling, 6 Dunlin, 2 Jack Snipe (Walli Burn; first of the month), 27 Snipe, 3 Cormorant, Merlin (Ward Hill), 127 Skylark, Sand Martin, 4 Swallow, 5 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Goldcrest, 4 Redwing, Song Thrush (Gully), Robin (Pund then Field Ditch; first of the autumn), Pied Flycatcher, Whinchat (Haa), 28 Wheatear, 3 White Wagtail (along with 7 alba subsp?), 540 Meadow Pipit, 152 Rock Pipit, 162 Twite, 6 Linnet, 4 Common Redpoll (Chapel Plantation), 2 Siskin (first of the month), 44 Lapland Bunting, 2 Snow Bunting (Buness and Jivy Geo).

Year List: 191

Other wildlife:
Red Admiral (Pund)
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Tueday 15th September 2020
Weather:
calm with just a hint of a SE wind developing during the day. After heavy rain at first it was largely dry, grey and cloudy.
A day that looked and felt properly rare and was accompanied by some decent birds and a small fall. Its still fairly slim pickings, but there are birds coming in and a sense of anticipation.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Yellow-browed Warbler:
the first of the autumn was found in the afternoon in the North Shirva thistle patch (five days earlier than the first record in 2019)
Barred Warbler:
one at Vaila's Trees
Common Rosefinch: one appeared on Dronger
Rose-coloured Starling:
1cy still present
Hawfinch:
a female in the bottom of Troila Geo

Other sightings:
7 Teal, 13 Golden Plover, 39 Ringed Plover, Black-tailed Godwit (one trapped overnight was still present at Bull's Park, it becomes just the second to be ringed on Fair Isle, following one in 1967), 108 Turnstone, 4 Knot, 4 Sanderling, 12 Dunlin, 60 Snipe, Green Sandpiper, 39 Redshank, Cormorant, Merlin, 85 Skylark, 3 Sand Martin, 3 Swallow, 6 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff (Schoolhouse; first of the autumn), Sedge Warbler (Barkland; first of the month), 7 Blackcap, Garden Warbler (Hesti Geo), 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 14 Goldcrest, 4 Redwing, Song Thrush (Gully), 2 Pied Flycatcher, Whinchat (Da Water), 72 Wheatear, 7 White Wagtail (along with 13 alba subsp?), 669 Meadow Pipit (highest count of the autumn), Tree Pipit (Meadow Burn), 163 Rock Pipit, 183 Twite, Linnet, Common Redpoll (Kenaby), 52 Lapland Bunting (highest count since 2016).

Year List: 189

Other wildlife:
Risso's Dolphin: 4 went north close in to Buness
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Monday 14th September 2020
Weather:
a light SW wind, dropping away through the day. Clear at first then low cloud and rain, with some fog from mid-afternoon.
Fairly quiet, although pipits were on the move and there were a few new bits and pieces, including the first Phylloscs for five days!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Pectoral Sandpiper: 2;
both 1cy on Easter Lother Water, although one headed off over the Mast
Citrine Wagtail: 1cy in Boini Mire again, although still flighty
Rose-coloured Starling:
1cy still, having moved to Barkland

Other sightings:
8 Pink-footed Goose, Wigeon, 6 Teal, 118 Turnstone, Ruff (Meoness), Sanderling, 8 Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, 69 Redshank, 5 Cormorant, 2 Merlin (first of the month), 138 Skylark, Sand Martin (Da Water), 2 Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Garden Warbler (Plantation), 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Goldcrest (Dronger), 4 Redwing, Pied Flycatcher, 54 Wheatear, 3 White Wagtail (along with 13 alba subsp?), 634 Meadow Pipit (highest count of the autumn), 182 Rock Pipit, 172 Twite, Common Redpoll (Busta), 35 Lapland Bunting (including a flock of 22 at Airstrip).

Year List: 188
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Sunday 13th September 2020
Weather:
Largley calm, with a light breeze picking up from the SE becoming more NE later. A generally pleasant day until just after lunch, when rain set in and the afternoon remained drizzly.
Helloooo, what have we here? After what feels like a very long spell of very windy days, with a westerly airflow, it was calm. Not only that, but it even became a light easterly for a spell in the afternoon. The rain spoilt the potential a little bit, but there were actually warblers and other migrants after what has been a by-and-large slow spell. Not many yet, but that doesn't matter - it's a sign that things are getting better for the birding, and the forecast for the week ahead suggests we could get a few more bits soon.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Pectoral Sandpiper:
1cy still on Easter Lother Water
Citrine Wagtail: 1cy still in Boini Mire
Rose-coloured Starling:
1cy still around Lower Stoneybrek

Other sightings:
Wigeon, 6 Teal, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 114 Turnstone, 2 Knot, Ruff, 2 Sanderling, 10 Dunlin, 2 Purple Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Bonxie (a noticeable decrease around the colonies as birds head off for the winter), Red-throated Diver (still in South Harbour), 2 Sooty Shearwater (from Good Shepherd IV), Peregrine, 87 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin (Haa and Haven), 3 Lesser Whitethroat (2 Gully, 1 Haa), 2 Blackcap, Goldcrest (Steensi Geo; first since a very early migrant on 22nd August), Blackbird (male, North Shirva), 3 Redwing, 36 Wheatear, 4 White Wagtail (along with 15 alba subsp?), 499 Meadow Pipit, 239 Rock Pipit (highest count of the year), 126 Twite, 3 Linnet, 'North-western Redpoll' (one at Kirn o' Skroo with Twite), 3 Redpoll sp? (south over School Brae), Crossbill (heard going south over Quoy), 37 Lapland Bunting (including a flock of 20 at Airstrip).

Year List: 188

Other wildlife:
Risso's Dolphin: 4 off Meoness in the morning may have been the same animals seen from the Good Shepherd IV off North Light as it came back in the evening
Harbour Porpoise: around 10 five miles north of the Isle from the Good Shepherd IV .
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Saturday 12th September 2020
Weather:
Heavy rain at first then showery (some heavy and prolonged) with a strong SW wind.
A not very pleasant day of weather, although staying dry on census (which at times was more of a 'nice walk' and 'morning exercise' than birding as the gusts were difficult to stand up in on the higher ground) was a bonus. The birding was about what would be expected given the conditions, but we'll keep plodding on!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Pectoral Sandpiper:
1cy still on Easter Lother Water
Rose-coloured Starling:
again in the Schoolhouse garden, feeding enthusiastically in the compost bin and on kitchen scraps, it was later seen in the Upper Stoneybrek chicken run before heading off towards Stackhoull (showing it does eat things other than compost).
Citrine Wagtail:
1cy still in Boini Mire

Other sightings:
6 Wigeon, 8 Teal, 169 Turnstone, 5 Knot, Sanderling, 5 Dunlin, 6 Purple Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper (Boini Mire), Red-throated Diver (still in South Harbour), Kestrel, 79 Skylark, Swallow, Lesser Whitethroat (South Restengeo), Song Thrush (Gully), 43 Wheatear, 6 White Wagtail (along with 4 alba subsp?), 367 Meadow Pipit, 118 Rock Pipit, 90 Twite, 19 Lapland Bunting, 2 Snow Bunting.

Year List: 188

Other wildlife:
Red Admiral: given the conditions, one at Utra was a bit of a surprise, although it was struggling with the wind.
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Friday 11th September 2020
Weather:
strong SW wind, heavy rain for most of the day, although clearing later in the afternoon and some sunny spells.
A very poor day for weather, with census not possible. Although there were a few birds to be seen, there was no real feeling of any new arrivals. A batch of easterlies has appeared in the forecast for next week, which we're still not relying on, but are certainly talking about!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Pectoral Sandpiper:
1cy still present at Easter Lother Water

Other sightings:
3 Wigeon, 5 Teal, Ruff (Da Water), Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin, 3 Purple Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Red-throated Diver (adult still in South Harbour), Kestrel, Lesser Whitethroat (Gully), 2 Redwing, Song Thrush, 3 Linnet.

Year List: 188
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Thursday 10th September 2020
Weather:
Fresh SSW strengthening from the SW, rain at first then clearing to a largely clear day before rain returned later in the evening.
Birds on the move, with Meadow Pipits passing in good numbers until a spell of heavy rain around breakfast time seemed to halt their progress. The highlight was the westerlies delivering an American species (it could have come from the east, but given the conditions, we're going to bet on a Transatlantic origin), just the second addition to the year list so far this month. It was, however, the first day of the month with no warblers recorded, reflecting the downside of constant westerlies! A calmer start than recent days saw the first plane since Monday morning (although the afternoon schedule had to be brought forward as conditions deteriorated) and the first Good Shepherd sailing for a while.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Pectoral Sandpiper:
a 1cy at the typical location of Easter Lother water represents (if accepted) the 37th record for Fair Isle
Citrine Wagtail:
1cy still in Boini Mire/Da Water

Other sightings:
Wigeon, 7 Teal, 127 Turnstone, 6 Knot, Ruff (Meoness; first of the month), 2 Sanderling, 5 Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, 2 Red-throated Diver (including an adult close-in to South Harbour beach), Grey Heron, Short-eared Owl (Ringing Hut Marsh; first of the month), Kestrel, 101 Skylark, Blackbird (pair at North Shirva), 4 Redwing, 67 Wheatear, 2 White Wagtail (along with 10 alba subsp?), 581 Meadow Pipit (highest count of the autumn), 162 Rock Pipit, 111 Twite, 2 Linnet, 18 Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting (on top of Ward Hill; first of the autumn).

Year List: 188

Other wildlife:
Harbour Porpoise: 3 or 4 two miles north of Fair Isle seen from the Good Shepherd IV.
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Wednesday 9th September 2020
Weather:
strong WNW wind, rain at first, but clearing to a sunny afternoon.
A few migrants made it in despite the weather, but the highlight was offshore today.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Citrine Wagtail:
again in Boini Mire before flying toward Da Water
Rose-coloured Starling: reappeared in the Schoolhouse compost bin

Other sightings:
3 Wigeon, Teal, 20 Golden Plover, 108 Turnstone, 2 Knot, Sanderling, 9 Dunlin, Purple Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, 2 Grey Heron, Kestrel, 73 Skylark, 3 Willow Warbler, Blackcap (female Haa; first of the autumn), 2 Lesser Whitethroat (one still in Gully and one at Burkle), Blackbird (male at North Shirva), 5 Redwing, Pied Flycatcher (trapped in Plantation), Whinchat (Mast), 61 Wheatear, 6 White Wagtail, 449 Meadow Pipit (highest count of the autumn), 157 Rock Pipit, 57 Twite, 11 Lapland Bunting (4 at South Naaversgill, 2 at Airstrip, 2 at Wester Lother, 2 on Hoini and one at Setter).

Year List: 187

Other wildlife:
Killer Whale: 4 (a bull, two female-types and a younger one) distantly off North Light before moving off to the NNE. There seems to be a pattern of mid-autumn sightings involving offshore individuals that appear to be fish-eaters rather than the seal-hunting animals that come closer inshore.
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Tuesday 8th September 2020
Weather:
strong SW wind, showers, especially at first.
It certainly felt autumnal, and geese overhead added to the experience, but it (unsurprisingly) wasn't a day with many migrants from the east.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Citrine Wagtail:
still on Da Water
Common Rosefinch: still at Lower Stoneybrek

Other sightings:
41 Pink-footed Goose (in three flocks; first of the autumn), 6 Wigeon, 4 Teal, 41 Golden Plover, 121 Turnstone, 4 Knot, Sanderling, 8 Dunlin, 4 Purple Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, 16 Black-headed Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 4 Cormorant, Peregrine (adult male), 97 Skylark, 2 Willow Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat (one trapped in Gully, possibly S.c.blythi), 5 Redwing, Song Thrush, 2 Whinchat (Taing still, plus one at the Mast), 50 Wheatear, 4 White Wagtail, 366 Meadow Pipit, 179 Rock Pipit, 216 Twite (highest count of the autumn), 2 Linnet, Lesser Redpoll (still around Vaadal), 7 Lapland Bunting.

Year List: 187
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Monday 7th September 2020
Weather:
rain from early morning through to early afternoon. Strong SW wind.
There was no chance of censusing in the pretty horrible conditions, although some birding was possible later. Pretty quiet all round, but we'll be hoping for something American during the forthcoming westerlies.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Arctic Warbler:
one still at Plantation

Other sightings:
Whooper Swan, 5 Wigeon, 19 Teal, Red-breasted Merganser (North Haven), 11 Golden Plover, 8 Knot, Purple Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Garden Warbler (Gully), Lesser Whitethroat (Obs), Whinchat (Taing).

Year List: 187
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Sunday 6th September 2020
Weather:
a fresh NW or WNW wind, easing later in the day, cloudy with a few showers and occasional sunny spells.
Some distinct signs of movement, although largely of birds that would be expected given the north-westerly winds.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Citrine Wagtail:
sightings of a 1cy at Utra, Boini Mire, Kirki Mire and Da Water were probably all one wide-ranging individual, but it is possible that more than one bird was involved
Arctic Warbler: one still in the Plantation, calling frequently
Rose-coloured Starling: 1cy again in Schoolhouse compost bin
Barred Warbler: one still at Vaila's Trees
Common Rosefinch: one still around the Lower Stoneybrek area

Other sightings:
2 Whooper Swan (first of the autumn), 2 Greylag Goose, 6 Wigeon, 13 Teal, 2 Golden Plover, 27 Ringed Plover, 68 Turnstone, 7 Knot, 2 Sanderling, 9 Dunlin, Red-throated Diver (one east past Meoness), 2 Cormorant, 91 Skylark, Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler (the ringed bird again at Quoy), Lesser Whitethroat (Obs), 4 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush (including one ringed in the Gully; first migrant of the autumn), Pied Flycatcher (Busta Geo), Whinchat (Chatham's Land), 34 Wheatear, 4 White Wagtail, 422 Meadow Pipit (highest count of the autumn), 237 Rock Pipit (highest count of the autumn), 174 Twite (highest count of the autumn), 3 Linnet, Lesser Redpoll (still in Plantation, along with one unidentified Redpoll sp. flying over in the North), 27 Lapland Bunting (21 at the Airstrip, 3 at Mopul, 2 at Lerness and one at Quoy).

Year List: 187

Other wildlife:
Red Admiral (Gully)
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Saturday 5th September 2020
Weather:
strong SW or WSW wind, showers at times
Still nice birds about, but not much in the way of arrivals (perhaps to be expected given the conditions).

HIGHLIGHTS:
Citrine Wagtail:
1cy still on Da Water
Arctic Warbler: adult still in the Plantation
Barred Warbler: one still at Vaila's Trees

Other sightings:
6 Teal, 3 Golden Plover, 6 Knot, Whimbrel, 2 Cormorant, Grey Heron, 3 Sand Martin, 3 Willow Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Grasshopper Warbler (North Shirva still), 3 Redwing (all 'resident' birds), Lesser Redpoll (trapped and ringed at Plantation), Lapland Bunting (Quoy).

Year List: 187
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Friday 4th September 2020
Weather:
a strong SW wind, bringing a few heavy showers at first and again later on, although some nice sunny spells in between
Still an unpromising wind direction, but still some birds coming in, despite the birding being tough at times. There's a bit of hope of something westerly given the forecast, but that always feels a bit of a long shot at this time of year, when we're all really after winds from the east.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Citrine Wagtail:
1cy on Da Water; first of the autumn and 82nd for the Isle (if accepted)
Arctic Warbler: 2; one at Schoolton was presumed to be the lingering 1cy and the ringed adult was still in the Plantation
Common Rosefinch: one still at Vaila's Trees

Other sightings:
2 Wigeon, 10 Teal, 9 Golden Plover, 58 Ringed Plover, 134 Turnstone, 6 Knot, 10 Sanderling, 13 Dunlin, 49 Snipe, Green Sandpiper, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Sooty Shearwater, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Kestrel, 64 Skylark, 11 Swallow, 4 Willow Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Redwing, 94 Wheatear, 17 White Wagtail, 295 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit (Da Water), 142 Rock Pipit, 134 Twite, 3 Linnet, 'North-western Redpoll' (one at South Naaversgill is the first record of this subspecies group this year), Lesser Redpoll (Plantation).

Year List: 187
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Thursday 3rd September 2020
Weather:
quite calm at first with a developing SW wind during the day. Although largely sunny, there were some heavy showers and low cloud in the afternoon, and it became windy with heavy rain overnight.
It felt like there should be a bit more drifty stuff than there was. The species list was a decent one, comprising mostly lingering birds, although there was a small wildfowl arrival and some seawatching movement.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Arctic Warbler:
2; one at Lower Leogh was presumed to be the Meadow Burn bird from Tuesday, whilst the ringed individual was still in the Plantation
Barred Warbler: 2; singles at Schoolton and Quoy
Common Rosefinch: one at the Lower Stoneybrek crop strip and surrounding area
Rose-coloured Starling: 1cy still present at Schoolhouse

Other sightings:
8 Wigeon, 22 Teal, Tufted Duck, Water Rail (1cy Setter; first of the autumn), 5 Golden Plover, 73 Ringed Plover, Whimbrel, 164 Turnstone, 59 Knot (including 54 that moved east past South Light in the morning), 9 Sanderling, 13 Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, 45 Redshank, 82 Common Gull, 9 Arctic Skua, 21 Razorbill, Great Northern Diver (past South Light), 6 Sooty Shearwater (past South Light later in the day), 3 Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron, Kestrel, 64 Skylark, 7 Swallow, 6 Willow Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler (still in North Shirva thistles), Garden Warbler (Schoolton), 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Redwing, 3 Pied Flycatcher (North Raeva, Lerness and Wester Lother), 80 Wheatear, 18 White Wagtail, 272 Meadow Pipit, 2 Tree Pipit (Da Water and Lower Leogh), 202 Rock Pipit, 158 Twite, 3 Linnet, Redpoll sp?, Lapland Bunting (Wester Lother; first of the autumn).

Year List: 187

Other wildlife:
2 Red Admiral
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Wednesday 2nd September 2020
Weather:
a southerly gale, picking up through the day, with a couple of light showers then heavy rain late in the afternoon.
A difficult day for census, with very strong winds making the cliffs decidely awkward for birding and the vegetation on the Isle top being whipped around. Not many signs of new arrivals, although there was another addition to the year list.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Arctic Warbler:
ringed adult still present in the Plantation
Barred Warbler: one roaming between Quoy and Schoolton
Common Rosefinch: one at Chalet
Rose-coloured Starling: still present at Schoolhouse

Other sightings:
2 Wigeon, 12 Teal, 12 Golden Plover, 42 Ringed Plover, 135 Turnstone, 3 Knot, 8 Sanderling, 2 Dunlin, Purple Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, 64 Redshank, 2 Arctic Tern, 16 Arctic Skua (mostly birds passing South Light), 5 Sooty Shearwater (4 east past the south coast and one off Buness; first of the year and the latest first arrival date since pre-1991), 6 Cormorant, Grey Heron, 44 Skylark, 3 Swallow, 6 Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler (a ringed bird at Quoy), Grasshopper Warbler (one again at North Shirva thistles), Redwing, 45 Wheatear, 5 White Wagtail, 315 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit (Da Water), 140 Rock Pipit, 75 Twite.

Year List: 187
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Tuesday 1st September 2020
Weather:
fresh SSE or S wind, largely sunny.
A pleasant day, with another rarity (albeit the same species as yesterday!), the flight made it in and all is well with the world.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Arctic Warbler: 2
; the adult from yesterday was at the Vaadal and a newly arrived 1CY was at Nether Taft then Meadow Burn
Barred Warbler: one at Lower Leogh
Common Rosefinch: 2; sightings at several locations in the south probably related to the same two birds
Rose-coloured Starling: lingering juvenile still present at Schoolhouse

Other sightings:
13 Teal, 17 Golden Plover, 56 Ringed Plover, 68 Turnstone, Knot, 7 Sanderling, 8 Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, 4 Arctic Skua (most of the population has now left the Isle), 3 Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron, Peregrine (adult male), 53 Skylark, 5 Swallow, 5 Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler, 3 Redwing, Song Thrush, 3 Pied Flycatcher (Mast and Gully birds still present and one at South Raeva), Redstart (Chapel Plantation), 70 Wheatear, 10 White Wagtail, 240 Meadow Pipit, 160 Rock Pipit, 122 Twite, Linnet, 2 Crossbill (Ward Hill).

Year List: 186
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Monday 31st August 2020
Weather:
absolutely flat calm at first, with a freshening wind from the SE or SSE through the day. Largely sunny.
An incredibly beautiful start to the day (a thought unfortunately shared by midges, which were present in abundance early on), which had clearly delivered some birds. A decent rarity (no longer a BB, but always still a special one, and one that Fair Isle has a good record for) and some migrants scattered around added to the excitement. It was a good day for transport as well, with the Good Shepherd making lamb runs to Shetland and three planes.
That's another month gone, with the year list at the end of August being a healthy 186 (the average in the last five years at the same stage is 187), which shows it's been a good birding year when you consider there was no spring census. Next it's the big one next - September, surely the 'classic' Fair Isle month, with expectations always high. What will the month bring, a few Fair Isle specials for this year's team hopefully (who are all in their first season with FIBO), maybe the first Yellow-breasted Bunting since 2006, perhaps even something bigger? A phrase we heard recently from one of our regular visitors was 'high anticipation birding', which sums up September on Fair Isle perfectly!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Arctic Warbler:
an adult at Leogh was later relocated at the Chapel Plantation; first of the year and 99th record for Fair Isle
Common Rosefinch: 2; sightings at various locations around the south of the Isle
Rose-coloured Starling: the juvenile commuting between Schoolhouse compost bin and the Stoneybrek area

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, 3 Teal, Golden Plover, 54 Ringed Plover, 10 Sanderling, 11 Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, 2 Cormorant, 3 Grey Heron, 44 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin, 10 Swallow, Wood Warbler (Vaila's Trees), 5 Willow Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler (Shirva), Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat (Upper Leogh), Blackbird (female North Shirva), 2 Redwing, Spotted Flycatcher (Obs), 2 Pied Flycatcher (Mast and Gully), Redstart (Chapel Plantation), Whinchat (Mast), 59 Wheatear, 9 White Wagtail, 245 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit (Da Water), 145 Rock Pipit, 88 Twite, 3 Linnet.

Year List: 186

Other wildlife:
Small Tortoiseshell
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Sunday 30th August 2020
Weather:
light NW wind, easing slightly through the day. Cloudy with showers at first but sunny from late morning.
A quiet day for arrivals, although a very pleasant wander. The Good Shepherd made its delayed sailing from yesterday, with lamb runs due this week.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Common Rosefinch:
2 at Haa
Rose-coloured Starling: the juvenile still around Schoolhouse for most of the day

Other sightings:
Teal, 4 Golden Plover, 2 Knot, 7 Sanderling, 12 Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, 10 Razorbill, 2 Puffin, 6 Cormorant, Peregrine, 45 Skylark, 10 Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Redwing, Spotted Flycatcher (Obs), Pied Flycatcher, 40 Wheatear, 2 White Wagtail, 362 Meadow Pipit, 156 Rock Pipit, 83 Twite, 9 Linnet, Crossbill.

Year List: 185

Other wildlife:
10 Risso's Dolphin:
a very active group that moved west off South Light in the evening
Peacock (North Light), Red Admiral
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Saturday 29th August 2020
Weather:
A strong NNW wind, mostly sunny but with showery at times.
Very little new to report in not very good weather for new arrivals. Things were quiet enough for an enterprising attempt at a 2.5hr seawatch off South Light in the afternoon - but still no Sooty Shearwater for the year list! We're a bit more hopeful for next week though...

HIGHLIGHTS:
Rose-coloured Starling:
the juvenile was at Schoolhouse for most of the day, where it generally fed in the compost bin and proved rather aggresive towards and somewhat dominant over the local Starlings.
Barred Warbler: one at Schoolton

Other sightings:
Teal, Knot, 9 Sanderling, 2 Dunlin, Green Sandpiper (Gully), 48 Great Skua (still birds about on the Isle, but 48 west past South Light was an interesting movement), 2 Guillemot, 10 Razorbill, 6 Grey Heron, Kestrel (one 'in-off' at South Light), Peregrine (a Fulmar-oiled bird at Shirva), 6 Willow Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat (Lower Leogh), Redwing, 2 Spotted Flycatcher (School Brae and Obs), Redstart (Quoy), 7 Linnet, 2 Crossbill (juveniles, South Harbour).

Year List: 185
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Friday 28th August 2020
Weather:
Fresh or strong NNW, showery at first with prolonged rain from early morning, then a showery late afternoon with some sunny spells.
Rather unpleasant in the end, with rain somewhat spoiling the day, although there was still some nice stuff out there with a couple of decent rarities!

HIGHLIGHTS:
THRUSH NIGHTINGALE:
an elusive individual at Utra in the afternoon
Rose-coloured Starling: a juvenile at Lower Stoneybrek then fed out towards the Raevas

Other sightings:
7 Sanderling, 6 Dunlin, Greenshank, Arctic Tern, 2 Cormorant, Swallow, 15 Willow Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat (Obs), Redwing, 2 Spotted Flycatcher (School Brae and Obs), Pied Flycatcher, Redstart (1cy Burkle; first of the autumn), 3 Linnet, 2 Crossbill (juveniles, South Harbour).

Year List: 185
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Thursday 27th August 2020
Weather:
rather pleasant, with sunshine after a cloudy start (that brought some light rain early on), a light WNW wind.
A couple of new migrants and a bit of a cetacean-fest made for an interesting day.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Common Rosefinch:
1cy at Meadow Burn then roaming the south
Red-backed Shrike: 1cy still around Meadow Burn
Barred Warbler: 1cy still in the Burkle and Haa area

Other sightings:
2 Teal, Whimbrel, 3 Knot, 10 Sanderling, 10 Dunlin, Greenshank, 5 Arctic Tern, 5 Cormorant, 5 Grey Heron, 2 Kestrel, 36 Skylark, 4 Swallow, House Martin, 24 Willow Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Redwing, Song Thrush (Gully), 2 Spotted Flycatcher (Hjukni Geo and Obs; first of the autumn), 2 Pied Flycatcher, 88 Wheatear, 7 White Wagtail, 229 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit (Da Water), 130 Rock Pipit, 115 Twite, 8 Linnet, 3 Crossbill (female and juvenile at Houll and juvenile at Haa).

Year List: 185

Other wildlife:
3 Killer Whale: seen from a fishing vessel 12 miles east of the Isle (the fishing boat was visible from land, the whales weren't unfortunately!)
Minke Whale: one distantly from North Light
4 White-beaked Dolphin: a number of dolphins were seen distantly off the east coast, with sightings later from North Light thought to involve the same animals, which were positively identified. Distance and behavior meant that there may have been more present than these counts.
4 Risso's Dolphin: seen off North Light at the same time as the White-beaked Dolphins
2 Red Admiral
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Wednesday 26th August 2020
Weather:
a cloudy day with a fresh NW wind, occasional light showers.
At last, a fall! Not a massive one, but a fall none the less, which made for very pleasant birding. A rarity capped the day in unusual circumstances and we're looking forward to see what tomorrow brings.

HIGHLIGHTS:
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL: a 1CY landed in the Schoolhouse garden calling before heading south and vanishing towards Malcolm's Head. Remarkably, as it left the Schoolhouse garden, it stopped and landed on a driftwood log that the Warden was carrying to Schoolhouse at the time!
Red-backed Shrike:
a 1CY bird around Chapel area appeared to be a new arrival
Barred Warbler: one at the Haa

Other sightings:
3 Greylag Goose, 3 Teal, 11 Golden Plover, Ruff, 4 Sanderling, 11 Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Arctic Tern, 2 Razorbill, Red-throated Diver, Cormorant, Grey Heron (an adult on the cliffs at North Raeva moved to the Pund nettles), 3 Kestrel, Peregrine, 18 Skylark, 3 Swallow, House Martin, 24 Willow Warbler (the first double-figure count of the autumn), Reed Warbler (Walli Burn), 2 Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat (Skadan), 3 Redwing, Song Thrush (Gully), 3 Pied Flycatcher (highest count of the autumn so far), 100 Wheatear, 3 White Wagtail, 224 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit (North Shirva), 140 Rock Pipit, 145 Twite, 5 Linnet.

Year List: 185
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Tuesday 25th August 2020
Weather:
very calm at first, with a freshening wind from SE then more NE later. Sunny at first, clouding over later.
It was always a bit of a long shot that these conditions would bring much, but despite that, it was still a bit quieter than hoped.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Barred Warbler: one still at Burkle

Other sightings:
3 Greylag Goose, 8 Teal, 9 Golden Plover, 15 Knot (including 14 that arrived in-off the sea at South Light in the evening), Curlew Sandpiper (still present on Easter Lother Water), 2 Sanderling, 7 Dunlin, 40 Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Arctic Tern, 2 Guillemot, 2 Razorbill, Puffin, 12 Cormorant (a flock that flew north through the Haven), 2 Kestrel, 55 Skylark, 8 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff (first of the autumn), 4 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat (Lower Leogh), Whitethroat (still at Pund), 3 Redwing, Song Thrush (the summering bird seen in the Gully), 2 Whinchat, 130 Wheatear, 5 White Wagtail (along with 6 Pied and 15 unidentified alba wagtails), 266 Meadow Pipit, 2 Tree Pipit (Obs and North Shirva), 178 Rock Pipit, 99 Twite, 3 Linnet.

Year List: 184

Other wildlife:
5-6 White-sided Dolphin: off Dronger, although distant
Painted Lady, 2 Silver Y
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Monday 24th August 2020
Weather:
a fresh WNW wind, calming later. Mostly sunny, although a couple of showers
A quiet day for new arrivals, but another addition to the year list.

HIGHLIGHTS:
WESTERN BONELLI'S WARBLER: still showing well at Midway, where it was calling occasionally and proving itself to be a Western.
Icterine Warbler: still at Wirvie
Barred Warbler:
2; singles at Burkle and the Leogh area still
Red-backed Shrike:
Schoolton (but no sign of the long-staying female at the Obs)

Other sightings:
3 Greylag Goose, Shoveler (Da Water), 2 Wigeon, 6 Teal, 7 Golden Plover, Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper (juvenile on Easter Lother Water; the first autumn record since 2011, although there were spring birds in 2018 and 2019), Sanderling, 6 Dunlin, Jack Snipe (one flushed by an Isle resident from Boini Mire; first of the autumn), Green Sandpiper (Buness), 2 Arctic Tern, Razorbill, Puffin (one seen taking fish into Green Holm), 4 Cormorant, Grey Heron, 3 Kestrel, 46 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin (Da Water), 11 Swallow, 6 Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler (Lower Stoneybrek), Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, 4 Redwing, 2 Whinchat, 135 Wheatear, 14 White Wagtail (along with 5 Pied and 10 unidentified alba wagtails), 239 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit (Shirva), 127 Rock Pipit, 115 Twite, 5 Linnet.

Year List: 184

Other wildlife:
Painted Lady
Convolvulous Hawk-moth: one found on flowers at Shirva
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Sunday 23rd August 2020
Weather:
a quite strong WNW wind, with largely sunny conditions.
Not a huge amount new in, but those birds did include an absolute stunner of an addition to the year list.

HIGHLIGHTS:
WESTERN BONELLI'S WARBLER: a confiding little beauty was found feeding on the Angelicas at Midway. It remained silent, so was trapped to try to confirm identification, with the biometrics strongly suggesting 'Western'. A dropping and a couple of feathers shed during ringing will be sent for DNA analysis and should confirm the identification. The fifth record for Fair Isle if accepted (with one unidentified Bonelli's Warbler sp?).
Rose-coloured Starling: a juvenile flushed from Houll was later seen (perched on a sheep) near Shirva; the earliest juvenile to arrive on Fair Isle since one on the same date in 1968, with the only earlier record involving one on 22nd August 1950. Also, a long-dead adult was found in Midway, presumably one of the individuals from the spring.
Barred Warbler: 2; singles at Lower Leogh and Burkle
Red-backed Shrike:
2; Obs and the south-east (both lingering birds)

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, Shoveler (Da Water), 2 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 7 Golden Plover, Wood Sandpiper (Utra), Grey Heron, 2 Kestrel, Peregrine (female), 7 Willow Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat (Lower Leogh), Whitethroat, Redwing, 4 Whinchat, 5 White Wagtail, Tree Pipit (Chalet), Mealy Redpoll, Lesser Redpoll (the same two redpolls as seen on 19th, with sightings since then presumably also relating to the same birds).

Year List: 183

Other wildlife:
Painted Lady
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Saturday 22nd August 2020
Weather:
Moderate SW wind, drizzly with low cloud and fog on west.
Despite unpromising condiions, there were a few new arrivals; not many, but it's a start.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Icterine Warbler: one again in the Wirvie Burn
Red-backed Shrike:
2 still

Other sightings:
2 Greylag Goose, Shoveler (still on Da Water), 12 Teal, 7 Golden Plover, 68 Ringed Plover, 3 Knot, 4 Sanderling, 15 Dunlin, 43 Redshank, Wood Sandpiper (Meoness), 8 Arctic Tern, Guillemot (with no Puffins seen today), Fulmar (fledged), 4 Cormorant, 3 Grey Heron, 4 Kestrel, 21 Skylark, 6 Swallow, 7 Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler (Leogh), Reed Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler (Lower Leogh), 3 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat (Lower Leogh), Whitethroat, Goldcrest (one in South Harbou; a very early arrival date), 4 Redwing, 128 Wheatear, 8 White Wagtail (along with 4 Pied and 11 unidentified alba wagtails), 172 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit (Chalet), 116 Rock Pipit, 80 Twite, 2 Linnet, Mealy Redpoll (and Redpoll sp?), Crossbill.

Year List: 182
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Friday 21st August 2020
Weather:
Moderate SSE wind, rain then low cloud at first then sunny later, with low cloud returning later.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: 2; with lingering birds at Obs and Schoolton area

Other sightings:
Shoveler (Da Water), Teal, 42 Oystercatcher, 16 Golden Plover, 65 Ringed Plover, 155 Turnstone, 3 Knot, 7 Sanderling, 17 Dunlin, 30 Purple Sandpiper, 3 Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper (Utra scrape), 11 Arctic Tern, Puffin (very few still around now), 3 Cormorant, Grey Heron, 4 Kestrel, 22 Skylark, 3 Swallow, 5 Willow Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Blackbird (male, Midway), 3 Redwing, 3 Whinchat, 142 Wheatear, 10 White Wagtail (along with 3 Pied and 15 unidentified alba wagtails), 192 Meadow Pipit, 161 Rock Pipit, 82 Twite, Linnet, .

Year List: 182

Other wildlife:
Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Silver Y
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Thursday 20th August 2020
Weather:
strong ESE wind built up overnight and continued into the before backing more southerly and dropping to fresh or moderate. Heavy rain and low cloud throughout the morning, clearing to a sunny, warm afternoon.
It was hoped the conditions would lead to a fall (we're still waiting for our first of the autumn), but it didn't really happen. That said, there were seemingly a few new migrants later on.


HIGHLIGHTS:
Icterine Warbler: 2; a new arrival at Wirvie Burn and one still around the Schoolton area
Red-backed Shrike:
3 lingering birds; adult female at the Obs and two still in the south-west
Barred Warbler: one still at Burkle

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, 9 Teal, 26 Oystercatcher, Whimbrel, 88 Turnstone, 5 Knot, 3 Ruff (2 Suka Mire, 1 Easter Lother), 8 Sanderling, 14 Dunlin, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper (Utra scrape), Greenshank (Buness), Arctic Skua (a fledged juvenile on Ward Hill brings a successful breeding season to an end for the species, with 26 chicks fledged from 27 territories), 15 Arctic Tern (Buness; including a newly fledged chick), Razorbill (one off South Light was the first since early August), 2 Cormorant, Grey Heron, 3 Kestrel, 29 Skylark, 7 Swallow, 5 Willow Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler (2 Gully), 4 Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat (Klinger's Geo; first of the autumn), Whitethroat, Blackbird (male, Midway), 4 Redwing, Pied Flycatcher (Lower Stoneybrek), 2 Whinchat, 175 Wheatear, 7 Pied Wagtail (along with 18 White and 25 unidentified alba wagtails), 217 Meadow Pipit, 115 Rock Pipit, 65 Twite, 2 Redpoll sp? (over Chalet), 2 Crossbill (Dronger and Burkle).

Year List: 182

Other wildlife:
2 Red Admiral, 2 Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell (Dronger), Silver Y
The Bioluminescence again put on a wonderful overnight show in South Haven and was twitched by several Islanders
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Wednesday 19th August 2020
Weather:
low cloud over the hills, with some fog across the Isle at times, although also some sunny spells until later when the cloud dropped and some rain set in. A light E or ENE wind.
A better day than expected, but still not much visibility in the North (so counts will be somewhat lower for some species). Census failed to produce much in the way of new birds, but a few insects were new in and there were still things to see.


HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: 2; at least one juvenile in the south and the female still at the Obs
Barred Warbler: 2; singles at Burkle/Haa and Lower Leogh
Icterine Warbler: still present and showing well at Midway in the Angelica

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, 7 Teal, 45 Oystercatcher, 17 Golden Plover, 50 Turnstone, Knot, 2 Sanderling, 25 Dunlin, Green Sandpiper (Buness), Wood Sandpiper (Utra scrape), Great Northern Diver (still off Hesti Geo), 71 Storm Petrel (trapped overnight in the Haven), 5 Cormorant, 9 Grey Heron, Kestrel, Peregrine, 23 Skylark, 7 Swallow, 4 Willow Warbler, 3 Reed Warbler (2 Gully and Meadow Burn), 3 Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Blackbird (a female trapped at Burkle was presumably one of the Midway breeding pair, and had been ringed on the Isle on 19th November 2019, a rare example of an apparent 'resident' bird), 3 Redwing, Whinchat (Boini Mire), 140 Wheatear, 10 Pied Wagtail (along with 2 White and 13 unidentified alba wagtails), 129 Meadow Pipit, 117 Rock Pipit, 76 Twite, 8 Linnet, 'Mealy Redpoll' (juvenile), Lesser Redpoll (one with the a Mealy Redpoll at Upper Stoneybrek), Crossbill.

Year List: 182

Other wildlife:
4 Painted Lady, 4 Red Admiral, 4 Silver Y
A spectacular display of Bioluminescence in South Haven overnight was a bonus for Storm Petrel ringers
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Tuesday 18th August 2020
Weather:
fog from the start of the day lingered throughout, a light SE or ESE breeze.
No chance of a full census given the very poor visibility throughout the day. No chance of planes either, although the
Good Shepherd IV sailed. A scatter of birds were seen, although what was visible suggested little in the way of new movement. Tomorrow's forecast isn't great either...

HIGHLIGHTS:
Common Rosefinch: adult male still present
Red-backed Shrike: female still at the Obs
Barred Warbler: 2; Upper Leogh and Burkle
Icterine Warbler: one still at Midway

Other sightings:
Teal, Tufted Duck (male, Da Water), 3 Golden Plover, Green Sandpiper (Gully), 3 Grey Heron, Kestrel, 5 Swallow, 4 Willow Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler (Gully), Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Redwing (juvenile), Whinchat (Midway), 'Mealy Redpoll' (juvenile, Schoolhouse).

Year List: 182

Other wildlife:
Minke Whale - one 7 miles North of North Light (seen from the Good Shepherd IV)
Harbour Porpoise - at least six 3 miles North of North Light (seen from the Good Shepherd IV)
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Monday 17th August 2020
Weather:
fog at first, but quickly lifting, with a mostly cloudy day seeing a couple of sunny spells, with a fresh NE breeze.
Although the forecast hadn't looked great, it was a much better day than expected. Not too much in the way of birds, but that allowed a bit of end of season seabird ringing and some trap repairs to be done after census. The Obs rebuild appeal was launched (check the main section of the website for details) which also kept folk busy. The messages of support, offers of help and donations have been wonderful, so thank you to everyone who has been in touch so far.


HIGHLIGHTS:
Common Rosefinch: the red adult male was still pinging around in the south-east.
Red-backed Shrike: 2; lingering birds at Obs (female) and Chapel area (1cy).
Barred Warbler: one still at Burkle.
Icterine Warbler: still around the Midway area.

Other sightings:
Teal, Tufted Duck (male again on Da Water), 22 Oystercatcher, 15 Golden Plover, 66 Ringed Plover, 3 Sanderling, 22 Dunlin, 2 Green Sandpiper, 42 Redshank, Wood Sandpiper (still around Utra), Arctic Skua (single chicks fledged at Johnny Arcus Park and the Airstrip, leaving just one active nest), Great Northern Diver (still off South Light), 8 Cormorant, 9 Grey Heron, 2 Kestrel, Peregrine, 36 Skylark, 8 Swallow, 6 Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, 4 Redwing (adult and three juveniles still), 2 Whinchat, 150 Wheatear, 14 Pied Wagtail (along with 17 White and 19 unidentified alba wagtails), 188 Meadow Pipit, 160 Rock Pipit, 61 Twite, 9 Linnet, 'Mealy Redpoll', Crossbill.

Year List: 182

Other wildlife:
2 Silver Y
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Sunday 16th August 2020
Weather:
Fog and low cloud drifting in and out throughout the day with a cool NW breeze developing.
No full census due to the conditions, although still some birds around.


HIGHLIGHTS:
Mediterranean Gull: still present, although moved to Kenaby before dropping into Da Water.
Common Rosefinch:
an adult male at Burkle
Barred Warbler:
one at Haa
Red-backed Shrike:
2; lingering birds at Obs and Schoolton
Icterine Warbler: still around Midway

Other sightings:
36 Golden Plover, Knot, Sanderling, Wood Sandpiper (still present), Great Northern Diver (still off Hesti Geo), 2 Willow Warbler, Whinchat.

Year List: 182
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Saturday 15th August 2020
Weather:
a slightly breezy W wind easing through the day to a totally calm evening, sun throughout most of the day and a rather warm afternoon.
A rare day of Midge horrificness, with the calm evening seeing lots of folk on the Isle eating outside and then scuttling back in again! The birding continued to throw up a few highlights without delivering much in the way of numbers (although there was an increase in waders), but there was an addition to the year list for the first time this month.


HIGHLIGHTS:
Mediterranean Gull: a moulting 3cy was on the sea fairly distantly of Hjukni before relocating to South Light later in the evening; fourth Fair Isle record following birds in October 1995, July 2016 and October 2018.
Red-backed Shrike:
3; birds remaining at Obs, Chapel Plantation and Meadow Burn.
Barred Warbler: 3; singles at Gully, Setter and Boini Mire.
Icterine Warbler: still present around Midway and Shirva.

Other sightings:
5 Greylag Goose, 22 Oystercatcher, 32 Golden Plover, 60 Ringed Plover, Whimbrel, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Knot, 2 Sanderling, 17 Dunlin, 10 Purple Sandpiper, 3 Green Sandpiper, 51 Redshank, Wood Sandpiper (still around Utra), 19 Cormorant (largest count since 2011), 4 Grey Heron, 3 Kestrel, Peregrine (adult female), 46 Skylark, Sand Martin (Buness), 8 Swallow, Willow Warbler, 3 Reed Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler (again at Burkle), 3 Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, 3 Redwing, Whinchat (Midway), 220 Wheatear, 9 Pied Wagtail (along with 2 White and 8 unidentified alba wagtails), 133 Meadow Pipit, 215 Rock Pipit, 60 Twite, Linnet, 11 Crossbill.

Year List: 182

Other wildlife:
Minke Whale (one off North Light in the evening)
3 Harbour Porpoise (Meoness)
9 Red Admiral
2 Painted Lady
4 Silver Y
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Friday 14th August 2020
Weather:
very calm at first, with a very light w or NW breeze developing. Cloudy, although visibility good.
A beautiful calm day, with flat seas that were perfect for cetacean watching - at last! Migration
was on a similar level to recent days - a few more birds, but no big numbers. However, the first BBRC rarity of the autumn was found, which is always a good moment!

HIGHLIGHTS:
THRUSH NIGHTINGALE: one at Utra; 66th record for Fair Isle if accepted. The 13th autumn record, and first since 2015, only one (12th August 1977) has arrived earlier in this season.
Red-backed Shrike:
3; the same birds as yesterday, with a female still at the Obs, the ringed 1cy now around Chapel Plantation and an unringed 1cy at Meadow Burn.
Barred Warbler: 2; at least two, with one at Gully and at least one in the south-east.
Icterine Warbler: one at Schoolton and Midway.

Other sightings:
7 Greylag Goose, Tufted Duck (still on Da Water), 44 Oystercatcher, 6 Golden Plover, 23 Ringed Plover, 3 Sanderling, 9 Dunlin, 32 Purple Sandpiper, 3 Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper (Utra), 24 Redshank, Great Northern Diver (still off South Light), 6 Cormorant, 3 Grey Heron, Short-eared Owl (one circling high over Brecks looked like it was leaving the Isle), 2 Kestrel, Peregrine (adult female), 26 Skylark, 14 Swallow, 6 Willow Warbler, 4 Reed Warbler, 6 Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, 3 Redwing, 2 Pied Flycatcher, Whinchat (Da Water), 172 Wheatear, 24 Pied Wagtail (along with 6 White and 32 unidentified alba wagtails), 197 Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, 135 Rock Pipit, 73 Twite, Linnet, 17 Crossbill.

Year List: 181

Other wildlife:
2 Minke Whale (singles seen off Buness and Dronger moved down the east and west coasts respectively)
3+ Risso's Dolphin (off Meoness, moving slowly north; first sighting of the year)
3 Harbour Porpoise (one at Ditfield, two off Meoness)
Painted Lady (first of the month)
3 Silver Y
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Thursday 13th August 2020
Weather:
Fairly calm with thick fog at first. By early afternoon, a freshening NW breeze cleared the fog, although it remained cloudy. The wind eased again later in the day as cloud dropped onto the tops of the hills again.
A bit of all sorts with the weather, but it was fine enough in the afternoon to allow a plane in (after none yesterday). The morning wasn't much use for anything other than office work, so census was late starting and it was a similar picture, a couple new species for the autumn, a light scatter of scarcities but very few migrants overall.


HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike:
3; two at the Obs (one trapped and ringed) and one in the Schoolton and Burkle area.
Barred Warbler: one at Schoolton.
Icterine Warbler: one still at Schoolton.

Other sightings:
2 Teal, 63 Oystercatcher, 21 Golden Plover, 47 Ringed Plover, 9 Sanderling, 18 Dunlin, 4 Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper (Utra), 27 Redshank, Greenshank (over North Light), Puffin (still present, but mostly offshore and in vastly reduced numbers), Great Northern Diver (still off South Light), Gannet (fledged chick off Lerness, although most still have a couple of weeks to go), 11 Cormorant, 3 Grey Heron, Short-eared Owl (Boini Mire), Kestrel, 30 Skylark, 9 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler (Meadow Burn and Gully), 2 Garden Warbler, Whitethroat (Schoolton), Blackbird (male still at Midway), 5 Redwing (2 adults and 3 juveniles still), Pied Flycatcher (Gunnawark; first of the autumn [at last!]), 2 Whinchat (Da Water; first of the autumn), 160 Wheatear, 17 Pied Wagtail (along with 21 unidentified alba wagtails), 216 Meadow Pipit, 99 Rock Pipit, 80 Twite, 2 Redpoll sp?, 36 Crossbill.

Year List: 181

Other wildlife: 3 Red Admiral, Silver-Y.
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12th August 2020
Weather:
fog at first, with low cloud lingering over the hills for most of the day. A light ESE breeze becoming NW later. A brief spell of torrential rain in the early afternoon, but otherwise dry and generally mild.
It's getting there... A few species made their first appearance of the autumn and there were a couple more scarcities. It still feels that there should be more common migrants, but there's still plenty of time.


HIGHLIGHTS:
Icterine Warbler:
Schoolton; first of the autumn.
Red-backed Shrike: two
; 1CY at Obs and an adult female at Wirvie Burn.
Barred Warbler: three; singles at Burkle (trapped), with another in SE (probably the bird ringed at Chapel on 10th) and an unringed bird at Setter.

Other sightings:
5 Teal, Tufted Duck (Da Water), 60 Oystercatcher, 5 Golden Plover, 3 Sanderling, 22 Dunlin, 3 Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper (sightings from Utra Scrape, Boini Mire and Da Water were probably related to one roaming individual), 14 Black-headed Gull, 77 Common Gull, Great Northern Diver (off Green Holm), 2 Cormorant, 9 Grey Heron, Short-eared Owl (Boini Mire), 3 Kestrel, 5 Swallow, 4 Willow Warbler (highest count of the autumn so far), 2 Reed Warbler (Meadow Burn and Chapel, with unstreaked acros briefly at Boini Mire and Furse), Grasshopper Warbler (trapped at Burkle; first of the autumn), 3 Garden Warbler, 2 Whitethroat (first of the autumn), Tree Pipit (over Aesterhoull; first of the autumn), 8 Linnet, 41 Crossbill.

Year List: 181

Other wildlife: 5 Red Admiral, 6 Silver-Y.
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11th August 2020
Weather:
breezy easterly. Fog and some rain at first, giving way to a more pleasant late morning and afternoon.
A real slow-builder of a week considering the weather, but the signs are there that there are birds on the move. After the poor weather of the morning delayed census, we were hopeful that it would have dropped birds, but it was slim pickings. Another scarcity, but a marked lack of 'common' migrants (e.g. no Willow Warblers, let alone Redstarts or Pied Flys)...


HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike:
1CY on Lerness; first of the autumn and earliest autumn arrival since 2011.
Barred Warbler: one trapped in the Gully (with photos indicating it was a different bird to that seen yesterday).

Other sightings:
Shoveler (Da Water), 6 Teal, Tufted Duck (Da Water), 53 Oystercatcher, 6 Golden Plover, Whimbrel, 3 Ruff, 4 Sanderling, 10 Dunlin, 2 Green Sandpiper, Greenshank (Golden Water), 14 Black-headed Gull, 134 Common Gull, 16 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Red-throated Diver, 203 Storm Petrel (trapped overnight in Haven), 2 Cormorant, 6 Grey Heron, Short-eared Owl (Boini Mire), Kestrel, 5 Swallow, Reed Warbler (Haa; first of the autumn), 3 Garden Warbler, 241 Wheatear, 16 Pied Wagtail (along with 1 'White' and 6 unidentified alba wagtails), 223 Meadow Pipit, 150 Rock Pipit, 60 Twite, 3 Linnet, 3 'Mealy Redpoll', 22 Crossbill.

Year List: 181

Other wildlife: Silver-Y. A Cornflower in Bull's Park was an unusual sight for Fair Isle
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10th August 2020
Weather:
ESE wind, generally light or moderate. Mostly cloudy, fairly mild, although cooler at first.
Census in the morning (assume it's been full census unless we say otherwise from now until November!), then a check on the Bonxie breeding success in the afternoon. The full figures aren't in yet, but it has obviously been a poor year for the species, with rather few fledged chicks seen (certainly in comparison to the population of 400+ pairs). A day that felt more full or promise than delivering on it, but a couple decent scarcities dropped in (although very few common migrants) which has raised hopes even further for the next couple of days. The winds look pretty good tomorrow and Wednesday, although we may suffer from rain and/or fog, which is not so good. It's exciting times though and hopefully the team can soon get to experience their first Fair Isle fall.


HIGHLIGHTS:
Barred Warbler:
2; singles in the Gully and Burkle (the latter later trapped at the Chapel Plantation); first of the autumn (and first to be reported on Birdguides in the UK this autumn) and a slightly earlier than usual arrival date (although last year there were two on 1st August).

Other sightings:
3 Greylag Goose, Teal, Tufted Duck (male still on Da Water), Swift, 60 Oystercatcher, 5 Golden Plover, Whimbrel, 4 Sanderling, 24 Dunlin, 4 Green Sandpiper, Red-throated Diver, 3 Cormorant, 9 Grey Heron, Merlin, 9 Swallow, Wood Warbler (Schoolton; first of the autumn), Willow Warbler, 3 Garden Warbler, 232 Wheatear, 19 Pied Wagtail (along with 3 'White' and 9 unidentified alba wagtails), 196 Meadow Pipit, 182 Rock Pipit, 55 Twite, 8 Linnet, 5 'Mealy Redpoll', 30 Crossbill.

Year List: 181
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9th August 2020
Weather:
very calm at first, with a slight ESE breeze developing. Sunny and warm.
Another beautiful day, a few bits and pieces around with larger numbers of most of the common migrants.


HIGHLIGHTS:
Leach's Petrel:
3 trapped and ringed in the Haven overnight (the most caught in a single session since 2017)

Other sightings:
Tufted Duck (male), Woodpigeon, 47 Oystercatcher, 9 Golden Plover, Whimbrel, 4 Sanderling, 17 Dunlin, Green Sandpiper (Field Ditch), 308 Storm Petrel (trapped overnight in the Haven), 3 Cormorant, Grey Heron, Short-eared Owl (Chalet area), Peregrine, Sand Martin, 17 Swallow (including a flock fo 11 that went north off North Light), 2 Willow Warbler, 3 Garden Warbler, Blackbird (adult male still), 6 Redwing (2 adults and 3 juveniles still, plus a different moulting adult trapped at the Obs), 299 Wheatear, Dunnock (a moulting adult trapped at the Obs had been ringed there on 13th June but not seen since 7th July), 21 Pied Wagtail (along with two 'White' and 3 unidentified alba wagtails), 177 Meadow Pipit, 219 Rock Pipit, 92 Twite, 5 Linnet, 4 'Mealy Redpoll', 48 Crossbill.

Other Wildlife: Small Tortoiseshell (Dronger)

Year List: 181
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8th August 2020
Weather:
after a cool, drizzly start, the sun came out and it became warm and pleasant. A light SW wind eased to a very calm evening.
Another lovely day, a few bits and pieces of movement and even pleasant enough to have outdoor Log (a vast improvement on 'socially-distanced phone Log'!) complete with a green flash as the sun set. The last of the Fulmar productivity plots had their last visits and a few more Fulmar chicks were ringed around the Isle. A calm night looks good for moth catching and Stormie ringing and tomorrow could well see a few more migrants as a light south-easterly is forecast.


HIGHLIGHTS:
Hawfinch: a male at Barkland then settled on the Schoolhouse feeder for the day. Although now an annual migrant, this is the first August record for Fair Isle (although there were two in July in 2019).

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, Tufted Duck, 114 Oystercatcher, 7 Golden Plover, 4 Sanderling, 14 Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, 2 Cormorant, Merlin (Furse; first of the autumn. Although August sightings have become almost annual in recent years, this was the earliest since 1992), Sand Martin, 11 Swallow, Willow Warbler (juvenile), 2 Sedge Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, 4 Redwing (2 adults and 2 juveniles), 208 Wheatear, 145 Meadow Pipit, 165 Rock Pipit, 60 Twite, 5 Linnet, 6 'Mealy Redpoll', 48 Crossbill.

Other Wildlife: Silver Y

Year List: 181
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7th August 2020
Weather:
A fresh southerly breeze, sunny at first but clouding later and rain in the evening.
Full census saw a nice selection of birds around and there's hopefully more to come...

Sightings:
2 Greylag Goose, Shoveler (Da Water), 78 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, Whimbrel, 4 Sanderling, 12 Dunlin, 26 Purple Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper (Muckle Uri Geo; a fairly scarce bird in the autumn it was even more unusual for being on salt water), 247 Common Gull, 41 Arctic Tern (most of the breeding seabirds are now dispersing, with no Razorbill seen today for example), 2 Cormorant, Sand Martin (Hoini), 6 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler (including the first juvenile of the autumn), Sedge Warbler (Gully), 3 Garden Warbler, Blackbird (confirmed as nesting this year when a failed nest was found at Midway), 179 Wheatear, 102 Meadow Pipit, 149 Rock Pipit, 60 Twite, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', 57 Crossbill (highest count since 2009).

Other Wildlife: Silver Y

Year List: 181
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6th August 2020
Weather:
Totally calm at first, with cloud clearing as a slight southerly wind picked up. Some low cloud and fog later on. Dry and warm.
Time was taken up with Sheep Hill in the morning which went well. The afternoon saw a variety of tasks rattled out, including getting the traps repaired and primed ahead of an interesting forecast for next week... A few more Fulmar chicks ringed (always fun in the sun!) and a few bits of monitoring, as the seabird season rapidly comes towards the end.

Sightings:
3 Shoveler (Da Water; the highest count since 2012), Tufted Duck (Da Water), 2 Knot, Short-eared Owl (Byerwalls), Willow Warbler (Burkle), 3 Sedge Warbler (Plantation, Gully and Obs), Grey Wagtail (Field Ditch; the earliest autumn for Fair Isle), 'White Wagtail' (Airstrip), 7 Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll' (plus one flyover Redpoll sp?).

Year List: 181
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5th August 2020
Weather:
Mostly grey and cloudy, with regular rain (especially in the morning) and fog, with low cloud lingering on the hills for the day.
A good day for office work, but not so much for sightings.

Sightings:
Shoveler (Da Water), 2 Teal, 2 Tufted Duck (Da Water), Swift (Stoneybrek), Black-tailed Godwit (Upper Stoneybrek), 42 Turnstone, 3 Sanderling, 11 Dunlin, 29 Purple Sandpiper, 40 Redshank, 4 Cormorant, Kestrel (juvenile, Obs), Peregrine (Ditfield), 3 Swallow, Willow Warbler (Schoolton), Sedge Warbler (Lower Stoneybrek), Garden Warbler (Schoolton), 2 Crossbill (Plantation).

Year List: 181
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4th August 2020
Weather:
A fresh SSE wind, becoming SW. Sunny at first then rain from early afternoon, becoming heavy later.
With only half a day of weather according to the forecast, seabird work was the priority in the morning, with monitoring almost complete for most species now.

Sightings:
Teal, Swift, Golden Plover, Black-tailed Godwit (adult, Taft), 2 Manx Shearwater (Good Shepherd IV), 2 Carrion Crow, Willow Warbler (Schoolton).

Year List: 181
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3rd August 2020
Weather:
SW4, showers and sunny spells.
First census of the autumn and a few birds to show for it
.

Sightings:
2 Greylag Goose, Shoveler (Da Water), Tufted Duck, Swift, 108 Oystercatcher, 18 Ringed Plover, 15 Curlew, 13 Turnstone, Sanderling, 2 Dunlin, 25 Redshank, 10 Black-headed Gull, 82 Common Gull, 8 Cormorant, 2 Kestrel, 5 Carrion Crow, 8 Swallow, Willow Warbler, 3 Sedge Warbler, Blackbird (moulting adult male, Schoolton), 175 Wheatear, 120 Meadow Pipit, 110 Rock Pipit, 50 Twite, 4 Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll'.

Year List: 181
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2nd August 2020
Weather:
SW2-3, increasing 4 later, cloudy patches with some light rain in the morning, but sunny later on.
A pleasant day, with signs of autumn starting to build. Exciting times!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: adult still at South Light

Other sightings:
2 Greylag Goose, Shoveler (Da Water), 3 Teal, 2 Tufted Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Woodpigeon, 76 Oystercatcher (Meadow Burn), 2 Lapwing, Whimbrel, 89 Turnstone, Sanderling, Dunlin, 6 Purple Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, 2 Black-headed Gull, 6 Cormorant, 2 Kestrel, 3 Carrion Crow, 7 Swallow (including four fledged young at the Mast), Willow Warbler (Haa), 2 Sedge Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, 6 'Mealy Redpoll', 6 Crossbill, Siskin.

Year List: 181
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1st August 2020

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: adult South Light

Other sightings:
Shoveler (Da Water; second record of the year), Teal, 75 Oystercatcher (Meadow Burn), Golden Plover, Whimbrel, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, 4 Green Sandpiper, 4 Black-headed Gull, 117 Common Gull, 134 Arctic Tern (South Light roost), Great Northern Diver, 7 Cormorant, Short-eared Owl, 2 Kestrel (first of the autumn), Peregrine,  Carrion Crow, Sand Martin (Golden Water; first of the autumn), Willow Warbler (Skerryholm; first of the autumn), Sedge Warbler (Walli Burn; first of the autumn), 2 Garden Warbler (first of the autumn), 3 Linnet, Redpoll sp. (one over Schoolhouse), 2 Crossbill (Utra), 3 Siskin.

Year List: 181
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26th-31st July 2020

HIGHLIGHTS:
Leach's Petrel: one trapped at Muckle Uri Geo, 27th
Red-necked Phalarope: male, Golden Water on 29th
Glaucous Gull: adult on Da Water 27th, then around South Light until end of month; the first July record since 2009

Other sightings (peak counts unless otherwise specified):
4 Teal, 91 Oystercatcher (Meadow Burn), 4 Golden Plover, 5 Whimbrel, 95 Turnstone, 2 Knot, 2 Ruff (Da Water, 26th-27th with one on 31st; first of the year), 7 Sanderling, 13 Dunlin, 5 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper (29th), 40 Redshank, Greenshank, 7 Black-headed Gull, 270 Common Gull (26th), Red-throated Diver (30th), Great Northern Diver (lingering bird), 27 Storm Petrel (trapped Muckle Uri Geo 27th), Short-eared Owl (present until 28th), 2 Carrion Crow (along with 2 hybrids, possibly locally-bred birds), Garden Warbler (still at the Obs), Redwing (the breeding pair of Icelandic birds fledged at least three chicks on 30th; second breeding record for Fair Isle following a pair in 1935), Song Thrush (still in Gully 31st), 2 Linnet, 7 'Mealy Redpoll', Lesser Redpoll (26th), 18 Crossbill (peak count on 30th), 3 Siskin.

Year List: 181

Other Wildlife: 2 Large White
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21st-25th July 2020

HIGHLIGHTS:
Leach's Petrel: 2 trapped in the Haven, 23rd.

Other sightings (peak counts unless otherwise specified):
Golden Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Turnstone, 5 Knot, 10 Dunlin, 4 Purple Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper (Golden Water from 22nd; first of the autumn), Greenshank (Da Water from 22nd; first of the year), 2 Black-headed Gull, Common Gull (fledged from Buness on 21st), Common Tern (South Light, 21st), 142 Arctic Tern (roosting at South Light), Great Northern Diver (still present in North), Storm Petrel (Good Shepherd on 21st, 40 around Vaasetter overnight on 21st, 30 around Malcolm's Head overnight on 23rd, 102 trapped in Haven 23rd, 14 trapped at South Light on 25th), 3 Grey Heron (24th), Short-eared Owl (pale individual still present), 2 Swallow, Chiffchaff (adult still at Schoolton), Garden Warbler (summering bird still at the Obs), Song Thrush (Gully, 23rd), 'White Wagtail' (Golden Water, 24th), 4 Linnet, 5 'Mealy Redpoll', 6 Crossbill, Siskin.

Year List: 180

Other Wildlife: 2 Harbour Porpoise (from Good Shepherd IV on 21st), Large White (max. of 3; an unusually large count for this recently rather scarce migrant, especially given the relative paucity of other butterfly sightings this summer). Magpie Moth (23rd).
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16th-20th July 2020

HIGHLIGHTS:
Rose-coloured Starling: one still around South Ramnegeo and Wirvie until 20th.
Great Spotted Woodpecker: juvenile at Haa on 18th; first record since 2018 (and just second since 2015) and only second July arrival (first was in 2014).
Leach's Petrel: trapped in the Haven, 16th.

Other sightings (peak counts unless otherwise specified):
Teal (17th; first of the month), 2 Swift, Collared Dove (20th), Golden Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 14 Black-tailed Godwit (Meoness 18th, with 13 still on 20th), 24 Turnstone, 3 Knot, 10 Sanderling, 50 Dunlin (18th), 7 Purple Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, 71 Redshank (18th), 41 Black-headed Gull (19th), Common Gull (first passage juveniles from 19th), Common Tern (adult and two juveniles, South Harbour 16th; first of the year), Arctic Skua (first fledged chick on 19th), Red-throated Diver (19th), Great Northern Diver (lingering bird), 222 Storm Petrel (trapped, 16th), Manx Shearwater (3 off South Light, 17th), Short-eared Owl (Field then Gilsetter area from 18th), 2 Carrion Crow, 2 Swallow, 4 Linnet, 16 'Mealy Redpoll', 16 Crossbill.

Year List: 179

Other Wildlife: Harbour Porpoise (4 South Light, 20th), Large White (South Light, 20th)
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11th-15th July 2020
Weather:
a largely southerly or SW wind, strong at times but with calmer spells. Mostly mild with some sunny spells.
Seabirds continue to do well, waders and finches are on the move, the year list gained a couple of unexpected additions: things are going generally pretty well all round!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Common Rosefinch: female or immature male, Chapel Willows 11th; the first July record since 2015 (although there have now been records in this month in 11 years since 2000).
Rose-coloured Starling: what was presumably the Roskillie bird from last week was seen over the Plantation on 11th then Shirva, where it remained the following day before moving back up to the South Restengeo area on 14th-15th.
Leach's Petrel: birds trapped on 11th (two) and 15th; first of the year.
Red-necked Phalarope: a migrant male on Da Water on 14th
Sandwich Tern: one in the Haven on 15th; first record since 2016

Other sightings (peak counts unless otherwise specified):
2 Swift (15th), Golden Plover, 6 Whimbrel, Curlew (several migrant flocks on the move), 23 Turnstone, Dunlin (13th), 36 Purple Sandpiper (13th; first of the autumn), Common Sandpiper (13th; first of the autumn), 18 Redshank, Black-headed Gull (small numbers including the first juveniles from 15th), 80 Common Gull (migrants on the move on 15th), Arctic Tern (over 90 chicks fledged from Buness, 25 2cy birds also in roost), Red-throated Diver (11th and 13th), Great Northern Diver (non-breeding plumaged bird still around Furse), Storm Petrel (102 trapped on 11th, 140 on 15th), 2 Grey Heron (15th), Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow (and a hybrid), Swallow, House Martin (13th), Chiffchaff (worn adult), Garden Warbler (Obs), Blackbird (female), 6 Linnet, 16 'Mealy Redpoll' (the family party of two adults and four fledged chicks remained at the Obs, with migrants scattered elsewhere across the Isle, with numbers peaking on 15th), Lesser Redpoll (at least one with Mealy Redpolls on 13th; first of the year), 12 Crossbill, 2 Siskin.

Year List: 177

Other Wildlife:
Killer Whales: a group seen distantly off South Harbour on 14th
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6th-10th July 2020
Weather:
Strong NW winds and showers to start, feeling very cool, before winds dropped and backed more SW or S, bringing sunshine and warmer conditions.
Seabird monitoring again took up the bulk of the time, but any work that involves being outside on Fair Isle is going to have the chance of bumping in to some good birds, whilst the team continued to make the most of any spare time by getting out birding which also turned up the odd sign of movement.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Rose-coloured Starling: an adult seen during the Puffin feedwatch count at Roskillie on 8th as it flew along the clifftop. Probably the best bird found on a Puffin feedwatch over the years!

Sightings (peak counts unless otherwise specified):
4 Greylag Goose (8th), Red-breasted Merganser, Golden Plover, 5 Whimbrel, 7 Turnstone, Dunlin, 24 Redshank, Black-headed Gull, 47 Arctic Tern (South Light roost on 9th, including 17 2cy birds. The breeding colony on Buness continues to thrive, with the first fledged chicks seen on 8th), Guillemot (large numbers fledging from Kristal Kame during the evening of 8th), Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver (non-breeding plumaged bird still lingering around the north of the Isle), 125 Storm Petrel (trapped in the early hours of 10th), 5 Carrion Crow, 4 Swallow, Chiffchaff (worn adult, Schoolton, 10th), Reed Warbler (trapped in Plantation, 10th), Blackcap (female, Vaila's Trees, 8th), Garden Warbler (still at Obs), Dunnock (Obs), 4 Linnet, 3 'Mealy Redpoll' (including two recently fledged chicks at Obs on 8th from the first Fair Isle breeding record), 5 Crossbill, Siskin (7th, Gully).

Year List: 174

Other Wildlife:
Whale sp.: one surfaced once off North Light on 8th; a decent-sized, fairly tall, blow suggested a large whale species, rather than Minke but unfortunately it wasn't seen again.
'Cabbage White': a white sp? (probably Large), 9th
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1st-5th July 2020
Weather:
Cool, with a west or north-west airflow, although some pleasant weather, especially on Friday. Spells of rain, especially on Sunday.
Spring migration has surely now come to an end, with the movements of birds noted being largely summer dispersal of northern finches and some returning waders. Seabird work continues to take up the bulk of the staff time when the weather is suitable, with a 20.5 hour feedwatch of Guillemots on Friday being a highlight of the week. It doesn't feel all that summery, with temperatures generally in very low double figures, but there's usually a sheltered side to the building or sunny patch somewhere to enjoy outdoors - especially with social distancing measures on children under 12 being eased in Scotland allowing some normal outdoor play just in time for the start of the school holidays, which has been especially enjoyed by the Obs kids and their friends!

Sightings (peak counts unless otherwise specified):
3 Greylag Goose (north on 3rd), Wigeon (north on 5th), 2 Tufted Duck (males on 1st-2nd), 2 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, Golden Plover (2nd), 3 Whimbrel, 16 Turnstone, Knot (Muckle Uri Geo, 5th), 2 Dunlin, 15 Redshank, 5 Black-headed Gull, 2 Red-throated Diver (over Isle on 3rd and 5th), 'blue' Fulmar (went south over Furse on 3rd), Cormorant (3rd-4th), Kestrel, Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, Hooded Crow (first fledged birds of the year seen on 5th at South Raeva), 2 Swallow, Willow Warbler (Lower Leogh, 2nd), Blackcap (female, Obs, 3rd), Garden Warbler (Obs, 3rd), Blackbird (male), Black Redstart (Vaadal, 2nd), Dunnock (lingering ringed bird, Gully), 6 Linnet, 7 'Mealy Redpoll' (numbers building up at Obs through the period), Crossbill (4 on 3rd, 6 on 5th).

Year List: 174

Other Wildlife:
Silver Y, 4 Magpie Moth (3rd)
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Tuesday 30th June 2020
Weather:
a moderate NW wind, cloudy a lot of the time, although some sunny spells and milder than expected.
Still good enough weather for seabird work, but despite that, more quality birds. What a late spring spell this is! Surely with the forecast northerlies, that's it now?...

HIGHLIGHTS:
BOOTED WARBLER: a singing bird intially seen briefly at Vaila's Trees moved to Shirva where it showed very well on occasions. If accepted, the 16th record for Fair Isle, but first since 2016, and first spring record.
Rose-coloured Starling: one on Dronger continued the excellent spring for this species

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, Red-breasted Merganser, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Whimbrel, Turnstone, Redshank, Manx Shearwater (two from Good Shepherd IV), Cormorant, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Carrion Crow, Swallow, House Martin, Willow Warbler (a 'northern' bird at Haa), Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Dunnock, Linnet (including at least three fledged juveniles at the Obs).

Year List: 174

Other Wildlife:
3 Red Admiral, 7 Silver Y, Hummingbird Hawk-moth (Shirva; first of the year).
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Friday-Monday 26th-29th June 2020
Weather:
the wind remained in the SE, quite fresh at times, with poor visibility and rain at times. Monday saw a switch to a more northerly wind later in the day, with the cloud closing in and bringing rain with it.
The team cracked on with seabird work where possible and, although the predictions were in the 'Oriental Plover, Pallas's Sandgrouse' league, it never quite came to pass. The sea state prevented the Good Shepherd IV from making its sailing, although there was a plane on Friday. It looks like we're getting some winds from Siberia next week, although as they appear to be coming over the top of the North Pole, it seems that colder conditions is more likely than big rarities. With the June run of birds though, the epic end to 1992's spring, which saw Brown Flycatcher and Pacific Golden Plover in early July is still being murmured about!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Crane: one seen by an islander on 29th as it flew towards Quoy, but disappeared

Other sightings (maximum counts in period):
10 Greylag Goose, Tufted Duck (male, Golden Water 28th), Red-breasted Merganser (male, 28th-29th), Woodpigeon, Turtle Dove (the second of the year was at Field on 26th), Collared Dove, Whimbrel, Bar-tailed Godwit (29th), 3 Turnstone, 7 Redshank, Razorbill (first fledged chick departed its nest in Mavers Geo on 26th), Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Kestrel, Carrion Crow, 4 Swallow, House Martin, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler (Schoolton, 28th), 2 Blackcap (pair at Schoolton), Garden Warbler (Plantation, 26th), Lesser Whitethroat (27th-28th), 'Fair Isle Wren (fledged youngsters at Jivvy Geo on 28th), 2 Blackbird, Song Thrush (26th), Dunnock (ringed bird at Schoolhouse), 3 Linnet, Crossbill (2 on 26th, 1 27th and 3 28th), 3 Siskin.

Year List: 173

Other Wildlife:
23 Red Admiral, 4 Painted Lady, 25 Silver Y, White Satin Moth (Obs, 26th; first for Fair Isle).
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Thursday 25th June 2020
Weather:
Fresh SE breeze, easing later. Although clear at first, fog drifted in for the morning and early afternoon before clearing to a pleasant sunny evening, with just a few wisps of low cloud appearing later.
A frustrating pause on the seabird work as the visibility closed in, but thankfully it didn't last all day and so monitoring continued. It's been a busy couple of weeks playing catch-up, and for some species we've had to miss a year's monitoring as things began too late, but hopefully we'll have some meaningful statistics on several of our seabirds. The early 'gut feeling' is that it looks like a reasonable year for most species so far.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Marsh Warbler: an unringed bird at Gully in the evening briefly indulged in some sub-song

Other sightings:
4 Swift, Collared Dove, Whimbrel, 2 Turnstone, Dunlin (a pair with three chicks at the Mast; although possibly overlooked, the species is at best a rare breeder, with suspected or confirmed breeding recorded recently in only 2019, 2017, 2015 and 2007, with chicks not actually observed in any of those years), Cormorant (immature wrestling with an eel in Muckle Uri Geo), 3 Carrion Crow (South Light), 2 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler (Schoolton), 3 Blackcap (females at Plantation, Obs and Leogh), Whitethroat (Vaila's Trees), 4 Blackbird (pairs in two locations), Black Redstart (female-type, Chalet), Dunnock (ringed bird in Gully), Twite (first fledged youngster seen), 5 Linnet, 5 Crossbill (south-east over Furse), 3 Siskin.

Year List: 173

Other Wildlife:
5 Red Admiral, 3 Painted Lady, 15 Silver Y. European Eel (aforementioned individual in Muckle Uri Geo - the eel won)
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Wednesday 24th June 2020
Weather: a fresh SE wind becoming SW and easing to a very calm evening. Mostly cloudy.
This spring just keeps providing, with a couple more quality birds today; neither amazingly rare, but both stunning in their own way.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Barred Warbler: one, probably a 2CY male, at Schoolton then moved to Chapel Plantation and Burkle. There are just four previous spring records for Fair Isle; 28th May 1992 and three birds trapped in June 1997, on 6th, 8th and 22nd-23rd.
Rose-coloured Starling: the third of the spring was at Chalet
Citrine Wagtail: still at Da Water, although no singing noted today

Other sightings:
6 Greylag Goose, 3 Teal, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Whimbrel, 5 Turnstone, 2 Redshank, Carrion Crow, 2 Swallow, Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap (male Chalet, female Schoolton), 2 Linnet, 4 Siskin (including juveniles).

Year List: 173

Other Wildlife:
2 Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Silver Y
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Tuesday 23rd June 2020
Weather:
sunny, although a couple of light showers in the afternoon, with a generally light SE breeze and rather mild
Still more migrants in what is seeming to be a never-ending spring, whilst seabirds continue to advance, with some hopeful signs for the season.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Bluethroat: a female in the Vaadal was the third latest spring arrival on record for Fair Isle, with only birds on 3rd July 1996 and 8th July 1987 being later (summering individuals were also recorded in 1973 and 1975)
Marsh Warbler:
2; a singing male in the Plantation and another in the Walli Burn
Crane:
what was presumably yesterday's bird was seen in the morning only
Citrine Wagtail:
still in Da Water

Red-backed Shrike: the female still in the Gully
 
Other sightings:
2 Teal, Eider (first ducklings seen; brood of five near the Gully), Woodpigeon, Curlew (fledged chick at the Kirk), Dunlin, 5 Redshank, Great Northern Diver (non-breeding plumaged bird in South Haven), Short-eared Owl (the oiled bird still clinging on at Wirvie Burn), Swallow, Willow Warbler (a new arrival at the Obs), 2 Blackcap, Common Redpoll, 2 Crossbill (one over the Haven in the morning and a yellow male at Burkle), Siskin (female, Schoolhouse).
Year List: 172

 

Other wildlife:

5 Red Admiral, 7 Painted Lady, 5 Silver Y
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Monday 22nd June 2020
Weather: SSE3-4, increasing 5 later. Sunny and warm at first, although then clouding over, when it also became somewhat cooler.
What a day, with the last of the Guillemot and Razorbill counts squeezed in and a bonus good bird found whilst doing it!

HIGHLIGHTS:
CALANDRA LARK: one on the clifftop at Bergaroo was found at around 0815 and roamed the short grass in the area between there and Kirn o' Skroo for around an hour before dropping over the edge of the cliff and vanishing. The 7th for Fair Isle (subject to acceptance), with previous records in 1978, 1999, 2000, 2008, 2014 and 2016 and spanned the period 20th April to 22nd May).
Crane: one flew north over a small group of happy Calandra Lark observers, heading out to sea. A couple of hours later, what was assumed to be the same bird (having presumably changed its mind and headed back south), was seen at the base of Hoini, before wandering up and down the Isle a couple of times.
Citrine Wagtail: still singing at Da Water, although generally less vocal now.
Red-backed Shrike: the ringed female was in the Gully

Other sightings:
5 Greylag Goose, 2 Teal (pair, Da Water), Scaup (female, Da Water), Swift, 3 Golden Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 8 Curlew (south over the Obs - breeding birds still present but these were a clear sign of passage), 2 Dunlin (singles at North Haven and North Light), Redshank, Arctic Skua (chicks at the airstrip and Bull's Park), Red-throated Diver (over the Isle in the morning), Great Northern Diver (North Light), Cormorant (immature still), Kestrel, Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, Sand Martin,  Swallow, 3 Blackcap, Whitethroat, 5 Linnet, 2 Siskin.
Year List: 172
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Sunday 21st June 2020
Weather:
a fresh SE wind, easing through the day, with sunshine at first but rain and low cloud for most of the day until it cleared again in the evening.
A generally poor day for weather reflected in the general lack of birds, although that wind is still rather promising.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Citrine Wagtail: still singing at Da Water

 
Other sightings:
2 Greylag Goose (east off South Light), Wigeon, Teal, Scaup (female, Da Water), 2 Red-breasted Merganser, Collared Dove, 2 Whimbrel, 8 Turnstone, Cormorant (immature, South Harbour), Reed Warbler, 2 Blackbird, 5 Linnet, 2 Common Redpoll, 3 Siskin.
Year List: 171

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Saturday 20th June 2020
Weather:
light SE wind, with fog and some drizzle until early evening when it cleared somewhat to low cloud.
The longest day was somewhat hampered by rubbish weather.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Citrine Wagtail: still singing merrily away despite the conditions

 
Other sightings:
12 Greylag Goose, Wigeon, Teal, Scaup (female, Da Water), 2 Red-breasted Merganser (Hesti Geo), Whimbrel, 3 Turnstone, Storm Petrel (from the Good Shepherd IV just north of the Isle; first of the year), Peregrine, Reed Warbler (the dull bird still in the Plantation), 3 Blackcap, Whitethroat, 3 Blackbird, 7 Linnet (including 3 fledged chicks at Schoolton; at least two other pairs are probably breeding on the Isle), Crossbill (juvenile, Midway), 4 Siskin.
Year List: 171

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Friday 19th June 2020
Weather:
light SE wind and fog.
A generally poor day, with little to report.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Citrine Wagtail: still at Da Water and singing

Red-backed Shrike: what was presumably yesterday's female was trapped at the Obs
 
Other sightings:
Scaup (female, Da Water), 3 Swallow, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat.
Year List: 170

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Thursday 18th June 2020
Weather:
Cloudy, with a F2-3 NE breeze that was cool at times, visibility was generally good, although some low cloud was occasionally wisping around the hills.
A day that felt generally quite quiet, although a big flyover certainly livened things up!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Crane: the second of the year involved one seen heading north over Schoolhouse just before 11am that made it as far as Mopul before circling, then heading south again (Shetland wasn't visible at the time, so it obviously didn't fancy the journey into the unknown). It reached somewhere around the airstrip before circling again, when it presumably gained enough height to lift it out of the fog as it wasn't seen again.
Citrine Wagtail:
the male still noisily pining away for company in Da Water

Red-backed Shrike: female at Dumlin's Sinks
 
Other sightings:
2 Greylag Goose, Wigeon, Scaup (female, Da Water), Woodpigeon, 4 Golden Plover, Whimbrel, 3 Redshank, 4 Swallow, Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler (an unstreaked acro at the Plantation had the colour of a Blyth's Reed or perhaps Marsh Warbler, but biometrics matched Reed Warbler; an interesting individual), Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, Blackbird, 5 Linnet, 2 Common Redpoll, 3 Siskin.
Year List: 170

 

Other wildlife:

8 Red Admiral, 4 Painted Lady, 5 Silver Y
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Wednesday 17th June 2020
Weather:
a very light easterly breeze, although mostly flat calm, fog throughout a lot of the day, clearing most of the Isle for a short while in the evening.
A few spells where the weather was good enough to see things on the Isle, although not for seabird monitoring, but generally the fog dominated the day. An interesting arrival of Sylvia warblers as the spring migration keeps dragging on. 

HIGHLIGHTS:
Citrine Wagtail: male still singing at Da Water (and occasionally on the roadside fence)

Red-backed Shrike: female at Meadow Burn
Marsh Warbler: 2; one singing at Meadow Burn and another at Schoolhouse

Other sightings:
Wigeon, Teal, Woodpigeon, 2 Whimbrel, Dunlin, Redshank, Swallow, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler (Schoolton), 10 Blackcap, 5 Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Whitethroat, Blackbird, Song Thrush (Obs), 4 Spotted Flycatcher, Robin (Schoolton), Redstart (female Schoolton), 2 Dunnock, flava wagtail (over Stackhoull), 3 Linnet, 2 Common Redpoll.
Year List: 170

 

Other wildlife:

14 Red Admiral, 12 Painted Lady, 9 Silver Y
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Tuesday 16th June 2020
Weather: sunny, hot with a light easterly wind, clear until late evening when a few tendrils of fog started to creep onto the Isle.
Another absolutely glorious day, with temperatures rising to over 15 degrees - the hottest day of the year so far. The birds lived up to it as well, with a scatter of migrants and a top-drawer rarity. The day wasn't over yet though, with the evening seeing the first cetacean sighting of the year - and a quality one at that!

HIGHLIGHTS:

GREEN WARBLER: the second for Fair Isle and 8th for the UK (subject to acceptance) was found at Vaila's Trees where it showed well at times. A fortunate find as, during a day dominated by seabird work, it was discovered whilst popping into Stackhoull Stores for ice creams!
Citrine Wagtail: male still singing at Da Water

Marsh Warbler: a male singing at Vaila's Trees

Other sightings:
Wigeon (male, Da Water), Scaup (female in South Harbour was an unexpected year tick, less than annual [there were records in 2018 and 2019, but none from 2015-2017], the first spring record since 2011 and the first June record since 1997), Swift (Vaila's Trees), 2 Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Whimbrel, 2 Turnstone, Dunlin, Redshank, Arctic Tern (247 nests located on Buness, where the first chicks were also noted), Bonxie (first chick noted, on Eas Brecks), 2 Red-throated Diver (still circling the Isle and calling in the morning), Short-eared Owl (Da Water), 4 Swallow, House Martin, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, 3 Blackcap, Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat (including a nest-building male), 8 Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher (female still at Chalet), Dunnock, flava wagtail, 4 Linnet, 2 Common Redpoll.
Year List: 170

Other Wildlife:

KILLER WHALE: at least 10, possibly as many as 14, originally found in South Harbour, they milled around Brecks, some offshore, others closer in for a while, with some roaming as far as the Obs. They were identified as the '27's who have visited Fair Isle before, most recently on 3rd November 2019, but who made a similar appearance on 15th (when they were joined by another group) and 28th June 2017, when they entered South Harbour and North Haven hunting Grey Seals.

8 Red Admiral, 10 Painted Lady, 2 Silver Y

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Monday 15th June 2020
Weather: sunny, warm (14.7 degrees was the warmest day of the year so far), with a F3 ESE breeze easing.
A full-on day of seabird monitoring, with a few migrants noted whilst the team were out and about, complete with a new species for the year list, along with some clear insect passage.

HIGHLIGHTS:

Greenish Warbler: one glimpsed briefly by the School was later caught in the mistnet at Schoolhouse; first of the year, the 57th record for Fair Isle but just 12th in spring (subject to acceptance).
Citrine Wagtail: male still singing at Da Water

Marsh Warbler: 2; lingering birds at the Obs and Lower Leogh

Other sightings:
Canada Goose, 6 Greylag Goose, 3 Whimbrel, 8 Turnstone, Redshank, 2 Red-throated Diver, 2 Short-eared Owl (the oiled bird at Kirn o' Skroo and a migrant on the west coast), Kestrel (Burrashield), Carrion Crow (Lerness), 5 Swallow (including a nest-building pair), 3 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, 3 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, Blackbird (male Midway), 10 Spotted Flycatcher (highest count of the year so far, with half on the north coast where they appeared to be taking advantage of migrant insects), Pied Flycatcher (female, Chalet), 2 Redstart (female Guidicum, male Moss Geo), 2 Dunnock, 2 Common Redpoll.
Year List: 168

Other Wildlife:

45 Red Admiral, 25 Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, 20 Silver Y (all counts minimum figures), many Diamond-back Moths

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Sunday 14th June 2020
Weather: although foggy at first, it cleared for a while, ESE breeze, fresh at times.
The break in weather allowed for some seabird monitoring to be snuck in between bouts of poor visibility.

HIGHLIGHTS:

THRUSH NIGHTINGALE: still present at Schoolhouse, where it was running around on the drive below the bathroom window, before heading up to Chalet and being lost to view.
Citrine Wagtail: male still singing at Da Water

Marsh Warbler: 3; birds still at Lower Leogh and Meadow Burn, with one trapped at the Obs.

Other sightings:
Teal, 5 Whimbrel, 10 Turnstone, 2 Redshank, 4 Black-headed Gull, 2 Red-throated Diver, Short-eared Owl (oiled bird in Wirvie Burn), Kestrel (hunting Starlings on Burrashield), Carrion Crow (Lerness), Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird (male Shirva, female Vaila's Trees), 2 Spotted Flycatcher, Robin (Chalet), Whinchat, 2 Dunnock, 5 Linnet, 2 Common Redpoll (plus a Redpoll sp. heard at North Light), 4 Siskin.
Year List: 167

Other wildlife:

40 Red Admiral, 6 Painted Lady, 6 Silver Y (all counts minimum figures), many Diamond-back Moths

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Saturday 13th June 2020
Weather: SE2-3, foggy spells, although clearing at times, cloudy throughout.
A less poor day than expected as regards the weather and the spring migration shows no signs of stopping just yet, with another decent rarity (discovered in the Schoolhouse garden, making it a 'double nightingale species find' spring for Susannah!).

HIGHLIGHTS:

THRUSH NIGHTINGALE: one glimpsed a couple of times briefly at the Schoolhouse was eventually seen well and confirmed as this species; the 67th record for Fair Isle (subject to acceptance).
Citrine Wagtail: male still singing at Da Water

Marsh Warbler: 2; one at Lower Leogh and another at Meadow Burn.

Other sightings:
Woodpigeon, 8 Whimbrel, 15 Turnstone, Dunlin, 2 Redshank, 2 Red-throated Diver (circling the Isle in the fog, calling), 2 Swallow, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Blackbird (female around traps), 2 Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, 2 Tree Sparrow, 6 Linnet, 2 Common Redpoll, 2 Siskin.
Year List: 167

Other wildlife:

4 Red Admiral, Painted Lady, 2 Silver Y (all counts minimum figures), large arrival of Diamond-back Moths

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Friday 12th June 2020
Weather:
NE F4-5 easing slightly, low cloud at first over the North becoming fog across the Isle, with some drizzle at time before it cleared later on to bring sunshine to the south of the Isle at least.
A frustrating day, with most seabird work not possible due to the weather until later on, when the weekend was put on hold to make the most of a break in the weather! Doesn't look like it's going to be much of a weekend for weather, but with some easterly winds there's hope of a biggy or two out there. 

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: one at Chalet
Marsh Warbler: one in the Wirvie Burn

Other sightings:
Canada Goose
, Greylag Goose, Mallard (first ducklings of the year; a brood of 5 in the Vaadal), Teal, Woodpigeon, 3 Whimbrel, 3 Dunlin, 2 Redshank, 2 Short-eared Owl (Wirvie Burn and Da Water), Kestrel (Lower Leogh; first record since April), 2 Carrion Crow (South Light), Skylark (first fledged chick), 8 Swallow, 2 House Martin, Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff (Obs and Schoolton), Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, Black Redstart (female-type, Hesti Geo), Redstart, 2 Whinchat, Tree Sparrow (Haa), Rock Pipit (first fledged chick), 2 Common Redpoll (Obs), Siskin.

Year List: 166
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Thursday 11th June 2020
Weather:
cool NE breeze, Force 3-4, sunny spells with some cloud
A couple of additions to the year list, with a few migrants obviously in - there's still time for this spring to produce something, although the forecast for fog for several days isn't ideal. A good start on the seabird monitoring work from the team, although with such a late start, there's going to need to be lot done in the next couple weeks (but see the comment above about fog!). 

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-breasted Flycatcher:
female-type in the Gully; first of the year and just the 38th spring record for Fair Isle
Citrine Wagtail: male still around Da Water
Blyth's Reed Warbler: still in the Schoolhouse garden
Marsh Warbler: one singing at the Plantation

Other sightings:
Canada Goose
(one one Meoness), Greylag Goose, Woodpigeon, Whimbrel, Dunlin, 2 Redshank, Razorbill (first chick seen, at Lericum), Puffin (seen carrying fish for the first time), Great Northern Diver (North Haven), Long-eared Owl (Kirn o' Skroo), 2 Carrion Crow (South Light area), Swallow, 2 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 3 Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat (first of the month), Blackbird, 8 Spotted Flycatcher (highest count of the year), 2 Whinchat (first of the month), Tree Sparrow, Dunnock (Vaadal), 'Blue-headed Wagtail' (female south-west of the Airstrip; first flava wagtail of the year), 4 Linnet (pairs at Obs and Schoolhouse, signalling a continuation of the colonisation of Fair Isle by this species) , 2 Common Redpoll (Obs), Siskin (Easter Lother).

Year List: 166

Other Wildlife: Painted Lady
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Wednesday 10th June 2020
Weather:
Moderate or fresh SE wind easing through the day as it backed ENE, sunny at first clouding over later
A quieter day for arrivals, but what a selection of birds around! Seabird work may be salvageable this year and the team have started off by searching for occupied Arctic Skua territories.

HIGHLIGHTS:
RIVER WARBLER: still in the Meadow Burn reedbox, where it alternated between disappearing completely and occasionally showing incredibly well on the fenceline
Citrine Wagtail: male still at Da Water
Blyth's Reed Warbler: the ringed bird reappeared in the Schoolhouse garden
Red-backed Shrike: male at Bull's Park and female still at Meadow Burn
Osprey:
the second of the year was picked up circling over the west coast before drifting north  

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, Whimbrel, 3 Dunlin, 2 Redshank, Great Northern Diver (North Haven), 13 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Blackbird (female, Chalet), Spotted Flycatcher, Robin (Chalet), 2 Linnet, 2 Common Redpoll (Obs).

Year List: 164
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Tuesday 9th June 2020
Weather:
Largely sunny, although some cloud appearing in the evening, with a freshening ESE wind
A great start for the new team as they familiarised themselves with the Isle, as well as starting on some of the catch-up jobs that have been waiting for their arrival.

HIGHLIGHTS:
RIVER WARBLER: one in the Meadow Burn 'reed box' was the 19th Fair Isle record and 11th for the spring, with arrivals spanning from 23rd May to 16th June.
Citrine Wagtail: the male still singing at Da Water
Red-backed Shrike: 4; two males at Chalet and one still in the Gully, with a female still around the Meadow Burn
Icterine Warbler:
one still at the Obs
Common Rosefinch:
a 'brown' male singing briefly at the Obs in the morning

Other sightings:
Barnacle Goose, 11 Greylag Goose, Teal, 3 Woodpigeon, 2 Golden Plover, 10 Whimbrel, 7 Dunlin, 3 Redshank, Great Northern Diver (non-breeding plumaged bird in North Haven), Peregrine, 5 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler (Plantation), 3 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird (females at Chalet and Plantation), Redwing (Good Shepherd noost), 2 Spotted Flycatcher, Robin (Chalet), Redstart (Haa), 4 Linnet (pairs at the Obs and Schoolhouse), 2 Common Redpoll (Obs), Yellowhammer.

Year List: 164
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Monday 8th June 2020
Weather:
Fresh NW wind easing and becoming slightly more westerly. Cloudy at first, but brightening up to a sunny afternoon and evening.
A lovely day for the 'start of the season', with birds around and the new Wardening Team (AWs Alex and Daniel and Ranger Georgia) arriving on the morning plane and getting straight into the action by turning up a few scarcities.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one trapped and ringed at Schoolhouse
Rose-coloured Starling:
one still present at the base of Malcolm's Head
Citrine Wagtail: the male flew north over Schoolhouse in the morning but was back on Da Water later
Red-backed Shrike: 4; two female still around Schoolton, with males at South Green and Gully
Icterine Warbler: 3
; the ringed bird still at the Obs, one unringed bird at Burkle (presumably yesterday's Haa bird) and another in the Kirn o' Skroo
Common Rosefinch:
one still at Schoolhouse
Marsh Warbler:
one still singing at Schoolton

Other sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose, 7 Greylag Goose, Woodpigeon, Ringed Plover (chick at Muckle Uri Geo), 5 Whimbrel, Curlew (a chick at Da Water was predated by a Lesser Black-backed Gull), Dunlin, Snipe (brood of 3 chicks near Wirvie), 4 Swallow, 6 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler (Chalet), Blackcap (male, Schoolton), 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher (Gully), Black Redstart (still at North Light), Redstart (Schoolton), Dunnock (Obs), 3 Linnet (including a pair nest-building), 2 Common Redpoll (Obs).

Year List: 163

Other wildlife: 4 Red Admiral, Silver-Y
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Sunday 7th June 2020
Weather:
cool NW wind, very strong at first but easing somewhat later. Mostly cloudy, a little rain at times.
Not the weather for a birthday barbecue for Susannah, although a family walk after lunch was very pleasant with the chance to wave and shou hello to a few folk and finsihing with a serenade from a Citrine Wagtail!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Rose-coloured Starling:
two together at Utra in the afternoon; multiple occurences of this species have been recorded before, but it's always a welcome sight!
Citrine Wagtail: the male still present at Da Water, where it was singing
Marsh Warbler:
2; one singing at Schoolton and another at Da Water
Icterine Warbler:
one at Haa was presumably a new migrant
Common Rosefinch:
two at Schoolhouse, where the dandelions continue to prove irresistible

Other sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose, 2 Greylag Goose, Teal, Red-breasted Merganser (male, South Harbour), Collared Dove, 4 Golden Plover (Brecks), 4 Whimbrel, Dunlin, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Spotted Flycatcher, Meadow Pipit (first fledged chick; 8 days earlier than 2019).

Year List: 163
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Saturday 6th June 2020
Weather:
calm at first, with a NW wind freshening through the day. Mostly dry and bright earlier on, but with some low cloud lingering throughout the day that dropped for a while in the afternoon, bringing some rain.
A few new migrants, a lovely selection of birds about, although the weather prevented the scheduled plane coming in.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Rose-coloured Starling: still present, roaming the middle of the Isle.
Marsh Warbler:
two at Schoolton, including one singing bird
Icterine Warbler:
ringed bird still at Obs
Common Rosefinch:
one briefly at Chalet
Red-backed Shrike:
female at Burkle

Other sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose, Greylag Goose, Teal, Great Northern Diver (North Haven), Willow Warbler (Chalet), 2 Chiffchaff (Plantation and Gully), Blackcap (male, Schoolton), Garden Warbler (Plantation), 2 Lesser Whitethroat (Obs, Schoolton), Spotted Flycatcher (Brecks), Robin (Chalet), Black Redstart (North Light), Redstart (female, Plantation), Dunnock (Obs, an unringed bird), Pied Wagtail (fledged at North Light), Mealy Redpoll (Obs).

Year List: 163
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Friday 5th June 2020
Weather:
quite strong north-westerly wind, with some heavy showers and more prolonged spells of rain. Rather cool for the time of year.
The best new bird of the day looked too colourful for the weather we were experiencing, but was a very welcome sight nonetheless.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Rose-coloured Starling: a stonking adult at Upper Stoneybrek keeps up the recent good run of records (although there were none in 2019) and is the 51st Fair Isle record.
Citrine Wagtail: still present at Da Water
Red-backed Shrike:
female at Houll

Other sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose, Greylag Goose, Teal, 2 Woodpigeon, Dunlin 4 Carrion Crow, Lesser Whitethroat (Schoolton).

Year List: 163
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Thursday 4th June 2020
Weather:
a breezy north-westerly, with sunny spells interspersed with heavy showers.
Another interesting day, as the trickle of migrants coming through included another unexpected surprise.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Citrine Wagtail: a very smart male on Da Water, the 81st record for the Isle, but just the sixth in spring (although following hot on the heels of the fourth and fifth in May and June 2019).
Blyth's Reed Warbler: still present at Schoolton
Red-backed Shrike:
2 females at Meadow Burn

Other sightings:
2 Barnacle Goose (Da Water), Greylag Goose, Teal, Woodpigeon, Whimbrel, Turnstone, Carrion Crow, Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap (female Vaila's Trees, male Obs), Garden Warbler (Plantation), 2 Lesser Whitethroat (Stackhoull, Gully), Linnet (male Schoolhouse, female Stackhoull), 2 Mealy Redpoll (Obs).

Year List: 162
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Wednesday 3rd June 2020
Weather:
the grey weather continued, with a pretty strong N or NW wind keeping things cool. Some showers and a few sunny spells. A general 'mixed bag'!
A few birds about, although migration has certainly slowed up a bit.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one still at Schoolton
Red-backed Shrike:
female north of Utra
Nightingale: one still very elusively at Schoolhouse

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, Teal, Great Northern Diver (non-breeding plumaged bird fishing off Shalstane), Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler (Schoolton), Blackcap (female Schoolhouse), Garden Warbler (Leogh), 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Blackbird (pair Midway, female Plantation), Robin (Schoolton), Stonechat (Meadow Burn).

Year List: 161
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Tuesday 2nd June 2020
Weather:
a fairly strong northerly wind that increased through the day. Drizzly at first, with heavier rain later, although drying up in the evening.
A quiet day, with the weather taking a distinctly less summery turn. A pleasant morning surprise in the garden though!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Nightingale: an elusive bird in the Schoolhouse garden showed well a couple of times on the wall but generally lurked at the bottom of the rosa and rhubarb. If accepted, the 58th for Fair Isle and the first record since two in 2017 (a record in April 2019 was found 'not proven' by SBCRC).
Icterine Warbler: one still at the Obs that later moved to the North Haven.

Other sightings:
2 Greylag Goose, Cuckoo (Kirn o' Skroo), Collared Dove, Redshank, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap (male Schoolhouse, female Plantation), Lesser Whitethroat, Blackbird (female Plantation), 'Mealy Redpoll' (sightings at Schoolton, Schoolhouse and Obs may all have related to the same individual).

Year List: 161
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Monday 1st June 2020
Weather:
a very murky start, with fog and some drizzle, although this cleared to sunshine by the afternoon. Breezy southerly wind to start, but calming by the evening.
An interesting start, with a few migrants around the traps and nets, although when the weather improved, things actually seemed a wee bit quieter. Still a lovely selection of birds for late spring.

HIGHLIGHTS:
WESTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER: a 'subalpine warbler' seen on the cliffs at North Feltsigeo was assumed to be
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one still present at Schoolton, where it was frequently vocal
Red-rumped Swallow: showed well at Da Water
Icterine Warbler: 2; singles trapped and ringed at Schoolhouse and Obs (the latter being the lingering bird from yesterday)
Red-backed Shrike:
female at the Plantation (presumably yesterday's airstrip bird)
Common Rosefinch:
one still present around Schoolton/Burkle
Hobby:
one glimpsed in the fog in the morning went on to put on quite a show in the afternoon around the middle of the Isle

Other sightings:
Greylag Goose, Teal, Peregrine, 10 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 3 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Sedge Warbler (Obs), Blackcap (male Obs), Garden Warbler (Gully), 4 Lesser Whitethroat, Starling (first fledged youngsters; two days earlier than 2019 and earliest fledging date since 2017), 2 Blackbird, Redwing (Chalet), 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Dunnock (Obs and Burkle), Linnet, 3 Siskin.

Year List: 160

Other wildlife:

Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, 5 Silver Y