Fair Isle Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

Latest sightings

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

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

Brent Goose,Skadan (Richard Cope)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iceland Gull, South Harbour (David Parnaby)

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

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

Year list: 119
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Saturday 21st April

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

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

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

Whinchat, North Light (David Parnaby)

Year list: 116
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Friday 20th April

Weather: SW2, cloudy spells and excellent visibility.

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

Year list: 114
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Thursday 19th April

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finnish-ringed Siskin, Obs (David Parnaby)

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

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

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

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

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

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


'White Wagtail', South Harbour (Richard Cope)

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

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

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

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

HIGHLIGHTS:
BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER: still present in the Gully in the morning, whilst what was assumed to be the same individual was in the Wirvie Burn in the afternoon [EDIT: 2 birds were present on 15th April, with photos showing that the bird in the Wirvie was the new arrival].
Hawfinch: 2; the ringed female was still present and was accompanying an unringed male in the Obs garden
Glaucous Gull: 3CY still present

Black-bellied Dipper, Wirvie Burn (Richard Cope)

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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


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

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

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

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

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

HIGHLIGHTS:
BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER: relocated in the Vaadal
Hawfinch: a female at the Obs in the afternoon was probably a new arrival, being found to be around 48g in weight and carrying no fat
Iceland Gull: 2CY at Setter then headed north
Glaucous Gull: the lingering 3CY still present

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

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

HIGHLIGHTS:
Ring-billed Gull: Nick Riddiford had an adult briefly outside Schoolton, before it flew off in a north-easterly direction and couldn't be relocated
Glaucous Gull: the regular 3CY bird
'Scandinavian Rock Pipit': one still in Furse

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

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

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

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


Black-bellied Dipper, North Haven (David Parnaby)


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

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

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

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

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: the lingering 3CY bird was seen again around North Light and the Obs

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

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

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


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

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

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

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hawfinch: sightings at Shirva and Haa were probably one of the lingering females
Glaucous Gull: a 3CY off North Light was thought to be the lingering bird
'Scandinavian Rock Pipit': one still in South Harbour

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

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

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hawfinch: an (unringed) female at Haa and Burkle, presumably a lingering bird wandering again
Glaucous Gull: presumably the same 3CY over Landberg then at Lericum
'Scandinavian Rock Pipit': 2; singles at Buness and South Harbour

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

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

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hawfinch: two females remained at the Obs
Glaucous Gull: 3CY again on Buness

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

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

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hawfinch: two females still at the Obs
Glaucous Gull: 3CY on Buness

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


Woodcock, Gorson's Geo (Richard Cope)

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

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

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

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

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


Hawfinch (female), Obs (David Parnaby)

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

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

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

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

Year list: 83
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16th-26th March

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

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



Siskins, Obs, 21st March (David Parnaby)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Year list: 68
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1st-28th February

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

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

Year list: 65
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30th - 31st January

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: 2CY on 31st

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

Year list: 61
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22nd-29th January

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

Year list: 56

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

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

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


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

Year list: 46