Fair Isle Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

Fair Isle Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

30th-31st October 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells and showers with a force 5-8 NE wind
Our final couple of days in Fair Isle were busy with packing, last minute posting and other end of season jobs, and unfortunately not much birding! It has been another excellent season with plenty of common, rare and scarce migrants to enjoy, plus the seabird monitoring work in the summer was almost completely back in full swing after last year's limitations due to bird flu, which luckily stayed mostly absent amongst our breeding seabirds. Thank you to all who take the time to visit this webpage every day to catch up with what we're up to and enjoy our photos, and farewell to Fair Isle for another season!


Final views of Fair Isle from the plane (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 209
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29th October 2023
Weather:
Mostly sunny with a force 6-8 NE wind
The team managed to cover the west cliffs and crofts today, with lots of common migrants still present, plus the Black-bellied Dipper reappearing in Gully, two Coal Tits new in at Skinner's Glig and Steensi Geo and another male Bullfinch joined the small group in Boini Mire.


Sunset from South Harbour (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
'BLACK-BELLIED' DIPPER: one reappeared in Gully
Gadwall: one still present
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one at North Raeva
Coal Tit: two; singles at Skinner's Glig and Steensi Geo
'Northern' Bullfinch: five present in Boini Mire (4 male, 1 female)

Sightings of note: 17 Greylag Goose, 1 Whooper Swan, 61 Wigeon, 23 Teal, 2 Common Scoter, 2 Long-tailed Duck, 5 Goldeneye, 5 Woodpigeon, 1 Oystercatcher, 10 Lapwing, 15 Curlew, 1 Dunlin, 12 Purple Sandpiper, 41 Woodcock, 4 Jack Snipe, 1 Kittiwake, 10 Common Gull, 3 Grey Heron, 3 Short-eared Owl, 4 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 19 Goldcrest, 2 Mistle Thrush, 42 Robin, 2 Black Redstart, 6 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 3 Chaffinch, 3 Brambling, 52 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Goldfinch, 10 Snow Bunting, 4 Reed Bunting


Spot the Woodcock! (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 209
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28th October 2023
Weather:
Cloudy with a force 6-8 ESE wind
The strong easterly winds continue as the season draws to a close, with the team keeping busy with end of season jobs before leaving the isle in the next week. Four Northern Bullfinch are still adding some colour to the isle, all seen in Boini Mire, and an Olive-backed Pipit made a brief appearance at the coastguard hut this afternoon.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Olive-backed Pipit: one briefly seen at the coastguard hut then disappeared over the Houll
'Northern' Bullfinch: four present in Boini Mire
Yellowhammer: one at Plantation

Sightings of note: 40 Greylag Goose, 1 Whooper Swan, 46 Wigeon, 7 Teal, 2 Common Scoter, 2 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 12 Woodpigeon, 1 Oystercatcher, 3 Common Gull, 1 Razorbill, 1 Grey Heron, 13 Short-eared Owl, 1 Merlin, 4 Blackcap, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Snow Bunting, 3 Reed Bunting

Year list: 209
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27th October 2023
Weather:
Mostly sunny with a force 5-6 ESE wind
Better conditions meant that the west cliffs could be birded properly today, with much of the same numbers of birds around to recent days, plus a few new Northern Bullfinch scattered around the isle.


A pair of male 'Northern' Bullfinch at Boini Mire (by Alex Penn)


Female 'Northern' Bullfinch at Troila Geo (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
'Dark-bellied' Brent Goose: one at Skadan
Gadwall: one still present
Great Spotted Woodpecker: three present around the isle
Waxwing: 20 south over Boini Mire
'Northern' Bullfinch: four present; female at Troila Geo, two males in Boini Mire and another male at Setter
Yellowhammer: two at Lower Leogh


'Dark-bellied' Brent Goose at Skadan (by Alex Penn)


Gadwall with Wigeon and Teal at Hesti Geo (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 1 Barnacle Goose, 28 Greylag Goose, 10 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Whooper Swan, 48 Wigeon, 7 Teal, 3 Common Scoter, 6 Long-tailed Duck, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 12 Woodpigeon, 2 Water Rail, 1 Oystercatcher, 14 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 12 Curlew, 23 Purple Sandpiper, 35 Woodcock, 4 Jack Snipe, 1 Kittiwake, 6 Common Gull, 2 Grey Heron, 6 Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 2 Swallow, 3 Chiffchaff, 10 Blackcap, 94 Goldcrest, 1 Ring Ouzel, 1 Mistle Thrush, 30 Robin, 1 Dunnock, 3 Chaffinch, 14 Brambling, 107 Mealy Redpoll, 4 Siskin, 11 Snow Bunting, 4 Reed Bunting

Year list: 209
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26th October 2023
Weather:
Overcast with some low cloud and showers and a force 7-9 easterly wind
Another bout of strong winds and rain made conditions challenging, although some birding around the south-west in the morning saw plenty of common migrants still sheltering on the cliffs. A Gadwall was discovered amongst the Wigeon flock (although only when looking at photos of the flock at the end of the day!) and became another addition for the year list, and the Pallas's Warbler was still present, now at Upper Stoneybrek.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Gadwall: one with the Wigeon flock around Meadow Burn (new for the year list)
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one still at Shirva
Waxwing: two present
Pallas's Warbler: one still present, now at Upper Stoneybrek
Hawfinch: one still at Vaila's Trees
Yellowhammer: one at the traps

Sightings of note: 1 Barnacle Goose, 51 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 3 Common Scoter, 1 Goldeneye, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 8 Woodpigeon, 1 Oystercatcher, 5 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 1 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 21 Woodcock, 2 Jack Snipe, 4 Kittiwake, 1 Black-headed Gull, 6 Common Gull, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 6 Short-eared Owl, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 2 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 18 Goldcrest, 1 Mistle Thrush, 15 Robin, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Chaffinch, 8 Brambling, 44 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Snow Bunting, 2 Reed Bunting

Year list: 209
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25th October 2023
Weather:
Overcast with sunny spells and a force 5-6 easterly wind
A long day consisted of another round of Sheep Hill in the morning, followed by an afternoon of birding, with plenty of birds around the isle to keep things interesting. Whilst on the hill this morning the north of the isle was lifting with Goldcrest, Woodcock and thrushes, with a Coues's Arctic Redpoll found in amongst a large flock of Mealy Redpoll around Skinner's Glig. The Pallas's Warbler from yesterday was still present and had relocated to Barkland, and several groups of Waxwing were seen around the isle throughout the day, with numbers peaking at a flock of 31 in the south-west. Several Great Spotted Woodpecker were also bouncing around the isle, and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose was doing the rounds for most of the day.


Great Spotted Woodpecker at Setter (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
'BLACK-BELLIED' DIPPER: one still in Gully
COUES'S ARCTIC REDPOLL: one with large flock of Mealy Redpoll at Skinner's Glig (new for the year list)
'Pale-bellied' Brent Goose: one touring the isle most of the day
Great Spotted Woodpecker: three present around the isle
Waxwing: 31 around the isle
Pallas's Warbler: one still present; yesterday's ringed bird now at Barkland
'Northern' Bullfinch: one at the back of Ward Hill
Yellowhammer: one still present, now at Shirva

Sightings of note: 11 Barnacle Goose, 33 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 47 Wigeon, 4 Teal, 2 Common Scoter, 5 Long-tailed Duck, 14 Woodpigeon, 1 Water Rail, 1 Oystercatcher, 2 Golden Plover, 7 Curlew, 1 Dunlin, 7 Purple Sandpiper, 23 Woodcock, 5 Jack Snipe, 1 Black-headed Gull, 6 Common Gull, 1 Guillemot, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Long-eared Owl, 5 Short-eared Owl, 3 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 1 Swallow, 8 Chiffchaff, 18 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 236 Goldcrest, 1 Mistle Thrush, 78 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 1 Stonechat, 1 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 4 Chaffinch, 49 Brambling, 171 Mealy Redpoll, 1 'Northwestern' Redpoll, 3 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Siskin, 1 Lapland Bunting, 44 Snow Bunting, 3 Reed Bunting


Goldcrest at South Felsigeo (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 208
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24th October 2023
Weather:
Overcast with showers and a force 4-6 SE wind
Today saw a few new birds as the wind turned easterly again, with a host of very attractive species making up the highlights list. A Pallas's Warbler at Setter was an exciting sight amongst the Goldcrests, with this being new for the year list, a lifer for the team and the first since 2019, and was later trapped. A Firecrest at Dog Geo in the late afternoon was also a year tick, with other Fair Isle scarcities such as Hawfinch, 'Northern' Bullfinch and a few Waxwing also present. The Black-bellied Dipper still remains in Gully, and a good number of Goldcrest and thrushes were also scattered around the isle.


Pallas's Warbler at Setter (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
'BLACK-BELLIED' DIPPER: one still in Gully
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one at Raeva
Waxwing: five at Setter
Pallas's Warbler: one trapped at Setter (first since 2019 and second since 2005, 44th Fair Isle record)
Firecrest: one at Dog Geo (12th Fair Isle record)
Hawfinch: one at Vaila's Trees
'Northern' Bullfinch: female over the Parks and later at Dog Geo

Sightings of note: 28 Greylag Goose, 5 Pink-footed Goose, 54 Wigeon, 5 Teal, 1 Common Scoter, 5 Woodpigeon, 1 Water Rail, 2 Oystercatcher, 10 Lapwing, 8 Curlew, 3 Dunlin, 18 Woodcock, 6 Jack Snipe, 39 Snipe, 4 Common Gull, 1 Guillemot, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 2 Chiffchaff, 10 Blackcap, 137 Goldcrest, 23 Robin, 1 Stonechat, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtail, 13 Brambling, 40 Mealy Redpoll, 2 Siskin, 1 Lapland Bunting, 3 Snow Bunting, 4 Reed Bunting

Year list: 207
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23rd October 2023
Weather:
Mostly sunny with a force 3-4 SW wind
Another pleasant day as the more settled weather continues, with a slight clear-out of migrants apparent in the isle. The Black-bellied Dipper is still present at Finnequoy, and a Coal Tit at Wester Lother was the first seen in a couple of days since the influx.


Coal Tit at Wester Lother (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
'BLACK-BELLIED' DIPPER: one still in Gully
Coal Tit: one at Wester Lother
Hawfinch: one at Vaila's Trees
Yellowhammer: one still at Upper Leogh

Sightings of note: 1 Barnacle Goose, 54 Greylag Goose, 5 Pink-footed Goose, 53 Wigeon, 14 Teal, 4 Common Scoter, 3 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Goldeneye, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 8 Woodpigeon, 1 Water Rail, 2 Oystercatcher, 10 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 1 Ringed Plover, 21 Curlew, 143 Turnstone, 6 Dunlin, 32 Woodcock, 5 Jack Snipe, 59 Snipe, 36 Redshank, 17 Common Gull, 3 Guillemot, 2 Razorbill, 1 Great Northern Diver, 3 Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, 5 Short-eared Owl, 3 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 59 Skylark, 13 Blackcap, 10 Goldcrest, 332 Blackbird, 186 Fieldfare, 629 Redwing, 60 Song Thrush, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 14 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 1 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtail, 62 Meadow Pipit, 50 Rock Pipit, 21 Brambling, 123 Twite, 1 Linnet, 26 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Goldfinch, 2 Siskin, 24 Snow Bunting, 9 Reed Bunting


A smart drake Common Scoter in North Haven (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 2 White-beaked Dolphin (off Sheep Rock), 1 Common Seal (freshly dead in North Haven)

Year list: 205
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22nd October 2023
Weather:
Cloudy with some sun and a force 4-5 SW wind
A break in the weather finally allowed for census to resume, with a fairly light south-westerly wind and sunny spells making for pleasant birding. A nice number of thrushes were still around, along with an increase in Woodcock, symbolising that we are well into the late autumn period now. The Black-bellied Dipper from a couple of days ago reappeared in Gully (confirmed as the same individual) and was later trapped, becoming the 19th of this species to be ringed in the isle.


'Black-bellied' Dipper in the hand at Gully (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
'BLACK-BELLIED' DIPPER: one reappeared in Gully, later trapped and ringed
Bewick's Swan: one still present, now at Da Water
Slavonian Grebe: one off Linni Geo (first of the year)
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one between Raeva and Shirva
Waxwing: three present around the isle
Hawfinch: two; singles at Vaila's Trees and Springfield
Yellowhammer: one still at Upper Leogh

Sightings of note: 1 Barnacle Goose, 77 Greylag Goose, 4 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Whooper Swan, 68 Wigeon, 24 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 4 Common Scoter, 6 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Goldeneye, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 16 Woodpigeon, 3 Water Rail, 1 Moorhen, 2 Oystercatcher, 8 Lapwing, 4 Golden Plover, 1 Ringed Plover, 17 Curlew, 176 Turnstone, 6 Dunlin, 5 Purple Sandpiper, 84 Woodcock, 5 Jack Snipe, 96 Snipe, 43 Redshank, 22 Kittiwake, 18 Common Gull, 3 Guillemot, 5 Razorbill, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 2 Cormorant, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 8 Short-eared Owl, 4 Merlin, 2 Carrion Crow, 56 Skylark, 1 Chiffchaff, 9 Blackcap, 6 Goldcrest, 1 Ring Ouzel, 565 Blackbird, 420 Fieldfare, 847 Redwing, 86 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush, 11 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 1 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtail, 57 Meadow Pipit, 53 Rock Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 18 Brambling, 109 Twite, 1 Linnet, 24 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Goldfinch, 2 Siskin, 14 Snow Bunting, 5 Reed Bunting


Short-eared Owl on the cliff at Hunds Heelor (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 2 Silver Y

Year list: 205
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21st October 2023
Weather:
Mostly heavy rain with a force 8-10 easterly wind
Consistent heavy rain put a stop to most birding today, with just one Coal Tit seen at Malcolm's Head after yesterday's influx. A female 'Northern'-type Bullfinch was new in at Burkle, two Hawfinch were seen at the Haa and the Bewick's Swan was still at Helli Stack in the morning, then was seen at Utra Scrape with Greylags around midday.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Bewick's Swan: one still present at Helli Stack then moved to Utra Scrape
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one still at Dog Geo
Waxwing: one at Shirva
Coal Tit: one at Malcolm's Head
'Northern' Bullfinch: female at Burkle
Hawfinch: two at the Haa

Sightings of note: 1 Barnacle Goose, 25 Greylag Goose, 1 Whooper Swan, 25 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 2 Long-tailed Duck, 3 Goldeneye, 5 Woodpigeon, 2 Water Rail, 1 Oystercatcher, 1 Lapwing, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 12 Woodcock, 2 Black-headed Gull, 1 Razorbill, 2 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Merlin, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Brambling, 1 Linnet, 3 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Snow Bunting

Year list: 204
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20th October 2023
Weather:
Overcast with sunny spells and brief showers with a force 7-9 easterly wind
With the storm still blowing a strong easterly wind but slightly reduced in speed from yesterday, birders in the isle spent most of the day braving the weather and finding birds! A 'Black-bellied' Dipper looking very out of place on the cliffs at Easter Lother was the first rarity (and year tick) of the day, quickly followed by a Coal Tit at Linni Geo, which turned out to be part of a flock of six! This mega Fair Isle rarity has only four previous records in the isle, the most recent being from 1997, so it was excellent to see a small group of these energetic birds picking around the cliffs and chattering away to each other. There were then a further eight discovered, consisting of another six scattered around Malcolm's Head and two at North Naaversgill, bringing the total to 14 birds.


Coal Tit at Dog Geo (by Georgia Platt)

Another (quite unexpected) year tick came in the form of a lone Bewick's Swan, resting at the base of Helli Stack, becoming the eighth Fair Isle record for this species and just the fourth record since 1925. A 'Northern' Treecreeper at Tineside added to the day's rarities and was the second of the autumn, with a Yellowhammer at Lower Leogh also new in, plus a smart male Hen Harrier heading north over Meadow Burn, with a ringtail also still present around Hoini. Overall a very productive and enjoyable day of birding despite the challenging conditions, with hopefully more to find when the wind drops away a bit more.



'Northern' Treecreeper on the cliff at Tineside (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
'BLACK-BELLIED' DIPPER: one on the cliffs at Easter Lother (new for the year list)
'NORTHERN' TREECREEPER: one at Tineside (second of the autumn, 13th Fair Isle record)
Bewick's Swan: one at Helli Stack (new for the year list, eighth Fair Isle record)
Hen Harrier: two; ringtail over Hoini and a male over Meadow Burn
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one at Dog Geo
Waxwing: two at Obs
Coal Tit: 14 present; 12 on the south-west cliffs and two at North Naaversgill (new for the year list, fifth Fair Isle record)
Yellowhammer: one at Lower Leogh


'Black-bellied' Dipper at Easter Lother (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 11 Barnacle Goose, 20 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Whooper Swan, 61 Wigeon, 21 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 25 Common Scoter, 4 Long-tailed Duck, 6 Goldeneye, 33 Woodpigeon, 2 Water Rail, 1 Moorhen, 1 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 1 Ringed Plover, 30 Purple Sandpiper, 18 Woodcock, 11 Jack Snipe, 15 Kittiwake, 3 Black-headed Gull, 66 Common Gull, 1 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill, 1 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 3 Sparrowhawk, 5 Short-eared Owl, 3 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 1 Blackcap, 26 Goldcrest, 2 Ring Ouzel, 1 Mistle Thrush, 15 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Chaffinch, 13 Brambling, 3 Mealy Redpoll, 1 'Northwestern' Redpoll, 1 Siskin, 5 Snow Bunting, 7 Reed Bunting

Year list: 204
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19th October 2023
Weather:
Low cloud with a force 8-11 SE wind
Today saw the start of Storm Babet, the first official storm to hit the UK this winter with strong south-easterly gales and rain. It will come as no surprise that there was no census today, although a bit of birding saw a few Waxwing present, plus an Iceland Gull on Meoness and still lots of thrushes scattered about the isle.


Waxwing at Stackhoull (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: one at Meoness
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one at Nedder Taft
Waxwing: five in the south
Hawfinch: one at Springfield

Sightings of note: 22 Barnacle Goose, 3 Greylag Goose, 24 Wigeon, 6 Teal, 5 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Goldeneye, 3 Woodpigeon, 1 Moorhen, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 1 Ringed Plover, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 3 Woodcock, 1 Jack Snipe, 7 Kittiwake, 30 Common Gull, 1 Guillemot, 2 Razorbill, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 2 Carrion Crow, 1 Blackcap, 11 Goldcrest, 3 Robin, 1 Chaffinch, 3 Brambling, 1 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Goldfinch

Year list: 201
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18th October 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells and heavy showers with a force 6-7 SE wind
At last the wind has turned south-easterly again after weeks of mostly prevailing westerlies, bringing another wave of common autumn migrants into the isle. With the combination of lots of birds in and the autumn session of rounding up hill sheep, the team were in for a long and tiring day out in the wind and rain, with census moved to the afternoon after a morning of running around chasing sheep. A good number of thrushes and Goldcrest were covering the isle again, which is a thrilling autumn spectacle on its own, but with this being Fair Isle, we were all slightly disappointed that nothing a bit rarer could be found amongst them.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hen Harrier: ringtail still present
Waxwing: two; one at Vaila's Trees and one over Double Dyke
Yellow-browed Warbler: one at Burkle
Hawfinch: one in the south

Sightings of note: 29 Barnacle Goose, 49 Greylag Goose, 4 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Whooper Swan, 3 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 4 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Water Rail, 2 Oystercatcher, 4 Lapwing, 1 Ringed Plover, 11 Curlew, 121 Turnstone, 1 Woodcock, 1 Jack Snipe, 36 Snipe, 38 Redshank, 12 Kittiwake, 2 Black-headed Gull, 82 Common Gull, 1 Guillemot, 3 Short-eared Owl, 3 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 57 Skylark, 4 Chiffchaff, 11 Blackcap, 229 Goldcrest, 3 Ring Ouzel, 120 Blackbird, 121 Fieldfare, 1,577 Redwing, 104 Song Thrush, 17 Robin, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart, 1 Grey Wagtail, 5 Pied Wagtail, 67 Meadow Pipit, 42 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 17 Brambling, 140 Twite, 1 Linnet, 1 Mealy Redpoll, 2 Redpoll sp., 1 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin, 17 Snow Bunting, 2 Reed Bunting

Year list: 201
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17th October 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells and showers with a force 3-5 westerly wind, decreasing throughout the day and changing to a calm SE breeze by evening
The day was off to a strong start with the ringing of a Hen Harrier that Alex had dazzled the night before, which had then been roosted overnight - the bird was a large juvenile female, who was very well behaved as we took the chance to admire her in the hand. A quiet census followed, with still not many birds around, although three Hawfinch at Shirva were also a good start to the day, with a small handful of new common migrants also noted as the wind dropped.


Hen Harrier in the hand at South Light (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hen Harrier: ringtail still present (now ringed)
Waxwing: one at Vaila's Trees
Hawfinch: three at Shirva

Sightings of note: 111 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 5 Whooper Swan, 9 Wigeon, 6 Teal, 3 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Oystercatcher, 4 Lapwing, 3 Golden Plover, 2 Ringed Plover, 9 Curlew, 224 Turnstone, 1 Jack Snipe, 28 Snipe, 41 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 1 Common Gull, 2 Razorbill, 3 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 80 Skylark, 2 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat (blythi), 3 Goldcrest, 76 Blackbird, 12 Fieldfare, 154 Redwing, 48 Song Thrush, 2 Robin, 3 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 89 Meadow Pipit, 51 Rock Pipit, 5 Chaffinch, 7 Brambling, 83 Twite, 2 Linnet, 5 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin, 1 Lapland Bunting, 11 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting

Other wildlife: 1 Common Seal


A very sleepy Common Seal at North Haven (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 201
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16th October 2023
Weather:
Overcast with occasional showers and a force 6-7 SW wind
The team braved a full census today, with a force 6-7 wind feeling like a slight breeze in comparison to the winds we've had recently! The island generally felt quiet, with not many common migrants left, although a couple of Waxwing around the crofts brightened things up a bit, and a confiding Lapland Bunting at the Haven was a nice surprise.


Lapland Bunting at the Haven (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hen Harrier: ringtail still present
Waxwing: two in the south

Sightings of note: 173 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 10 Wigeon, 1 Teal, 7 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Woodpigeon, 3 Oystercatcher, 4 Lapwing, 3 Golden Plover, 1 Ringed Plover, 15 Curlew, 267 Turnstone, 3 Dunlin, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Jack Snipe, 43 Snipe, 79 Redshank, 27 Kittiwake, 1 Black-headed Gull, 7 Common Gull, 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Short-eared Owl, 3 Merlin, 79 Skylark, 4 Goldcrest, 49 Blackbird, 8 Fieldfare, 181 Redwing, 47 Song Thrush, 5 Pied Wagtail, 62 Meadow Pipit, 35 Rock Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 7 Brambling, 45 Twite, 1 Linnet, 2 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Lapland Bunting, 9 Snow Bunting


A striking leucistic Meadow Pipit at Linni Geo (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 1 Silver Y


The first alive and healthy Grey seal pup of the season at Gorsen's Geo (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 201
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15th October 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells and scattered showers with a force 6-8 NW wind
As the weather continues with brisk north-westerly winds, there was again no full census today, although the team did get out and about a few times. As for birds, the first Glaucous Gull of the autumn glided past South Light, a Waxwing was at Obs and a good passage of Kittiwake was also noted, with over 100 seen in a couple of hours.


Glaucous Gull past South Light (by Sam Langlois)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: 1cy at South Light
Hen Harrier: ringtail still present
Waxwing: one at Obs
Yellow-browed Warbler: one at Utra
Hawfinch: one at Springfield

Sightings of note: 206 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Whooper Swan, 7 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 17 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Goldeneye, 5 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Woodpigeon, 2 Water Rail, 1 Moorhen, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 1 Ringed Plover, 12 Curlew, 1 Knot, 5 Dunlin, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Woodcock, 2 Jack Snipe, 117 Kittiwake, 6 Black-headed Gull, 4 Common Gull, 1 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill, 3 Great Northern Diver, 1 Cormorant, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Short-eared Owl, 3 Merlin, 2 Carrion Crow, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Robin, 1 Wheatear, 3 Pied Wagtail, 2 Chaffinch, 30 Brambling, 9 Mealy Redpoll, 5 Goldfinch, 3 Siskin, 3 Snow Bunting


Redwing at Barkland (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 1 Common Seal (North Haven)

Year list: 201
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14th October 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells and rain/hail showers with a very strong force 8-11 NW wind
Another day of random birding and no census, with cold gale force winds and heavy showers to contend with making the isle feel distinctly wintry. However, a nice addition to the year list came in the form of a few early Waxwings, adding to the wintry feel as their trilling calls could be heard over the wind. An Arctic-type Redpoll was also seen briefly a couple of times around Stoneybrek/Barkland, but unfortunately not for long enough to pin down and confirm the ID.


Adult Waxwing at Chalet (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hen Harrier: ringtail still present
Waxwing: three; singles at Lower Stoneybrek, Chalet and Buness (first of the year)
Hawfinch: one still at Vaila's Trees

Sightings of note: 95 Greylag Goose, 4 Whooper Swan, 3 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 3 Long-tailed Duck, 7 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 4 Golden Plover, 2 Ringed Plover, 320 Turnstone, 6 Dunlin, 2 Jack Snipe, 37 Redshank, 14 Kittiwake, 11 Common Gull, 4 Razorbill, 1 Cormorant, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Robin, 2 Chaffinch, 5 Brambling, 1 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Goldfinch, 2 Siskin, 8 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting

Year list: 201
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13th October 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells and heavy showers with a force 6-8 SW wind
Today saw the return of strong winds and rain after a break of just one day, so census was halted again. A few birds were noted whilst out and about birding and in the car however, including the Red-tailed Shrike making a reappearance at Boini Mire (now present for 3 weeks). A number thrushes are still scattered about the island as well, and 15 Whooper Swan at Utra Scrape were a sign of some movement today despite the weather. As an unexpected bonus, the team managed to catch a Red-throated Diver at Easter Lother Water - an adult in winter plumage, and just the second of this species to be ringed in the isle, the first being in 1996.


Red-throated Diver in the hand (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-TAILED (TURKESTAN) SHRIKE: adult male reappeared at Boini Mire
Hen Harrier: ringtail still present

Sightings of note: 12 Greylag Goose, 3 Pink-footed Goose, 15 Whooper Swan, 2 Wigeon, 3 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 6 Dunlin, 16 Kittiwake, 5 Common Gull, 2 Bonxie, 2 Guillemot, 5 Razorbill, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 3 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Ring Ouzel, 1 Black Redstart, 1 Chaffinch, 6 Goldfinch, 3 Siskin, 9 Snow Bunting

Year list: 200
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12th October 2023
Weather:
Cloudy with some sunny spells and showers in the afternoon with a force 4-7 NW turning SW wind
The team were finally able to get out for a full census this morning, with still some moderate winds but staying mostly dry. A good number of thrushes were still present around the isle, with the Eastern Stonechat also remaining, plus a new Little Bunting at Copper Geo.

HIGHLIGHTS:
'EASTERN' STONECHAT: female still again at School Brae
Velvet Scoter: one still, now at Furse
Hen Harrier: ringtail still present around Hill Dyke
Yellow-browed Warbler: one at Shirva/Meadow Burn
Hawfinch: two; male and female at various places in the south
Little Bunting: two; one at the power station and one at Copper Geo

Sightings of note: 13 Barnacle Goose, 220 Greylag Goose, 4 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Whooper Swan, 6 Wigeon, 6 Teal, 5 Long-tailed Duck, 3 Woodpigeon, 4 Oystercatcher, 8 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 2 Ringed Plover, 11 Curlew, 300 Turnstone, 2 Knot, 12 Dunlin, 4 Purple Sandpiper, 12 Jack Snipe, 28 Snipe, 62 Redshank, 47 Kittiwake, 4 Black-headed Gull, 6 Common Gull, 3 Bonxie, 1 Arctic Skua, 2 Guillemot, 3 Razorbill, 3 Red-throated Diver, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 3 Cormorant, 1 Sparrowhawk, 4 Short-eared Owl, 3 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 122 Skylark, 2 Swallow, 1 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 13 Goldcrest, 6 Ring Ouzel, 175 Blackbird, 17 Fieldfare, 792 Redwing, 80 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Robin, 4 Wheatear, 6 Pied Wagtail, 130 Meadow Pipit, 45 Rock Pipit, 7 Chaffinch, 51 Brambling, 98 Twite, 3 Linnet, 5 Siskin, 1 Lapland Bunting, 43 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting


Drake Long-tailed Ducks in South Harbour (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 1 Harbour Porpoise (off South Light), 6 White-beaked Dolphin (off Meoness), 1 Common Seal (Furse)

Year list: 200
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11th October 2023
Weather:
Heavy showers and sunny spells with a very strong force 8-11 westerly wind
Another day of no census, as gale-force winds and very heavy showers didn't allow for much birding away from South Light or the car! Two year ticks were gained today however, with a Pale-bellied Brent Goose west past South Light and a Velvet Scoter in North Haven, whilst a good number of mixed thrushes and Brambling still remain.


Velvet Scoter at North Haven (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
'Pale-bellied' Brent Goose: one west past South Light (first of the year)
Velvet Scoter: one at North Haven (new for the year list)

Sightings of note: 2 Barnacle Goose, 12 Greylag Goose, 1 Whooper Swan, 7 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 6 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Oystercatcher, 5 Lapwing, 1 Ringed Plover, 8 Dunlin, 7 Purple Sandpiper, 32 Kittiwake, 42 Black-headed Gull, 4 Common Gull, 2 Guillemot, 3 Razorbill, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Merlin, 2 Carrion Crow, 1 Ring Ouzel, 1 Wheatear, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Dunnock, 6 Snow Bunting


Fieldfare at the Haven (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 1 White-beaked Dolphin (off South Light)

Year list: 200
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10th October 2023
Weather:
Low cloud and heavy rain for most of the day, with a force 5-7 SW wind
After the last couple of days of nice weather and good birding, today was a bit of a write-off, with heavy rain showers putting a stop to census. As a result not much was seen today, althought the Eastern Stonechat still remains present and mobile around Schoolton/Boini Mire, with plenty of thrushes, Goldcrest and Brambling also seen but not counted.

HIGHLIGHTS:
'EASTERN' STONECHAT: female still at Boini Mire/Schoolton
Hen Harrier: ringtail still present
Siberian Chiffchaff: one at Boini Mire
Yellow-browed Warbler: one at Lower Leogh
Olive-backed Pipit: one still at Utra
Hawfinch: two at Vaila's Trees

Sightings of note: 1 Barnacle Goose, 6 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Woodpigeon, 2 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 2 Woodcock, 6 Jack Snipe, 1 Black-headed Gull, 1 Bonxie, 1 Razorbill, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, 8 Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 2 Carrion Crow, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 2 Ring Ouzel, 1 Whinchat, 3 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 5 Siskin, 1 Snow Bunting

Year list: 198
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9th October 2023
Weather:
Cloudy with some sun in the morning and heavy drizzle showers, with a calm force 2-3 southerly-based wind
Another fantastic day with calm weather making for very pleasant birding, plus plenty of birds to look at! A smart female Eastern Stonechat (thought to be Stejneger's) was a nice find at Boini Mire in the afternoon, and two Olive-backed Pipit were found together on the road at Utra, with one hanging around in the area all day and granting excellent views as it crept around in the long grass. An array of scarce and common migrants made up the supporting cast, with a few thousand thrushes (including 49 Ring Ouzel), five Hawfinch amongst a host of other finches, a new Red-breasted Flycatcher at North Gunnawark, over 250 Goldcrest and a total of 18 Short-eared Owl. The team took advantage of the calm evening and abundance of owls, and managed to trap six Short-eared Owl at Pund over a couple of hours - always brilliant birds to see in the hand.


Eastern Stonechat at Boini Mire (by Alex Penn)


Short-eared Owls in the hand at Pund (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-TAILED (TURKESTAN) SHRIKE: adult male still present, mostly around the Raevas and Shirva
LANCEOLATED WARBLER: one still at Setter
'EASTERN' STONECHAT: female at Boini Mire, thought to be Stejneger's but DNA likely to be needed to prove the record (new for the year list)
Hen Harrier: ringtail around the isle all day
Great Spotted Woodpecker: three around the isle
Siberian Chiffchaff: three; singles at Upper Leogh, Lower Stoneybrek and Upper Stoneybrek
Yellow-browed Warbler: four around the south
Red-breasted Flycatcher: one at North Gunnawark (different to yesterday's bird)
Olive-backed Pipit: two at Utra
Hawfinch: five; two in the north and three mobile in the south
Common Rosefinch: one at Hesti Geo
Little Bunting: one north over Setter


Olive-backed Pipit at Utra (by Georgia Platt)

Sightings of note: 5 Barnacle Goose, 155 Greylag Goose, 27 Pink-footed Goose, 15 Whooper Swan, 5 Wigeon, 1 Goldeneye, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Water Rail, 1 Oystercatcher, 15 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 7 Curlew, 148 Turnstone, 1 Ruff, 11 Dunlin, 2 Jack Snipe, 26 Snipe, 52 Redshank, 10 Common Gull, 1 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 18 Short-eared Owl, 1 Kestrel, 3 Merlin, 3 Carrion Crow, 144 Skylark, 5 Swallow, 1 Willow Warbler, 22 Chiffchaff, 17 Blackcap, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 255 Goldcrest, 49 Ring Ouzel, 281 Blackbird, 57 Fieldfare, 2,595 Redwing, 273 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush, 6 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 5 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 4 Pied Wagtail, 168 Meadow Pipit, 2 Tree Pipit, 59 Rock Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 182 Brambling, 97 Twite, 1 Linnet, 1 Mealy Redpoll, 13 Siskin, 8 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting


Goldcrest on thistles at Field (by Georgia Platt)

Other wildlife: 1 Silver Y, 25 White-beaked Dolphin (5 off South Harbour and 20 off Sheep Rock), 1 bat sp. (at North Haven)

Year list: 198
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8th October 2023
Weather:
Cloudy but bright until low cloud and rain came in mid-afternoon, with a force 4-7 SE wind
An excellent day of autumn birding as we were finally blessed with a south-easterly wind, with mixed thrushes, Goldcrest and Brambling being the main theme of the day in terms of numbers. A couple of new scarcities were in as well, with the first Red-breasted Flycatcher of the autumn (and just the second of the year) at the south-west cliffs, plus another new Little Bunting and the first few Siberian Chiffchaff of the year. Several Great Spotted Woodpecker were mobile around the isle, and a nice total of six Short-eared Owl was also noted.


Red-breasted Flycatcher at South Raeva (by Steve Arlow)

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-TAILED (TURKESTAN) SHRIKE: adult male still present, mostly around the Raevas and Shirva
LANCEOLATED WARBLER: one still at Setter
Great Spotted Woodpecker: four around the isle
Siberian Chiffchaff: four; one at South Naaversgill, one at Walli Burn and two at Chapel Plantation/Burkle
Yellow-browed Warbler: two in the south
Red-breasted Flycatcher: one at Steensi Geo, then moved to South Raeva
Little Bunting: two; one around Linni Geo and one at the Parks/Gully


The long-staying Red-tailed Shrike with an unfortunate Goldcrest as prey, at South Raeva (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 77 Greylag Goose, 5 Pink-footed Goose, 22 Wigeon, 6 Pintail, 15 Teal, 5 Long-tailed Duck, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 8 Woodpigeon, 3 Water Rail, 1 Oystercatcher, 4 Lapwing, 10 Curlew, 48 Turnstone, 1 Dunlin, 10 Purple Sandpiper, 6 Jack Snipe, 28 Snipe, 43 Redshank, 13 Kittiwake, 1 Black-headed Gull, 2 Common Gull, 3 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 1 Grey Heron, 6 Short-eared Owl, 1 Merlin, 3 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 97 Skylark, 4 Swallow, 1 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 4 Blackcap, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 92 Goldcrest, 8 Ring Ouzel, 61 Blackbird, 126 Fieldfare, 1,829 Redwing*, 47 Song Thrush, 2 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 1 Redstart, 12 Wheatear, 2 Grey Wagtail, 8 Pied Wagtail, 147 Meadow Pipit, 62 Rock Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 176 Brambling, 78 Twite, 3 Linnet, 2 Mealy Redpoll, 1 'Northwestern' Redpoll, 2 Goldfinch, 20 Siskin, 42 Snow Bunting

*Note that the thrush totals are of the morning census counts only, and are probably conservative figures as birds were seemingly arriving and leaving throughout the day


Short-eared Owl in the grass at the Parks (by Sam Langlois)

Other wildlife: 1 Minke Whale (off the NW cliffs), 4 White-beaked Dolphin (off South Light)


Minke Whale off Meoness (with its white pectoral 'Minke mittens' showing!) (by Sally Kunzig)

Year list: 197
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7th October 2023
Weather:
Overcast but bright with a force 4-5 NE wind
The morning was off to a good start with a year tick in the form of a Goosander flying south over Burkle, followed by a Great Spotted Woodpecker in Busta Geo, which was then mobile around the isle for the rest of the day. Sadly that seemed to be it for new birds in the isle, aside from a handful of common autumn migrants, but at least the wind is now easterly-based rather than westerly for a couple of days, so we still have hope! Cetaceans are still putting on a spectacle around the east coast, with a few Minke Whale very close in to Meoness, plus around 50 White-beaked Dolphin following a fishing vessel and being very active.


Jack Snipe in flight at Obs scrape (by Sam Langlois)

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-TAILED (TURKESTAN) SHRIKE: adult male still present, mobile around the south
LANCEOLATED WARBLER: one still at Setter
Goosander: one flew over Burkle (new for the year list)
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one mobile around the south
Little Bunting: one still Walli Burn

Sightings of note: 9 Barnacle Goose, 46 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 9 Wigeon, 1 Pintail, 9 Teal, 82 Eider (32m, 50f), 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Woodpigeon, 2 Water Rail, 2 Oystercatcher, 17 Curlew, 1 Knot, 8 Dunlin, 10 Jack Snipe, 14 Snipe, 54 Redshank, 2 Kittiwake, 4 Common Gull, 5 Bonxie, 4 Razorbill, 3 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Short-eared Owl, 1 Kestrel, 3 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 182 Skylark, 5 Swallow, 1 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 6 Blackcap, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Goldcrest, 4 Blackbird, 11 Fieldfare, 372 Redwing, 20 Song Thrush, 1 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 5 Wheatear, 1 Grey Wagtail, 8 Pied Wagtail, 225 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 68 Rock Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 3 Brambling, 61 Twite, 1 Linnet, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Siskin, 47 Snow Bunting


Short-eared Owl at Ward Hill (by Sam Langlois)

Other wildlife: 1 Orca (seen once distantly off Meoness), 8 Minke Whale, c.50 White-beaked Dolphin

Year list: 197
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6th October 2023
Weather:
Overcast with spells of low cloud, rain and sun, with a strong force 7-9 south-west turning northerly wind
No census this morning due to strong winds and heavy showers, but the team and visiting birders were still able to get out for a bit and have a look around.

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-TAILED (TURKESTAN) SHRIKE: adult male still present, back at Shirva
LANCEOLATED WARBLER: one still at Setter
Yellow-browed Warbler: one trapped at Plantation
Little Bunting: one at the Haa

Sightings of note: 61 Greylag Goose, 1 Wigeon, 1 Woodpigeon, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 215 Turnstone, 2 Knot, 12 Dunlin, 38 Redshank, 1 Kittiwake, 1 Black-headed Gull, 1 Bonxie, 1 Razorbill, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Cormorant, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 1 Fieldfare, 80 Redwing (minimum count), 1 Robin, 1 Whinchat, 1 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling, 1 'Northwestern' Redpoll, 2 Goldfinch, 1 Snow Bunting

Year list: 196
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5th October 2023
Weather:
A bright, calm morning with a force 3-4 westerly breeze, clouding over by midday with some rain later in the afternoon/evening, and a force 5-7 southerly-based wind
A drop in the wind overnight and this morning lead to the first proper arrival of Redwing of the autumn (finally!), with just over 400 noted around the isle. A count of 11 Yellow-browed Warbler was the highest of the year so far, and a new Little Bunting was seen at Shirva, but sadly still no new rarities were to be found. The calm weather this morning allowed the large group of cetaceans to be seen again, seemingly quite well spread along the east coast of the island, but still most concentrated around Sheep Rock, with no sign of the Humpback Whale.


Redwing at the Haa (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-TAILED (TURKESTAN) SHRIKE: adult male still present, back around Stackhoull
LANCEOLATED WARBLER: one still at Setter
Hen Harrier: ringtail still present, seen at Linni Geo heading towards South Light then out to sea
Yellow-browed Warbler: 11 present around the isle
Common Rosefinch: two; singles still at Stackhoull and Burkle
Little Bunting: two; one still at waterworks and one at Shirva

Sightings of note: 12 Greylag Goose, 9 Wigeon, 1 Pintail, 3 Teal, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Oystercatcher, 5 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 13 Curlew, 147 Turnstone, 1 Sanderling, 12 Dunlin, 9 Jack Snipe, 34 Snipe, 59 Redshank, 1 Kittiwake, 30 Common Gull, 1 Guillemot, 4 Razorbill, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Cormorant, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Kestrel, 3 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 314 Skylark, 9 Swallow, 6 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 14 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 8 Goldcrest, 1 Blackbird, 403 Redwing, 4 Song Thrush, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Robin, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 6 Wheatear, 2 Grey Wagtail, 11 Pied Wagtail, alba Wagtail sp., 291 Meadow Pipit, 69 Rock Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 3 Brambling, 82 Twite, 7 Linnet, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Crossbill, 2 Goldfinch, 3 Siskin, 1 Lapland Bunting, 3 Snow Bunting


Jack Snipe at Obs scrape (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 1 White-tailed Bumblebee, 23 Minke Whale, 26 White-beaked Dolphin


Breaching White-beaked Dolphin off Da Burrian (by Georgia Platt)

Year list: 196
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4th October 2023
Weather:
Heavy rain first thing clearing by mid-morning, with the odd shower in the remainder of the day and a mostly calm westerly-based force 2-5 breeze, picking up to force 6-7 by evening
Still not much change in the way of migrants in the isle, with the male Red-tailed Shrike still present around the crofts and a Lanceolated Warbler still at Setter, plus a handful of Yellow-browed Warbler, a couple of Rosefinch and a Little Bunting remaining as well. A Hen Harrier around the Parks and two Goldfinch at Field were the first of the autumn, and the large group of feeding cetaceans were seen again - this time off Sheep Rock and Buness - with final estimations consisting of c.20 Minke Whale, c.15 White-beaked Dolphin and one Humpback Whale still.


Goldfinches at Field (by Steve Arlow)

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-TAILED (TURKESTAN) SHRIKE: adult male still present, still around Shirva/Schoolton/Burkle
LANCEOLATED WARBLER: one still at Setter
Hen Harrier: ringtail around the Parks
Yellow-browed Warbler: three; singles at Brecks, Setter and Obs
Common Rosefinch: two; singles at Stackhoull and Brecks
Little Bunting: one still at waterworks

Sightings of note: 45 Barnacle Goose, 34 Greylag Goose, 25 Wigeon, 1 Pintail, 4 Teal, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Woodpigeon, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 17 Curlew, 179 Turnstone, 4 Knot, 1 Sanderling, 4 Dunlin, 5 Jack Snipe, 80 Snipe, 87 Redshank, 23 Kittiwake, 1 Black-headed Gull, 2 Common Gull, 2 Bonxie, 2 Guillemot, 7 Razorbill, 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Short-eared Owl, 1 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 10 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 14 Blackcap, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Goldcrest, 1 Blackbird, 1 Redwing, 4 Song Thrush, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 3 Whinchat, 9 Wheatear, 5 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Brambling, 4 Linnet, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Redpoll sp., 2 Goldfinch, 2 Siskin, 19 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting


Spotted Flycatcher at Kirki Geo (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 5 Silver Y, 2 White-tailed Bumblebee, c.20 Minke Whale, 1 Humpback Whale, c.15 White-beaked Dolphin

Year list: 196
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3rd October 2023
Weather:
Sunshine and showers with a force 6-8 westerly wind

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-TAILED (TURKESTAN) SHRIKE: adult male still present, now back around Shirva/Midway
LANCEOLATED WARBLER: one still at Setter
Yellow-browed Warbler: four; two still at obs and singles still at Kenaby and Field
Common Rosefinch: two at Burkle
Little Bunting: one (yesterday's ringed bird) at waterworks

Sightings of note: 36 Barnacle Goose, 16 Greylag Goose, 6 Pink-footed Goose, 7 Wigeon, 1 Pintail, 8 Teal, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Water Rail, 2 Oystercatcher, 6 Golden Plover, 8 Ringed Plover, 8 Curlew, 153 Turnstone, 3 Knot, 1 Sanderling, 13 Dunlin, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 21 Jack Snipe, 44 Snipe, 58 Redshank, 7 Common Gull, 1 Bonxie, 1 Guillemot, 1 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Kestrel, 3 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 306 Skylark, 4 Swallow, 4 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 18 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Goldcrest, 1 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 5 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 19 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 2 Grey Wagtail, 10 Pied Wagtail, 170 Meadow Pipit, 77 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 42 Twite, 5 Linnet, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Mealy Redpoll, 8 Siskin, 2 Lapland Bunting, 6 Snow Bunting

Other wildlife: 1 Silver Y, 1 Buff-tailed Bumblebee

Year list: 196
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2nd October 2023
Weather:
Sun in the morning and clouding over with heavy showers in the afternoon, with a force 6-7 SW wind
Another fairly quiet day of strong westerly-based winds, with a handful of long-staying scarcities and rarities still lingering.

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-TAILED (TURKESTAN) SHRIKE: adult male still present around Vaila's Trees then Burkle
LANCEOLATED WARBLER: ringed bird still at Setter
Yellow-browed Warbler: five; singles at Setter, Field and the school and two still at Obs
Richard's Pipit: one heard again on Meoness
Common Rosefinch: two at Schoolhouse
Little Bunting: one trapped in Vaadal


Little Bunting in the hand at Vaadal (by Georgia Platt)

Sightings of note: 35 Barnacle Goose, 1 Wigeon, 9 Teal, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Water Rail, 4 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 6 Golden Plover, 4 Ringed Plover, 1 Curlew, 242 Turnstone, 5 Knot, 1 Ruff, 2 Sanderling, 11 Dunlin, 2 Jack Snipe, 22 Snipe, 50 Redshank, 8 Common Gull, 2 Bonxie, 6 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 237 Skylark, 14 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 16 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 9 Goldcrest, 1 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing, 6 Song Thrush, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 9 Robin, 2 Whinchat, 22 Wheatear, 4 Grey Wagtail, 16 Pied Wagtail, 170 Meadow Pipit, 84 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 154 Twite, 1 Linnet, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Redpoll sp., 8 Siskin, 71 Snow Bunting

Other wildlife: 1 Silver Y, 2 Buff-tailed Bumblebee

Year list: 196
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1st October 2023
Weather:
Heavy rain showers, low cloud and a force 6-7 SE wind in the morning followed by a clear and bright afternoon, with a force 4-5 westerly wind
A dreich morning put a stop to census, so the team kept themselves busy with various bits of computer-based admin work until the weather cleared early afternoon. Although a very pleasant afternoon, there weren't many new birds to be seen other than a handful of common migrants plus a few Yellow-browed Warbler around the isle.

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-TAILED (TURKESTAN) SHRIKE: adult male still present, still around Vaila's Trees/Stoneybrek
LANCEOLATED WARBLER: two; ringed bird still present at Setter and a brief view of the one at Quoy
Yellow-browed Warbler: four; two trapped at Obs, one at Kroga Geo and one still Busta
Common Rosefinch: one at Burkle
Little Bunting: one still around Vaadal, flew towards Setter

Sightings of note: 36 Barnacle Goose, 2 Greylag Goose, 29 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon, 8 Teal, 4 Woodpigeon, 2 Golden Plover, 5 Ringed Plover, 8 Curlew, 79 Turnstone, 5 Knot, 2 Ruff, 1 Sanderling, 13 Dunlin, 7 Jack Snipe, 48 Snipe, 56 Redshank, 10 Common Gull, 3 Bonxie, 4 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Cormorant, 4 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 9 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 17 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Goldcrest, 3 Song Thrush, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 9 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 1 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 1 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Linnet, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Redpoll sp., 1 Siskin, 1 Lapland Bunting, 81 Snow Bunting


Jack Snipe in Steensi Geo (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 2 Silver Y, 1 White-tailed Bumblebee, 1 White-beaked Dolphin, 9 Minke Whale

Year list: 196
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30th September 2023
Weather:
Cloudy with some sunny spells and light showers, with a force 6-8 WNW wind in the morning decreasing to a very light force 2 breeze by the afternoon
Much of the same to report from recent days for this morning, although the late afternoon was far more exciting, with Deryk finding a Richard's Pipit on Meoness (the first twitchable record since 2019) followed by Sally spotting a cetacean feeding frenzy also off Meoness. This amazing spectacle, which could have been straight out of an Attenborough documentary, was enjoyed by many visitors and islanders, and final estimates consisted of c.30 Minke Whale, c.40 White-beaked Dolphin and one Humpback Whale in the middle of it all. An unfortgettable event to witness, and the flat sea made the few hours of calm weather in the afternoon even more appreciated!


Richard's Pipit on Meoness (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-TAILED (TURKESTAN) SHRIKE: adult male still present, now at Stackhoull
LANCEOLATED WARBLER: one still in Setter garden
Tundra Bean Goose: one still present, now around Stackhoull
American Golden Plover: one still present
Yellow-browed Warbler: one at Kenaby
Richard's Pipit: one on Meoness (new for the year list, first since 2021)
Common Rosefinch: three still present around the isle
Little Bunting: two; one still at Barkland and one at the waterworks

Sightings of note: 11 Barnacle Goose, 3 Greylag Goose, 13 Pink-footed Goose, 4 Whooper Swan, 9 Wigeon, 11 Teal, 1 Common Scoter, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Water Rail, 3 Oystercatcher, 2 Golden Plover, 5 Ringed Plover, 9 Curlew, 148 Turnstone, 5 Knot, 1 Ruff, 1 Sanderling, 17 Dunlin, 2 Jack Snipe, 31 Snipe, 76 Redshank, 17 Kittiwake, 2 Black-headed Gull, 16 Common Gull, 14 Bonxie, 2 Arctic Skua, 3 Guillemot, 6 Razorbill, 2 Cormorant, 5 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Short-eared Owl, 2 Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 339 Skylark, 14 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 17 Blackcap, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Goldcrest, 1 Blackbird, 1 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 6 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 1 Stonechat, 27 Wheatear, 3 Grey Wagtail, 12 Pied Wagtail, 212 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 70 Rock Pipit, 130 Twite, 2 Linnet, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 'Northwestern' Redpoll, 16 Siskin, 2 Lapland Bunting, 42 Snow Bunting

Other wildlife: 3 Silver Y, 1 White-tailed Bumblebee, 2 Buff-tailed Bumblebee, c.30 Minke Whale, 1 Humpback Whale, c.40 White-beaked Dolphin


Humpback Whale with White-beaked Dolphins off Meoness (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 196
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29th September 2023
Weather:
Mostly sunny with some heavy showers and a force 6-8 SW wind, turning to force 7-8 westerly by early afternoon
Another day of strong winds and not many new birds in, although the two Lanceolated Warblers of the autumn so far were both relocated by visiting birder Brendan - one at Setter, last seen when it was first found on 24th, and one at Quoy, last seen on 26th but present since 18th. Two Little Bunting were new in around Vaadal, with a further one still hanging around Barkland, and a large flock of over 100 Barnacle Geese were a nice sight as they grazed at South Green for most of the day.


This Moorhen was also new in, trapped in Vaadal and fitted with a colour ring as part of the National Moorhen Project (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-TAILED (TURKESTAN) SHRIKE: adult male still present, now at Shirva
LANCEOLATED WARBLER: two present; a ringed bird reappeared in Setter garden, presumably the same bird that was present and trapped near Setter on 24th, plus the ringed bird at Quoy also reappeared, which has been present since 18th
Tundra Bean Goose: one still present, now around Shirva
American Golden Plover: one still on Hoini
Yellow-browed Warbler: three; singles at Setter, Busta and Klingers Geo
Barred Warbler: one at Vaila's Trees
Common Rosefinch: at least four still around the isle
Little Bunting: three; two at Vaadal and one still at Barkland


American Golden Plover still at Hoini (by Sam Langlois)

Sightings of note: 156 Barnacle Goose, 3 Greylag Goose, 4 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Wigeon, 6 Pintail, 12 Teal, 2 Swift, 1 Moorhen, 1 Water Rail, 3 Oystercatcher, 1 Golden Plover, 5 Ringed Plover, 10 Curlew, 52 Turnstone, 3 Knot, 2 Sanderling, 7 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Jack Snipe, 18 Snipe, 54 Redshank, 58 Common Gull, 9 Bonxie, 2 Razorbill, 1 Red-throated Diver, 3 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 3 Carrion Crow, 265 Skylark, 11 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 15 Blackcap, 3 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 4 Goldcrest, 1 Blackbird, 2 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush, 5 Robin, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart, 1 Redstart, 16 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 13 Pied Wagtail, 201 Meadow Pipit, 3 Tree Pipit, 67 Rock Pipit, 1 Brambling, 140 Twite, 15 Linnet, 1 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 12 Siskin, 74 Snow Bunting


Barnacle Geese at South Green (by Sam Langlois)

Year list: 195
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28th September 2023
Weather:
Overcast but bright with occasional showers and a force 6-8 SW wind
An impressive 'Highlights' list today, with lingering rarities and scarcities joined by a few new additions. The isle's 11th Radde's Warbler was discovered by Sam in Gilsetter, which then gradually worked its way along the base of the stone walls (much like a Lanceolated Warbler!) and settled at Setter, giving excellent views whilst doing so. A Corncrake hiding in a crevice in Linni Geo was picked up by Alex with his thermal imager, the second record of the autumn for this elusive speices, whilst a Bluethroat was at Chalet and an Osprey was seen over South Harbour. A few new Common Rosefinch and Yellow-browed Warbler were also present around the isle, and the American Golden Plover remains around Hoini but is still mobile.


Radde's Warbler at Gilsetter (by Sam Langlois)

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-TAILED (TURKESTAN) SHRIKE: adult male still present, retrapped at Burkle in the morning
Tundra Bean Goose: one still present, now around Chalet
Corncrake: one in Linni Geo
American Golden Plover: one still around Hoini
Osprey: one over South Harbour
Yellow-browed Warbler: six; three at Plantation and singles at Setter, Jivvi Geo and Busta
Radde's Warbler: one in Gilsetter, which eventually worked its way to Setter (new for the year list, 11th Fair Isle record)
Barred Warbler: one still Upper Stoneybrek
Bluethroat: one at Chalet
Common Rosefinch: at least four around the isle
Little Bunting: one still around Chalet/Barkland


Corncrake in Linni Geo (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 153 Barnacle Goose, 3 Greylag Goose, 4 Pink-footed Goose, 7 Wigeon, 11 Teal, 4 Oystercatcher, 4 Lapwing, 6 Ringed Plover, 8 Curlew, 195 Turnstone, 4 Knot, 1 Ruff, 2 Sanderling, 7 Dunlin, 3 Jack Snipe, 29 Snipe, 45 Redshank, 13 Common Gull, 12 Bonxie, 2 Guillemot, 1 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 360 Skylark, 12 Swallow, 7 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 21 Blackcap, 5 Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 10 Goldcrest, 1 Blackbird, 5 Song Thrush, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 8 Robin, 1 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 1 Stonechat, 10 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 11 Pied Wagtail, 195 Meadow Pipit, 5 Tree Pipit, 71 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 40 Twite, 11 Linnet, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 1 'Northwestern' Redpoll, 8 Siskin, 55 Snow Bunting

Year list: 195
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27th September 2023
Weather:
Blue sky and sun in the morning and overcast in the afternoon, with a force 4-5 SW wind turning SE later in the day
Today's weather saw a brief lull in the wind, as the team enjoyed the novelty of being out and about and actually being able to hear birds! A nice handful of scarcities and rarities are still present and unchanged, although an American Golden Plover was a welcome surprise, with it being the first North American vagrant of the year in the isle. Some new common migrants were around the crofts and on the cliffs as well, and hopefully tonight's strong south-easterlies and rain should bring a few more birds in.


American Golden Plover on Hoini (by Sam Langlois)

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-TAILED (TURKESTAN) SHRIKE: adult male still present, still around Burkle/Chapel Plantation/the Haa
Tundra Bean Goose: one still present, now below Shirva
American Golden Plover: one on Hoini then mobile (new for the year list, 13th Fair Isle record)
Yellow-browed Warbler: one still at Busta
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one still at Quoy reeds/Schoolton
Common Rosefinch: two; singles at Chalet and Busta Geo
Little Bunting: one still around Barkland/Chalet

Sightings of note: 54 Barnacle Goose, 4 Greylag Goose, 4 Pink-footed Goose, 5 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Oystercatcher, 3 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 3 Ringed Plover, 8 Curlew, 192 Turnstone, 3 Knot, 1 Ruff, 1 Sanderling, 11 Dunlin, 2 Jack Snipe, 35 Snipe, 66 Redshank, 1 Kittiwake, 16 Common Gull, 3 Bonxie, 2 Guillemot, 4 Razorbill, 1 Cormorant, 5 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Short-eared Owl, 4 Kestrel, 4 Carrion Crow, 383 Skylark, 16 Swallow, 6 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler, 26 Blackcap, 6 Garden Warbler, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 4 Goldcrest, 3 Redwing, 4 Song Thrush, 5 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 1 Redstart, 5 Whinchat, 1 Stonechat, 14 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 3 Grey Wagtail, 17 Pied Wagtail, 259 Meadow Pipit, 2 Tree Pipit, 104 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 84 Twite, 5 Linnet, 1 'Northwestern' Redpoll, 27 Siskin, 1 Lapland Bunting, 67 Snow Bunting

Other wildlife: 4 Silver Y, 1 Shetland Bee, 2 Buff-tailed Bumblebee


Buff-tailed Bumblebee at Hesswalls (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 194
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26th September 2023
Weather:
A bright morning clouding over in the afternoon, with a force 6-7 SSE wind
More strong winds made for challenging conditions, although rarities and scarcities of recent days still remain present, plus a couple of new Yellow-browed Warbler in the crofts.

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-TAILED (TURKESTAN) SHRIKE: adult male still present, still around Burkle
LANCEOLATED WARBLER: one still at Quoy
Tundra Bean Goose: one still present, now around Barkland/Chalet
Yellow-browed Warbler: two; singles at Utra and Busta
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one still at Quoy reeds/Schoolton
Barred Warbler: two; singles still at Chalet and Upper Stoneybrek
Little Bunting: one at Barkland

Sightings of note: 4 Greylag Goose, 4 Pink-footed Goose, 4 Wigeon, 5 Teal, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Oystercatcher, 3 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 5 Ringed Plover, 8 Curlew, 218 Turnstone, 4 Knot, 1 Ruff, 3 Sanderling, 6 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Jack Snipe, 21 Snipe, 64 Redshank, 10 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 4 Bonxie, 2 Guillemot, 3 Razorbill, 2 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Short-eared Owl, 3 Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 4 Carrion Crow, 397 Skylark, 7 Swallow, 5 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 9 Blackcap, 3 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Goldcrest, 2 Redwing, 4 Song Thrush, 4 Robin, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 3 Whinchat, 20 Wheatear, 3 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 20 Pied Wagtail, 198 Meadow Pipit, 3 Tree Pipit, 96 Rock Pipit, 188 Twite, 1 Linnet, 29 Snow Bunting

Year list: 193
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25th September 2023
Weather:
Mostly sunny with a force 6-8 SW wind
The day was off to a fantastic start, with Alex scoring a first for Fair Isle from the door at South Light as a Cattle Egret flew past! Unfortunately the bird didn't stop over in the isle for better views, but an excellent record nonetheless. On the same theme as surprising year ticks, a 'Northern' Treecreeper was in Swarzie Geo in the afternoon, picking through the lichen on the cliffs and looking very out of place, becoming the 12th Fair Isle record of this species. In addition to the local rarities, some national rarities still remain, with the Red-tailed Shrike still around the crofts and the Lanceolated Warbler from a few days ago (different to yesterday's bird) reappearing at Quoy in the late afternoon. An unusually early Tundra Bean Goose was also present, seen with a small group of Pink-footed Geese opposite Stackhoull, and is the earliest autumn occurence of any Bean Goose sp. since an individual on 20th September 2006 that wasn't assigned to race.


Cattle Egret flying east past South Light (by Alex Penn)


'Northern' Treecreeper in Swarzie Geo (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-TAILED (TURKESTAN) SHRIKE: adult male still present, now around Burkle/Lower Leogh
LANCEOLATED WARBLER: one reappeared at Quoy (last seen on 22nd Sept)
Tundra Bean Goose: one with Pink-footed Geese opposite Stackhoull
Cattle Egret: one east past South Light (first record for Fair Isle and fourth for Shetland)
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one still at Quoy reeds/Schoolton
Barred Warbler: two; singles still at Chalet and Stackhoull
'Northern' Treecreeper: one at Swarzie Geo (12th Fair Isle record)


Tundra Bean Goose opposite Stackhoull (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 4 Greylag Goose, 4 Pink-footed Goose, 12 Teal, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 2 Ringed Plover, 5 Curlew, 182 Turnstone, 7 Knot, 2 Sanderling, 7 Dunlin, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 3 Jack Snipe, 32 Snipe, 41 Redshank, 1 Kittiwake, 44 Common Gull, 13 Bonxie, 3 Guillemot, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Kestrel, 4 Carrion Crow, 370 Skylark, 4 Swallow, 6 Willow Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 4 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Redwing, 5 Song Thrush, 3 Robin, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Whinchat, 14 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 13 Pied Wagtail, 209 Meadow Pipit, 2 Tree Pipit, 78 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 61 Twite, 1 'North-western' Redpoll, 7 Snow Bunting

Year list: 193
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24th September 2023
Weather:
Low cloud and rain until mid-morning then mostly overcast, with a force 5-7 southerly wind
Dreich conditions in the early morning delayed census for a while, although the weather cleared mid-morning and stayed clear for the rest of the day, allowing for a full census eventually. The Red-tailed Shrike from recent days was seen around Shirva in the morning, with a few common migrants also around, but the main bird in the spotlight today was a new Lanceolated Warbler at the ringing hut marsh. The bird was flighty initially, but then showed very well as it worked along the dyke above the marsh and occasionally ventured into the long grass, giving a classic Fair Isle birding experience as observers enjoyed the bird's iconic mouse-like behaviour.


Lanceolated Warbler in the ringing hut marsh (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-TAILED (TURKESTAN) SHRIKE: adult male still around Shirva
LANCEOLATED WARBLER: one at the Cru/ringing hut marsh and later trapped (second of the autumn, 101st Fair Isle record)
Yellow-browed Warbler: one still at Obs
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one still at Quoy reeds/Schoolton
Barred Warbler: two; singles at Chalet and Lower Stoneybrek
Common Rosefinch: one at Vaila's Trees
Little Bunting: two; one at Quoy and one at the base of Malcolm's Head

Sightings of note: 3 Barnacle Goose, 3 Greylag Goose, 4 Pink-footed Goose, 6 Wigeon, 19 Teal, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Water Rail, 5 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 10 Golden Plover, 3 Ringed Plover, 7 Curlew, 211 Turnstone, 5 Knot, 3 Sanderling, 9 Dunlin, 1 Jack Snipe, 33 Snipe, 81 Redshank, 10 Common Gull, 9 Bonxie, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Short-eared Owl, 3 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 512 Skylark, 15 Swallow, 7 Willow Warbler, 11 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 8 Song Thrush, 1 Redwing, 9 Robin, 4 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 3 Whinchat, 25 Wheatear, 4 Dunnock, 20 Pied Wagtail, 276 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 94 Rock Pipit, 25 Twite, 1 Linnet, 33 Snow Bunting

Other wildlife: 2 Red Admiral

Year list: 191
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23rd September 2023
Weather:
Mostly cloudy with some sunny spells and a force 6-7 NW wind, decreasing to a force 3-5 westerly by the evening
A fairly quiet census with fewer common migrants around this morning, although there was excitement to be had when yesterday evening's possible Red-tailed Shrike was relocated in the early afternoon, allowing observers to confirm the identification as fortunately it was a stunning adult male. The bird showed very well around Midway and Shirva as it navigated around the fence posts and thistle patches, giving all of its onlookers excellent views, and was later trapped with feathers collected for DNA analysis.


Male Red-tailed Shrike at Midway (by Alex Penn)


The Shrike with its 'crowd' of observers (by Sam Langlois)

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-TAILED (TURKESTAN) SHRIKE: adult male around Midway, Schoolton and Shirva, trapped and DNA collected (first for Fair Isle and Shetland if accepted, pending potential review of previous Isabelline Shrike sp. records)
Yellow-browed Warbler: two; one at Klingers Geo and one trapped at Obs
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one still at Quoy reeds/Schoolton
Barred Warbler: one at Stackhoull


Male Red-tailed Shrike in the hand at Midway (by Georgia Platt)

Sightings of note: 10 Greylag Goose, 5 Pink-footed Goose, 9 Wigeon, 17 Teal, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 6 Oystercatcher, 3 Lapwing, 5 Golden Plover, 2 Ringed Plover, 5 Curlew, 57 Turnstone, 2 Knot, 1 Ruff, 4 Sanderling, 10 Dunlin, 2 Jack Snipe, 30 Snipe, 41 Redshank, 2 Common Gull, 20 Bonxie, 1 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill, 2 Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 4 Kestrel, 2 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 236 Skylark, 9 Swallow, 10 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 9 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Goldcrest, 5 Song Thrush, 9 Robin, 2 Redstart, 3 Whinchat, 16 Wheatear, 3 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 21 Pied Wagtail, 427 Meadow Pipit, 3 Tree Pipit, 71 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 161 Twite, 1 Linnet, 59 Snow Bunting

Year list: 191
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22nd September 2023
Weather:
Sunshine and showers with a force 4-5 westerly wind in the morning, changing to force 6-7 NW by midday
A handful of new birds in today despite the strong westerly winds, although none from North America as yet. The third Rustic Bunting of the year was a welcome sight as it fed briefly along the fence line at the Airstrip, whilst Little Buntings were seen at Charlie's Trees/Field and Wirvie Burn, with the latter bird confirmed to be a different individual from the two at North Haven a couple of days ago. A Barred Warbler just north of the Haa was also new, plus a large flock of c.80 Barnacle Geese and a lone Whooper Swan south over the isle first thing this morning.


Rustic Bunting at the Airstrip (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
LANCEOLATED WARBLER: one still at Quoy
RUSTIC BUNTING: one at the Airstrip
Yellow-browed Warbler: one at Obs
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one still at Quoy reeds/Schoolton
Barred Warbler: one just north of the Haa
Little Bunting: two; one at Charlie's Trees and one at Wirvie Burn


Little Bunting at Wirvie Burn (by Georgia Platt)

Sightings of note: c.80 Barnacle Goose, 7 Greylag Goose, 56 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Whooper Swan, 14 Wigeon, 16 Teal, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 9 Oystercatcher, 3 Lapwing, 16 Golden Plover, 7 Ringed Plover, 8 Curlew, 211 Turnstone, 5 Knot, 6 Sanderling, 12 Dunlin, 8 Jack Snipe, 46 Snipe, 54 Redshank, 8 Kittiwake, 8 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 16 Bonxie, 1 Guillemot, 5 Razorbill, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 221 Skylark, 9 Swallow, 18 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 12 Blackcap, 3 Garden Warbler, 10 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Redwing, 13 Song Thrush, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 9 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 1 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 21 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, 14 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 366 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 118 Rock Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling, 76 Twite, 1 Linnet, 1 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Lapland Bunting, 13 Snow Bunting

Other wildlife: 1 Red Admiral, 1 White-tailed Bumblebee

Year list: 190
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21st September 2023
Weather:
A dry morning with showers later in the day, with a strong force 6-8 southerly wind
Very strong southerly winds made for challenging conditions when the team were out in the morning, with birds in the vegetation in the crofts especially hard to see. The Lanceolated Warbler was back in the same place at Quoy, with the Blyth's Reed also still present, while one Little Bunting was still at North Haven and a Rosefinch new at the Haa.

HIGHLIGHTS:
LANCEOLATED WARBLER: one still at Quoy
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one still at Quoy reeds/Schoolton
Common Rosefinch: one at the Haa
Little Bunting: one still at North Haven

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 4 Pink-footed Goose, 8 Wigeon, 21 Teal, 12 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 6 Golden Plover, 7 Ringed Plover, 5 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 172 Turnstone, 2 Knot, 7 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 23 Snipe, 38 Redshank, 3 Kittiwake, 28 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Razorbill, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Cormorant, 3 Grey Heron, 3 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 10 Swallow, 10 Willow Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 6 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 3 Goldcrest, 1 Blackbird, 9 Song Thrush, 3 Robin, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Brambling, 37 Snow Bunting

Other wildlife: 1 Red Admiral

Year list: 190
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20th September 2023
Weather:
Low cloud for most of the day with some rain around midday/early afternoon but clearing towards the late afternoon, with a force 6-7 easterly wind in the morning changing to a southerly mid-afternoon
A very mixed day of wind and weather meant no census this morning, although it was dry enough to bird around the isle for most of the day. The first Little Bunting of the autumn was a new arrival at North Haven this morning, which was joined by another in the afternoon, and a few common migants still remain at the Obs and around the crofts.


Little Buntings at North Haven (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Common Tern: adult and juv at North Haven
Yellow-browed Warbler: one at Vaila's Trees
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one still at Quoy reeds/Schoolton
Little Bunting: two at North Haven

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 4 Pink-footed Goose, 5 Wigeon, 21 Teal, 1 Woodpigeon, 2 Oystercatcher, 1 Lapwing, 3 Golden Plover, 13 Ringed Plover, 9 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 127 Turnstone, 2 Knot, 3 Ruff, 3 Sanderling, 4 Dunlin, 58 Redshank, 5 Common Gull, 4 Razorbill, 1 Cormorant, 4 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrel, 4 Carrion Crow, 7 Swallow, 16 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler, 2 Grasshopper Warbler, 23 Blackcap, 4 Garden Warbler, 8 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Goldcrest, 6 Song Thrush, 7 Robin, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart, 2 Redstart, 4 Whinchat, 2 Dunnock, 1 Linnet, 1 Mealy Redpoll, 2 Crossbill

Other wildlife: 5 Red Admiral

Year list: 190
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19th September 2023
Weather:
Mostly sunny with a force 5-6 SW wind
An early start for the team, as we headed out for another morning round of Obs nets and traps - a nice number of common migrants were trapped and ringed (mainly Garden Warbler and Blackcap), as well as the Arctic Warbler that is still at the Obs garden. Otherwise it seemed like a general clearout of scarcities compared to yesterday, apart from the Lanceolated Warbler remaining in the same place at Quoy, the Blyth's Reed Warbler also still at Quoy and just one Yellow-browed Warbler in the south.


Arctic Warbler in the hand at Obs (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
LANCEOLATED WARBLER: one still at Quoy
Yellow-browed Warbler: one at Nedder Taft
Arctic Warbler: one still at Obs (trapped)
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one still at Quoy reeds/Schoolton

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 8 Wigeon, 22 Teal, 5 Oystercatcher, 5 Golden Plover, 13 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 8 Curlew, 155 Turnstone, 9 Knot, 2 Ruff, 2 Sanderling, 8 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 26 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 53 Redshank, 1 Kittiwake, 93 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 25 Bonxie, 2 Razorbill, 2 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Cormorant, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 4 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 229 Skylark, 9 Swallow, 23 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 37 Blackcap, 18 Garden Warbler, 7 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, 11 Goldcrest, 1 Blackbird, 16 Song Thrush, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 18 Robin, 4 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart, 5 Redstart, 5 Whinchat, 25 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, 30 Pied Wagtail, 2 alba Wagtail, 389 Meadow Pipit, 11 Tree Pipit, 143 Rock Pipit, 3 Brambling, 76 Twite, 2 Crossbill

Other wildlife: 61 Red Admiral, 1 Painted Lady, 1 White-tailed Bumblebee, 1 Buff-tailed Bumblebee

Year list: 190
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18th September 2023
Weather:
Overcast but bright in the morning, with low cloud and heavy rain coming in early afternoon and staying for the remainder of the day, with a force 4-5 SE wind
Another excellent day for rarities, scarcities and common migrants despite being forced to hide inside for the afternoon due to unrelenting heavy rain. An early trap/Obs nets round first thing this morning saw a handful of migrants caught, but subsequent trap rounds revealed birds arriving throughout the day, with Gully being particularly good for common migrants. There was a brief interruption to census later in the morning, as Alex unearthed a probable Lanceloated Warbler at Quoy, so the team gathered to trap the bird and confirm the ID. After a textbook capture of the bird, we could see that it was indeed a 'Lancey', and also Fair Isle's 100th record of this iconic Siberian skulker. Unfortunately the bird was in heavy body moult so wasn't looking its best, but still brilliant to see this milestone record!


Lanceolated Warbler in the hand at Quoy (by Georgia Platt)

The team then managed to cover a good amount of their census routes before the rain, and with the help of a few islanders and visitors, plenty of scarcities and common migrants were recorded around the isle.


HIGHLIGHTS:
LANCEOLATED WARBLER: one trapped at Quoy (new for the year list, 100th Fair Isle record)
Common Tern: adult still at North Haven
Great Spotted Woodpecker: two; one at Tineside and one at Burkle
Wood Warbler: one at Schoolton
Yellow-browed Warbler: ten around the isle
Arctic Warbler: two; one still at Klingers Geo and one still at Obs
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one still at Quoy reeds/Schoolton
Barred Warbler: two; one at Shirva and one at Setter
Bluethroat: male at the North Haven fish store
Common Rosefinch: four at Chalet

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 11 Pink-footed Goose, 7 Wigeon, 18 Teal, 1 Water Rail, 5 Oystercatcher, 1 Lapwing, 8 Golden Plover, 5 Ringed Plover, 9 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 180 Turnstone, 4 Knot, 1 Ruff, 2 Sanderling, 11 Dunlin, 1 Jack Snipe, 65 Snipe, 92 Redshank, 28 Common Gull, 6 Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Short-eared Owl, 4 Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 4 Carrion Crow, 9 Swallow, 21 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Reed Warbler, 31 Blackcap, 9 Garden Warbler, 9 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 22 Goldcrest, 2 Blackbird, 7 Song Thrush, 7 Spotted Flycatcher, 11 Robin, 4 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart, 4 Redstart, 19 Wheatear, 4 Dunnock, 28 Pied Wagtail, 4 Tree Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Brambling, 1 Linnet, 1 Crossbill


Short-eared Owl at Leogh (by Georgia Platt)

Other wildlife: 11 Red Admiral, 2 Silver Y, 1 Shetland Bee

Year list: 190
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17th September 2023
Weather:
Cloudy with a force 2-3 SE breeze in the morning turning to force 5-6 by afternoon
A full day of south-easterlies brought a good number of new migrants featuring some very nice scarcities, including the first Red-flanked Bluetail of the autumn - a shy bird in Troila Geo that was always distant and disappeared occasionally, but always a nice species to see, which has been an annual occurence in Fair Isle since 2014.


Red-flanked Bluetail in Troila Geo (by Alex Penn)

Other new arrivals included an Arctic Warbler at the Obs in the afternoon, with the bird from the previous two days still present in Klingers Geo, and a Bluethroat seen briefly skulking around in Meadow Burn. Around the isle there were nine Yellow-browed Warbler and five Barred Warbler, plus yesterday's Blyth's Reed Warbler still in the Quoy reeds, whilst the White-tailed Eagle was still present and giving excellent views in the south-west for a couple of hours in the morning.


HIGHLIGHTS:
Common Tern: adult still at North Haven
White-tailed Eagle: immature still present from mid-morning to midday
Yellow-browed Warbler: nine around the isle
Arctic Warbler: two; one still at Klingers Geo and a new bird at Obs
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one still at Quoy reeds
Barred Warbler: five; singles at Dronger, Midway, Vaila's Trees, Upper Stoneybrek and Chalet
Bluethroat: one at Meadow Burn
Red-flanked Bluetail: one at Troila Geo (first of the year, 27th Fair Isle record)
Common Rosefinch: one at Shirva


Arctic Warbler at Obs (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 17 Pink-footed Goose, 7 Wigeon, 9 Teal, 8 Oystercatcher, 1 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 15 Ringed Plover, 5 Curlew, 67 Turnstone, 4 Knot, 4 Sanderling, 9 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Jack Snipe, 24 Snipe, 44 Redshank, 42 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 36 Bonxie, 2 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill, 8 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 5 Carrion Crow, 181 Skylark, 13 Swallow, 19 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler, 4 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 3 Goldcrest, 2 Blackbird, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Robin, 5 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart, 5 Whinchat, 19 Wheatear, 1 Grey Wagtail, 25 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 401 Meadow Pipit, 149 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Brambling, 130 Twite, 2 Linnet, 1 Mealy Redpoll, 2 Snow Bunting

Other wildlife: 1 Silver Y, 1 Shetland Bee, 3 White-tailed Bumblebee, 1 Green Lacewing

Year list: 189
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16th September 2023
Weather:
Bright and sunny with a force 4-5 northerly wind
A decent day despite the northerly wind, with the Arctic and two Yellow-browed Warblers still present, plus a Blyth's Reed Warbler at Quoy, three Common Rosefinch around the south and an immature White-tailed Eagle making a brief appearance over the isle in the afternoon.


Blyth's Reed Warbler at Quoy reeds (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Common Tern: two; adult at North Haven and one off South Light
White-tailed Eagle: immature flying south from Buness to Vaasetter, then disappeared towards the west cliffs
Yellow-browed Warbler: two; one at Setter (later trapped at Chalet) and one still at Klingers Geo
Arctic Warbler: one still at Klingers Geo
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one at Quoy reeds
Barred Warbler: one still at Chalet
Common Rosefinch: three present around the south (one trapped at Chalet)

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 7 Teal, 6 Oystercatcher, 1 Lapwing, 8 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 14 Curlew, 76 Turnstone, 9 Knot, 2 Sanderling, 11 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 26 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 49 Redshank, 7 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 28 Bonxie, 3 Razorbill, 1 Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Short-eared Owl, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 170 Skylark, 18 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Blackbird, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart, 3 Whinchat, 14 Wheatear, 21 Pied Wagtail, 2 White Wagtail, 499 Meadow Pipit, 163 Rock Pipit, 137 Twite, 2 Mealy Redpoll, 2 Snow Bunting


Snow Bunting on Dronger (by Georgia Platt)

Other wildlife: 3 Red Admiral, 1 Silver Y, 2 Shetland Bee, 6 White-tailed Bumblebee

Year list: 188
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15th September 2023
Weather:
Overcast but bright with a force 4-6 westerly wind
A cold and windy census this morning didn't produce many migrants, although two Yellow-browed Warbler and an Arctic Warbler were found in the late afternoon, the latter a year tick after none occuring in the usually-reliable last week of August.


Arctic Warbler at Klingers Geo (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Common Tern: two past Meoness
Yellow-browed Warbler: two; one at Charlie's Trees and one at Klingers Geo
Arctic Warbler: one at Klingers Geo (new for the year list)
Common Rosefinch: two present between Chalet and Setter


Yellow-browed Warbler at Klingers Geo (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 4 Pink-footed Goose, 6 Wigeon, 8 Teal, 5 Oystercatcher, 1 Lapwing, 5 Golden Plover, 7 Ringed Plover, 20 Curlew, 121 Turnstone, 8 Knot, 2 Sanderling, 10 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 27 Snipe, 69 Redshank, 3 Kittiwake, 46 Common Gull, 43 Bonxie, 2 Guillemot, 8 Razorbill, 1 Puffin, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, 3 Carrion Crow, 133 Skylark, 17 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Blackbird, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Whinchat, 26 Wheatear, 22 Pied Wagtail, 450 Meadow Pipit, 106 Rock Pipit, 53 Twite, 1 Linnet, 2 Crossbill

Other wildlife: 1 Shetland Bee, 3 Harbour Porpoise (off Meoness)

Year list: 188
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14th September 2023
Weather:
Mostly sunny with a few showers in the afternoon and a strong force 6-9 wind, swinging from SE to SW
Today's weather was far better than the forecast had predicted, with strong winds but lots of sunshine making conditions not too bad to be out in. The morning started in one of the best ways, with Orca seen from the door of our flat at South Light - they appeared to be actively hunting fish and being followed by a hundred-or-so Gannets, which were very helpful for keeping track of the Orca in the choppy sea, and we enjoyed watching as they milled about for about an hour and a half. Looking at photos, we were able to identify the individuals as female #049 and bulls #046 and #218 from the Scottish Orca Catalogue, a small group of transient animals that have been seen from Fair Isle before, in September 2019 and 2020, so it's interesting that they have turned up here in September again. We are clearly a stable part of their annual route!


Orca off South Light - above left; female #049 (by Alex Penn), below left; bull #218 (by Sam Langlois), right; both bulls with Gannets overhead (by Georgia Platt)

As for birds, seawatching was productive, the most notable movement being 59 Common Tern seen throughout the day, which is potentially the highest day-count since a good number of pairs bred here in the late 80s. A handful of Sooty Shearwater, four Red-throated Diver, one Great Northern Diver and some common seabirds kept things interesting, and three Rosefinch at Burkle were the only new passerines of note.



Common Tern in North Haven (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Common Tern: 59 throughout the day (56 past South Light, one heading south down the isle, one in North Haven and one past Buness)
Common Rosefinch: three at Burkle

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 35 Wigeon, 1 Pintail, 9 Teal, 29 Oystercatcher, 10 Golden Plover, 6 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 13 Curlew, 65 Turnstone, 9 Knot, 6 Ruff, 3 Sanderling, 3 Dunlin, 16 Purple Sandpiper, 43 Redshank, 12 Kittiwake, 1 Black-headed Gull, 80 Common Gull, 3 Arctic Skua, 1 Guillemot, 17 Razorbill, 1 Puffin, 4 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 7 Sooty Shearwater, 5 Grey Heron, 4 Carrion Crow, 2 Sand Martin, 12 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Whinchat, 1 White Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit, 1 Linnet, 1 Crossbill

Other wildlife: 1 Red Admiral, 3 Orca - off South Light from 0915 to 1030 (#s 046, 049 & 218)

Year list: 187
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13th September 2023
Weather:
Bright and sunny with a calm force 2-3 easterly-based breeze
A settled and sunny day made for a quiet but pleasant census, and a good introduction to the two southern census routes for Sam, with a couple of Barred Warbler and a Rosefinch still around the south of the isle. It was a good day for cetacean sightings with a nice flat sea, with at least seven Harbour Porpoise seen off Meoness in the early afternoon, followed by a group of at least seven Risso's Dolphin milling around the south-west cliffs later in the day.


Rosefinch at Boini Mire (by Sam Langlois)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Barred Warbler: two; one still at Chalet and one still at Vaila's Trees
Common Rosefinch: one still, now at Boini Mire

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 4 Wigeon, 7 Teal, 6 Oystercatcher, 3 Golden Plover, 9 Ringed Plover, 12 Curlew, 70 Turnstone, 5 Knot, 3 Sanderling, 3 Dunlin, 28 Snipe, 57 Redshank, 1 Kittiwake, 2 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 36 Bonxie, 1 Guillemot, 2 Razorbill, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 2 Cormorant, 13 Grey Heron, 2 Merlin, 4 Carrion Crow, 165 Skylark, 12 Swallow, 8 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Blackbird, 1 Black Redstart, 5 Whinchat, 17 Wheatear, 23 Pied Wagtail, 3 White Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 521 Meadow Pipit, 134 Rock Pipit, 197 Twite, 2 Redpoll Sp., 1 Crossbill

Other wildlife: 1 Red Admiral, 1 Shetland Bee, 3 White-tailed Bumblebee, 7+ Harbour Porpoise (off Meoness), 7+ Risso's Dolphin (off Raeva then Malcolm's Head)

Year list: 187
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12th September 2023
Weather:
Mostly sunny with occasional showers and a force 5-6 NW wind
This morning we said farewell to long-term volunteer Matt, who left on a very bumpy Good Shepherd, and welcomed our new volunteer Sam, who will be helping us out with census from now until the end of the season.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Barred Warbler: one at Chalet

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 10 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon, 1 Teal, 11 Oystercatcher, 1 Lapwing, 39 Turnstone, 9 Knot, 1 Ruff, 2 Sanderling, 3 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 22 Redshank, 6 Kittiwake, 5 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 5 Guillemot, 14 Razorbill, 2 Puffin, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Storm Petrel, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 6 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Merlin, 4 Carrion Crow, 1 Sand Martin, 6 Swallow, 1 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Whinchat, 1 Linnet

Other wildlife: 1 White-tailed Bumblebee

Year list: 187
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11th September 2023
Weather:
Mostly cloudy with sunny spells and some rain in the afternoon, with a force 4-5 westerly wind
A very slow day for birds, with nothing new in of note other than a very swish cruiseship, the Scenic Eclipse II.


The Scenic Eclipse II anchored in Furse (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one at Lower Stoneybrek fist thing, then sadly found dead on the road by Chalet later on
Barred Warbler: one still at Vaila's Trees
Common Rosefinch: one still, now at Burkle

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 6 Pink-footed Goose, 3 Wigeon, 8 Teal, 16 Oystercatcher, 8 Golden Plover, 35 Ringed Plover, 10 Curlew, 66 Turnstone, 13 Knot, 1 Ruff, 4 Sanderling, 10 Dunlin, 16 Snipe, 57 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 9 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Guillemot, 9 Razorbill, 1 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 4 Carrion Crow, 85 Skylark, 21 Swallow, 7 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 3 Garden Warbler, 1 Goldcrest, 4 Whinchat, 88 Wheatear, 40 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 522 Meadow Pipit, 101 Rock Pipit, 75 Twite

Other wildlife: 3 Red Admiral, 1 Shetland Bee, 3 White-tailed Bumblebee

Year list: 187
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10th September 2023
Weather:
A cloudy but bright morning followed by showers turning into heavy rain in the afternoon, with a force 2-3 southerly breeze
The quiet spell continues as the winds stay light and southerly based, with a handful of new birds around, including a new Barred Warbler in Gully, a flock of 18 Siskin in the north and a Corncrake seen dropping into Da Water, before being flushed towards Klinger's Geo - a very brief sighting but brilliant nonetheless, and a good one for the year list. Another Merlin was trapped in Gully in the early afternoon, this time a male, which was tiny compared to the females we have previously caught - always a treat to see in the hand!


Juv male Merlin in the hand at Gully (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Corncrake: one at Da Water (new for the year list)
Yellow-browed Warbler: ringed bird still at Burkle
Barred Warbler: two; one still at Vaila's Trees and one trapped in Gully
Common Rosefinch: one still, now at Shirva


Corncrake in flight at Da Water - these photos won't win any prizes, but they're enough to tell what it is! (by Georgia Platt)

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 6 Pink-footed Goose, 5 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 166 Eider (75m, 91f), 104 Rock Dove, 9 Oystercatcher, 3 Golden Plover, 19 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 13 Curlew, 107 Turnstone, 10 Knot, 5 Sanderling, 5 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 19 Snipe, 58 Redshank, 1 Kittiwake, 1 Black-headed Gull, 8 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Guillemot, 12 Razorbill, 1 Red-throated Diver, 5 Sooty Shearwater, 3 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, 3 Merlin, 5 Carrion Crow, 67 Skylark, 8 Swallow, 7 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Whinchat, 67 Wheatear, 252 House Sparrow (82m, 170f), 36 Pied Wagtail, 2 White Wagtail, 385 Meadow Pipit, 126 Rock Pipit, 125 Twite, 3 Linnet, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 18 Siskin


One of four Sooty Shearwater off the North Light foghorn (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 33 Red Admiral, 2 Silver Y, 6 Shetland Bee, 4 White-tailed Bumblebee, 3 Harbour Porpoise (off Buness)

Year list: 187
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9th September 2023
Weather:
Sun first thing but clouding over by mid-morning, with a force 3-4 SW wind
A fairly quiet day for migrants, although a Melodious Warbler at North Raeva was a nice addition to the year list, and just the 27th Fair Isle record.


Melodious Warbler at North Raeva (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one still, now at Shirva
Yellow-browed Warbler: ringed bird still at Burkle
Melodious Warbler: one at North Raeva (27th Fair Isle record)
Barred Warbler: one still at Vaila's Trees
Common Rosefinch: one still, now at Burkle

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 6 Pink-footed Goose, 5 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 6 Oystercatcher, 1 Golden Plover, 39 Ringed Plover, 9 Curlew, 44 Turnstone, 1 Knot, 4 Sanderling, 4 Dunlin, 21 Snipe, 30 Redshank, 6 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Guillemot, 7 Razorbill, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 41 Skylark, 15 Swallow, 1 Sand Martin, 8 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 1 Redstart, 4 Whinchat, 40 Wheatear, 34 Pied Wagtail, 7 White Wagtail, 417 Meadow Pipit, 138 Rock Pipit, 108 Twite, 3 Linnet, 1 Crossbill

Other wildlife: 11 Red Admiral, 6 Shetland Bee, 2 White-tailed Bumblebee, 2 Minke Whale (one moving east off Buness and one long-dead floating in Ditfield)

Year list: 186
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8th September 2023
Weather:
A clear, sunny day with a calm force 2-3 SW turning SE breeze
A record-breaking day for September temperature in the isle, which the team certainly felt whilst going around census this morning! A few scarcities are still about, with the Yellow-browed Warbler trapped and ringed at Burkle earlier today, and a pod of 7+ White-beaked Dolphin close-in off North Light were a nice sight for Matt on North census.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one still, now at Burkle
Yellow-browed Warbler: one trapped at Burkle
Icterine Warbler: one still at Vaila's Trees
Barred Warbler: two; one still at Vaila's Trees and one at Burkle
Common Rosefinch: one still, now at Gully

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 6 Pink-footed Goose, 8 Wigeon, 6 Teal, 4 Swift, 10 Oystercatcher, 15 Golden Plover, 46 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 12 Curlew, 58 Turnstone, 3 Knot, 3 Sanderling, 5 Dunlin, 17 Snipe, 35 Redshank, 1 Kittiwake, 4 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Guillemot, 2 Razorbill, 3 Cormorant, 5 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 6 Carrion Crow, 92 Skylark, 10 Swallow, 2 Sand Martin, 17 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Reed Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 3 Whinchat, 36 Wheatear, 49 Pied Wagtail, 16 White Wagtail, 480 Meadow Pipit, 145 Rock Pipit, 98 Twite, 3 Linnet, 2 Siskin

Other wildlife: 19 Red Admiral, 6 Silver Y, 8 Shetland Bee, 11 White-tailed Bumblebee, 7+ White-beaked Dolphin (off North Light), 16 European Eel (Muckle Uri Geo)

Year list: 185
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7th September 2023
Weather:
Very thick fog until mid-morning, followed by blue skies and sun and fog reappearing in the evening, with a force 3-4 southerly breeze
Thick fog was not what the team wanted to see first thing this morning, although fortunately it burned off fairly quickly to reveal a glorious, warm sunny day accompanied by a light southerly breeze, with the fog rolling in again in the evening. The morning didn't have much to report other than a Wryneck at Lower Leogh and an early Brambling on Dronger, however the late afternoon saw a few new scarcities around the crofts, including the first Yellow-browed Warbler of the year.


Brambling at Dronger (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: male still at Burkle
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one at Setter
Wryneck: one at Lower Leogh
Wood Warbler: one at Chalet
Yellow-browed Warbler: one at Vaila's Trees (first of the year)
Icterine Warbler: one at Vaila's Trees
Barred Warbler: one still at Vaila's Trees
Common Rosefinch: one still, now at Setter

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 5 Pink-footed Goose, 6 Wigeon, 8 Teal, 3 Swift, 8 Oystercatcher, 25 Golden Plover, 30 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 9 Curlew, 52 Turnstone, 2 Knot, 3 Sanderling, 6 Dunlin, 15 Snipe, 26 Redshank, 1 Kittiwake, 2 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Razorbill, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Cormorant, 4 Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 3 Merlin, 3 Peregrine, 21 Swallow, 1 Sand Martin, 27 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Goldcrest, 4 Blackbird, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 4 Whinchat, 14 White Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit, 1 Brambling, 5 Siskin


Swift at Easter Lother (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 21 Red Admiral, 3 Silver Y, 9 Shetland Bee, 6 White-tailed Bumblebee

Year list: 185
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6th September 2023
Weather:
Fog coming and going frequently for most of the day, at times very thick with heavy drizzle, and a force 5-6 SE wind
A classic (and frustrating) combination of south-easterlies and fog was the theme of today, with persistent drizzle at times making conditions pretty miserable. A handful of migrants were in despite the weather, with a new Great Spotted Woodpecker around Finnequoy, a new Barred Warbler in Gully and a few new common migrants around the south.


Whinchat in the hand at the ringing hut (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: male still at Burkle
Great Spotted Woodpecker: two; one still at Shirva and a new bird at Finnequoy
Barred Warbler: two; one still at Vaila's Trees and one at Gully
Common Rosefinch: one still, now at Aesterhoull

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 10 Wigeon, 2 Pintail, 10 Teal, 1 Woodpigeon, 10 Oystercatcher, 43 Golden Plover, 33 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 8 Curlew, 65 Turnstone, 4 Knot, 2 Sanderling, 3 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 38 Snipe, 60 Redshank, 1 Kittiwake, 15 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 4 Carrion Crow, 48 Skylark, 3 Swallow, 15 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 3 Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Goldcrest, 1 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart, 3 Whinchat, 52 Wheatear, 51 Pied Wagtail, 10 White Wagtail, 571 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 125 Rock Pipit, 165 Twite, 3 Linnet

Other wildlife: 8 Red Admiral, 1 Shetland Bee

Year list: 184
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5th September 2023
Weather:
Light fog in the early morning burning off into bright sunshine by mid-morning, with a calm force 2-3 northerly breeze
An early-morning report of a possible 1cy Pallid Harrier flying high south over the isle was an exciting start to the day, although unfortunately the bird wasn't seen again to confirm the ID. At the same time, the first Pink-footed Geese of the autumn were seen coming in and landing on Meoness, providing one of the most iconic sounds of the season - always a momentous occasion! A couple of new scarcities were around, including a Hawfinch south over Wester Lother and an adult Hobby flying low over the airstrip in the early evening, which was finally a year tick after a few possible sightings in the spring. A few Barred Warbler remain around the crofts, as does the juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker, and a few more cetaceans were seen today as well, including a pod of 6 Risso's Dolphin lingering around the south in the morning.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hobby: adult south over the airstrip
Red-backed Shrike: male still at Burkle
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one still, now at Shirva/North Raeva
Barred Warbler: three still; singles at Chalet, Vaila's Trees and Chapel Plantation
Hawfinch: one south over Wester Lother
Common Rosefinch: one at the Haven

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 58 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon, 1 Pintail, 6 Teal, 2 Swift, 9 Oystercatcher, 18 Golden Plover, 35 Ringed Plover, 20 Curlew, 136 Turnstone, 3 Knot, 3 Ruff, 3 Sanderling, 6 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 28 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 37 Redshank, 7 Kittiwake, 5 Common Gull, 1 Arctic Skua, 2 Guillemot, 3 Razorbill, 2 Storm Petrel, 4 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 81 Skylark, 3 Swallow, 22 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler, 4 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Goldcrest, 2 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 2 Whinchat, 72 Wheatear, 66 Pied Wagtail, 15 White Wagtail, 690 Meadow Pipit, 141 Rock Pipit, 124 Twite, 2 Linnet


Pintail (with Mallard) in flight at Da Water (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 17 Red Admiral, 12 Shetland Bee, 2 White-tailed Bumblebee, 6 Harbour Porpoise (four at Hesswalls, two off Meoness), 6 Risso's Dolphin (moving east off South Light/Meoness), 1 Minke Whale (four miles north of the isle, seen from Good Shepherd IV)

Year list: 184
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4th September 2023
Weather:
Mostly cloudy with light showers and sunny spells, and a force 5-6 SW wind
Still not much happening in terms of migrants today, with a couple of lingering scarcities and a new Rosefinch at Wester Lother. Whilst seawatching in the afternoon, Matt saw a large whale (suspected Humpback) distantly breaching at quite a distance off South Light, and after seeing a couple of blows it was confirmed to definitely be a Humpback Whale - sea conditions were far from ideal to look for cetaceans in, with a huge southerly swell and lots of turbulence, so unfortunately it was not seen again. An excellent record however, as it is the first confirmed sighting of this species around Fair Isle since 2016, the last record being a brief sighting also off South Light in late September.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: male still at Burkle
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one still, now at Schoolton
Barred Warbler: two still; one at Schoolton and one at Lower Stoneybrek
Common Rosefinch: one at Wester Lother

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 1 Wigeon, 7 Teal, 2 Swift, 19 Oystercatcher, 3 Lapwing, 3 Golden Plover, 22 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 13 Curlew, 158 Turnstone, 12 Knot, 1 Sanderling, 7 Dunlin, 7 Purple Sandpiper, 26 Snipe, 51 Redshank, 12 Kittiwake, 3 Common Gull, 1 Arctic Skua, 2 Guillemot, 8 Razorbill, 1 Puffin, 7 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Manx Shearwater, 7 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 4 Carrion Crow, 41 Skylark, 9 Swallow, 22 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Fieldfare, 2 Whinchat, 63 Wheatear, 25 Pied Wagtail, 532 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 94 Rock Pipit, 68 Twite, 2 Linnet


A few Greenland Wheatear have arrived over the last couple of days, including this strikingly orange female at North Light (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 20 Red Admiral, 2 Silver Y, 4 Shetland Bee, 3 White-tailed Bumblebee, 1 Humpback Whale (two blows and one full breach seen at distance off South Light)

Year list: 183
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3rd September 2023
Weather:
Low cloud and rain in the morning followed by a brighter afternoon, with a strong force 5-7 SW wind
No census today due to dreich conditions in the morning, although some birding around the crofts in the afternoon didn't reveal many migrants. Seawatching off South Light and Meoness was a success, with 19 Sooty Shearwater and 2 Manx Shearwater the highlights, and hopefully more to come (or something a bit rarer!) in the next day or so.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: male still at Burkle
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one still, now at Midway

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 21 Wigeon, 1 Teal, 3 Swift, 12 Oystercatcher, 3 Lapwing, 1 Whimbrel, 7 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 135 Turnstone, 19 Knot, 2 Sanderling, 1 Dunlin, 8 Purple Sandpiper, 13 Snipe, 50 Redshank, 27 Kittiwake, 14 Guillemot, 18 Razorbill, 5 Puffin, 19 Sooty Shearwater, 2 Manx Shearwater, 7 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 3 Swallow, 13 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Whinchat, 3 Linnet

Other wildlife: 2 Red Admiral, 2 White-tailed Bumblebee

Year list: 183
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2nd September 2023
Weather:
A sunny start then turning overcast, with a force 4-5 southerly wind
Although it felt far quieter for migrants today, a handful of new birds still made an appearance, with a Blyth's Reed Warbler trapped in Gully a good way to start the morning, followed by a Great Spotted Woodpecker at Stackhoull, looking out of place like they always do here. A bit of seawatching from both the South and North Lighthouses in the afternoon didn't produce much, other than a few common seabirds, two Swift and four Harbour Porpoise.


Great Spotted Woodpecker navigating the stone wall around the shop (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: male still at Burkle
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one at Stackhoull
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one ringed in Gully
Barred Warbler: two; one at Shirva and one at Chalet

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 1 Wigeon, 2 Pintail, 5 Teal, 6 Swift, 15 Oystercatcher, 38 Ringed Plover, 12 Curlew, 53 Turnstone, 2 Knot, 1 Sanderling, 3 Dunlin, 16 Snipe, 36 Redshank, 3 Kittiwake, 6 Common Gull, 3 Common Tern (past South Light), 3 Guillemot, 4 Razorbill, 8 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 65 Skylark, 2 Swallow, 21 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 9 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Black Redstart, 1 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 33 Wheatear, 34 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 452 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 94 Rock Pipit, 103 Twite, 2 Linnet

Other wildlife: 16 Red Admiral, 1 Silver Y, 6 Shetland Bee, 1 White-tailed Bumblebee, 4 Harbour Porpoise (off North Light)

Year list: 183
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1st September 2023
Weather:
Sunny with a force 3-4 ENE breeze
An excellent start to the month saw a nice number of early autumn scarcities and a slight increase in common migrants, as well as the ongoing and very enjoyable sunny, breezy weather. At least seven Barred Warbler were present around the south of the isle, with one trapped at Chalet, and a smart male Red-backed Shrike was showing well around Burkle, moving to Stoneybrek/Boini Mire in the afternoon. A new Marsh Warbler was trapped in Gully, four Wood Warbler were seen around the south and four Common Rosefinch were also noted.


Barred Warbler at Quoy (by Georgia Platt)


Marsh Warbler in the hand at Gully (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: two; juvenile still around Vaila's Trees and an adult male at Burkle
Wood Warbler: four; two at South Raeva and singles at the Haa and Hjukni Geo
Marsh Warbler: one ringed in Gully
Barred Warbler: seven; two at Burkle, two at Midway and singles at Setter, Hill Dyke and Smirri Geo
Common Rosefinch: four; singles at Gully, Dronger, the Haven and Burkle


Male Red-backed Shrike at Burkle (by Georgia Platt)


Wood Warbler at South Raeva (by Matt Broadbent)

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 1 Wigeon, 8 Teal, 7 Swift, 11 Oystercatcher, 6 Lapwing, 3 Golden Plover, 28 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 13 Curlew, 28 Turnstone, 2 Knot, 2 Sanderling, 5 Dunlin, 14 Snipe, 21 Redshank, 16 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Guillemot, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 4 Carrion Crow, 55 Skylark, 8 Swallow, 45 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 9 Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Robin, 5 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart, 4 Whinchat, 34 Wheatear, 32 Pied Wagtail, 5 White Wagtail, 503 Meadow Pipit, 2 Tree Pipit, 110 Rock Pipit, 138 Twite, 3 Linnet

Other wildlife: 13 Red Admiral, 1 Silver Y, 9 Shetland Bee, 5 White-tailed Bumblebee

Year list: 183
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31st August 2023
Weather:
Sunny with a force 2-3 NE breeze
Another pleasant day of settled weather with a few new birds around the isle, and some scarcities reappearing. Two Common Rosefinch were typically mobile and seen in several places around the south, and new Barred Warblers were discovered at Setter and Schoolton, adding to the two already present. Exciting news of American Cliff Swallows building in numbers in Iceland is keeping our eyes to the skies, with hopefully something appearing from across the Atlantic over the weekend as the wind turns into a strong westerly.


Common Rosefinch at Brecks (by Matt Broadbent)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: juvenile reappeared at Shirva
Marsh Warbler: ringed bird still at Lower Leogh
Barred Warbler: four; one still around Chalet, one still at Vaila's Trees and news birds at Setter and Schoolton
Common Rosefinch: two mobile around the south


Barred Warbler at Lower Stoneybrek (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 2 Wigeon, 1 Pintail, 5 Teal, 1 Swift, 16 Oystercatcher, 5 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 35 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 15 Curlew, 46 Turnstone, 3 Knot, 3 Sanderling, 1 Dunlin, 1 Jack Snipe, 13 Snipe, 28 Redshank, 8 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Guillemot, 1 Puffin, 2 Cormorant, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 37 Skylark, 3 Swallow, 25 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Reed Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 9 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Robin, 4 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart, 4 Whinchat, 38 Wheatear, 31 Pied Wagtail, 3 White Wagtail, 429 Meadow Pipit, 3 Tree Pipit, 93 Rock Pipit, 118 Twite, 2 Linnet

Other wildlife: 8 Red Admiral, 2 Silver Y, 7 Shetland Bee, 3 White-tailed Bumblebee

Year list: 183
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30th August 2023
Weather:
Sunny with a force 3-4 northerly breeze
Bright sunshine and a fairly uninspiring light northerly breeze was on the cards today, although the saying about rarities travelling alone was again proven to be true, with a Booted Warbler discovered in Gully late morning. The bird was happily feeding in the small plantation at the bottom of the Gully, and regularly flitting across to one of the sunny banks to gorge on craneflies, all the while giving excellent views as it was seemingly unbothered by the team's presence. An excellent bird to get as the month draws to a close, and our first national rarity of the autumn.


Booted Warbler in Gully (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
BOOTED WARBLER: one trapped in Gully (19th Fair Isle record)
Barred Warbler: one still around Barkland

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 1 Wigeon, 4 Teal, 4 Swift, 18 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 34 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 19 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 36 Turnstone, 25 Knot, 1 Sanderling, 2 Dunlin, 11 Snipe, 2 Common Sandpiper, 26 Redshank, 9 Common Gull, 2 Guillemot, 1 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 62 Skylark, 10 Swallow, 14 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Robin, 3 Whinchat, 69 Wheatear, 33 Pied Wagtail, 3 White Wagtail, 484 Meadow Pipit, 4 Tree Pipit, 113 Rock Pipit, 112 Twite, 2 Crossbill

Other wildlife: 14 Red Admiral, 2 Silver Y, 5 Shetland Bee

Year list: 183
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29th August 2023
Weather:
Sun followed by cloud with some drizzly showers early evening, and a force 2-3 westerly wind
A dry and calm morning made for a pleasant census, which was briefly paused at the start to go and see a Merlin that Alex had trapped in Gully - such stunning and feisty little raptors! Common migrants remain in similar numbers around the crofts, with scarcities including a new Barred Warbler at Vaila's Trees and the ringed Marsh Warbler reappearing at Lower Leogh. The highlight of the day was a Honey Buzzard initially seen high over Hoini, which then continued to soar over the traps and gain height, not to be seen again - there are currently good numbers of Honey Buzzard migrating across Scandinavia, so it was a perfect drifty day for one to end up here.


Merlin (juv female) in the hand at Gully (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Honey Buzzard: one briefly over Hoini then towards Setter and the traps, which quickly gained height and was not seen again
Red-backed Shrike: juvenile still around Vaila's Trees
Marsh Warbler: ringed bird still at Lower Leogh
Barred Warbler: one still at Chalet and one at Vaila's Trees


Honey Buzzard over Setter (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 9 Teal, 1 Swift, 10 Oystercatcher, 6 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 41 Ringed Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 17 Curlew, 48 Turnstone, 4 Knot, 1 Ruff, 2 Sanderling, 6 Dunlin, 16 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 24 Redshank, 3 Kittiwake, 1 Black-headed Gull, 7 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 7 Guillemot, 4 Puffin, 1 Storm Petrel (off South Light), 1 Sooty Shearwater (past North Light), 3 Cormorant, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 62 Skylark, 7 Swallow, 20 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler, 4 Garden Warbler, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Fieldfare, 3 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Whinchat, 124 Wheatear, 37 Pied Wagtail, 2 White Wagtail, 506 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 124 Rock Pipit, 95 Twite, 3 Linnet, 8 Crossbill

Other wildlife: 3 Red Admiral, 1 Peacock, 1 Silver Y, 9 Shetland Bee, 5 White-tailed Bumblebee

Year list: 182
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28th August 2023
Weather:
Overcast with a force 4-5 westerly wind
Another quiet census this morning, as migrants remain mostly the same as the last few days, with scarcities slowly dwindling.


Barred Warbler at Chalet (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: juvenile still around Boini Mire
Barred Warbler: one still at Chalet

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 1 Teal, 2 Swift, 7 Oystercatcher, 5 Lapwing, 7 Golden Plover, 47 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 7 Curlew, 45 Turnstone, 4 Knot, 4 Ruff, 2 Sanderling, 7 Dunlin, 12 Snipe, 19 Redshank, 1 Kittiwake, 6 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Guillemot, 3 Puffin, 1 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 44 Skylark, 4 Swallow, 13 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 7 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart, 1 Redstart, 3 Whinchat, 83 Wheatear, 31 Pied Wagtail, 401 Meadow Pipit, 4 Tree Pipit, 102 Rock Pipit, 99 Twite, 2 Linnet, 23 Crossbill

Other wildlife: 10 Red Admiral, 1 Silver Y, 6 Shetland Bee, 3 White-tailed Bumblebee

Year list: 181
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27th August 2023
Weather:
Overcast with some light drizzle in the morning and a force 3 north-westerly breeze
Not too much to report from today, with a small handful of new common migrants in, and a few scarcities remaining. A good number of Crossbill are still present, with 26 scattered about the isle this morning.


Lesser Whitethroat at Quoy (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Little Stint: one still at North Haven
Red-backed Shrike: juvenile still around Boini Mire
Barred Warbler: one still at Chalet

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 1 Wigeon, 9 Teal, 1 Water Rail, 13 Oystercatcher, 11 Lapwing, 5 Golden Plover, 21 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 14 Curlew, 29 Turnstone, 5 Knot, 2 Ruff, 2 Sanderling, 12 Dunlin, 16 Snipe, 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 29 Redshank, 3 Common Gull, 2 Arctic Skua, 1 Guillemot, 3 Puffin, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 60 Skylark, 5 Swallow, 21 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 7 Garden Warbler, 6 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 105 Wheatear, 38 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 519 Meadow Pipit, 117 Rock Pipit, 92 Twite, 3 Linnet, 26 Crossbill

Other wildlife: 10 Red Admiral, 1 Painted Lady, 8 Shetland Bee, 1 White-tailed Bumblebee

Year list: 181
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26th August 2023
Weather:
Overcast with some low cloud on the cliffs in the morning followed by a bright afternoon, with a force 2-3 northerly breeze
A mostly dry day allowed the team to cover most of the isle in the morning, as well as going back out for a bit in the afternoon. A handful of new scarcities were in, with a Greenish Warbler in the north at Kirn O' Skroo, a Wryneck around Boini Mire, a Marsh Warbler trapped at Lower Leogh and the ninth Icterine Warbler of the autumn at Chalet. A group of three Orca moving slowly west off South Light in the evening was a nice surprise - unfortunately they were too distant to identify down to individuals, but were most likely a transient fish-eating pod that are more frequently seen at this time of year, rather than any of the resident Northern Isles individuals.


Greenish Warbler at Kirn O' Skroo (by Alex Penn)


Wryneck at Boini Mire (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Little Stint: one still at North Haven
Wryneck: one at Aesterhoull then Boini Mire
Red-backed Shrike: juvenile still at Vaila's Trees
Woodchat Shrike: one juvenile still, now at Meadow Burn
Wood Warbler: two; singles at the Haa and Hill Dyke
Greenish Warbler: one at Kirn O' Skroo
Marsh Warbler: one trapped at Lower Leogh
Icterine Warbler: one at Chalet
Barred Warbler: two; one still at Setter (then Chalet) and one at Wirvie


Marsh Warbler in the hand at Lower Leogh (by Matt Broadbent)

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 6 Teal, 1 Swift, 1 Water Rail, 12 Oystercatcher, 8 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 71 Ringed Plover, 11 Whimbrel, 24 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 49 Turnstone, 10 Knot, 9 Ruff, 3 Sanderling, 15 Dunlin, 18 Snipe, 4 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 33 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 16 Common Gull, 2 Kittiwake, 1 Arctic Skua, 1 Guillemot, 8 Storm Petrel, 1 Sooty Shearwater (from Good Shepherd), 5 Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 48 Skylark, 9 Swallow, 34 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler, 11 Garden Warbler, 6 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 6 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Redstart, 10 Whinchat, 45 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 7 Tree Pipit, 117 Twite, 2 Linnet, 1 Mealy Redpoll, 19 Crossbill, 1 Siskin

Other wildlife: 22 Red Admiral, 3 Silver Y, 11 Shetland Bee, 2 White-tailed Bumblebee, 3 Orca (two bulls and a female, moving west distantly off South Light)

Year list: 181
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25th August 2023
Weather:
A dreich morning with heavy showers clearing into a pleasant, dry afternoon, with a force 2-4 NE breeze
More persistent rain for the entire morning meant another day with no full census, although at 1pm the isle was suddenly visible again and the sun even came out for a few hours, just in time for one of the last visiting cruiseships of the season to land. A few new birds were in, with Barred Warblers at Chapel Plantation and Setter, Wood Warblers at Dog Geo and Brecks and 21 Crossbill roaming the isle. The Woodchat Shrike was refound around Lower Leogh late afternoon, although still being highly elusive.


Crossbill eating thistle seeds at Vaila's Trees (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wood Sandpiper: one at Muckle Uri Geo
Little Stint: one (different bird to the one at Da Water) at North Haven
Red-backed Shrike: two still; juveniles at Vaila's Trees and Chalet
Woodchat Shrike: one juvenile still, now at Lower Leogh
Wood Warbler: two; singles at Brecks and Dog Geo
Barred Warbler: two; singles at Chapel Plantation and Setter


Wood Warbler at Brecks (by Matt Broadbent)

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 8 Teal, 1 Water Rail, 26 Oystercatcher, 1 Lapwing, 15 Golden Plover, 70 Ringed Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 11 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 74 Turnstone, 8 Knot, 8 Ruff, 3 Sanderling, 10 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 18 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 44 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 26 Common Gull, 2 Arctic Skua, 1 Guillemot, 5 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Short-eared Owl, 1 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 5 Swallow, 35 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 4 Reed Warbler, 8 Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 8 Whitethroat, 4 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 13 Whinchat, 1 flava Wagtail ssp., 2 White Wagtail, 4 Tree Pipit, 2 Linnet, 1 Mealy Redpoll, 21 Crossbill

Other wildlife: 11 Red Admiral, 2 Silver Y, 8 Shetland Bee

Year list: 181
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24th August 2023
Weather:
Mostly overcast with low cloud and heavy showers but some occasional brighter spells, with a force 4 SE wind
Despite the poor conditions and heavy rain putting a stop to census, a few new birds were around, the highlights being a juvenile Woodchat Shrike around Boini Mire and a new Greenish Warbler at Shirva. Tomorrow's weather looks brighter, so the team are hoping for that to be the opportunity to dig out any other scarcities and rarities that might have arrived with today's south-easterlies and rain.


Juv Woodchat Shrike at Boini Mire (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wood Sandpiper: one still at Da Water
Little Stint: one still at Da Water
Red-backed Shrike: one still at Setter
Woodchat Shrike: juvenile at Boini Mire (34th Fair Isle record)
Greenish Warbler: one at Shirva
Icterine Warbler: one at Shirva

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 2 Wigeon, 7 Teal, 18 Swift, 1 Water Rail, 6 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 48 Ringed Plover, 12 Curlew, 2 Knot, 1 Ruff, 2 Sanderling, 14 Dunlin, 40 Common Gull, 1 Arctic Skua, 8 Puffin, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 2 Swallow, 16 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 5 Reed Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 8 Whinchat, 2 White Wagtail, 2 Linnet, 10 Crossbill, 1 Siskin

Other wildlife: 4 Red Admiral, 3 Shetland Bee

Year list: 181
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23rd August 2023
Weather:
Overcast with showers in the morning followed by sunny spells in the afternoon and a force 4-6 SW wind
A far quieter census this morning, with a clear-out of migrants overnight leaving a handful remaining, although still including two Icterine Warbler in the crofts, Red-backed Shrike at Setter, Little Stint at Da Water and still 52 Swift present. The wind is due to turn south-easterly again overnight and throughout tomorrow, so hopefully that will bring another few migrants with it.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wood Sandpiper: one still at Easter Lother Water
Little Stint: one still at Da Water
Red-backed Shrike: one still at Setter
Icterine Warbler: two still present; singles at Vaila's Trees and Chalet

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 1 Wigeon, 4 Teal, 52 Swift, 1 Water Rail, 36 Oystercatcher, 7 Lapwing, 5 Golden Plover, 40 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 15 Curlew, 22 Turnstone, 5 Knot, 6 Ruff, 2 Sanderling, 11 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 19 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 52 Redshank, 1 Kittiwake, 38 Common Gull, 3 Arctic Skua, 1 Guillemot, 4 Puffin, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Short-eared Owl, 1 Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 57 Skylark, 3 Swallow, 20 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Reed Warbler, 3 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, 3 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Redstart, 6 Whinchat, 134 Wheatear, 28 Pied Wagtail, 412 Meadow Pipit, 2 Tree Pipit, 99 Rock Pipit, 51 Twite, 5 Crossbill


Male Crossbill at the Haa (by Georgia Platt)

Other wildlife: 2 Red Admiral, 1 Shetland Bee, 1 White-tailed Bumblebee, Soprano Pipistrelle bat - one seen around the coastguard hut in the late evening, species confirmed using a bat detector

Year list: 180
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22nd August 2023
Weather:
Overcast with showers in the morning and a force 4-5 SW wind
Migrants still remain fairly similar to the last few days minus a handful of scarcities, although an increase in Swift numbers to yesterday saw 50 present in the isle, which is now the highest count for Fair Isle since 1998. An attempt at opportunistic catching at North Light was successful in trapping just a single Swift, but it was the first time seeing the species in the hand for all of the team, so an amazing moment nonetheless!


Juvenile Swift in the hand at North Light (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wood Sandpiper: singles still at Easter Lother Water and Da Water
Little Stint: one still at Da Water
Wryneck: one still, now at Walli Burn
Red-backed Shrike: one still at Setter
Great Spotted Woodpecker: two at Gorsens Geo
Icterine Warbler: three still present; singles at Vaila's Trees (ringed), Shirva and the Haa


Wryneck at Walli Burn (by Matt Broadbent)

Sightings of note: 2 Teal, 50 Swift, 37 Oystercatcher, 6 Lapwing, 11 Golden Plover, 51 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 20 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 60 Turnstone, 45 Knot, 4 Ruff, 4 Sanderling, 23 Dunlin, 32 Snipe, 2 Common Sandpiper, 54 Redshank, 3 Common Gull, 8 Arctic Skua, 12 Puffin, 2 Storm Petrel, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Manx Shearwater, 2 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 3 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 48 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 9 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 46 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Reed Warbler, 7 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, 3 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Redstart, 7 Whinchat, 178 Wheatear, 22 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 296 Meadow Pipit, 3 Tree Pipit, 125 Rock Pipit, 76 Twite, 2 Linnet, 7 Crossbill

Other wildlife: 2 Red Admiral, 4 Silver Y, 7 Shetland Bee, 5+ Risso's Dolphin (seen from North Light to Buness)

Year list: 180
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21st August 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells with a force 4 southerly-based wind
A similar day to yesterday in terms of migrants present, with the addition of a flock of 17 Swift in the north plus another two in the south, giving the highest day count since 2018. A host of scarcities remain including Little Stint, Wryneck, one Red-backed Shrike, Greenish Warbler, five Icterine Warbler and two Wood Warbler.


Swift with mainland Shetland in the background (by Sally Kunzig)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wood Sandpiper: singles still at Easter Lother Water and Da Water
Little Stint: one still at Da Water
Wryneck: one still, now at Schoolton
Red-backed Shrike: one still, now at Boini Mire
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one still at Hoini
Wood Warbler: singles still at Guidicum and Tineside
Greenish Warbler: ringed bird still at Upper Leogh
Icterine Warbler: five still present; two at Vaila's Trees and singles at Shirva (ringed), Lower Leogh and Wirvie Burn

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 1 Wigeon, 5 Teal, 19 Swift, 1 Collared Dove, 29 Oystercatcher, 11 Lapwing, 4 Golden Plover, 32 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 11 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 61 Turnstone, 4 Knot, 7 Ruff, 2 Sanderling, 13 Dunlin, 15 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 32 Redshank, 8 Common Gull, 4 Arctic Skua, 1 Guillemot, 11 Puffin, 2 Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 4 Carrion Crow, 55 Skylark, 7 Swallow, 2 Sand Martin, 43 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Reed Warbler, 7 Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Whitethroat, 1 Goldcrest, 3 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Redstart, 12 Whinchat, 194 Wheatear, 21 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 246 Meadow Pipit, 3 Tree Pipit, 126 Rock Pipit, 48 Twite, 3 Linnet, 5 Crossbill, 1 Siskin


Cormorants at Hjukni Geo (by Georgia Platt)

Other wildlife: 3 Painted Lady, 7 Silver Y, 7 Shetland Bee, 1 Minke Whale (off North Light)

Year list: 180
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20th August 2023
Weather:
Mostly overcast but bright with some sunny spells and a force 3-4 SSW breeze
Today saw a good turnover of birds with some new migrants in, including an impressive eight Icterine Warbler scattered across the isle, the highest autumn day count since 1997. The second Greenish Warbler of the autumn was reported at Shirva first thing, which was later relocated and trapped at Lower Leogh, and a year tick in the form of a smart Little Stint at Da Water was a welcome sight in the afternoon. Juvenile Red-backed Shrikes were seen at Setter and Lower Leogh, and an increase in Whinchat around the crofts was also noted. A good number of common early autumn migrants are still moving through, with a handful of Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher and Willow Warbler around the isle and nine Crossbill over Leogh in the early evening.


Little Stint at Da Water (by Georgia Platt)


Icterine Warbler at Vaila's Trees (by Matt Broadbent)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wood Sandpiper: two present; one still at Easter Lother Water and a new bird at Da Water
Little Stint: one at Da Water (first of the year)
Wryneck: one still, now at Stackhoull
Red-backed Shrike: two present; juveniles at Setter and Lower Leogh
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one still, now at Shirva then along the south-west cliffs
Wood Warbler: three present; singles at Smirri Geo, Guidicum and Tineside
Greenish Warbler: one at Shirva, later trapped at Lower Leogh
Icterine Warbler: eight present; two at Shirva (one ringed) and singles at Obs, Furse, Troila, Vaila's Trees, Chalet and the Haa


Greenish Warbler in the hand at Lower Leogh (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 8 Teal, 34 Oystercatcher, 8 Lapwing, 9 Golden Plover, 39 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 26 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 37 Turnstone, 2 Knot, 1 Ruff, 5 Sanderling, 13 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 17 Snipe, 4 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 26 Redshank, 6 Common Gull, 6 Arctic Skua, 1 Guillemot, 5 Storm Petrel, 1 Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 4 Carrion Crow, 60 Skylark, 10 Swallow, 66 Willow Warbler, 8 Chiffchaff, 4 Reed Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 21 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 8 Whitethroat, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Blackbird, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 13 Pied Flycatcher, 3 Redstart, 7 Whinchat, 272 Wheatear, 38 Pied Wagtail, 5 White Wagtail, 293 Meadow Pipit, 7 Tree Pipit, 125 Rock Pipit, 99 Twite, 3 Linnet, 1 Mealy Redpoll, 10 Crossbill


Adult male Crossbill at Lower Leogh (by Matt Broadbent)

Other wildlife: 3 Red Admiral, 2 Peacock, 9 Silver Y, 17 Shetland Bee, 2 White-tailed Bumblebee, 6 Risso's Dolphin (off North Light)

Year list: 180
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19th August 2023
Weather:
Low cloud and heavy rain from mid-morning to mid-afternoon, with fog clearing by early evening and a force 6-8 SE wind throughout
The weather provided far more challenging conditions to contend with compared to yesterday, with heavy rain in the middle of the day putting a stop to census. However, some birding either side of the rain still saw a few scarcities, including Blyth's Reed Warbler again at the Haa, Wryneck still at Shirva, Icterine Warblers at Shirva and Schoolton and a juvenile Red-backed Shrike at the Obs scrape, which was new for the day. A few Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher were also new around the isle, plus a Great Spotted Woodpecker at Geo o' Hoini, with a similar common migrants to yesterday noted around the crofts.


Great Spotted Woodpecker at Geo o' Hoini (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wood Sandpiper: one still at Easter Lother Water
Wryneck: one still at Shirva
Red-backed Shrike: juvenile at Obs scrape
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one at Geo o' Hoini
Wood Warbler: two present; one at Smirri/Dog Geo and one at Burkle
Marsh Warbler: one still, now at Walli Burn
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one still at the Haa
Icterine Warbler: two present; one at Shirva (ringed bird) and one at Schoolton


Red-backed Shrike (with Rock Pipit) at Obs scrape (by Georgia Platt)

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 1 Wigeon, 4 Teal, 70 Oystercatcher, 6 Lapwing, 10 Golden Plover, 38 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 7 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 45 Turnstone, 26 Knot, 12 Ruff, 4 Sanderling, 12 Dunlin, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 37 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 29 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 81 Common Gull, 8 Arctic Skua, 1 Cormorant, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 4 Carrion Crow, 7 Swallow, 44 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler, 16 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Whitethroat, 1 Goldcrest, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Black Redstart, 2 Redstart, 4 Whinchat, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 8 Tree Pipit, 1 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Crossbill

Other wildlife: 2 Painted Lady, 1 Silver Y, 1 Shetland Bee

Year list: 179
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18th August 2023
Weather:
An overcast start but mostly sunny for the remainder of the day, with a force 3-5 ESE wind
An excellent day full of birding as the wind pushes off of the southern tip of Scandinavia, giving us a small arrival of nice early autumn migrants and scarcities. A Wood Warbler at Smirri Geo was the first scarcity of the day to be reported, which was promptly followed by several others seen around the isle, giving an amazing total of nine birds, the second-highest autumn day count ever recorded (after 12 on 25th August 1999).


Wood Warbler at Burkle (by Alex Penn)

At least three Icterine Warbler were present, with singles at Chalet, Vaila's Trees and Lower Leogh/Haa/Chapel, and a Blyth's Reed Warbler was also at the Haa in the morning. A Nightingale sp. was flushed from Kulsta towards Burrashield but unfortunately could not be relocated, whilst the Wood Sandpiper still remains in the north, the Rosefinch still at Setter, and a Wryneck was found near North Shirva in the evening. A supporting cast to the scarcities featured double figures of Willow Warbler, 13 Pied Flycatcher and the first Lesser Whitethroats and Whinchats of the autumn.



Icterine Warbler at Vaila's Trees (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wood Sandpiper: one still at Easter Lother Water
Wryneck: one in field west of North Shirva
Wood Warbler: nine present; singles at Smirri Geo, Chapel (trapped), Burkle, Barkland, Stackhoull and Skinner's Glig and three at Tineside
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one at the Haa
Marsh Warbler: one still at Quoy
Icterine Warbler: at least three present; singles at Chalet, Vaila's Trees and Lower Loegh/Haa/Chapel (trapped at Chapel in evening)
Nightingale sp.: one seen breifly as it flushed from Kulsta to Burrashield
Common Rosefinch: one still at Setter


Blyth's Reed Warbler at the Haa (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 1 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 5 Swift, 1 Moorhen, 39 Oystercatcher, 11 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 35 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 29 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 22 Turnstone, 5 Knot, 3 Ruff, 6 Sanderling, 13 Dunlin, 35 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 25 Redshank, 40 Common Gull, 2 Arctic Tern, 14 Arctic Skua, 1 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 73 Skylark, 14 Swallow, 75 Willow Warbler, 9 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler, 9 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 13 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 279 Wheatear, 25 Pied Wagtail, 3 White Wagtail, 282 Meadow Pipit, 3 Tree Pipit, 166 Rock Pipit, 62 Twite, 1 Linnet, 2 Mealy Redpoll, 2 Crossbill


A trio of Willow Warbler at North Shirva thistles (by Georgia Platt)

Other wildlife: 2 Red Admiral, 1 Peacock, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 9 Silver Y, 6 Shetland Bee

Year list: 179
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17th August 2023
Weather:
Overcast with a force 3-4 ESE wind
A few more migrants in around the crofts today as the wind has turned easterly, including the first Barred Warbler of the year, with the afternoon also bringing a handful more Willow Warbler and a Rosefinch. The ringed Marsh Warbler was still around Quoy rig and the Wood Sandpiper remains at Easter Lother Water, with a nice variety of waders still present in the isle.


Barred Warbler at Lower Leogh (by Matt Broadbent)

A Minke Whale close in off North Light continued an excellent run of land-based cetacean sightings, and a Common Wainscot moth trapped at South Light overnight was just the fourth Fair Isle record and the first since 2007. Also overnight (16th-17th) was the final Storm Petrel ringing session of the year, bringing us to a total of around 1,050 birds trapped over the season, including 5 foreign controls - a great effort all round! Additionally, two Leach's Petrel were seen around the net but unfortunately not caught.



Minke Whale off North Light (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wood Sandpiper: one still at Easter Lother Water
Leach's Petrel: two seen around the Storm Petrel net at South Haven overnight
Marsh Warbler: one still at Quoy
Barred Warbler: one at Schoolton then Lower Leogh (first of the year)
Common Rosefinch: one at Setter

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 2 Teal, 6 Swift, 1 Woodpigeon, 37 Oystercatcher, 11 Lapwing, 5 Golden Plover, 45 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 24 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 16 Turnstone, 1 Knot, 2 Ruff, 3 Sanderling, 12 Dunlin, 25 Snipe, 53 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 1 Kittiwake, 2 Black-headed Gull, 79 Common Gull, 10 Arctic Skua, 1 Guillemot, 1 Cormorant, 93 Storm Petrel, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 6 Carrion Crow, 59 Skylark, 14 Swallow, 17 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, 1 Black Redstart, 278 Wheatear, 37 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 246 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 136 Rock Pipit, 77 Twite, 2 Linnet, 1 Mealy Redpoll

Other wildlife: 4 Silver Y, 12 Shetland Bee, 1 Minke Whale (off North Light)


Common Wainscot, trapped at South Light (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 179
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16th August 2023
Weather:
Overcast with a force 3-4 northerly wind
Another fairly quiet day for migrants, although a Marsh Warbler at Quoy was the first of the autumn and a sign of good things to come with a few days of strong south-easterlies in the forecast.


Marsh Warbler in the hand at Quoy (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wood Sandpiper: one still at Easter Lother Water
Marsh Warbler: one at Quoy, later trapped and ringed

Sightings of note: 2 Teal, 64 Eider, 7 Swift, 1 Woodpigeon, 38 Oystercatcher, 14 Lapwing, 3 Golden Plover, 31 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 17 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 41 Turnstone, 10 Knot, 3 Ruff, 3 Sanderling, 16 Dunlin, 34 Snipe, 24 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 3 Kittiwake, 8 Common Gull, 6 Arctic Skua, 1 Guillemot, 1 Cormorant, 6 Grey Heron, 3 Peregrine, 6 Carrion Crow, 61 Skylark, 37 Swallow, 1 Sand Martin, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart, 219 Wheatear, 32 Pied Wagtail, 2 White Wagtail, 215 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 140 Rock Pipit, 82 Twite, 2 Linnet, 1 Redpoll sp., 1 Crossbill

Other wildlife: 1 Silver Y, 11 Shetland Bee, 6 Harbour Porpoise (off South Light), 4 Risso's Dolphin (off South Light)

Year list: 178
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15th August 2023
Weather:
Overcast with low cloud and drizzle in the morning and a force 3-4 northerly wind
The day was off to a fairly dreich start, with fog and drizzle persisting for the first half of census, but fortunately the weather had brightened up a bit by late morning. Migrants remained similar to yesterday, with the crofts and traps very quiet, although another nice cetacean encounter of 5 White-beaked Dolphins actively feeding off the end of Meoness was a highlight for Alex on SE census.


White-beaked Dolphins off Meoness (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wood Sandpiper: one still at Easter Lother Water

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 57 Eider, 4 Swift, 59 Oystercatcher, 19 Lapwing, 3 Golden Plover, 29 Ringed Plover, 11 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 41 Turnstone, 3 Knot, 2 Ruff, 1 Sanderling, 14 Dunlin, 41 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 22 Redshank, 2 Kittiwake, 11 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 20 Arctic Skua, 2 Guillemot, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Short-eared Owl, 3 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 63 Skylark, 10 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 211 Wheatear, 21 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 206 Meadow Pipit, 137 Rock Pipit, 58 Twite, 2 Linnet, 1 Redpoll sp., 1 Crossbill


Swift with the museum and Nedder Taft in the background (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 2 Silver Y, 5 Shetland Bee, 1 Harbour Porpoise (off Meoness), 1 Minke Whale (off Meoness), 5 White-beaked Dolphin (off Meoness)

Year list: 178
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14th August 2023
Weather:
Mostly blue sky and sun with some constant patchy but light fog, with a very calm force 1-2 SE breeze
A handful more new migrants in today, including Wood Sandpiper at Easter Lother and Black Redstart at North Restensgeo in the north. After census, a final trip to the Puffin productivity monitoring plot at Greenholm saw lots of empty burrows, although the highlight of the afternoon was a pod of 15 Risso's Dolphin off South Light, being fairly active with some staying in the area for an hour or so.


Wood Sandpiper at Easter Lother Water (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wood Sandpiper: one at Easter Lother Water

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 3 Swift, 36 Oystercatcher, 13 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 31 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 16 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 47 Turnstone, 4 Knot, 6 Ruff, 3 Sanderling, 13 Dunlin, 18 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 32 Redshank, 17 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 9 Arctic Skua, 1 Guillemot, 103 Storm Petrel (trapped in the Haven), 1 Grey Heron, 2 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 81 Skylark, 33 Swallow, 4 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Blackbird, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart, 274 Wheatear, 25 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 215 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 140 Rock Pipit, 113 Twite, 5 Linnet, 1 Crossbill


Pied Flycatcher at Skinner's Glig (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 2 Red Admiral, 1 Peacock, 3 Silver Y, 14 Shetland Bee, 1 Minke Whale (off North Light), 15 Risso's Dolphin (off South Light)


Peacock at Homisdale (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 178
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13th August 2023
Weather:
Fog in the morning clearing by mid-afternoon, with a force 2-3 southerly-based breeze
The combination of fog and south-easterlies finally brought us a handful of migrant passerines, including Pied Flycatcher at Obs and Reed Warbler at Hesswalls, which are both firsts for the autumn. Some more wader movement also saw a flock of 10 Ruff flying south over the isle and a Green Sandpiper at Gilly Burn.

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 1 Swift, 29 Oystercatcher, 17 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 41 Ringed Plover, 7 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 34 Turnstone, 4 Knot, 11 Ruff, 1 Sanderling, 9 Dunlin, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 21 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 67 Redshank, 2 Kittiwake, 19 Common Gull, 1 Arctic Tern, 15 Arctic Skua, 1 Guillemot, 10 Storm Petrel (at South Light), 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Merlin, 5 Carrion Crow, 8 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 62 Twite, 2 Linnet

Other wildlife: 2 Silver Y, 14 Shetland Bee, 1 White-tailed Bumblebee (near Setter), 1 Minke Whale (off South Harbour), 6 European Eel (in Muckle Uri Geo)

Year list: 178
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12th August 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells with a force 4-5 SE wind
A pleasant morning for resuming census, with a moderate south-easterly wind giving some hope for migrants. Although not many migrant passerines were to be had, some wader movement featured a good number of common species plus a Bar-tailed Godwit over Meoness, a Sanderling in South Harbour and a Welsh-ringed Dunlin in Muckle Uri Geo.


Bar-tailed Godwit over Meoness (by Alex Penn)


Dunlin at Muckle Uri Geo (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 44 Oystercatcher, 8 Lapwing, 31 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 16 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 34 Turnstone, 4 Knot, 1 Sanderling, 11 Dunlin, 25 Snipe, 29 Redshank, 5 Kittiwake, 25 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 8 Arctic Skua, 2 Guillemot, 3 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 3 Carrion Crow, 70 Skylark, 8 Swallow, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 235 Wheatear, 18 Pied Wagtail, 211 Meadow Pipit, 148 Rock Pipit, 106 Twite, 3 Linnet

Other wildlife: 1 Peacock, 1 Silver Y, 5 Shetland Bee

Year list: 178
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11th August 2023
Weather:
A mixed day of heavy showers, low cloud and sunny spells with a force 5-7 SE wind
The weather already put a stop to census today due to fog and heavy rain showers, although a couple of breaks in the weather allowed for a bit of birding around the isle, with not many migrants of note seen.

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 5 Lapwing, 57 Turnstone, 3 Knot, 5 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 24 Redshank, 1 Kittiwake, 44 Common Gull, 1 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 3 Carrion Crow, 11 Swallow, 1 Willow Warbler, 2 Linnet, 1 Redpoll sp., 1 Crossbill

Other wildlife: 2 Silver Y

Year list: 178
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10th August 2023
Weather:
An overcast start clearing to blue sky and sun by mid-morning, with a calm force 2 SE breeze in the morning increasing to force 4 in the afternoon
This morning marked the first official autumn census of the season, with daily census now to be carried out until the end of October. Not too many birds of note to report, with a couple of Collared Dove new in around the crofts and a juvenile Crossbill still hanging around the traps and Gilsetter. It was a decent day for cetacean sightings, the highlight being a lone bull Orca seen very distantly off South Light heading south-west, as well as a couple of Minke Whale and several Harbour Porpoise.


Juvenile Crossbill at Gilsetter (by Georgia Platt)

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 2 Collared Dove, 34 Oystercatcher, 21 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 22 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 12 Curlew, 44 Turnstone, 1 Ruff, 8 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 23 Snipe, 56 Redshank, 9 Kittiwake, 1 Black-headed Gull, 12 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 16 Arctic Tern, 8 Arctic Skua, 1 Guillemot, 1 Cormorant, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Merlin, 3 Carrion Crow, 94 Skylark, 13 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 294 Wheatear, 29 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 218 Meadow Pipit, 160 Rock Pipit, 88 Twite, 4 Linnet, 1 Redpoll sp., 1 Crossbill

Other wildlife: 2 Silver Y, 2 Shetland Bee, 5 Harbour Porpoise (off Buness), 1 Orca (lone bull seen distantly off South Light heading SW), 2 Minke Whale (one off Buness and one off South Light)

Year list: 178
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8th-9th August 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells with a strong force 6-9 NW wind
Despite the gale-force winds, the weather stayed dry and was nice enough to get around the south-east census route on 8th, and the second Sheep Hill of the summer on 9th. Migrants still remain thin on the ground, although some upcoming south-easterlies should hopefully bring some birds in time for the official start of autumn daily census.

Sightings of note: 5 Greylag Goose, 1 Lapwing, 33 Turnstone, 1 Ruff, 1 Dunlin, 1 Common Sandpiper, 15 Redshank, 3 Kittiwake, 1 Black-headed Gull, 7 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 16 Arctic Tern, 3 Guillemot, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 7 Swallow, 1 Chiffchaff, 4 Linnet

Other wildlife: 1 Silver Y

Year list: 178
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7th August 2023
Weather:
Sunny with a force 3-4 NW wind
A stunning day with a light breeze was perfect conditions for showing Matt (our new volunteer) the north census route, with not many migrants around other than a Green Sandpiper at Easter Lother Water and a Merlin at Furse. The afternoon was occupied by different jobs for various members of the team, with a visiting cruise ship, Gannet productivity monitoring and some birding around the crofts, taking advantage of the fine weather before the northerly gale that is due to hit the isle tomorrow and Wednesday.


Alex and Matt looking at the juvenile Peregrines at Guidicum (by Georgia Platt)

Sightings of note: 5 Greylag Goose, 61 Oystercatcher, 6 Lapwing, 1 Whimbrel, 11 Curlew, 4 Dunlin, 14 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 4 Redshank, 2 Common Gull, 4 Arctic Tern, 1 Guillemot, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 3 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 11 Swallow, 1 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Linnet, 1 Crossbill

Other wildlife: 5 Shetland Bee, 1 White-tailed Bumblebee (near Setter)

Year list: 178
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3rd-6th August 2023
Weather:
Mostly overcast with a brisk force 4-6 northerly wind on 3rd and 4th, calming down to a force 3-4 northerly breeze on 5th and 6th with some sunny spells
Mostly quiet over the last few days, although on 5th the team welcomed our latest long-term volunteer Matt to the isle, who will be here for the early autumn period until mid-September. A walk-through of the Bonxie breeding territories on the morning of 5th revealed a good number of fledged birds, and the calmer weather was a good opportunity for another Storm Petrel ringing session at the Haven, with 138 trapped over a couple of hours including one each of Danish and Norwegian controls, with a Leach's Petrel also seen around the net but not caught. The team were also able to get out in the boat to check on some Shag nests previously noted in the season around the east coast, many of which contained large chicks, which is good news for this species that is generally struggling in the Northern Isles.


Adult Shag in the hand at South Ramnigeo (by Alex Penn)


Shag chick in the hand at South Ramnigeo (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 5 Greylag Goose, 55 Oystercatcher, 12 Lapwing, 3 Golden Plover, 12 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 10 Curlew, 47 Turnstone, 2 Ruff, 10 Dunlin, 10 Purple Sandpiper, 12 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 20 Redshank, 6 Kittiwake, 2 Black-headed Gull, 6 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 7 Arctic Tern, 2 Guillemot, 139 Storm Petrel (138 trapped 5th/6th, one from Good Shepherd on 5th), 1 Leach's Petrel, 2 'Blue' Fulmar, 1 Manx Shearwater, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 10 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 4 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Blackbird, 3 Linnet, 1 Crossbill

Other wildlife: 6 Harbour Porpoise (off South Light on 6th), 1 Minke Whale (off the south on 5th), 1 Common Seal (juvenile, at North Haven on 5th), 2 Silver Y, 21 Shetland Bee

Year list: 178
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30th July-2nd August 2023
Weather:
A mix of sun and low cloud with some patchy drizzle on 2nd, with a fairly calm force 3-4 SE wind on 30th and 31st changing to northerly on 1st and 2nd
The last couple of days of July were busy with some leftover seabird work, such as a visit to the Greenholm Puffin productivity plot, where a few chicks are still yet to fledge. Some opportunistic nighttime Arctic Tern catching at Buness on 30th saw a handful of adults caught, including three retraps, one of which was ringed as a chick on Westray, Orkney in 2002. In addition to the nocturnal seabird ringing, a Storm Petrel ringing session at South Haven on 1st was busy with just over 120 birds trapped in just a couple of hours, including a control from Stavanger, Norway.


Arctic Tern after ringing at Buness (by Georgia Platt)

Autumn seemed to arrive as soon as August began, with the 1st of the month producing the first juvenile migrant Sedge Warbler and Willow Warbler of the autumn, as well as a couple of Swift flying south over the School. In a wander around the crofts mid-afternoon on 2nd, a skulky
phyllosc was found being very difficult to pin down at Chalet, with very brief glimpses giving the impression of Greenish Warbler. The bird eventually showed itself and was subsequently trapped, confirming the identification and providing an excellent start to the autumn scarcities.


Greenish Warbler in the hand at Chalet (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Greenish Warbler: one trapped at Chalet on 2nd (new for the year list)

Sightings of note: 2 Swift, 46 Oystercatcher, 9 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 10 Turnstone, 1 Knot, 4 Ruff, 7 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 5 Redshank, 4 Kittiwake, 1 Black-headed Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 6 Guillemot, 123 Storm Petrel, 1 Manx Shearwater, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 13 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Sedge Warbler, 1 Blackbird, 1 Linnet

Other wildlife: Harbour Porpoise - 13 on 30th (10 off South Light and 3 off Buness), 4 on 31st (2 off Dronger and 2 off South Light, 2 on 1st (off South Light), 4 Dolphin sp. (on 31st off Dronger, too distant to identify), 7 Shetland Bee

Year list: 178
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26th-29th July 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells on 26th and 27th turning into low cloud and showers, with a force 3-6 NW wind on 26th changing to a force 4-6 SE wind on 27th
Another varied but quiet few days for the team as seabird work winds down for the season. A brief calm spell on the evening of 26th and into 27th allowed for another Storm Petrel ringing session, with 225 birds trapped including 8 retraps, plus a bonus year tick in the form of two Leach's Petrel. The last of the Guillemot and Razorbill productivity monitoring has now been carried out, with no adults or chicks remaining in the plots and very few around the coast, although plenty of Puffin are still seen to be carrying fish into burrows.


Leach's Petrel in the hand at South Haven (left by Alex Penn, right by Georgia Platt)

On 29th the first juvenile Dunlin of the autumn was seen, with other notable sightings including a Ruff at Da Water and the first Sooty Shearwater of the year, seen by our departing summer volunteer Marcela from the
Good Shepherd.


Arctic Skua fledgling at the airstrip (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 1 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 3 Lapwing, 4 Golden Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 45 Turnstone, 2 Knot, 1 Ruff, 3 Sanderling, 4 Dunlin, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 23 Redshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 91 Common Gull, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 225 Storm Petrel, 2 Leach's Petrel (first of the year on 27th), 1 Sooty Shearwater (first of the year on 29th), 1 Cormorant, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Carrion Crow, 8 Swallow, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackbird, 1 Crossbill (over Obs on 26th)

Other wildlife: 3 Shetland Bee

Year list: 177
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22nd-25th July 2023
Weather:
Generally overcast with some sunshine and showers, with a force 3-6 NW wind
A fairly calm and mostly sunny day on 22nd was a good chance to get over to Greenholm in the morning, to check on the Puffin burrows in the productivity plot. Lots of large and healthy chicks were still occupying the burrows, with a few fully-feathered and ready to fledge, which was encouraging to see given the apparent lack of large sandeels available this year.


Puffling on Greenholm, ready to fledge (by Georgia Platt)

Some checks around the Arctic Skua territories on 23rd saw a handful of decent-sized chicks still going strong, one of which had fledged, and the first Bonxie fledgling of the year was also seen at the airstrip. A few more GLS tags were deployed on breeding Puffins at Buness, although unfortunately none that were fitted two years ago have been resighted. The birding scene remains quiet, although common wader numbers are starting to build again around South Harbour and South Light, with some groups of small gulls and waders also loafing in the cut hay fields.


Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 1 Collared Dove, 4 Golden Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 25 Turnstone, 1 Sanderling, 4 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 16 Redshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 12 Common Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 3 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 8 Swallow, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Linnet, 1 Redpoll sp.

Other wildlife: 2 Harbour Porpoise (off Buness on 25th), 1 Shetland Bee

Year list: 175
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17th-21st July 2023
Weather:
Overall a mix of overcast with sunny spells and showers, with a fairly consistent force 4-6 westerly wind turning north-westerly on 19th
Not too much to report over the last few days, with the continuous seabird productivity monitoring still being carried out as and when it is required, although some species are already starting to disperse - Guillemot and Razorbill are noticeably dwindling on the cliffs, with not many adults left in the plots as their chicks have braved the North Sea. In addition, regular visits to the Arctic Tern colony at Buness have seen up to 50 fledglings, plus a few more that still have some growing to do. On 19th most of the isle's residents and visitors took to the north for the first Sheep Hill of the year, where all of the semi-feral hill sheep and their lambs are rounded up to be clipped and dosed, which is quite a task when there are several hundred of them!


Clipping sheep at the Cru, Obs team in foreground (by Georgia Platt)

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 1 Teal, 2 Tufted Duck, 3 Swift, 6 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 8 Turnstone, 1 Sanderling, 3 Dunlin, 30 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 20 Redshank, 26 Black-headed Gull, 50 Common Gull, 9 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 1 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 10 Swallow, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird

Other wildlife: 1 Harbour Porpoise (off North Light on 21st), 1 Minke Whale (distant off Buness on 21st), 1 Red Admiral, 1 Painted Lady, 1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth (at the Cru on 18th), 1 Shetland Bee

Year list: 175
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14th-16th July 2023
Weather:
Starting off sunny with a force 3-4 easterly wind on 14th but turning into thick fog, rain and a strong force 6-7 easterly on 15th, with low cloud still lingering in places on 16th but wind decreasing to force 2-4 NW
A mixed few days in terms of weather, but the team managed to carry out the annual all-day Puffin feedwatch at Roskillie on 14th, where we watch for birds carrying fish entering a number of marked burrows from dawn to dusk. The 15th brought lots of rain in the early morning, turning into fog in the late morning but clearing to bright sunshine by mid afternoon, so it was a good opportunity to catch up on some seabird admin and go birding around the crofts to see if anything was about when the fog had cleared after a strong blast of south-easterlies. It was another early start on 16th, as the team headed to Toor 'o da Ward Hill at 5am to carry out the Puffin food sampling monitoring - 31 samples were collected and processed a few hours later, which matched our field sightings of catches mainly consisiting of very small, translucent sandeels and fairly good-sized Rockling.


Alex, Sally and Marcela waiting to collect the first samples of the morning, at Toor 'o da Ward Hill (by Georgia Platt)


The team processing food samples, at South Light (by Georgia Platt)

Some birding in between feedwatch shifts on 14th produced a few nice birds, including a Bar-tailed Godwit flying over South Harbour, a Red-throated Diver singing over the isle for most of the day and a couple of Swift. Birding around the isle and the crofts on 15th was quiet, although the first two Sand Martin of the autumn were seen, as well as the first Swallow and Arctic Tern fledglings of the season, with the Green Sandpiper and Wood Sandpiper also still around on 15th.



Arctic Tern fledgling at Buness (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 2 Teal, 2 Tufted Duck, 3 Swift, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Golden Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Turnstone, 1 Knot, 3 Dunlin, 40 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 34 Redshank, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 4 Black-headed Gull, 25 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Grey Heron, 3 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 2 Sand Martin, 7 Swallow, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Linnet

Other wildlife: 3 Harbour Porpoise (off North Light on 14th), 5 Red Admiral, 10 Silver Y, 1 Shetland Bee, 1 Green Lacewing (one at South Light on 16th)


Juv Golden Plover amongst the seeding Thrift on Meoness (by Georgia Platt)

Year list: 175
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11th-13th July 2023
Weather:
Mostly cloudy with some sunny spells and showers, and a fairly calm force 2-4 wind ranging between SE and NW
Another busy few days, as some settled weather allowed for continued seabird monitoring and the first Storm Petrel ringing sessions of the season. Just over 200 birds were trapped in two sessions over consecutive nights, including several retraps originally ringed in Fair Isle or elsewhere in the Northern Isles, and most excitingly a Portugese control. On 13th the team were on the go almost all day, carrying out Gannet and Guillemot productivity checks and another 2-hour Guillemot feedwatch in the morning, followed by a Razorbill productivity visit at Easter Lother and going around some Arctic Skua nests to check on and ring any chicks in the afternoon. In addition, 30 apparently occupied Puffin burrows were marked at Roskillie in preparation for the all-day Puffin feedwatch planned for 14th - a busy day indeed!


Storm Petrel in the hand at South Haven (by Sally Kunzig)

Several nice migrants have been around, including the first juvenile cuckoos of the autumn on 11th and 13th, as well as a Wood Sandpiper (with a Green Sandpiper) at Golden Water on 13th. A Common Tern was picked out amongst a small roost of Arctic Tern off South Light on 13th, which was new for the year list.


Sightings of note: 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Cuckoo, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 2 Turnstone, 2 Knot, 3 Dunlin, 1 Green Sandpiper, 25 Redshank, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 2 Black-headed Gull, 3 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Common Tern (first of the year), 127 Storm Petrel (11th-12th), 1 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 4 Swallow, 1 Linnet

Other wildlife: 1 Common Seal (South Harbour on 12th, first of the year), 10 Red Admiral, 4 Silver Y, 1 Hummmingbird Hawkmoth (Houll on 12th), 2 Shetland Bee, 4 Green Lacewing (various locations on 13th)


Common Seal in South Harbour (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 175
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8th-10th July 2023
Weather:
Warm sunshine on 8th turning into heavy showers and low cloud on 9th, persisting as patchy thick fog through to 10th, with a force 4-6 SE wind throughout
A breezy but warm and sunny day on 8th saw a good opportunity for continuing some seabird monitoring, starting with a visit to the Easter Lother Razorbill plot first thing, where a good number of large and healthy chicks were found with a few appeared to have already fledged. On our way back south we stopped off at the gull colony at Goorn to ring any chicks that were too small on the last visit, which saw a further 20 Herring Gull chicks ringed. The afternoon was spent fitting a couple more breeding Puffins with GLS tags at Roskillie, continuing work for Norwegian project SEATRACK that we first started in 2021. Unfortunately we have not retrapped any birds that were fitted with tags in 2021 yet, but we have another few weeks to keep trying, whilst also tagging new birds.


Herring Gull chick at Goorn (by Georgia Platt)

The south-easterly winds paid off by delivering a nice 2cy Mediterranean Gull with Black-headed Gulls in South Harbour on the evening of 8th - just the fifth Fair Isle record of this species that will surely increase in regularity over the coming years. The bird was still present around South Harbour and Walli Burn on 9th, and a Long-tailed Skua was briefly on the rocks off Bergaroo in the morning, the second record of the year.


2cy Mediterranean Gull at South Harbour (by Alex Penn)

It is worth mentioning that the last few days have been fantastic for arrivals of insects, also probably influenced by the strong and warm south-easterly wind. An arrival of Willow Ermine on 8th was amazing to see, with at least 30-40 seen around the cliffs of Roskillie and a handful elsewhere. This being the first time the species has been recorded in Fair Isle, the influx of this smart micro moth was also seemingly ubiquitous along other parts of the UK's east coast. A large number of at least several hundred Silver Y also arrived on 8th and were seen all across the island, with several buzzing over heathland and flowers at every turn. On 10th, an incredible FOUR Hummingbird Hawkmoth were seen together enjoying the bank of wildflowers behind the old coastguard hut, which was a very special sight and reminiscent of somewhere in the Mediterranean, had it not been for the fog also present. In addition, c.100 Green Lacewing were seen around Walli Burn on 10th, which is also a scarce species and an unprecedented number for Fair Isle.



Willow Ermine at Roskillie (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Mediterranean Gull: 2cy around South Harbour and Walli Burn on 8th and 9th (fifth Fair Isle record, first since 2020)
Long-tailed Skua: one reported on the rocks off Bergaroo, North Light

Sightings of note: 1 Teal, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Golden Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Knot, 2 Dunlin, 26 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 34 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 10 Black-headed Gull, 14 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 86 Storm Petrel (10th-11th), 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 8 Swallow, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 1 Black Redstart, 1 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit, 2 Linnet, 1 Crossbill, 1 Siskin

Other wildlife: 20 Red Admiral, 100+ Silver Y, 5 Diamond-backed Moth (on 10th), 4 Hummmingbird Hawkmoth (one on 9th at Shirva and four on 10th behind coastguard hut), c.40 Willow Ermine (first record for Fair Isle on 8th), 6 Shetland Bee, 100+ Green Lacewing


Hummingbird Hawkmoth feeding on wildflowers behind the coastguard hut (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 174
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3rd-7th July 2023
Weather:
Fairly mixed, ranging from low cloud and rain to blue sky and sun. Wind has been mostly force 3-5 south-easterly, with some additional calmer spells
A mixed few days in terms of weather, but mostly brightening up from the previous days of greyness. On 4th conditions had improved enough for the team to resume seabird monitoring, where we revisited all of the Arctic Skua nests to assess what stage they were at - many had small chicks, a couple were only just hatching and a few adults were still incubating, so it looks like the season will be fairly protracted for this species.

The all-day Guillemot feedwatch was carried out on 5th, where the colony at Pietron is watched continuously from dawn til dusk (about 3am-11pm). It was a similar story to the two hour feedwatch conducted a few days previously, with birds bringing in quite a variety of fish species and sizes, and many birds not bringing anything back at all. On 6th we were finally able to revisit the Puffin productivity monitoring plot at Greenholm, as the swell for the past couple of weeks had been too rough to make it over in our little inflatable dinghy. The majority of marked burrows contained healthy chicks of various sizes, which was encouraging to see given the lack of adults seen carrying good sized sandeels. Afternoon visits into the Arctic Tern colony at Buness on 6th and 7th saw nearly 150 chicks ringed, with these chicks also seemingly well-fed and healthy.



A small and very cute 'Puffling' at Greenholm (by Georgia Platt)


Marcela (long-term volunteer, left) and Sally (Ranger, right) ringing and handling Puffin and chick on Greenholm (by Georgia Platt)

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Turnstone, 2 Dunlin, 4 Redshank, 6 Black-headed Gull, 22 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Storm Petrel, 2 Carrion Crow, 6 Swallow, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackbird, 1 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit, 2 Linnet, 3 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Siskin

Other wildlife: 1 Red Admiral, 1 Silver Y, 2 Shetland Bee

Year list: 173
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29th June-2nd July 2023
Weather:
Mostly overcast with spells of heavy rain with a force 3-5 westerly-based wind
The last few days have been fairly quiet due to some cold, wet and windy conditions, although the team managed a trip out in the boat to land at South Ramnigeo on 29th to ring (and retrap) a few auks nesting in the boulder beach. Two of the breeding adult Razorbills that were retrapped were found to be originally ringed on Fair Isle in the early 2000's as chicks, so that was an interesting and valuable bit of data to get back. A two-hour feedwatch at the Pietron Guillemot colony on 30th revealed a slow but steady number of birds bringing in fish of various sizes and species, although still very few auks have been seen with any large sandeels.


A smart 'bridled' Guillemot in the hand at South Ramnigeo (by Georgia Platt)

Migrants have been thin on the ground (not to much surprise), with a Marsh Warbler still present at Schoolton on 29th and a Quail heard singing also at Schoolton on the morning of 30th.


HIGHLIGHTS:
Quail: one singing briefly below Schoolton on 30th
Marsh Warbler: one still at Schoolton on 29th

Sightings of note: 4 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Golden Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 3 Dunlin, 14 Redshank, 17 Black-headed Gull, 38 Common Gull, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Storm Petrel, 1 Manx Shearwater, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 2 Carrion Crow, 7 Swallow, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 1 Blackbird, 2 Linnet, 1 Crossbill, 6 Siskin

Other wildlife: 4 Silver Y, 2 Magpie moth, 2 Shetland Bee

Year list: 173
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25th-28th June 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells with some overnight rain and a force 3-5 mostly south-westerly wind
The team have been busy continuing with seabird work over the last few days - a trip to the mixed gull colony at Goorn saw a good start to ringing chicks that were large enough, with plenty still with some growing to do. Another visit to the Easter Lother Razorbill monitoring plot was productive, as a few more chicks were ringed and repeat biometrics were taken of the chicks ringed several days before - generally chicks seem to be quite underweight and growing slowly, with adults only seen bringing in small Rockling and very small translucent Sandeels, which is a bit worrying at this stage. We will continue to monitor the chicks until they all fledge, so hopefully their parents will find enough food for them to do so.


Herring Gull chick at Goorn (by Georgia Platt)

A new Marsh Warbler singing at Schoolton on 27th was the only scarcity, with a handful of other common migrants seen, including a smart pair of Black-tailed Godwit at Da Water on 28th.


HIGHLIGHTS:
Marsh Warbler: one at Schoolton on 27th (presumed different to the previous individual which was last seen five days earlier)

Sightings of note: 4 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Teal, 1 Collared Dove, 32 Curlew, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Green Sandpiper, 2 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 16 Black-headed Gull, 10 Common Gull, 9 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Grey Heron, 4 Peregrine (2 adults & 2 fledged young), 1 Carrion Crow, 6 Swallow, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Linnet, 1 Siskin

Other wildlife: 3 Red Admiral, 16 Silver Y, 2 Magpie moth, 1 Small Magpie moth (first record for Fair Isle on 25th), 1 Shetland Bee


Small Magpie moth at Gully (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 173
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21st-24th June 2023
Weather:
Mostly overcast with some low cloud and sunny spells, and a force 3-6 mostly southerly wind
A quiet few days for migrants as we move further away from spring and into summer, with the longest day of the year on 21st giving us just short of 19 hours of daylight. An elusive Turtle Dove at the Haa on 21st was a nice surprise, as was a Quail flushed from Burrashield whilst mapping Bonxie nests on 23rd, and another new Marsh Warbler was around Schoolton from 21st-22nd. A couple of visiting cruiseships have kept the isle and our Ranger busy, and a trip to the Easter Lother Razorbill colony on the morning of 23rd revealed plenty of healthy chicks to monitor closely over the next few weeks. More seabird monitoring on 24th saw the last of the Bonxie nests mapped, and a walk-through of the Arctic Tern colony on Buness to count nests, with 294 nests noted.


Razorbill chick at Easter Lother (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Quail: one flushed at Burrashield 23rd
Turtle Dove: one at the Haa/Burkle on 21st
Marsh Warbler: one at Schoolton/Quoy on 21st & 22nd


Turtle Dove just north of Burkle (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin, 1 Woodcock, 2 Redshank, 8 Black-headed Gull, 10 Common Gull, 7 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Long-eared Owl, 1 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 7 Swallow, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Blackbird, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Linnet, 1 Redpoll sp., 2 Siskin, 1 Snow Bunting

Other wildlife: 25+ Red Admiral, 50+ Silver Y, 6 Shetland Bee, 1 White-tailed Bumblebee (at Double Dyke on 23rd)

Year list: 173
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17th-20th June 2023
Weather:
Mostly cloudy throughout with some patchy sun and spells of heavy rain, with a moderate force 3-5 southerly-based wind
The weather turned slightly cooler and more cloudy over the last few days, allowing the team to catch up on some indoor jobs and admin. More Bonxie nest mapping in the sunny spells has brought us to nearly 100 nests - with still a fair bit more ground to cover, the total figure might not be as dire as originally thought, although of course it will be a far cry from the 535 nests of 2021, pre-HPAI. Lots more Gannet chicks are appearing in the productivity plots, and the first Guillemot chick was noted in the Pietron productivity plot on 20th. Shags and Kittiwakes are still incubating or loafing on well-built nests (both species were relatively late to settle), and a couple more Arctic Skua nests have been discovered, bringing us up to 19 nests and 3 territories.


Curlew chicks are starting to make an appearance now as they get a bit bigger, like this one in Kirki Mire (by Alex Penn)

Migrant highlights have consisted of a new, unringed Marsh Warbler at the Pier on the morning of 17th (the ninth individual of the spring), with the Red-breasted Flycatcher still around Vaadal also on 17th, and a male Grey-headed Wagtail was discovered at North Light on 20th. A large Tern sp. was seen flying east past South Light with a small flock of Common Gull on 20th, but frustratingly it was only seen flying strongly away eastwards and gaining height, not allowing for any kind of further identification.


HIGHLIGHTS:
Marsh Warbler: one at the Pier on 17th (unringed)
Red-breasted Flycatcher: 2cy still around Vaadal on 17th
Grey-headed Wagtail: male at North Light on 20th

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Teal, 4 Common Scoter, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Swift, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Whimbrel, 4 Dunlin, 1 Redshank, 6 Black-headed Gull, 25 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 7 Swallow, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Robin, 2 Whinchat, 2 Linnet, 2 Siskin, 1 Snow Bunting

Other wildlife: 25+ Red Admiral, 50+ Silver Y, 6 Shetland Bee, 1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth (at Quoy on 19th)

Year list: 173
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16th June 2023
Weather:
Mostly blue sky and sun with a bit of low cloud in the morning, and a force 3-4 NE wind
A fantastic day for some late spring migrants, most of which were conveniently discovered in the trapping areas around the isle. A new Blyth's Reed Warbler was trapped in Plantation this morning, followed by another new Marsh Warbler at Obs Garden, the first Reed Warbler of the spring (the latest arrival since 1986), and much to the team's surprise, a very smart male Rustic Bunting. Later on, a different Marsh Warbler was trapped in Plantation, along with the first Red-breasted Flycatcher of the year. In the last six days we have now recorded three Blyth's Reed Warbler and eight Marsh Warbler, with easterly-based winds set to continue for the forseeable future, so spring is far from over yet!


Male Rustic Bunting in the hand at Obs (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
RUSTIC BUNTING: male trapped at Obs Garden
Red-backed Shrike: female back at Vaadal reservoir
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one trapped in Plantation
Marsh Warbler: two; one trapped in Plantation and one trapped at Obs Garden (both new birds)
Red-breasted Flycatcher: 2cy trapped in Plantation (first of the year)


Red-breasted Flycatcher in the hand at Plantation (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 2 Greylag Goose, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Collared Dove, 7 Black-headed Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Red-throated Diver, 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 6 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 1 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler (first of the year), 3 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 1 Fiedlfare, 1 Song Thrush, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Robin, 3 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Linnet

Other wildlife: 10 Red Admiral, 15 Silver Y, 4 Shetland Bee

Year list: 173
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15th June 2023
Weather:
Hot and sunny with a force 3 southerly wind
Today saw lots of Skua monitoring in this glorious summer weather, as we mostly finished off mapping Arctic Skua nests in the morning and made a start on mapping Bonxie nests in the afternoon, the latter a very crucial aspect of monitoring this year given how badly the species have been decimated by bird flu. A new Blyth's Reed Warbler was trapped at the Obs garden in the morning, and new Marsh Warblers were trapped at Obs garden and Chapel Plantation, the individual at the Obs treating the team to several bouts of song and showing off its impressive list of imitations.


Bonxie chick at Suka Mire (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Canada Goose: one still at South Harbour
Red-backed Shrike: female now at Chalet
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one trapped at Obs
Marsh Warbler: two; one trapped at Obs and one trapped at Chapel Plantation (both new birds)


Blyth's Reed Warbler in the hand at Obs (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 4 Greylag Goose, 6 Woodpigeon, 1 Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Redshank, 4 Black-headed Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Storm Petrel, 1 Manx Shearwater (first of the year, seen from the Good Shepherd IV), 1 Grey Heron, 4 Carrion Crow, 6 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Robin, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart, 1 Linnet, 1 Siskin

Other wildlife: 25+ Red Admiral, 50+ Silver Y, 4 Shetland Bee

Year list: 171
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13-14th June 2023
Weather:
Sunny throughout with a force 3-4 southerly wind
Sunshine and a southerly breeze is the theme for this week, giving the team pleasant conditions for seabird monitoring as well as some hope for late spring migrants. On 13th we made a good start on mapping Arctic Skua nests, with most pairs on eggs and a few left to settle. Another Guillemot population count was also on the cards on 13th, followed by Guillemot and Gannet productivity monitoring, and the morning of 14th was a good opportunity to perform the Gannet whole island count.


Arctic Skua nest with a view! At Easter Lother (by Alex Penn)

As for migrants, the female Red-backed Shrike was still present around Vaadal/South Park and was joined by a smart male around Field Ditch/Setter on 14th, whilst a Marsh Warbler trapped in Plantation on 14th was the third to be ringed out of four that have been sighted in recent days. A Wood Warbler at Obs garden was a more than welcome addition to the year list, rounding off a productive couple of days.


HIGHLIGHTS:
Canada Goose: one still present, at South Harbour
Red-backed Shrike: two; female still at Vaadal on 13th and moved to South Park on 14th, male at Field Ditch on 14th
Wood Warbler: one at Obs garden (first of the year)
Marsh Warbler: one trapped in Plantation

Sightings of note: 5 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Golden Plover, 5 Dunlin, 3 Redshank, 5 Black-headed Gull, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Red-throated Diver, 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Kestrel, 2 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 6 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 2 Linnet, 1 Redpoll sp., 1 Siskin


Arctic Skua at Johnny Arcus Park (by Georgia Platt)

Other wildlife: 25+ Red Admiral, 50+ Silver Y, 7 Shetland Bee, 2 Harbour Porpoise (off South Light)


Red Admiral on Thrift at Dronger (by Georgia Platt)

Year list: 170
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12th June 2023
Weather:
Blue sky, sun and a very calm force 2 SSE breeze
A busy day filled with seabird monitoring and some birding in the evening, as the team took full advantage of the fine summer weather. The morning was spent down at the Razorbill productivity plot at Easter Lother, where many adults are still on eggs, but the first few very small (and very cute) chicks in the colony were seen. After a quick lunch it was back up to the Haven to head out in the boat to the west coast Shag population plots, where we landed briefly at South Gunnawark to record just four nests.


Razorbill and its newly hatched chick at Easter Lother (by Alex Penn)

Afterwards, some birding around the crofts and an evening trap/Obs net round produced a few more birds, with an Icterine Warbler and Red-backed Shrike at the traps and a few more common migrants noted. New Marsh Warblers were at Gully and Vaila's Trees, and yesterday's ringed bird at the Obs also still around in the evening, giving a total of three present in the isle. A Canada Goose at Easter Lother Water in the morning was also an unexpected surprise, and the third record of this species so far this year.



Icterine Warbler in the hand at Plantation (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Canada Goose: one at Easter Lother Water
Red-backed Shrike: female at Vaadal
Marsh Warbler: three present; one at Vaila's Trees, one trapped in Gully and yesterday's ringed bird retrapped again at Obs
Icterine Warbler: one trapped in Plantation

Sightings of note: 1 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Teal, 1 Swift, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 7 Dunlin, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Redshank, 5 Black-headed Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Cormorant, 1 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 4 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, 3 Blackbird, 7 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Robin, 1 Whinchat, 1 Linnet, 3 Siskin

Other wildlife: 25+ Red Admiral, 2 Small Tortoiseshell (first of the year), 50+ Silver Y, 16 Shetland Bee, 2 Harbour Porpoise (off South Light)


The north Gannet stacks, seen from the water (by Georgia Platt)

Year list: 169
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10-11th June 2023
Weather:
Mostly bright throughout with showers on 11th in the evening and a force 4-7 SE wind
Although the recent south-easterlies haven't yet brought any proper rarities to the isle, the 11th finally saw our first 'unstreaked Acros' of the year, in the form of one each of Blyth's Reed and Marsh Warbler, both singing at the Obs garden in the morning. Both birds were subsequently trapped, and treated the Obs team to a rare (and educational) comparison of both the species in the hand, side by side. Quite different birds in the spring, but definitely trickier in autumn! Four Crossbill flying south over Steensi Geo in the afternoon on 11th were also new for the year list.


Crossbills in flight over Steensi Geo (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Blyth's Reed Warbler: one trapped at Obs garden (first of the year)
Marsh Warbler: one trapped at Obs garden (first of the year)


Blyth's Reed Warbler (above) and Marsh Warbler (below) in the hand at the Obs (by Georgia Platt)

Sightings of note: 9 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Teal, 2 Common Scoter, 2 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Sanderling, 8 Dunlin, 2 Redshank, 8 Black-headed Gull, 16 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Cormorant, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 1 Sand Martin, 9 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 3 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 3 Blackbird, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Robin, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Whinchat, 3 Linnet, 4 Crossbill (first of the year), 2 Siskin


Male Pied Flycather at the Haa (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 3 Red Admiral, 9 Silver Y, 8 Shetland Bee

Year list: 169
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9th June 2023
Weather:
Bright but mostly overcast with a force 2-3 easterly breeze
Today marked the last census of the spring, although with the wind now coming from the east the team will still try and get out as often as possible around the seabird monitoring work. A handful of common migrants were new in this morning, but a male Collared Flycatcher at South Raeva in the evening was the saviour of an otherwise quiet few days.

HIGHLIGHTS:
COLLARED FLYCATCHER: male at South Raeva (10th Fair Isle record)

Sightings of note: 9 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Common Scoter, 20 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 59 Oystercatcher, 21 Lapwing, 45 Ringed Plover, 12 Curlew, 7 Dunlin, 1 Sanderling, 8 Snipe, 1 Redshank, 4 Black-headed Gull, 25 Common Gull, 7 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 2 Peregrine, 70 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin, 10 Swallow, 5 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 4 Blackbird, 1 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Robin, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 1 Whinchat, 56 Wheatear, 4 Pied Wagtail, 67 Meadow Pipit, 59 Rock Pipit, 11 Twite

Other wildlife: 3 Shetland Bee

Year list: 166
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8th June 2023
Weather:
Blue sky and sunshine with a force 3-4 NE breeze
Today saw a hint of an easterly wind for the first time in weeks, which brought with it a Turtle Dove at the Haa, a nice new species for the year list. An Osprey flying north over Burkle in the evening was a late addition to the day, and a smart summer plumage Black-tailed Godwit remains around Mid Geo.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Turtle Dove: one at the Haa (new for the year list)
Osprey: one north over Burkle in the evening

Sightings of note: 3 Greylag Goose, 77 Eider (47 male, 30 female), 1 Swift, 1 Woodpigeon, 4 Collared Dove, 71 Oystercatcher, 25 Lapwing, 38 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 11 Curlew, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Dunlin, 1 Woodcock, 6 Snipe, 1 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 5 Black-headed Gull, 12 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 2 Carrion Crow, 67 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin, 17 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 3 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 4 Blackbird, 5 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Robin, 71 Wheatear, 1 Grey Wagtail, 5 Pied Wagtail, 49 Meadow Pipit, 2 Tree Pipit, 61 Rock Pipit, 7 Twite, 1 Linnet, 1 Siskin


Spotted Flycatcher at Obs (by Georgia Platt)


Meadow Pipit carrying food, at Kirn O' Skroo (by Georgia Platt)

Other wildlife: 5 Shetland Bee

Year list: 165
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7th June 2023
Weather:
Cloudy with a few sunny spells and a force 2-3 NW breeze
Not many new birds in today, other than a handful of Spotted Flycatcher scattered throughout the crofts and in the traps, whilst the male Red-backed Shrike was still around Pund/Chalet. A change in the wind direction is forecast tomorrow, as it turns north-easterly and then easterly over the weekend, which could be fairly promising for some nice late spring scarcities.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: male still around Pund/Chalet

Sightings of note: 6 Greylag Goose, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Dunlin, 3 Black-headed Gull, 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 2 Sand Martin, 6 Swallow, 4 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Redwing, 7 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Robin, 2 Linnet


Arctic Skua at the Airstrip (by Georgia Platt)

Year list: 164
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6th June 2023
Weather:
Mostly overcast with a force 2-3 NW breeze
A few common migrants and new birds about today, the highlights including a smart male Red-backed Shrike around Field/Upper Stoneybrek and three Black-tailed Godwit touring around the south-east.


Male Red-backed Shrike at Field (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: male at Field/Upper Stoneybrek

Sightings of note: 6 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 4 Teal, 1 Cuckoo, 2 Collared Dove, 67 Oystercatcher, 22 Lapwing, 44 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 10 Curlew, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Turnstone, 10 Dunlin, 14 Snipe, 3 Redshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 25 Common Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 190 Arctic Tern, 2 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Peregrine, 74 Skylark, 3 Sand Martin, 15 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 3 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Song Thrush, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 74 Wheatear, 1 Grey Wagtail, 6 Pied Wagtail, 80 Meadow Pipit, 51 Rock Pipit, 1 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit, 18 Twite, 3 Linnet


'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit at South Harbour (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 4 Shetland Bee, 1 Minke Whale (seen in Fair Isle waters from a cruiseship)

Year list: 164
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5th June 2023
Weather:
Bright with occasional spells of low cloud and drizzle, and a force 3 NW breeze
No census today, as seabird monitoring is starting to take priority and the wind direction is still pretty uninspriring! The team did another visit to the Fulmar and Guillemot population plots in the morning, and in the afternoon Sally (the Ranger) was busy with a cruiseship in the south, whilst the rest of us went to count gull nests in the mixed colony at Goorn. Numbers of breeding gulls appear to be similar in recent years, with a few nests already containing small chicks that have hatched in the last couple of days.


Gull nest at Goorn with Sheep Rock in the background (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 4 Collared Dove, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Sanderling, 3 Dunlin, 5 Black-headed Gull, 78 Arctic Tern, 1 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 2 Sand Martin, 8 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Robin, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 3 Linnet

Year list: 164
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4th June 2023
Weather:
Generally overcast with a force 2 NW breeze
A further handful of new birds in today, including an Olive-backed Pipit at Wester Lother, two smart male Grey-headed Wagtails and the second Red-backed Shrike of the spring. A cuckoo at Hill Dyke was the first for a little while, whilst a few Swift also made an appearance, as four were screaming over North Ramnigeo when the team were in the boat approaching the Shag population monitoring plots in the afternoon.


Male Grey-headed Wagtail at Obs scrape (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
WESTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER: ringed male still in Gully
Red-backed Shrike: female at the Haa
Grey-headed Wagtail: two males; one at Hesti and one at Obs scrape
Olive-backed Pipit: one at Wester Lother

Sightings of note: 3 Greylag Goose, 4 Swift, 1 Cuckoo, 5 Collared Dove, 66 Oystercatcher, 23 Lapwing, 41 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 8 Curlew, 5 Dunlin, 1 Woodcock, 1 Jack Snipe, 12 Snipe, 3 Redshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 9 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 149 Arctic Tern, 2 Peregrine, 78 Skylark, 3 Sand Martin, 8 Swallow, 4 Willow Warbler, 8 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 65 Wheatear, 5 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 54 Meadow Pipit, 40 Rock Pipit, 6 Twite, 3 Linnet

Other wildlife: 6 Shetland Bee

Year list: 164
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3rd June 2023
Weather:
Low cloud and drizzle in the morning followed by an overcast yet bright afternoon, with a force 2-3 NW breeze
A dreich morning was a stark contrast to yesterday's gorgeous summer weather, with few new birds in of note other than the first Common Rosefinch of the year at the Haa, three Spotted Flycatcher and a single Pied Flycatcher. Fortunately the low cloud had lifted by the afternoon, and the team could carry out the first Guillemot and Fulmar population monitoring plot counts of the season.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Common Rosefinch: one at the Haa (first of the year)

Sightings of note: 6 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 8 Woodpigeon, 8 Collared Dove, 76 Oystercatcher, 24 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 43 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 9 Curlew, 7 Dunlin, 23 Snipe, 3 Black-headed Gull, 21 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 136 Arctic Tern, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 15 Storm Petrel (first of the year, seen from the Northlink), 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 1 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 85 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin, 7 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 3 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 1 Blackbird, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Whinchat, 101 Wheatear, 1 Grey Wagtail, 7 Pied Wagtail, 67 Meadow Pipit, 50 Rock Pipit, 9 Twite, 4 Linnet


Whinchat at Obs garden (by Georgia Platt)

Other wildlife: 8 Shetland Bee, 1 Minke Whale (off the east coast, seen from the Northlink)

Year list: 164
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2nd June 2023
Weather:
Sunny with few clouds and very calm
A rare flat calm day brought a handful of common migrants into the isle, but unfortunately nothing scarcer. The afternoon was the perfect opportunity for the team to make the first visit to the Puffin productivity monitoring plot at Greenholm, and mark out the active burrows in preparation for monitoring chicks when they hatch.


A classic sight - Obs staff shoulder-deep in Puffin burrows! (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
SNOWY OWL: male seen again very early morning over Gilsetter
WESTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER: ringed male still in Gully

Sightings of note: 9 Greylag Goose, 3 Wigeon, 1 Swift, 1 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, 63 Oystercatcher, 24 Lapwing, 29 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 11 Curlew, 1 Turnstone, 1 Dunlin, 6 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 12 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 64 Arctic Tern, 3 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 69 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin, 6 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 10 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 1 Redwing, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Whinchat, 86 Wheatear, 5 Pied Wagtail, 77 Meadow Pipit, 47 Rock Pipit, 17 Twite, 4 Linnet, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Siskin

Other wildlife: 2 Red Admiral, 1 Painted Lady, 10 Shetland Bee

Year list: 162
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1st June 2023
Weather:
Mostly sunny with a force 4-5 northerly wind
Finally a change in wind direction today, but not in the direction we would hope for! Nevertheless, a bright sunny day was more than welcome to get June off to a good start, despite there not being much of a change in birds. A Greenshank in South Harbour was new in (as was a cruiseship with 200 passengers in the afternoon) and the Rustic Bunting from two days ago reappeared at the Haa. The next few days are set to be fairly calm, which will allow for a good amount of seabird work and hopefully some new birds to find as well.


The male Western Subalpine Warbler is still present and loving life in the Gully plantation! (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
WESTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER: ringed male still in Gully
RUSTIC BUNTING: male reappeared at the Haa

Sightings of note: 7 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 3 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 1 Woodpigeon, 56 Oystercatcher, 23 Lapwing, 28 Ringed Plover, 9 Curlew, 4 Turnstone, 4 Dunlin, 6 Snipe, 5 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 9 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 43 Arctic Tern, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 1 Kestrel, 2 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 57 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin, 14 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 113 Wheatear, 6 Pied Wagtail, 77 Meadow Pipit, 42 Rock Pipit, 11 Twite, 2 Linnet, 1 Siskin


Arctic Tern at Buness (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 2 Shetland Bee

Year list: 162
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31st May 2023
Weather:
Overcast with a force 3-5 WNW wind
The first Icterine Warbler of the spring was a nice way to start an otherwise quiet day, with a handful of common migrants also being new in. In the afternoon the team pumped up the dinghy that is used to get over to Greenholm to monitor the Puffin productivity plot, and got some paperwork ready in preparation for the upcoming Guillemot and Fulmar population monitoring - seabird season is here!


Icterine Warbler in the hand at Gully (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
WESTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER: ringed male still in Gully
Icterine Warbler: one trapped in Gully (first of the year)

Sightings of note: 5 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 3 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 1 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, 1 Moorhen, 58 Oystercatcher, 24 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 41 Ringed Plover, 11 Curlew, 9 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 21 Snipe, 4 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 10 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 34 Arctic Tern, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Rook, 7 Carrion Crow, 80 Skylark, 3 Sand Martin, 18 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 3 Willow Warbler, 7 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Ring Ouzel, 2 Robin, 1 Whinchat, 114 Wheatear, 3 Pied Wagtail, 66 Meadow Pipit, 47 Rock Pipit, 10 Twite, 4 Linnet


Fledged Carrion Crow at Malcolm's Head - a rare breeder in the Northern Isles (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 2 Shetland Bee

Year list: 162
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30th May 2023
Weather:
Drizzle early morning turning into light cloud with a force 4-5 westerly wind
A slight drop in the westerly wind was all that was needed to produce a couple of new birds today, with the first being a fabulous male Rustic Bunting in the Auld Haa garden, singing for most of the morning and granting good views as it went regularly between the Haa and Walli Burn. A Swift over Buness mid-afternoon was also new for the year list, this being the latest first arrival date since 1995, and a Sabine's Gull was seen from the Good Shepherd IV half a mile north of the isle.


Male Rustic Bunting on the road between Utra and Lower Leogh (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
WESTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER: ringed male still in Gully
RUSTIC BUNTING: male singing at the Auld Haa/Walli Burn (new for the year list)
Sabine's Gull: one seen from the Good Shepherd IV, half a mile north of North Light (seven previous records and first since 2011, although one was reported in 2015 but no description was submitted)

Sightings of note: 1 Quail, 5 Greylag Goose, 3 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 1 Swift (first of the year), 1 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, 57 Oystercatcher, 30 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 42 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 8 Curlew, 3 Turnstone, 6 Dunlin, 13 Snipe, 6 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 5 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 20 Arctic Tern, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 1 Peregrine, 1 Rook, 7 Carrion Crow, 60 Skylark, 3 Sand Martin, 11 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 1 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Robin, 112 Wheatear, 4 Pied Wagtail, 58 Meadow Pipit, 37 Rock Pipit, 9 Twite, 3 Linnet

Year list: 161
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29th May 2023
Weather:
Generally overcast with some low cloud and drizzle from late morning to mid-afternoon and a force 5-6 WNW wind
Back to strong winds and greyness today, with the weather hardly feeling like it is nearly June - hopefully it gets a bit warmer soon! Still not many new birds around of note aside from a Mistle Thrush at the Obs this morning (the latest spring record since 1981), whilst the Western Subalpine Warbler remains in Gully and the male Grey-headed Wagtail has moved to Wirvie.


Male Grey-headed Wagtail at Wirvie (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
WESTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER: ringed male still in Gully
Grey-headed Wagtail: male now at Wirvie

Sightings of note: 5 Barnacle Goose, 5 Greylag Goose, 3 Wigeon, 2 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 46 Oystercatcher, 26 Lapwing, 33 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 10 Curlew, 2 Turnstone, 7 Dunlin, 19 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 7 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 15 Common Gull, 17 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 4 Arctic Tern, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Kestrel, 1 Rook, 2 Carrion Crow, 65 Skylark, 4 Sand Martin, 9 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 1 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Robin, 62 Wheatear, 8 Pied Wagtail, 49 Meadow Pipit, 40 Rock Pipit, 17 Twite, 2 Linnet, 1 Siskin


Mistle Thrush at the Obs (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 158
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28th May 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells with a force 2-4 NW wind increasing to force 5 in the evening
A day of reappearances today, with the Western Subalpine Warbler still in Gully and the adult male Golden Oriole finally granting good views as it spent most of the day in South Restensgeo, allowing a few more folk to catch up with it. Unfortunately the bird does not seem to be in very good condition, so hopefully it can rest and recover before heading back to the Mediterranean. Much to everyone's surprise, the Snowy Owl also made a reappearance after nearly a week of absence, as it flushed from the ground at Naaversgill and headed towards the Mast, where it settled close to the Mast track for a while. After several short flights around the Mast track/Mast/Swey area, the bird flew back to Troila where it was then left in peace once more.


Snowy Owl at Swey (by Steve Arlow)

In the way of new birds, an immature White-tailed Eagle ranged over the south of the isle for nearly an hour, constantly being harrassed by corvids, gulls and Bonxies before heading strongly north along the north-west cliffs and off to Shetland. A Grey-headed Wagtail at Da Water in the evening was also a new arrival.



Immature White-tailed Eagle over Field (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
SNOWY OWL: male reappeared at Naaversgill, flew to Swey then back to Troila area
WESTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER: ringed male still in Gully
White-tailed Eagle: immature roaming over the south of the isle around midday, last seen heading towards Shetland
Golden Oriole: adult male still present, now at South Restensgeo
Grey-headed Wagtail: one at Da Water


Adult male Golden Oriole at South Restensgeo (by Georgia Platt)

Sightings of note: 6 Greylag Goose, 3 Wigeon, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 47 Oystercatcher, 20 Lapwing, 39 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 9 Curlew, 3 Dunlin, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 10 Snipe, 6 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 2 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 41 Arctic Tern, 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 1 Jackdaw, 1 Rook, 12 Carrion Crow, 77 Skylark, 5 Sand Martin, 17 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 7 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 2 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 119 Wheatear, 7 Pied Wagtail, 73 Meadow Pipit, 51 Rock Pipit, 21 Twite, 3 Linnet, 2 Siskin

Other wildlife: 12 Shetland Bee

Year list: 158
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27th May 2023
Weather:
Patchy rain throughout the morning clearing into a sunny afternoon with a force 6-7 WSW wind
Still not much happening today, although a cruiseship with 120 passengers visiting this morning kept a lot of the islanders busy. The male Western Subalpine Warbler was still in Gully, as was a cuckoo, and yesterday's Golden Oriole also made another very brief appearance at Plantation, but was lost as it flew north. A handful more common migrants were also around, but nothing of significant note.


Seabourn Venture off North Haven (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
WESTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER: ringed male still in Gully
Golden Oriole: one seen again briefly at Plantation


Cuckoo at Gully (by Steve Arlow)

Sightings of note: 5 Greylag Goose, 1 Cuckoo, 3 Collared Dove, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin, 4 Black-headed Gull, 11 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Arctic Tern, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Kestrel, 1 Jackdaw, 1 Rook, 11 Carrion Crow, 10 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Grey Wagtail, 3 Linnet

Other wildlife: 1 Shetland Bee

Year list: 158
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26th May 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells in the morning followed by an overcast afternoon with patchy drizzle, and a force 4-6 westerly wind
A scattering of new birds around today despite the ever-persistent westerly wind, mostly consisting of common migrants but livened up a bit by a surprise Golden Oriole at the Obs garden in the late afternoon. The bird was seen very breifly as it was flushed from a perch and flew along one of the net rides, but unfortunately was not seen again despite the team and other visiting birder's best efforts. This is a fairly typical story of how most Golden Oriole encounters go on Fair Isle, as this elusive species is often very difficult to pin down.


A few very smart summer plumage Dunlin are around at the moment, including these two amongst the Thrift on Meoness (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
WESTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER: ringed male still in Gully
Golden Oriole: one seen briefly at Obs garden (new for the year list)

Sightings of note: 5 Greylag Goose, 2 Wigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 66 Oystercatcher, 23 Lapwing, 23 Ringed Plover, 6 Whimbrel, 8 Curlew, 2 Turnstone, 6 Dunlin, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 14 Snipe, 4 Redshank, 6 Black-headed Gull, 38 Common Gull, 9 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 10 Arctic Tern, 67 Bonxie, 17 Arctic Skua, 3 Red-throated Diver, 1 Cormorant, 3 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 1 Jackdaw, 1 Rook, 7 Carrion Crow, 75 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin, 15 Swallow, 4 House Martin, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whinchat, 118 Wheatear, 2 Tree Sparrow, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtail, 90 Meadow Pipit, 48 Rock Pipit, 10 Twite, 5 Linnet, 1 Siskin


Red-throated Divers in flight at Kristal Kame, with a hazy outline of Shetland Mainland in the background (by Alex Penn)


Fulmar on a nesting ledge surrounded by Thrift, Bird's-foot Trefoil and Sea Campion (by Georgia Platt)

Other wildlife: 3 Shetland Bee

Year list: 158
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25th May 2023
Weather:
Generally overcast with a force 5-6 westerly wind
This morning the team carried out the first visit to the Easter Lother Razorbill productivity plot, marking the beginning of the practical seabird monitoring for the season. It is always good fun to go down to the bottom of Easter Lother to be in amongst the breeding auks and see the cliffs from a different perspective - 40 nests were found and recorded with all birds still on eggs, so when we revisit the plot in about 10-14 days time there should hopefully be some small chicks to monitor. All is still quiet in the way of migrants with not much new in of note, and the ringed male Western Subalpine Warbler still remains in Gully.


The view from the Easter Lother monitoring plot (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
WESTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER: ringed male still in Gully

Sightings of note: 6 Greylag Goose, 2 Whimbrel, 1 Dunlin, 20 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Kestrel, 1 Jackdaw, 1 Rook, 6 Carrion Crow, 7 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 1 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 1 Whinchat, 2 Linnet, 1 Reed Bunting

Other wildlife: 1 Shetland Bee

Year list: 157
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24th May 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells with a force 5-7 westerly wind
Another fairly quiet day with strong westerlies not turning up many new birds. The ringed Western Subalpine Warbler had relocated to Gully and a very smart male Whinchat still remains around School Brae, and the team ringed another 7 Lapwing chicks in the afternoon, bringing the total to an impressive 24 chicks ringed.


Male Whinchat at School Brae (by Steve Arlow)

HIGHLIGHTS:
WESTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER: ringed male reappeared in Gully


Ringed male Western Subalpine Warbler at Gully (by Steve Arlow)

Sightings of note: 4 Greylag Goose, 55 Oystercatcher, 24 Lapwing, 30 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 6 Curlew, 6 Turnstone, 1 Dunlin, 7 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Redshank, 8 Common Gull, 8 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 15 Arctic Tern, 89 Bonxie, 19 Arctic Skua, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Kestrel, 2 Peregrine, 1 Jackdaw, 1 Rook, 7 Carrion Crow, 84 Skylark, 12 Swallow, 4 House Martin, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 1 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 2 Whinchat, 111 Wheatear, 4 Pied Wagtail, 101 Meadow Pipit, 38 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 22 Twite, 4 Linnet, 5 Siskin

Other wildlife: 2 Shetland Bee

Year list: 157
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23rd May 2023
Weather:
Sun in the early morning followed by some low cloud and patchy drizzle for the remainder of the day, with a force 4-6 westerly wind
A far more relaxed day than yesterday, with census not providing many new birds, although an Osprey over the Haven mid-afternoon was a nice year tick. The bird continued to roam the isle for the afternoon, upsetting all of the local gulls and breeding waders.


Osprey over Byerwalls (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Osprey: one over the Haven then roaming the isle (first of the year)

Sightings of note: 2 Barnacle Goose, 6 Greylag Goose, 4 Collared Dove, 63 Oystercatcher, 33 Lapwing, 38 Ringed Plover, 5 Whimbrel, 8 Curlew, 6 Turnstone, 5 Dunlin, 7 Snipe, 8 Redshank, 4 Black-headed Gull, 13 Common Gull, 7 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 17 Arctic Tern, 102 Bonxie, 29 Arctic Skua, 1 Short-eared Owl, 3 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 1 Jackdaw, 1 Rook, 3 Carrion Crow, 81 Skylark, 10 Swallow, 4 House Martin, 7 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 1 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 2 Robin, 1 Whinchat, 121 Wheatear, 2 Tree Sparrow, 1 Grey Wagtail, 6 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 116 Meadow Pipit, 33 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 17 Twite, 3 Linnet, 4 Siskin, 1 Reed Bunting

Other wildlife: 1 Shetland Bee

Year list: 157
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22nd May 2023
Weather:
Overcast in the morning turning into bright sunshine by mid-afternoon, with a force 4 westerly wind
A very long, tiring day filled with excitement was in store for the isle today, as we finally saw the first few 'BB' rarities and also the first Orca visit of the year. The day was off to a strong start with a male Western Subalpine Warbler trapped in Plantation, which was a textbook example of the species with fully saturated rusty-orange underparts - it was nice to finally get in on the Subalpine Warbler action!


Male Western Subalpine Warbler in the hand at Plantation (by Georgia Platt)

The team then started to get on with census after a promising trap round, although all was fairly quiet until two bull Orca were reported close into the cliffs at Sheep Rock. Close-in Orca are definitely a 'drop everything and run' situation in Fair Isle, with the team plus many islanders and visitors joining in with the chase as they slowly made their way south along the south-east coastline. The individuals were quickly identified as the formidable Northern Isles bachelor duo, Hulk and Nott, with the pair sticking close to the cliffs and even making a kill at one point, giving their audience an unforgettable experience. For many folk this was their first time seeing Orca, whilst others had seen them several times before, but everyone was just as excited and amazed as each other - Orca will do that to you! They were with us for an hour and a half in the end, and were last seen heading south towards Orkney.


Hulk (left) and Nott (right) as they hunted around Meoness (by Alex Penn)

After a quick lunch we then headed back out to resume census after being thoroughly distracted (although rightly so), but just as we were leaving South Light another male Subalpine Warbler was reported at Setter, which appeared to be unringed and paler than this morning's individual. The bird was very elusive and not giving any convincing field views, so a net was put up and the bird was promptly trapped. In the hand it was clear that the bird was either a Western or Moltoni's rather than an Eastern based on tail pattern and underparts colouration, but any further identification proved tricky. The washed-out, peachy colour of the underparts was more suggestive of Moltoni's than Western, but unfortunately the bird did not call so Moltoni's couldn't be confirmed. Feathers were collected and will be sent off for DNA analysis - an interesing bird to see, especially compared to the definite Western trapped earlier in the day, so we will see what results the lab provides.


Western Subalpine/Moltoni's Warbler in the hand at Setter (by Georgia Platt)

Unbelievably the excitement for the day didn't stop there, as in the late afternoon Alex reported a Snowy Owl at Homisdale! A bird that was definitely not on the radar on a sunny late-May afternoon, and the first on the isle since 2005. The bird, a beautiful pure-white adult male, sat happily in a hollow beside a boulder taking in its surroundings for around an hour and a half as many delighted observers watched, with it relocating a couple of times before being left in peace at the top of Homisdale. Today was was certainly 'one of those days' - a reminder of what makes this magic island and its wildlife so special, and definitely one for the FIBO history books.



Male Snowy Owl at Homisdale (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
SNOWY OWL: adult male at Homisdale (25th Fair Isle record, first since 2005)
WESTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER: male trapped in Plantation (first Subalpine Warbler sp. since 2021)
WESTERN SUBALPINE/MOLTONI'S WARBLER: male trapped at Setter (awaiting DNA analysis to confirm identification)

Sightings of note: 5 Greylag Goose, 1 Cuckoo, 11 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, 49 Oystercatcher, 25 Lapwing, 15 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 6 Curlew, 10 Turnstone, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 9 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Redshank, 7 Black-headed Gull, 36 Common Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 20 Arctic Tern, 68 Bonxie, 19 Arctic Skua, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 3 Kestrel, 2 Peregrine, 5 Jackdaw, 1 Rook, 1 Carrion Crow, 65 Skylark, 18 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 1 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 4 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Blackbird, 1 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 3 Robin, 2 Whinchat, 109 Wheatear, 2 Tree Sparrow, 1 Grey Wagtail, 5 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 85 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 39 Rock Pipit, 1 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 10 Twite, 3 Linnet, 2 Mealy Redpoll, 3 Redpoll Sp.


The Snowy Owl caused the biggest twitch that Fair Isle has seen in a few years! (by Georgia Platt)

Other wildlife: 1 Shetland Bee, ORCA - two bulls 'Hulk & Nott' slowly tracking south along the south-east cliffs (first of the year)

Year list: 156
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21st May 2023
Weather:
Blue skies and sun with a calm force 2 NW breeze
The isle was finally treated to some more typical May weather today, with clear blue skies and sunshine - a welcome break from the cold greyness that we have been subject to recently. A few new birds came with this glorious weather as well, including three year ticks in the form of Mute Swan, Sanderling and Bluethroat. The latter two are not surprising at this time of year, but two Mute Swan flying south over the isle and then circling around South Harbour caused some excitement amongst the Obs team - this is just the 14th record of Mute Swan, so quite the Fair Isle rarity. In addition, a few different species of singing warblers were scattered throughout the crofts, with some butterflies and bees also adding to the summery feel.


Mute Swan over Utra Scrape (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Quail: one flushed from Homisdale to Ditfield
Mute Swan: two south over the isle and circled briefly around South Harbour (14th Fair Isle record)
Stock Dove: one still present
Bluethroat: Female at North Park (first of the year)


Female Bluethroat at North Park (by Patrick Safford)

Sightings of note: 3 Woodpigeon, 54 Oystercatcher, 34 Lapwing, 30 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 8 Curlew, 4 Turnstone, 1 Sanderling (first of the year), 3 Dunlin, 10 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 6 Redshank, 8 Black-headed Gull, 39 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 11 Arctic Tern, 79 Bonxie, 12 Arctic Skua, 2 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 1 Rook, 1 Carrion Crow, 77 Skylark, 30 Swallow, 6 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 6 Sedge Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Blackbird, 1 Redwing, 2 Robin, 1 Whinchat, 150 Wheatear, 2 Tree Sparrow, 5 Pied Wagtail, 92 Meadow Pipit, 67 Rock Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 22 Twite, 3 Linnet, 4 Redpoll Sp., 1 Goldfinch, 6 Siskin, 4 Reed Bunting

Other wildlife: 4 Red Admiral, 1 Painted Lady (first of the year), 1 Silver Y (first of the year), 7 Shetland Bee

Year list: 154
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20th May 2023
Weather:
Overcast with some low cloud and a force 4-5 SSW wind
Yet another quiet day with low numbers of common migrants present - a far cry from the same date last year, which saw several national and local rarities and scarcities! Tomorrow looks a bit better for weather with sun and not much of a breeze, so hopefully we might get some new birds in to stir things up a bit.


Turnstone in summer plumage at South Harbour (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one still present

Sightings of note: 2 Barnacle Goose, 17 Greylag Goose, 6 Woodpigeon, 60 Oystercatcher, 31 Lapwing, 38 Ringed Plover, 9 Whimbrel, 6 Curlew, 12 Turnstone, 4 Dunlin, 7 Snipe, 4 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 52 Common Gull, 34 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 19 Arctic Tern, 95 Bonxie, 19 Arctic Skua, 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 1 Short-eared Owl, 3 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 1 Rook, 7 Carrion Crow, 1 Hybrid Crow, 65 Skylark, 21 Swallow, 4 House Martin, 1 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, 1 Ring Ouzel, 4 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Robin, 97 Wheatear, 2 Tree Sparrow, 6 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 108 Meadow Pipit, 38 Rock Pipit, 1 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 19 Twite, 3 Linnet, 1 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Redpoll Sp., 15 Siskin, 4 Reed Bunting


Whimbrel on the rocks off South Light (by Georgia Platt)

Year list: 151
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19th May 2023
Weather:
Mostly sunny with patchy cloud and a force 3-4 SW breeze
A lovely day of sunshine and a light south-westerly breeze, although not many birds of note as this quiet spell continues. The warm and sunny weather gave another good opportunity to ring a few more Lapwing chicks at Da Water in the afternoon, bringing our total now to 17 chicks of six different broods ringed, with still a few more broods to monitor.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one still present
British Yellow Wagtail: female reappeared at Da Water

Sightings of note: 14 Greylag Goose, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Moorhen, 48 Oystercatcher, 27 Lapwing, 29 Ringed Plover, 5 Whimbrel, 5 Curlew, 11 Turnstone, 10 Dunlin, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 11 Snipe, 6 Redshank, 15 Black-headed Gull, 39 Common Gull, 36 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 28 Arctic Tern, 70 Bonxie, 11 Arctic Skua, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 1 Rook, 9 Carrion Crow, 1 Hybrid Crow, 86 Skylark, 3 Sand Martin, 27 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, 1 Ring Ouzel, 5 Blackbird, 1 Redwing, 1 Robin, 1 Redstart, 135 Wheatear, 2 Tree Sparrow, 9 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 89 Meadow Pipit, 36 Rock Pipit, 1 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 6 Twite, 3 Linnet, 3 Mealy Redpoll, 6 Siskin, 2 Reed Bunting

Other wildlife: 1 Shetland Bee

Year list: 151
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18th May 2023
Weather:
Cloudy with a force 4-5 SW wind
All is still fairly quiet around the isle (aside from another cruiseship visit), although a light scattering of new birds were around today, including another smart Shorelark at North Light - the fourth record so far this year, making this the best spring for this species on Fair Isle since 1999. A male Ruff at Da Water in the evening was a late addition to the year list, and the first spring record since 2017.


Shorelark at North Light (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one still present
Shorelark: one at North Light
Grey-headed Wagtail: male still present, now at Meadow Burn

Sightings of note: 1 Barnacle Goose, 18 Greylag Goose, 3 Tufted Duck, 2 Woodpigeon, 66 Oystercatcher, 29 Lapwing, 45 Ringed Plover, 10 Whimbrel, 7 Curlew, 9 Turnstone, 1 Ruff (first of the year), 4 Dunlin, 10 Purple Sandpiper, 14 Snipe, 5 Redshank, 11 Black-headed Gull, 23 Common Gull, 18 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 28 Arctic Tern, 80 Bonxie, 23 Arctic Skua, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, 2 Peregrine, 1 Rook, 10 Carrion Crow, 76 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 10 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 1 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Sedge Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Robin, 1 Redstart, 127 Wheatear, 1 Tree Sparrow, 10 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 127 Meadow Pipit, 4 Tree Pipit, 55 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Brambling, 7 Twite, 3 Linnet, 1 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Redpoll Sp., 1 Goldfinch, 12 Siskin, 5 Reed Bunting


Ringed Plover at the Airstrip (by Georgia Platt)


Grey Seal making a meal out of a Lumpsucker, at Greenholm (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 151
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17th May 2023
Weather:
Generally overcast with rain from mid-afternoon and a force 4-5 SW wind
Another quiet day for birds, with not much around of note. A moderate south-westerly wind inspired some seawatching from South Light at points through the day, but not much of interest was seen aside from the usual array of common breeding seabirds.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one still present
Grey-headed Wagtail: male still around South Harbour and Da Water

Sightings of note: 1 Barnacle Goose, 21 Greylag Goose, 2 Wigeon, 3 Woodpigeon, 52 Oystercatcher, 31 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 36 Ringed Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 8 Curlew, 7 Turnstone, 3 Dunlin, 31 Purple Sandpiper, 12 Snipe, 7 Redshank, 10 Black-headed Gull, 9 Common Gull, 12 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 41 Arctic Tern, 76 Bonxie, 22 Arctic Skua, 4 Kestrel, 3 Rook, 3 Carrion Crow, 59 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 9 Swallow, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 2 Whinchat, 97 Wheatear, 1 Tree Sparrow, 4 Pied Wagtail, 107 Meadow Pipit, 3 Tree Pipit, 48 Rock Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 1 Brambling, 13 Twite, 6 Linnet, 6 Mealy Redpoll, 2 Siskin, 9 Reed Bunting

Other wildlife: 1 Shetland Bee

Year list: 150
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16th May 2023
Weather:
Cloudy with sunny spells and a force 6-7 NW wind
Not much to report from today, other than a quiet census in the morning and a cruiseship visiting in the late afternoon. At least two Risso's Dolphin were briefly seen moving north off Kristal Kame mid-morning, but were lost from sight as quickly as they were found - nevertheless, this marks the first sighting of this iconic species in Fair Isle waters this year. A Kestrel trapped at the Haven in the afternoon was also a bonus, with a tasty mealworm in a spring trap proving too tempting for this small yet feisty raptor.


Kestrel in the hand at the Haven (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Grey-headed Wagtail: male still around South Harbour and Da Water

Sightings of note: 1 Barnacle Goose, 28 Greylag Goose, 2 Wigeon, 3 Woodpigeon, 66 Oystercatcher, 21 Lapwing, 30 Ringed Plover, 7 Whimbrel, 7 Curlew, 15 Turnstone, 1 Dunlin, 12 Snipe, 7 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 15 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 60 Bonxie, 27 Arctic Skua, 6 Kestrel, 2 Peregrine, 1 Rook, 4 Carrion Crow, 71 Skylark, 2 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 114 Wheatear, 2 Tree Sparrow, 7 Pied Wagtail, 78 Meadow Pipit, 5 Tree Pipit, 41 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Brambling, 16 Twite, 6 Mealy Redpoll, 2 Siskin, 1 Reed Bunting


Gannet collecting nesting material at Dronger - note the jet-black eye, which has now been scientifically proven to strongly correlate with surviving from an HPAI infection (by Alex Penn)


Raven at Gunnawark (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 2+ Risso's Dolphin (moving north off Kristal Kame, first of the year)

Year list: 150
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15th May 2023
Weather:
Sunny with a force 4 westerly wind
A far nicer day for weather today with bright sun and blue skies, although a fresh westerly breeze meant that there wasn't much in the way of new birds around. The team took advantage of the fine weather in the afternoon to go and make a start on ringing some of the Lapwing broods scattered aroud the south of the isle - two broods at Pund, another at Kirki Mire and a single large chick at Da Water gave us a total of 11 chicks ringed, which is a very respectable start with a few more broods to go at in the next week or so as well. It's excellent to see the Lapwing having a very productive season here so far, so keeping fingers crossed that a good number of chicks make it to fledging stage.


Four downy Lapwing chicks in the hand at Pund (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
British Yellow Wagtail: female still at Da Water
Grey-headed Wagtail: male still around South Harbour and Da Water

Sightings of note: 1 Barnacle Goose, 27 Greylag Goose, 2 Wigeon, 1 Common Scoter, 2 Woodpigeon, 51 Oystercatcher, 25 Lapwing, 30 Ringed Plover, 5 Whimbrel, 4 Curlew, 26 Turnstone, 2 Dunlin, 8 Snipe, 3 Common Sandpiper, 7 Redshank, 11 Black-headed Gull, 15 Common Gull, 2 Arctic Tern, 80 Bonxie, 10 Arctic Skua, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 4 Kestrel, 2 Peregrine, 4 Jackdaw, 3 Rook, 10 Carrion Crow, 98 Skylark, 5 Sand Martin, 17 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 3 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Sedge Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, 1 Ring Ouzel, 2 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Robin, 2 Redstart, 142 Wheatear, 1 Tree Sparrow, 5 Pied Wagtail, 4 White Wagtail, 127 Meadow Pipit, 14 Tree Pipit, 52 Rock Pipit, 1 Brambling, 15 Twite, 2 Linnet, 7 Redpoll Sp., 2 Siskin, 8 Reed Bunting


Kestrel at the Obs (by Georgia Platt)

Other wildlife: 1 Red Admiral (at Obs garden, first of the year), 1 Shetland Bee

Year list: 150
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14th May 2023
Weather:
Low cloud and rain clearing by late afternoon with a force 4-5 SW wind turning to westerly throughout the day
No census today due to patchy rain for most of the day, however some birding from the car and around the crofts in the afternoon gained a few sightings. A Cuckoo at Golden Water was the first of the year, predictably being mobbed by Meadow Pipits as it flew around Wirvie. Other than that a few common migrants still remain, including a handful of hirundines and a flock of six Collared Dove at Stackhoull.


Cuckoo at Wirvie (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one still present
British Yellow Wagtail: female still at Da Water

Grey-headed Wagtail: male still around South Harbour and Da Water

Sightings of note: 1 Barnacle Goose, 23 Greylag Goose, 1 Shoveler, 2 Wigeon, 1 Teal, 1 Cuckoo (first of the year), 1 Woodpigeon, 9 Collared Dove, 3 Whimbrel, 5 Dunlin, 1 Black-headed Gull, 8 Common Gull, 11 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 20 Arctic Tern, 1 Kestrel, 8 Carrion Crow, 2 Sand Martin, 4 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 1 Willow Warbler, 3 Sedge Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, 3 Blackbird, 3 Robin, 3 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 2 White Wagtail, 1 Tree Pipit, 1 Brambling, 1 Linnet, 12 Mealy Redpoll, 8 Siskin, 3 Reed Bunting

Year list: 150
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13th May 2023
Weather:
Overcast with some low cloud and a force 3-4 SW wind
Today seemed fairly quiet for birds with a noticeable decrease in numbers of migrants, although a Canada Goose at Da Water was new in, whilst the drake Shoveler and male Grey-headed Wagtail still remain around the south east. In addition, the team carried out the first breeding bird survey of the spring at dawn this morning, with the second survey due in a few weeks time.


Male Grey-headed Wagtail at South Harbour (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Canada Goose: one at Da Water
Stock Dove: one still present
Grey-headed Wagtail: reappeared at South Harbour

Sightings of note: 1 Barnacle Goose, 26 Greylag Goose, 1 Shoveler, 2 Wigeon, 23 Woodpigeon, 5 Collared Dove, 1 Moorhen, 67 Oystercatcher, 25 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 38 Ringed Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 6 Curlew, 11 Turnstone, 6 Dunlin, 18 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 3 Redshank, 23 Black-headed Gull, 18 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 70 Bonxie, 5 Arctic Skua, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Long-eared Owl, 5 Kestrel, 3 Rook, 14 Carrion Crow, 81 Skylark, 6 Sand Martin, 31 Swallow, 11 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 5 Sedge Warbler, 4 Blackcap, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Whitethroat, 3 Goldcrest, 1 Ring Ouzel, 8 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 5 Song Thrush, 9 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 3 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 128 Wheatear, 1 Tree Sparrow, 2 Dunnock, 5 Pied Wagtail, 2 White Wagtail, 3 alba Wagtail sp., 137 Meadow Pipit, 12 Tree Pipit, 43 Rock Pipit, 1 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 7 Brambling, 14 Twite, 2 Linnet, 5 Mealy Redpoll, 3 Redpoll Sp., 13 Siskin, 8 Reed Bunting


Male Mealy Redpoll at the South Light hay feeder (by Georgia Platt)


The first incubating Eider of the spring was spotted today, at North Park (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 1 Shetland Bee

Year list: 149
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12th May 2023
Weather:
Overcast in the morning with sunny spells in the afternoon and a light force 1-3 NNW breeze
Another day of calm conditions and good visibility made for very pleasant birding, with a nice variation of common migrants still steadily moving through. There was finally some overdue raptor movement, with a ringtail Hen Harrier and immature White-tailed Eagle, which were both new species for the year list.


Immature White-tailed Eagle over Vaasetter, dwarfing a Raven (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one still present
White-tailed Eagle: one over the middle of the isle, last seen heading north over Wirvie (first of the year)
Hen Harrier: ringtail flying north over Meoness (first of the year)
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one on Dronger
Red-backed Shrike: ringed female still around Vaila's Trees
British Yellow Wagtail: female still at Da Water

Sightings of note: 1 Barnacle Goose, 25 Greylag Goose, 1 Shoveler, 2 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 3 Common Scoter, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Moorhen, 31 Oystercatcher, 25 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 25 Ringed Plover, 9 Whimbrel, 20 Curlew, 18 Turnstone, 13 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 12 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 27 Black-headed Gull, 19 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 22 Arctic Tern, 80 Bonxie, 11 Arctic Skua, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 3 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Long-eared Owl, 2 Short-eared Owl, 6 Kestrel, 2 Peregrine, 10 Carrion Crow, 78 Skylark, 3 Sand Martin, 50 Swallow, 5 House Martin, 20 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 4 Sedge Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 8 Whitethroat, 2 Ring Ouzel, 11 Blackbird, 7 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 6 Song Thrush, 13 Robin, 5 Pied Flycatcher, 11 Redstart, 11 Whinchat, 139 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 8 Pied Wagtail, 3 White Wagtail, 2 alba Wagtail sp., 127 Meadow Pipit, 12 Tree Pipit, 48 Rock Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 6 Brambling, 17 Twite, 3 Linnet, 2 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Redpoll Sp., 13 Siskin, 11 Reed Bunting


2cy male Ring Ouzel in the hand at Gully (by Georgia Platt)

Other wildlife: 3 Harbour Porpoise (off South Light), 2 Minke Whale (off North Light, first of the year)

Year list: 149
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11th May 2023
Weather:
Overcast with some low cloud on the hills and a force 3 NE wind
After five days the fog had finally relented and we could see the horizon again, so the team headed out on a full census. The morning got off to a strong start, with a Quail at Springfield and the Shoveler, Garganey and male Grey-headed Wagtail still present, but the main excitement of the day was with a gorgeous adult Long-tailed Skua at the Airstrip at midday, first seen flying around with Arctic Skuas before settling down to rest for a while and giving excellent views.


Long-tailed Skua at the Airstrip (by Alex Penn)

Other nice sightings included a Wood Sandpiper at Utra Scrape, a flock of 17 Barnacle Geese roaming the isle and a Great Spotted Woodpecker at the Haa, the first since the influx last autumn.


HIGHLIGHTS:
Quail: one at Springfield
Garganey: drake still at Da Water
Stock Dove: one still present
Wood Sandpiper: one at Utra Scrape
Long-tailed Skua: adult at the Airstrip (56 previous records of 111 individuals, first record since 2020)
Great Spotted Woodpecker: one at the Haa (new for the year list)
Red-backed Shrike: ringed female still around Vaila's Trees
British Yellow Wagtail: female at Da Water
Grey-headed Wagtail: male still at Da Water


Great Spotted Woodpecker at the Haa (by Rob Hughes)

Sightings of note: 17 Barnacle Goose, 31 Greylag Goose, 1 Shoveler, 2 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 95 Eider (50m, 45f), 3 Common Scoter, 12 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 50 Oystercatcher, 28 Lapwing, 8 Golden Plover, 42 Ringed Plover, 7 Whimbrel, 13 Curlew, 21 Turnstone, 4 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Woodcock, 14 Snipe, 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 5 Redshank, 5 Black-headed Gull, 29 Common Gull, 11 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 27 Arctic Tern, 72 Bonxie, 16 Arctic Skua, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Long-eared Owl, 1 Short-eared Owl, 4 Kestrel, 2 Peregrine, 26 Carrion Crow, 112 Skylark, 5 Sand Martin, 43 Swallow, 17 House Martin, 27 Willow Warbler, 8 Chiffchaff, 3 Sedge Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 7 Whitethroat, 4 Ring Ouzel, 18 Blackbird, 37 Fieldfare, 4 Redwing, 7 Song Thrush, 12 Robin, 3 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart, 12 Redstart, 9 Whinchat, 183 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 9 Pied Wagtail, 5 White Wagtail, 159 Meadow Pipit, 34 Tree Pipit, 59 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 4 Brambling, 17 Twite, 1 Linnet, 11 Redpoll Sp., 17 Siskin, 2 Snow Bunting, 9 Reed Bunting

Year list: 147
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10th May 2023
Weather:
Thick fog with light drizzle and a force 3-4 easterly wind
With the isle still swathed in fog the team were again unable to carry out a full census, so just went birding in our census areas. Shoveler and Spotted Flycatcher were new for the year list, and a smart male Grey-headed Wagtail was at Da Water - the first of this subspecies of the year. Otherwise common migrants and scarcities remain similar to in recent days, although not surprising as the thick fog can't be very tempting weather to migrate in!


Male (left, below) and female (right) Redstart in the hand (by Sally Kunzig)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Garganey: drake still at Da Water
Stock Dove: one still present
Stone-curlew: still present, again seen flying SE past Quoy
Red-backed Shrike: ringed female (trapped yesterday) around the Hall and Vaila's Trees
Nightingale: one at Midway (presumably the same individual from yesterday)
Grey-headed Wagtail: male at Da Water


Drake Garganey in flight at Da Water (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 3 Barnacle Goose, 22 Greylag Goose, 1 Shoveler (first of the year), 2 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 3 Common Scoter, 10 Woodpigeon, 26 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 6 Whimbrel, 36 Turnstone, 9 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Black-headed Gull, 2 Common Gull, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 6 Arctic Skua, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Long-eared Owl, 1 Short-eared Owl, 4 Kestrel, 8 Carrion Crow, 32 Swallow, 4 House Martin, 22 Willow Warbler, 7 Chiffchaff, 5 Sedge Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 4 Whitethroat, 18 Blackbird, 14 Fieldfare, 1 Redwing, 9 Song Thrush, 1 Spotted Flycatcher (first of the year), 16 Robin, 3 Pied Flycatcher, 7 Redstart, 5 Whinchat, 2 Dunnock, 7 White Wagtail, 12 Tree Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 7 Brambling, 2 Linnet, 2 Mealy Redpoll, 2 Goldfinch, 3 Siskin, 3 Snow Bunting, 13 Reed Bunting

Year list: 145
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9th May 2023
Weather:
Patchy fog and rain in the morning turning into thick fog by the afternoon, with a force 3-5 westerly wind
More fog and rain today, although a drop in the wind made for a welcome change - it's always nice to go out birding and be able to hear anything other than the wind again! Despite the dreich conditions and poor visibility the team still got out for most of the day, with the first cruiseship of the season disembarking onto the isle this afternoon as well. Two Wood Sandpiper at Utra Scrape were new for the year list, as was a typically elusive Nightingale in North Restensgeo and a female Red-backed Shrike at Double Dyke, which was then trapped. The first Arctic Terns of the year were also back at the Haven and Buness, with hopefully many more to still arrive before they settle down for the breeding season.


Nightingale at North Restensgeo (by Alex Penn)

In addition, the female Citrine Wagtail was still present and roaming bewteen Utra Scrape and Walli Burn, and the drake Garganey was also still on Da Water.


HIGHLIGHTS:
Garganey: drake still at Da Water
Stock Dove: one still present
Wood Sandpiper: two at Utra Scrape (first of the year)
Red-backed Shrike: female trapped at Double Dyke (first of the year)
Nightingale: one at North Restensgeo (60th Fair Isle record)
Citrine Wagtail: female still present, roaming between Utra Scrape and Walli Burn
Hawfinch: female still at Plantation


Female Red-backed Shrike in the hand at Double Dyke (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 3 Barnacle Goose, 26 Greylag Goose, 6 Teal, 3 Common Scoter, 5 Woodpigeon, 15 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 8 Whimbrel, 19 Turnstone, 32 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 7 Common Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 10 Black-headed Gull, 51 Common Gull, 10 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 22 Arctic Tern (first of the year), 2 Arctic Skua, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Long-eared Owl, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 1 Sand Martin, 14 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 22 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 4 Sedge Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 6 Whitethroat, 1 Goldcrest, 6 Blackbird, 61 Fieldfare, 6 Redwing, 6 Song Thrush, 14 Robin, 3 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart, 7 Redstart, 6 Whinchat, 2 Dunnock, 2 White Wagtail, 5 Tree Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 9 Brambling, 1 Linnet, 3 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Goldfinch, 6 Siskin, 1 Snow Bunting, 4 Reed Bunting


Swallows resting in the rain at Busta Geo (by Georgia Platt)

Year list: 143
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8th May 2023
Weather:
Patchy low cloud and drizzle in the morning turning into thick fog and heavy rain mid-afternoon, with a force 6-7 SE wind
Another morning greeted by low cloud covering most of the north of the isle, but as the bulk of the heavy rain wasn't due to arrive until later we headed out and birded as best as we could in our census areas. The two Cranes from the other day were still present, last seen heading north over the Airstrip in the early afternoon, with presumably the same birds reported at Grutness (South Shetland Mainland) just half an hour later! As for new birds, a drake Garganey on Da Water was a very welcome sight, with the isle having had no records of this super-stylish duck since 2014. Common migrants were present in good numbers on the south-west cliffs, although all looking fairly damp and exhausted - hopefully they manage to find enough shelter and stick around until the weather improves.


Drake Garganey at Da Water (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Garganey: drake at Da Water (14th Fair Isle record of 24 individuals, first since 2014)
Crane: two still roaming the isle, last seen flying north towards Shetland
Stone-curlew: still present, seen flying SE past Quoy
British Yellow Wagtail: female still at Boini Mire
Hawfinch: female still at Plantation

Sightings of note: 2 Barnacle Goose, 39 Greylag Goose, 1 Shelduck, 2 Teal, 3 Common Scoter, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 5 Woodpigeon, 1 Moorhen, 7 Whimbrel, 38 Turnstone, 20 Dunlin, 4 Common Sandpiper, 2 Black-headed Gull, 18 Common Gull, 7 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Arctic Skua, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Long-eared Owl, 4 Kestrel, 3 Peregrine, 6 Carrion Crow, 14 Swallow, 5 House Martin, 21 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 2 Whitethroat, 7 Ring Ouzel, 12 Blackbird, 38 Fieldfare, 7 Redwing, 7 Song Thrush, 10 Robin, 4 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart, 11 Redstart, 7 Whinchat, 1 Dunnock, 4 White Wagtail, 16 Tree Pipit, 1 Brambling, 3 Linnet, 1 Redpoll Sp., 1 Goldfinch, 9 Siskin, 11 Reed Bunting


Male Pied Flycatcher at Steensi Geo (by Alex Penn)


Fieldfare on the cliffs at Guidicum (by Georgia Platt)

Year list: 139
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7th May 2023
Weather:
Low cloud and heavy showers with a force 6-7 SE wind
Not much to report from today as continued heavy fog and rain put a stop to census, although a bit of adhoc birding gained a few sightings of common migrants and a couple of scarcities which still remain.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Citrine Wagtail: female still present, now at Schoolton
Hawfinch: female still at Plantation

Sightings of note: 2 Barnacle Goose, 35 Greylag Goose, 3 Common Scoter, 4 Woodpigeon, 1 Moorhen, 7 Whimbrel, 20 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpiper, 6 Black-headed Gull, 24 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Kestrel, 8 Carrion Crow, 9 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 4 Willow Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 3 Ring Ouzel, 2 Blackbird, 4 Song Thrush, 2 Robin, 6 Redstart, 3 Whinchat, 1 White Wagtail, 4 Tree Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 2 Siskin, 1 Reed Bunting

Year list: 138
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6th May 2023
Weather:
Low cloud and patchy drizzle with a force 6-7 SE wind
Heavy and persistent drizzle kept the team indoors for most of the morning, but luckily the rain had cleared up and the fog had started to lift by early afternoon, allowing for some more very windy birding about the isle. The only new birds of note were two Cranes touring the south of the isle, seen several times in flight and also briefly on the ground a couple of times - a nice tick for the year list. Other scarcities still linger, including the Citrine Wagtail and Stone-curlew, as well as a good variety of common migrants on the cliffs and in the crofts.


Cranes at Kenaby (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one still present
Crane: two roaming the south of the isle (33rd Fair Isle record)
Stone-curlew: still present, flying east over the Kirk
Wryneck: one at Walli Burn
British Yellow Wagtail: female still at Boini Mire
Citrine Wagtail: female still at Utra Scrape
Hawfinch: female still at Plantation

Sightings of note: 2 Barnacle Goose, 46 Greylag Goose, 4 Teal, 1 Common Scoter, 4 Woodpigeon, 1 Moorhen, 22 Oystercatcher, 19 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 16 Ringed Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 5 Curlew, 14 Turnstone, 20 Dunlin, 13 Purple Sandpiper, 11 Snipe, 2 Common Sandpiper, 8 Redshank, 5 Black-headed Gull, 54 Common Gull, 11 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Arctic Skua, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Peregrine, 7 Carrion Crow, 13 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 13 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 2 Whitethroat, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Ring Ouzel, 14 Blackbird, 24 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, 5 Song Thrush, 7 Robin, 4 Redstart, 1 Whinchat, 2 Dunnock, 6 Pied Wagtail, 3 White Wagtail, 7 Tree Pipit, 7 Brambling, 1 Linnet, 2 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Goldfinch, 9 Siskin, 8 Reed Bunting


The first Mallard brood of the year (of 13 ducklings!), at Da Water (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 138
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5th May 2023
Weather:
Overcast with a force 6-7 SE wind
A few more new birds around today, with a couple of common migrant year ticks and a few nice scarcities as well. A female Citrine Wagtail at Utra Scrape kicked census off to a good start, followed by presumably yesterday's female British Yellow Wagtail at Boini Mire, where surprisingly the Stone-curlew from a few days ago also made a reappearance. A Garden Warbler at Hjukni Geo, Pied Flycatcher at Troila and a Hobby over South Raeva were new for the year list, as was a Quail flushed from Field Ditch - the earliest record for the latter since 2011.


Female Citrine Wagtail at Meadow Burn (by Patrick Safford)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Quail: one flushed from Field Ditch (first of the year)
Stone-curlew: reappeared at Boini Mire
British Yellow Wagtail: female at Boini Mire
Citrine Wagtail: female at Utra Scrape then Meadow Burn (eighth spring Fair Isle record)
Hawfinch: female still at Plantation


Stone-curlew at Boini Mire (by Georgia Platt)

Sightings of note: 49 Greylag Goose, 2 Wigeon, 1 Common Scoter, 1 Woodpigeon, 46 Oystercatcher, 18 Lapwing, 11 Golden Plover, 31 Ringed Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 5 Curlew, 40 Turnstone, 14 Dunlin, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 19 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 10 Redshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 18 Common Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 47 Bonxie, 6 Arctic Skua, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Long-eared Owl, 1 Kestrel, 3 Peregrine, 9 Rook, 5 Carrion Crow, 102 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 7 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 11 Willow Warbler, 9 Chiffchaff, 5 Sedge Warbler, 2 Grasshopper Warbler, 5 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler (first of the year), 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Whitethroat, 2 Goldcrest, 6 Ring Ouzel, 12 Blackbird, 7 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush, 8 Robin, 1 Pied Flycatcher (first of the year), 3 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 133 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 9 Pied Wagtail, 4 White Wagtail, 135 Meadow Pipit, 9 Tree Pipit, 44 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 11 Brambling, 17 Twite, 2 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Redpoll Sp., 1 Goldfinch, 6 Siskin, 2 Reed Bunting


Ring Ouzel showing some interesting leucistic patterning, at Easter Lother (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 137
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4th May 2023
Weather:
Mostly sunny with a force 5-6 easterly wind
A fairly quiet census this morning with not much new in, although a Wryneck showing well at Quoy in the early afternoon was a nice year tick, and a female British Yellow Wagtail later on at South Light was the first of that subspecies of the year. The weather forecast is still looking promising, showing strong south-easterly winds for the next few days - who knows what that could bring!


Wryneck at Quoy (by Patrick Safford)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one still present
Wryneck: one at Quoy (first of the year)
British Yellow Wagtail: female at South Light
Hawfinch: female still at Plantation

Sightings of note: 49 Greylag Goose, 4 Teal, 1 Woodpigeon, 49 Oystercatcher, 23 Lapwing, 12 Golden Plover, 81 Ringed Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 11 Curlew, 29 Turnstone, 7 Dunlin, 2 Woodcock, 1 Jack Snipe, 28 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 9 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 10 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 87 Bonxie, 4 Arctic Skua, 1 Peregrine, 9 Rook, 5 Carrion Crow, 120 Skylark, 8 Swallow, 12 Willow Warbler, 12 Chiffchaff, 3 Sedge Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 2 Whitethroat, 1 Ring Ouzel, 12 Blackbird, 50 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, 4 Song Thrush, 12 Robin, 131 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 11 Pied Wagtail, 4 White Wagtail, 139 Meadow Pipit, 60 Rock Pipit, 11 Brambling, 13 Twite, 2 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Goldfinch, 3 Siskin, 1 Snow Bunting, 2 Reed Bunting


Male Brambling at the Haa (by Patrick Safford)

Year list: 133
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3rd May 2023
Weather:
Bright with sunny spells turning into full sunshine, with a calm force 2-3 easterly wind increasing to force 4-5 by late afternoon
Another similar day of common spring migrants and calm weather, although the added bonus of an Olive-backed Pipit at Mopul made things a bit more exciting. The bird showed well in the area all day, and was eventually trapped in the early evening so that the team could remove a couple of ticks around its eye to be sent off for identification - the 13th to be trapped on Fair Isle, and just the fourth spring record.


Olive-backed Pipit at Mopul (by Patrick Safford)

The first visit to the Gannet productivity plots was also made this afternoon, marking the beginning of continuous seabird monitoring for the season.


HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one still present
Olive-backed Pipit: one trapped at Mopul (fourth spring record)
Hawfinch: female still at Plantation

Sightings of note: 61 Greylag Goose, 2 Teal, 1 Common Scoter, 3 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Moorhen, 35 Oystercatcher, 18 Lapwing, 17 Golden Plover, 46 Ringed Plover, 7 Whimbrel, 6 Curlew, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 38 Turnstone, 11 Dunlin, 6 Purple Sandpiper, 27 Snipe, 3 Common Sandpiper, 7 Redshank, 23 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 69 Bonxie, 3 Arctic Skua, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Peregrine, 3 Rook, 14 Carrion Crow, 90 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 17 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 15 Willow Warbler, 12 Chiffchaff, 3 Sedge Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Ring Ouzel, 18 Blackbird, 4 Fieldfare, 4 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush, 23 Robin, 1 Redstart, 154 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 4 Pied Wagtail, 2 White Wagtail, 138 Meadow Pipit, 48 Rock Pipit, 1 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 8 Brambling, 10 Twite, 3 Linnet, 2 Goldfinch, 3 Siskin, 3 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting


Sedge Warbler at Meadow Burn (by Georgia Platt)

Other wildlife: 2 Shetland Bee

Year list: 132
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2nd May 2023
Weather:
Overcast in the morning turning to sunny spells in the afternoon, with a force 4-5 NW wind decreasing to force 2-3 throughout the day
Today's census felt fairly similar to yesterday, although more sun and less wind made the weather far nicer to be out in! A Short-eared Owl trapped in Plantation was a real treat to start the day - it's not often these birds find themselves in a Heligoland trap, so it was a rare opportunity to see one in the hand in daylight.


Short-eared Owl in the hand at Plantation (by Georgia Platt)

A Shelduck was new in South Harbour, and some corvid passage was indicated by a flock of 15 Rook flying high over the north of the isle and a group of six Carrion Crow at Setter. The Little Ringed Plover reappeared at Da Water after two days of absence, which shortly after relocated to Meadow Burn, and the now long-staying Stock Dove still remains around Meoness and Lower Leogh.


HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one still present
Little Ringed Plover: reappeared at Da Water then Meadow Burn
Hawfinch: female still at Plantation

Sightings of note: 152 Greylag Goose, 7 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Shelduck, 4 Teal, 3 Common Scoter, 5 Woodpigeon, 1 Moorhen, 60 Oystercatcher, 17 Lapwing, 27 Golden Plover, 47 Ringed Plover, 8 Whimbrel, 15 Curlew, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 25 Turnstone, 1 Dunlin, 4 Purple Sandpiper, 32 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 19 Redshank, 9 Black-headed Gull, 13 Common Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 82 Bonxie, 2 Arctic Skua, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 3 Rook, 19 Carrion Crow, 157 Skylark, 1 Swallow, 6 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 3 Whitethroat, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Ring Ouzel, 11 Blackbird, 2 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, 23 Robin, 1 Whinchat, 107 Wheatear, 10 Pied Wagtail, 5 White Wagtail, 151 Meadow Pipit, 42 Rock Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 9 Brambling, 19 Twite, 1 Linnet, 1 Siskin, 3 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting


The first Gannet egg of the season was seen today, in the colony at the end of Lerness (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 1 Shetland Bee, 2 Harbour Porpoise

Year list: 131
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1st May 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells and a force 5-7 NW wind
A strong north-westerly wind made the air temperature feel more like January than the first day of May, but with a bit of wader movement and a handful of common migrants around, plus the first two Grasshopper Warbler and Black-tailed Godwit of the year made it feel like spring is still here. The Stone-curlew was still present at Taing and then flew to Pund late afternoon, and the Woodlark favouring the area around the traps reappeared at Plantation after a few days of absence. In addition to the scarcities, a new Shorelark was found on the east side of Meoness in the early evening, continuing a good run of spring records for this stylish lark.


Whimbrel flying over Hesti Geo (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one still present
Stone-curlew: still present at Taing hay park then flew to Pund
Shorelark: one east side of Meoness
Woodlark: one west over Lower Leogh then at Plantation
Hawfinch: female still at Plantation


Shorelark on Meoness (by Patrick Safford)

Sightings of note: 125 Greylag Goose, 7 Pink-footed Goose, 6 Teal, 5 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, 2 Moorhen, 58 Oystercatcher, 19 Lapwing, 45 Golden Plover, 70 Ringed Plover, 15 Whimbrel, 21 Curlew, 1 Black-tailed Godwit (first of the year), 38 Turnstone, 3 Dunlin, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Woodcock, 32 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 35 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 24 Common Gull, 7 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 61 Bonxie, 1 Arctic Skua, 2 Short-eared Owl, 1 Merlin, 1 Carrion Crow, 154 Skylark, 1 Swallow, 4 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 3 Sedge Warbler, 2 Grasshopper Warbler (first of the year), 2 Blackcap, 4 Whitethroat, 4 Ring Ouzel, 6 Blackbird, 82 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush, 18 Robin, 112 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, 9 Pied Wagtail, 2 White Wagtail, 138 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 39 Rock Pipit, 5 Chaffinch, 20 Brambling, 6 Twite, 1 Goldfinch, 5 Siskin, 5 Snow Bunting, 2 Reed Bunting


Grasshopper Warbler at Meadow Burn (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 131
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30th April 2023
Weather:
Overcast with showers in the morning followed by low cloud and drizzle in the afternoon, with a force 4-6 SE wind
Conditions were less than ideal for birding today, with showers in the forecast from mid-morning becoming foggy drizzle in the afternoon, although a moderate south-easterly wind was blowing so the team braved the rain and headed out to find some birds. South-east census was again the place to be, with Whinchat and Little Bunting found in quick succession in Walli Burn - both new birds for the year list. The excitement didn't stop there (nor did the rain), as Alex then came across a very miserable looking Stone-curlew at Da Water, which showed well on the ground briefly before touring the middle of the isle and giving lovely in-flight views, eventually lost as it headed north towards Setter. An unexpected yet excellent encounter, and the earliest ever occurence of this desert-dwelling species on Fair Isle.


Stone-curlew at Da Water (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one still at Lower Leogh
Stone-curlew: one at Da Water then mobile around the middle of the isle (11th Fair Isle record)
Hawfinch: female still at Plantation
Little Bunting: one at Walli Burn

Sightings of note: 5 Pink-footed Goose, 5 Teal, 4 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Moorhen, 9 Golden Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin, 8 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Woodcock, 2 Jack Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 4 Common Gull, 1 Rook, 1 Carrion Crow, 1 Swallow, 5 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler (first of the year), 1 Blackcap, 2 Goldcrest, 3 Ring Ouzel, 7 Blackbird, 69 Fieldfare, 11 Robin, 1 Redstart, 1 Whinchat (first of the year), 2 Tree Sparrow, 1 Dunnock, 5 Pied Wagtail, 3 Chaffinch, 6 Brambling, 27 Twite, 1 Goldfinch, 5 Snow Bunting, 3 Reed Bunting

Year list: 129
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29th April 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells with a force 4-5 NW wind
A quieter day than yesterday with the odd new bird still appearing, including another Moorhen trapped and colour-ringed in Plantation (three in three days - amazing!) and three Knot over Skadan in the afternoon. The Little Ringed Plover was still at Da Water sporadically throughout the day, and most of yesterday's Fieldfare had already moved on overnight, although over a hundred still remain.


Little Ringed Plover at Da Water (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one still at Lower Leogh
Little Ringed Plover: one still at Da Water
Hawfinch: female still at Plantation


Male Redstart at Setter (by Patrick Safford)

Sightings of note: 211 Greylag Goose, 8 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Teal, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Woodpigeon, 1 Moorhen, 35 Oystercatcher, 18 Lapwing, 30 Golden Plover, 91 Ringed Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 12 Curlew, 21 Turnstone, 3 Knot (first of the year), 1 Dunlin, 5 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Woodcock, 1 Jack Snipe, 12 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 7 Redshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 11 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 53 Bonxie, 2 Arctic Skua, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 1 Rook, 2 Carrion Crow, 141 Skylark, 3 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 7 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 6 Ring Ouzel, 7 Blackbird, 108 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush, 27 Robin, 1 Redstart, 117 Wheatear, 12 Pied Wagtail, 9 White Wagtail, 139 Meadow Pipit, 45 Rock Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 6 Brambling, 28 Twite, 1 Redpoll Sp., 1 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin, 3 Snow Bunting, 2 Reed Bunting


Bonxies at North Park - a few more starting to appear, but numbers are still greatly reduced from what they should be by this time of year (by Georgia Platt)


Snow Buntings at Muckle Uri Geo (by Patrick Safford)

Year list: 125
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28th April 2023
Weather:
Fog and drizzle in the morning which lifted by mid-afternoon, with a force 2-3 southerly-based wind turning to force 5-7 NW around midday
The magic combination of light rain and south-easterlies overnight finally brought us some new birds, including six year ticks! A smart male Common Redstart near Double Dyke was a welcome sight, as was an unringed Moorhen picking around the walls near Plantation, which was promptly trapped and fitted with a colour ring - we definitely weren't expecting to get another one so quickly!

A Common Sandpiper in Steensi Geo was also new for the year list, and then south-east census was clearly the place to be, with a Lapland Bunting at Da Water followed by both Lesser and Common Whitethroat in Gilsetter. Amongst these new species there was also a significant arrival of Fieldfare, with several large flocks scattered across the isle, and a nice surprise of two Shorelark which went south over Hoini when one of these large flocks flushed.


Lapland Bunting at Da Water (by Patrick Safford)

To top it all off, a Little Ringed Plover was at Da Water in the early evening - a good bird for Fair Isle that is on the increase in regularity, with this being the 10th record and the 7th since 2016. Overall a good day to be out despite the waves of low cloud just as the team were in the middle of census, and excellent to see a few new spring species as well as some scarcities making an appearance.



Little Ringed Plover at Da Water (by Patrick Safford)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one still at Lower Leogh
Little Ringed Plover: one at Da Water (10th Fair Isle record)
Shorelark: two south over Hoini
Hawfinch: female still at Plantation


Shorelark at Hoini (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 199 Greylag Goose, 5 Pink-footed Goose, 4 Teal, 25 Woodpigeon, 2 Moorhen, 35 Oystercatcher, 20 Lapwing, 11 Golden Plover, 58 Ringed Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 14 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 42 Turnstone, 1 Dunlin, 20 Purple Sandpiper, 38 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper (first of the year), 13 Redshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 24 Common Gull, 7 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 60 Bonxie, 2 Arctic Skua, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Short-eared Owl, 2 Peregrine, 2 Rook, 5 Carrion Crow, 164 Skylark, 6 Swallow, 5 Willow Warbler, 12 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, 3 Lesser Whitethroat (first of the year), 1 Whitethroat (first of the year), 5 Goldcrest, 4 Ring Ouzel, 11 Blackbird, 835 Fieldfare, 9 Redwing, 6 Song Thrush, 2 Mistle Thrush, 21 Robin, 2 Black Redstart, 1 Redstart (first of the year), 149 Wheatear, 9 Pied Wagtail, 9 White Wagtail, 170 Meadow Pipit, 30 Rock Pipit, 4 Chaffinch, 5 Brambling, 16 Twite, 2 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin, 1 Lapland Bunting (first of the year), 3 Snow Bunting, 2 Reed Bunting

Year list: 124
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27th April 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells becoming overcast mid-afternoon, with a force 2-3 SE breeze in the morning increasing to force 4-5 by evening
In a stark contrast to the last few days, summer weather seemed to make an appearance this morning with little to no breeze and sunshine, making for very pleasant census conditions. A few new birds were about, with a small arrival of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, a couple of Swallow and a few Whimbrel among others. In the afternoon we sucessfully trapped the Moorhen that has been around Meadow Burn over the last week or so, and fitted a colour ring as part of the National Moorhen Project - hopefully it will continue its migration soon and deliver some good ringing recovery data.


Moorhen in the hand at Meadow Burn (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hawfinch: female still at Plantation

Sightings of note: 167 Greylag Goose, 6 Pink-footed Goose, 4 Teal, 13 Woodpigeon, 1 Water Rail, 1 Moorhen, 40 Oystercatcher, 20 Lapwing, 47 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 14 Curlew, 37 Turnstone, 7 Purple Sandpiper, 13 Snipe, 12 Redshank, 8 Black-headed Gull, 2 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 51 Bonxie, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 2 Rook, 1 Carrion Crow, 152 Skylark, 2 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 19 Chiffchaff, 4 Ring Ouzel, 16 Blackbird, 3 Song Thrush, 33 Robin, 118 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 12 Pied Wagtail, 3 White Wagtail, 126 Meadow Pipit, 48 Rock Pipit, 5 Chaffinch, 6 Brambling, 16 Twite, 3 Linnet, 2 Mealy Redpoll, 2 Goldfinch, 3 Snow Bunting

Other wildlife: 1 Shetland Bee

Year list: 118
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26th April 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells and wintry showers with a force 5-6 NW wind
Not much change to in recent days whilst this wintry weather continues, with census still providing similar birds and numbers. A Dunlin near Meadow Burn was new in and a strikingly-pale Redpoll on Ward Hill caused a bit of head-scratching, but various features lead to the conclusion of just a very frosty Mealy Redpoll.


Mealy Redpoll on Ward Hill (by Alex Penn)

In the afternoon most of the team headed out to assist Will Bates from Lark Ascent with his annual checks of the cliff access systems that are used for seabird monitoring, and so that Sally and Patrick could be trained on how to use them. All went well despite having to endure a few cold but short wintry showers!



Patrick learning the ropes of the Via Ferrata system at Easter Lother (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
'European' White-fronted Goose: juvenile still present
Stock Dove: one still at Lower Leogh
Hawfinch: female still at Plantation

Sightings of note: 186 Greylag Goose, 9 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Teal, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 13 Woodpigeon, 1 Moorhen, 45 Oystercatcher, 14 Lapwing, 11 Golden Plover, 85 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 13 Curlew, 18 Turnstone, 1 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 16 Snipe, 5 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 4 Common Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 35 Bonxie, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 1 Rook, 131 Skylark, 7 Chiffchaff, 2 Ring Ouzel, 11 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Redwing, 7 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush, 37 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 82 Wheatear, 9 Pied Wagtail, 4 White Wagtail, 107 Meadow Pipit, 29 Rock Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 11 Brambling, 15 Twite, 1 Linnet, 1 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Goldfinch, 3 Snow Bunting


Curlew at Da Water (by Georgia Platt)

Year list: 118
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25th April 2023
Weather:
Mostly sunny with some heavy wintry showers around midday and a force 6-7 northerly wind
A very quiet census today, with continued strong northerlies not producing many birds. Fortunately the wind is meant to decrease over the next few days, which will hopefully turn some new birds up and maybe some more common spring migrant species.

HIGHLIGHTS:
'European' White-fronted Goose: juvenile reappeared at Lower Leogh
Stock Dove: one still at Lower Leogh
Woodlark: one still around the Cru
Hawfinch: female still at Plantation


Ring Ouzel at Hill Dyke (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 255 Greylag Goose, 9 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon, 11 Teal, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 14 Woodpigeon, 37 Oystercatcher, 27 Lapwing, 9 Golden Plover, 87 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 11 Curlew, 26 Turnstone, 34 Snipe, 5 Redshank, 11 Common Gull, 8 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 39 Bonxie, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Merlin, 1 Rook, 1 Carrion Crow, 154 Skylark, 4 Chiffchaff, 4 Ring Ouzel, 13 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush, 30 Robin, 94 Wheatear, 13 Pied Wagtail, 2 White Wagtail, 133 Meadow Pipit, 26 Rock Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 13 Brambling, 16 Twite, 1 Goldfinch, 5 Snow Bunting


Female Wheatear at Guidicum (by Georgia Platt)

Year list: 118
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24th April 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells and wintry showers with a force 6-7 northerly wind
Despite a very cold wind and some hail and snow showers the team got a full census in this morning, which revealed similar numbers of birds to in recent days. A couple of Whimbrel passing through in the afternoon were new in, a Kestrel at the Haven was the first of the year and the Stock Dove still remains around Lower Leogh.


Whimbrel on Skadan (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one still at Lower Leogh
Hawfinch: female still at Plantation

Sightings of note: 222 Greylag Goose, 7 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon, 10 Teal, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 10 Woodpigeon, 1 Moorhen, 29 Oystercatcher, 18 Lapwing, 14 Golden Plover, 74 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 11 Curlew, 55 Turnstone, 16 Snipe, 7 Redshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 13 Common Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 39 Bonxie, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Short-eared Owl, 1 Kestrel (first of the year), 1 Rook, 1 Carrion Crow, 182 Skylark, 2 Chiffchaff, 4 Ring Ouzel, 16 Blackbird, 9 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing, 6 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush, 36 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 73 Wheatear, 7 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 90 Meadow Pipit, 26 Rock Pipit, 6 Chaffinch, 9 Brambling, 18 Twite, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Snow Bunting


One of the pair of breeding Ravens at Gunnawark (by Georgia Platt)

Year list: 118
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23rd April 2023
Weather:
Showers with a strong force 7-9 NE wind
Very strong northerly-based winds had the team sheltering inside for most of the day, apart from a couple of trips out to see what was around. A Mistle Thrush was new in at Hesti Geo, the Woodlark was still around the traps and the male and female Hawfinch were still visiting their own personal feeders.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Woodlark: one still around Vaadal reservoir
Hawfinch: two present; male at the Haa and female at Plantation

Sightings of note: 2 Wigeon, 5 Teal, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 12 Woodpigeon, 1 Moorhen, 66 Turnstone, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 3 Black-headed Gull, 32 Common Gull, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Rook, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Ring Ouzel, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 White Wagtail, 10 Brambling, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Snow Bunting

Year list: 117
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22nd April 2023
Weather:
Overcast with prolonged sunny spells and a force 5-6 NE wind, increasing to force 6-8 by the evening
A strong, cold north-easterly wind has brought us back to reality after several days of calm and settled weather, with predictably not many new birds in. Three Jackdaw touring the south of the isle were an uncommon sight for Fair Isle, a new female Hawfinch was present around the traps this afternoon and a huge female migrant Peregrine at Kirn O' Skroo was the highlight of a very quiet north census.


Rook (bottom left) and three Jackdaw over the Haa (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one still at Lower Leogh
Woodlark: one still at the Cru
Hawfinch: three present; male at the Haa and two females at Plantation

Sightings of note: 241 Greylag Goose, 5 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon, 12 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 13 Woodpigeon, 1 Moorhen, 35 Oystercatcher, 19 Lapwing, 20 Golden Plover, 63 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 6 Curlew, 27 Turnstone, 4 Purple Sandpiper, 19 Snipe, 6 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 23 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 40 Bonxie, 1 Arctic Skua, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 3 Jackdaw, 1 Rook, 146 Skylark, 1 House Martin, 5 Chiffchaff, 4 Ring Ouzel, 19 Blackbird, 10 Fieldfare, 6 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush, 17 Robin, 64 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, 10 Pied Wagtail, 129 Meadow Pipit, 42 Rock Pipit, 11 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling, 4 Twite, 1 Goldfinch, 5 Snow Bunting


Bonxies at Homisdale (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 117
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21st April 2023
Weather:
A foggy start which mostly cleared by midday, with a gentle force 2 NE breeze
A 5am start for the team as we headed out for Tystie surveys, which were very successful despite the patchy fog as the sea was flat calm, making it a lot easier to see and hear them! A much better count than last time and a more realistic representation of the population (194 compared to 147), so a good start to the seabird monitoring for the season. Census was another quiet one, although a Greenshank flying over Gully and later at South Light was a year tick. Both the male and female Hawfinch are still present, but clearly favouring different feeders, as the male is still visiting the Haa and the female was seen several times throughout the day in Plantation.

The afternoon was spent taking the boat out for a test run - the first time it has been out since 2019, due to a number of different reasons! A perfect day to be out on the water, and a good job to get done in preparation for upcoming practical seabird monitoring.



Looking into North Haven (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one at Lower Leogh
Hawfinch: two present; male at the Haa and female in Plantation


Greenshank at Skadan (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 281 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon, 8 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 5 Red-breasted Merganser, 22 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Water Rail, 3 Moorhen, 39 Oystercatcher, 21 Lapwing, 10 Golden Plover, 46 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 7 Curlew, 44 Turnstone, 9 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Jack Snipe, 32 Snipe, 14 Redshank, 1 Greenshank (first of the year), 14 Common Gull, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 24 Bonxie, 194 Tystie, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Long-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 1 Jackdaw, 1 Rook, 2 Carrion Crow, 142 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 11 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 2 Ring Ouzel, 22 Blackbird, 9 Fieldfare, 6 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, 22 Robin, 95 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 11 Pied Wagtail, 7 White Wagtail, 123 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 46 Rock Pipit, 8 Chaffinch, 6 Brambling, 25 Twite, 1 Goldfinch, 6 Snow Bunting


Snow Bunting at Muckle Uri Geo (by Alex Penn)

Other wildlife: 2 Shetland Bee


Shetland Bee at Vaila's Trees (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 117
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20th April 2023
Weather:
A clear, sunny morning clouding over in the afternoon, with a force 3-4 NE breeze
Today had a very similar feel to yesterday, with a handful of new birds passing through in these fairly calm and drifty conditions. The male Hawfinch was around Plantation in the morning and back at the Haa feeders by midday, and a female was ringed in Plantation when the team went to do some trap repairs in the afternoon. Another calm day in the forecast tomorrow before the weather turns wild again at the weekend, so a second early-morning Tystie survey is on the cards before the birds disappear into their nesting cavities for the season.


Female Hawfinch in the hand - look at that meaty bill! (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Woodlark: north over Shirva
Hawfinch: two present; male at Plantation then the Haa and female trapped in Plantation


'Blue' Fulmar at Furse (by Patrick Safford)

Sightings of note: 195 Greylag Goose, 9 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon, 6 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 12 Woodpigeon, 1 Moorhen, 53 Oystercatcher, 15 Lapwing, 16 Golden Plover, 42 Ringed Plover, 5 Whimbrel, 6 Curlew, 65 Turnstone, 18 Snipe, 7 Redshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 13 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 41 Bonxie, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 1 Short-eared Owl, 3 Merlin, 1 Jackdaw, 1 Rook, 1 Carrion Crow, 125 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 1 Swallow, 7 Chiffchaff, 3 Goldcrest, 3 Ring Ouzel, 20 Blackbird, 16 Fieldfare, 4 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, 17 Robin, 91 Wheatear, 4 Tree Sparrow, 2 Dunnock, 16 Pied Wagtail, 2 White Wagtail, 161 Meadow Pipit, 48 Rock Pipit, 7 Chaffinch, 6 Brambling, 25 Twite, 1 Linnet, 1 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Goldfinch, 4 Siskin


Goldcrest at Dog Geo (by Georgia Platt)

Year list: 116
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19th April 2023
Weather:
Bright and sunny with a calm force 3-4 easterly breeze
An enjoyable yet fairly quiet census this morning, although Tree Pipit and House Martin were nice additions to the year list. Not much else to add of note, other than a handsome male Hawfinch which arrived at the Auld Haa garden in the afternoon, dwarfing the few Chaffinch and Brambling alongside it!


Male Hawfinch at the Haa (by Georgia Platt)


Male Hawfinch in flight (by Patrick Safford)

HIGHLIGHTS:
'European' White-fronted Goose: juvenile still present
Iceland Gull: 2cy still present
Shorelark: one still at Naaversgill then Malcolm's Head
Woodlark: one around the Cru/Vaadal
Hawfinch: male at the Haa


Shorelark still showing nicely at Naaversgill (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 200 Greylag Goose, 9 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Shelduck, 3 Wigeon, 8 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 8 Woodpigeon, 39 Oystercatcher, 16 Lapwing, 26 Golden Plover, 78 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 28 Curlew, 76 Turnstone, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 28 Snipe, 13 Redshank, 4 Black-headed Gull, 33 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 28 Bonxie, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 3 Rook, 1 Carrion Crow, 126 Skylark, 3 Sand Martin, 2 Swallow, 2 House Martin (first of the year), 1 Willow Warbler, 17 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 6 Goldcrest, 4 Ring Ouzel, 24 Blackbird, 32 Fieldfare, 4 Redwing, 14 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush, 36 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 99 Wheatear, 2 Tree Sparrow, 2 Dunnock, 10 Pied Wagtail, 4 White Wagtail, 157 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit (first of the year), 41 Rock Pipit, 9 Chaffinch, 8 Brambling, 29 Twite, 2 Linnet, 1 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Goldfinch, 2 Siskin, 1 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Yellowhammer

Year list: 116
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18th April 2023
Weather:
Clear skies and sunshine with a force 4-5 SE wind
Not a huge amount happening about the isle today in terms of birds, with singles of Shelduck and Stock Dove the only new birds of note accompanied by a handful of lingering scarcities. Another glorious day to be out and about though, with this weather set to only improve over the next few days and with more easterly-based winds to come, hopefully bringing more new birds in.


Looking north over Furse (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
'European' White-fronted Goose: juvenile still present
Stock Dove: one at Pund
Iceland Gull: 2cy still present
Shorelark: one still at Naaversgill

Sightings of note: 237 Greylag Goose, 9 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Shelduck, 5 Wigeon, 12 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 65 Rock Dove, 16 Woodpigeon, 1 Moorhen, 37 Oystercatcher, 17 Lapwing, 3 Golden Plover, 68 Ringed Plover, 12 Curlew, 75 Turnstone, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 26 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 18 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 9 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 25 Bonxie, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Long-eared Owl, 3 Rook, 1 Carrion Crow, 151 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 1 Swallow, 1 Willow Warbler, 11 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 1 Goldcrest, 29 Blackbird, 32 Fieldfare, 10 Redwing, 5 Song Thrush, 35 Robin, 3 Black Redstart, 78 Wheatear, 36 House Sparrow (21m, 15f), 2 Tree Sparrow, 4 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 9 Pied Wagtail, 3 White Wagtail, 188 Meadow Pipit, 44 Rock Pipit, 12 Chaffinch, 3 Brambling, 1 Greenfinch, 17 Twite, 1 Linnet, 1 Siskin, 2 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting


Tystie looking smart in full breeding plumage (by Georgia Platt)

Year list: 114
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17th April 2023
Weather:
An overcast but bright morning followed by sun in the afternoon, with a force 5-6 SSE wind
Another day of sun and strong southerly-based winds, continuing a slow and steady trickle of new birds passing through. A Whimbrel flying south over Klingers Geo was the first of the spring for this species, and two Tree Sparrow at Quoy mid-afternoon were also new for the year list. Several scarcities remain, including both the Shorelark at Naaversgill and the Woodlark on Lerness, with an additional Woodlark making a brief appearance at the Cru before disappearing again - presumably the same bird that was at Burkle yesterday now roaming the isle, as the first bird has been very faithful to Lerness since its arrival.


Whimbrel over Klingers Geo (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
'European' White-fronted Goose: juvenile still present
Iceland Gull: 2cy & 3cy still present
Woodlark: one still on Lerness and a second at the Cru
Shorelark: one still at Naaversgill

Sightings of note: 268 Greylag Goose, 9 Pink-footed Goose, 4 Wigeon, 13 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 18 Woodpigeon, 1 Water Rail, 2 Moorhen, 43 Oystercatcher, 16 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 75 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel (first of the year), 12 Curlew, 57 Turnstone, 22 Snipe, 20 Redshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 9 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 22 Bonxie, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Long-eared Owl, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 4 Rook, 1 Carrion Crow, 204 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 7 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 1 Goldcrest, 33 Blackbird, 38 Fieldfare, 15 Redwing, 8 Song Thrush, 29 Robin, 3 Black Redstart, 1 Stonechat, 51 Wheatear, 2 Tree Sparrow (first of the year), 2 Dunnock, 10 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 138 Meadow Pipit, 35 Rock Pipit, 21 Chaffinch, 4 Brambling, 1 Greenfinch, 13 Twite, 1 Linnet, 2 Siskin, 1 Snow Bunting


Adult male Black Redstart at Bull's Park (by Alex Penn)


Pied Wagtail on South Green (by Georgia Platt)

Year list: 114
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16th April 2023
Weather:
Overcast in the morning followed by a sunny afternoon, with a force 5-6 southerly wind
A handful of new birds in today, consisting of nine Rook and a juvenile 'European' White-fronted Goose around North Shirva, a Bar-tailed Godwit flying over Buness and amazingly a second Woodlark at Burkle first thing, with the now long-staying bird still present on Lerness.

HIGHLIGHTS:
'European' White-fronted Goose: juvenile north of North Shirva
Iceland Gull: 2cy & 3cy still present
Woodlark: one still on Lerness and a new bird at Burkle (59th Fair Isle record)

Sightings of note: 235 Greylag Goose, 9 Pink-footed Goose, 4 Wigeon, 11 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 21 Woodpigeon, 1 Moorhen, 41 Oystercatcher, 13 Lapwing, 60 Ringed Plover, 11 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit (first of the year), 77 Turnstone, 1 Jack Snipe, 39 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 19 Redshank, 4 Black-headed Gull, 10 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 24 Bonxie, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Peregrine, 9 Rook, 2 Carrion Crow, 126 Skylark, 1 Willow Warbler, 13 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 2 Ring Ouzel, 31 Blackbird, 42 Fieldfare, 19 Redwing, 9 Song Thrush, 33 Robin, 2 Black Redstart, 1 Stonechat, 41 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 15 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 186 Meadow Pipit, 21 Rock Pipit, 30 Chaffinch, 8 Brambling, 13 Twite, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin, 1 Reed Bunting


Bar-tailed Godwit over Buness (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 112
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15th April 2023
Weather:
Sunny with a force 4 southerly wind
Today's census was a bit quieter, with many of yesterday's migrants already having moved on overnight. Two Stock Dove south of Shirva were new in, as were a flock of 32 Curlew flying high over the south of the isle, and a Green Sandpiper over Skadan in the evening was new for the year list. The Canada Goose is still present in the south, and the Shorelark was refound at Naaversgill.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Canada Goose: one still present
Stock Dove: two south of Shirva
Iceland Gull: 3cy still present
Shorelark: one still at Naaversgill

Sightings of note: 232 Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, 6 Wigeon, 4 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 48 Eider (24m, 24f), 25 Rock Dove, 17 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 3 Moorhen, 53 Oystercatcher, 11 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 40 Ringed Plover, 48 Curlew, 55 Turnstone, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 37 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper (first of the year), 10 Redshank, 11 Black-headed Gull, 7 Common Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 28 Bonxie, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Long-eared Owl, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 2 Rook, 2 Carrion Crow, 180 Skylark, 2 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 19 Chiffchaff, 6 Goldcrest, 2 Ring Ouzel, 36 Blackbird, 6 Fieldfare, 21 Redwing, 20 Song Thrush, 49 Robin, 2 Black Redstart, 41 Wheatear, 49 House Sparrow (28m, 21f), 4 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 13 Pied Wagtail, 2 White Wagtail, 199 Meadow Pipit, 39 Rock Pipit, 17 Chaffinch, 7 Brambling, 16 Twite, 2 Linnet, 2 Redpoll sp., 1 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin, 1 Snow Bunting


Merlin with an unfortunate Robin as prey over Hoini (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 111
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14th April 2023
Weather:
Mostly sunny with light sporadic showers and a force 4-6 southerly wind
A better day with a good number of new birds in, including plenty of common migrants and a handful of Fair Isle scarcities. The first to be reported was a female 'Northern' Bullfinch at Shirva first thing, which went on to roam the isle throughout the day and was later trapped in Plantation - the size of the bird could really be appreciated in the hand, with 'Northern' birds being considerably larger and with a lot more fluff than their British counterparts!


Female 'Northern' Bullfinch at Plantation, before it was trapped (by Alex Penn)

Two Hawfinch were also at Shirva soon after the Bullfinch was reported, with a flyover at South Light presumably one of these birds, followed by a Canada Goose with Greylags around Leogh - one of those days where the year ticks came in thick and fast! The Sandwich Tern was still in North Haven, and a male Blue-headed Wagtail was discovered on Ward Hill, a very early date for this subspecies to make an appearance. Two Arctic Skua calling over the Parks were a very welcome sight and rounded off the year ticks for the day, and an evening trapping session at the Obs produced a handful each of Chaffinch and Brambling coming to roost, along with the added bonuses of Goldfinch and Willow Warbler.



Canada Goose with Greylag Goose at Leogh (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Canada Goose: one at Leogh
Iceland Gull: 2cy & 3cy still present
Sandwich Tern: one still in North Haven
Blue-headed Wagtail: male on Ward Hill (earliest ever date for this subspecies on Fair Isle and earliest flava Wagtail since 1999)
Hawfinch: two at Shirva
'Northern' Bullfinch: female initially at Shirva then roaming, trapped in Plantation (first since 2020)


Male Blue-headed Wagtail on Ward Hill (by Patrick Safford)

Sightings of note: 283 Greylag Goose, 9 Pink-footed Goose, 4 Wigeon, 10 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 21 Woodpigeon, 2 Moorhen, 33 Oystercatcher, 18 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 102 Ringed Plover, 20 Curlew, 87 Turnstone, 2 Woodcock, 1 Jack Snipe, 20 Snipe, 32 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 7 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 17 Bonxie, 2 Arctic Skua (first of the year), 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 2 Jackdaw, 3 Rook, 1 Carrion Crow, 148 Skylark, 4 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 9 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 10 Goldcrest, 1 Ring Ouzel, 53 Blackbird, 33 Fieldfare, 28 Redwing, 45 Song Thrush, 67 Robin, 3 Black Redstart, 1 Stonechat, 25 Wheatear, 6 Dunnock, 2 Grey Wagtail, 14 Pied Wagtail, 164 Meadow Pipit, 32 Rock Pipit, 31 Chaffinch, 21 Brambling, 12 Twite, 1 Linnet, 1 Redpoll sp., 1 Goldfinch, 3 Siskin, 1 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting

Year list: 110
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13th April 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells and showers in the morning followed by a mostly rainy afternoon, with a force 5-6 easterly wind
Today was mostly quiet, with few new birds in and a couple of lingering scarcities. The first Willow Warbler of the year was found in South Haven, with the Sandwich Tern remaining in North Haven and the Woodlark reappearing on Lerness.


First Willow Warbler of the year at South Haven (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Sandwich Tern: one still in North Haven
Woodlark: one still on Lerness


Woodlark still on Lerness (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 252 Greylag Goose, 9 Pink-footed Goose, 3 Wigeon, 12 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 8 Woodpigeon, 2 Moorhen, 34 Oystercatcher, 17 Lapwing, 3 Golden Plover, 99 Ringed Plover, 16 Curlew, 86 Turnstone, 4 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Woodcock, 36 Snipe, 26 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 9 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 19 Bonxie, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 1 Rook, 144 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 1 Willow Warbler (first of the year), 13 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 3 Goldcrest, 1 Ring Ouzel, 35 Blackbird, 68 Fieldfare, 23 Redwing, 9 Song Thrush, 24 Robin, 2 Black Redstart, 1 Stonechat, 32 Wheatear, 3 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 17 Pied Wagtail, 165 Meadow Pipit, 28 Rock Pipit, 24 Chaffinch, 1 Brambling, 16 Twite, 2 Snow Bunting, 1 Yellowhammer


Blue Fulmar at Wirvie (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 105
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12th April 2023
Weather:
Rain and a strong force 8-10 SE wind in the morning followed by sunny spells in the afternoon, with the wind reducing to force 5-7
The morning was a write-off with rain showers and winds gusting up to 63mph, but although still quite windy, the weather cleared enough for the team to go out on census in the afternoon. A few new birds were in, including the first few Swallows of the year, along with a couple of nice Fair Isle scarcities in the form of a Sandwich Tern in North Haven and a Shorelark at Naaversgill - both quality additions to the year list, with Shorelark being just about annual and Sandwich Tern being slightly more scarce.


Sandwich Tern fishing in North Haven (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: 2cy & 3cy still present
Sandwich Tern: one in North Haven (second-earliest ever occurence on Fair Isle)
Shorelark: one at Naaversgill


Shorelark at Naaversgill (by Georgia Platt)

Sightings of note: 245 Greylag Goose, 9 Pink-footed Goose, 5 Wigeon, 15 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 26 Woodpigeon, 46 Oystercatcher, 19 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 84 Ringed Plover, 14 Curlew, 150 Turnstone, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 3 Woodcock, 58 Snipe, 38 Redshank, 15 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 12 Bonxie, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Merlin, 3 Rook, 1 Carrion Crow, 145 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin, 3 Swallow (first of the year), 11 Chiffchaff, 42 Blackbird, 78 Fieldfare, 29 Redwing, 7 Song Thrush, 16 Robin, 3 Black Redstart, 24 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 14 Pied Wagtail, 147 Meadow Pipit, 25 Rock Pipit, 23 Chaffinch, 1 Brambling, 8 Twite, 1 Redpoll sp., 2 Snow Bunting, 3 Reed Bunting


Swallow at Walli Burn (by Sally Kunzig)

Year list: 104
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11th April 2023
Weather:
Blue sky and sun with a force 4-5 westerly wind
A stunning day to be out and about with the island proving to be fairly quiet for birds, other than Patrick saving the day with a Woodlark on Lerness! The bird was acting fresh-in and difficult to pin down but once the rest of the team had got to the west cliffs it was refound right on the end of Lerness, a classic location for rare larks when they turn up. All of the team got good views as the bird fed on the ground and flew overhead a couple of times, giving a lovely melodic call whilst in flight.


Woodlark on Lerness (by Alex Penn)

The afternoon consisted of collecting one of the Obs vehicles from the boat which had been away for its MOT, followed by putting up the Oysterplant exclosure in Muckle Uri Geo, ready for another season of protecting this rare coastal plant from hungry sheep!



The team working away at securing the Oysterplant fence in Muckle Uri Geo (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: 2cy & 3cy still present
Woodlark: one on Lerness (58th Fair Isle record, first since 2019)

Sightings of note: 254 Greylag Goose, 9 Pink-footed Goose, 3 Wigeon, 17 Teal, 28 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 37 Oystercatcher, 18 Lapwing, 10 Golden Plover, 83 Ringed Plover, 14 Curlew, 74 Turnstone, 4 Woodcock, 1 Jack Snipe, 37 Snipe, 27 Redshank, 4 Black-headed Gull, 3 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 11 Bonxie, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Merlin, 2 Rook, 1 Carrion Crow, 135 Skylark, 10 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 64 Blackbird, 50 Fieldfare, 27 Redwing, 7 Song Thrush, 23 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 1 Stonechat, 16 Wheatear, 3 Dunnock, 18 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 145 Meadow Pipit, 43 Rock Pipit, 2 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit, 25 Chaffinch, 4 Brambling, 12 Twite, 2 Siskin, 2 Yellowhammer, 1 Reed Bunting


Snipe drumming at Da Water (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 101
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10th April 2023
Weather:
Low cloud and rain in the morning followed by blue sky and sun for most of the afternoon, with a force 6-8 south-easterly wind decreasing to 3-4 by the evening
Although the day got off to a poor start with bad weather, a Red Kite was reported flying around the Raevas in the early morning, which promptly disappeared to probably wait out the rain on the cliffs. The bird was only seen again once, flying from North Haven to Furse mid-afternoon when the weather had significantly improved, so only a few observers managed to connect (none of which were any of the Obs team sadly!). Red Kite is a real Fair Isle rarity, with this record being only the 8th in Obs history and the first in over a decade. A shame to miss out on, but maybe it will make a reappearance in the next couple of days as large raptors often do.

The team didn't fit in a full census, but we all headed out to spend an afternoon birding in our census areas in the sun, gaining a few new year ticks along the way; Mealy Redpoll, Ring Ouzel and Sand Martin (finally!).



Ring Ouzel at Field Ditch (by Georgia Platt)


Sand Martin at Chalet (by Patrick Safford)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: 2cy & 3cy still present
Red Kite: one present initially at North Raeva early morning, then seen again briefly at North Haven in the afternoon (8th Fair Isle record, first since 2010)

Sightings of note: 246 Greylag Goose, 8 Pink-footed Goose, 3 Wigeon, 15 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 30 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, 2 Water Rail, 29 Oystercatcher, 16 Lapwing, 30 Golden Plover, 113 Ringed Plover, 14 Curlew, 82 Turnstone, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 4 Woodcock, 14 Snipe, 28 Redshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 16 Common Gull, 9 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 14 Bonxie, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 2 Sand Martin (first of the year), 10 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 5 Goldcrest, 2 Ring Ouzel (first of the year), 87 Fieldfare, 160 Redwing, 4 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush, 23 Robin, 2 Black Redstart, 24 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, 2 Grey Wagtail, 14 Pied Wagtail, 27 Chaffinch, 4 Brambling, 8 Twite, 1 Mealy Redpoll (first of the year), 1 Redpoll sp., 3 Siskin, 1 Yellowhammer, 1 Reed Bunting


Black Redstart at Obs (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 100
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9th April 2023
Weather:
Overcast with a force 5-7 south-easterly wind
Another day of strong winds, making for slightly challenging conditions and a quiet census. A Moorhen in Hjukni Geo and a couple of Black Redstart around the isle sparked some interest, but otherwise migrants remained thin on the ground.


Moorhen trying its best to hide in Hjukni Geo (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: 2cy & 3cy still present

Sightings of note: 264 Greylag Goose, 7 Pink-footed Goose, 3 Wigeon, 20 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 2 Long-tailed Duck, 30 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Water Rail, 1 Moorhen, 28 Oystercatcher, 17 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 82 Ringed Plover, 8 Curlew, 131 Turnstone, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 6 Woodcock, 14 Snipe, 25 Redshank, 14 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 5 Bonxie, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Merlin, 1 Carrion Crow, 192 Skylark, 4 Chiffchaff, 121 Blackbird, 91 Fieldfare, 142 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, 20 Robin, 2 Black Redstart, 2 Stonechat, 18 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 6 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 207 Meadow Pipit, 44 Rock Pipit, 32 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling, 4 Twite, 2 Siskin, 1 Yellowhammer, 3 Reed Bunting


Male Yellowhammer at Shirva (by Alex Penn)


Plenty of very cute hill lambs have appeared in the north over the past week! (by Georgia Platt)

Year list: 96
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8th April 2023
Weather:
Bright sunshine with a force 5-6 south-easterly wind
Not much new in today despite the strong south-easterly wind, although a few common migrants around and the sun and blue sky made for a very pleasant census. An afternoon spring-trapping session at South Harbour saw a couple of Wheatear and eight Rock Pipit ringed, and a nice way to spend the afternoon.


Adult male Wheatear in the hand at South Harbour (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: 2cy & 3cy still present

Sightings of note: 288 Greylag Goose, 3 Wigeon, 11 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 20 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 42 Oystercatcher, 20 Lapwing, 6 Golden Plover, 98 Ringed Plover, 20 Curlew, 172 Turnstone, 5 Purple Sandpiper, 7 Woodcock, 17 Snipe, 48 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 7 Common Gull, 9 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Bonxie, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Long-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 1 Carrion Crow, 201 Skylark, 13 Chiffchaff, 5 Goldcrest, 186 Blackbird, 51 Fieldfare, 175 Redwing, 4 Song Thrush, 2 Mistle Thrush, 25 Robin, 1 Stonechat, 25 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 12 Pied Wagtail, 130 Meadow Pipit, 41 Rock Pipit, 5 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit, 40 Chaffinch, 1 Brambling, 9 Twite, 4 Siskin, 2 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting


Long-eared Owl at Setter (by Georgia Platt)


Merlin at Chapel Plantation (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 96
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7th April 2023
Weather:
Generally calm and overcast with sunny spells, with a force 2-4 southerly-based breeze
A rare calm morning in early April means one thing - Tystie surveys! The team headed out at 6am to survey the east coast of the isle before census, with counts producing a relatively low number of breeding plumage birds to in recent years. It was clear that there would be a few migrants in today, as a brief trap round after Tystie surveys saw a few Chaffinch and Brambling, as well as a couple of Chiffchaff and the first two Blackcap of the year. It was a similar scene on census, the calm and cloudy weather providing excellent conditions for finding new migrants, although a good number of mixed thrushes still remain and no new scarcities were to be found. A fairly productive evening ringing session at the Obs and traps consisted of mainly Blackbird trapped and ringed, with a few Redwing and Chaffinch also.


Grey Wagtail at South Haven (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Glaucous Gull: one south through the Haven
Iceland Gull: 3cy still present

Sightings of note: 250 Greylag Goose, 8 Pink-footed Goose, 3 Wigeon, 1 Pintail, 29 Teal, 4 Common Scoter (first of the year), 1 Long-tailed Duck, 22 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 3 Water Rail, 53 Oystercatcher, 19 Lapwing, 25 Golden Plover, 49 Ringed Plover, 14 Curlew, 231 Turnstone, 5 Purple Sandpiper, 10 Woodcock, 25 Snipe, 36 Redshank, 8 Black-headed Gull, 16 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 8 Bonxie, 147 Tystie, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 270 Skylark, 11 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap (first of the year), 11 Goldcrest, 169 Blackbird, 113 Fieldfare, 100 Redwing, 26 Song Thrush, 4 Mistle Thrush, 33 Robin, 3 Stonechat, 32 Wheatear, 5 Dunnock, 2 Grey Wagtail, 19 Pied Wagtail, 2 White Wagtail, 199 Meadow Pipit, 59 Rock Pipit, 2 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit, 47 Chaffinch, 3 Brambling, 25 Twite, 1 Goldfinch, 10 Siskin, 5 Snow Bunting


One of several male Wheatear around the Parks (by Georgia Platt)


A lovely 'Scandinavian' race Rock Pipit at Lerness (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 96
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5th April 2023
Weather:
Overcast with showers in the morning and a strong force 6-7 southerly wind
Windy conditions made for a challenging census, which revealed much the same as in recent days - a similar number of thrushes present and the same scarcities lingering. However, a Jack Snipe at Taing was new for the year list, and the male Yellowhammer from a few days ago reappeared at Skerryholm. Two Rook were still present in the south, and a count of five Mistle Thrush was the highlight of a quiet and blustery north census, with another seen on Malcolm's Head.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one still present, now at Field
Iceland Gull: 2cy & 3cy still present

Sightings of note: 360 Greylag Goose, 2 Pink-footed Goose, 3 Wigeon, 15 Teal, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 22 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Water Rail, 46 Oystercatcher, 13 Lapwing, 17 Golden Plover, 79 Ringed Plover, 10 Curlew, 169 Turnstone, 15 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Jack Snipe (first of the year), 32 Snipe, 35 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 8 Common Gull, 9 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Puffin, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 2 Rook, 2 Carrion Crow, 244 Skylark, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 150 Blackbird, 91 Fieldfare, 336 Redwing, 9 Song Thrush, 6 Mistle Thrush, 14 Robin, 1 Stonechat, 7 Wheatear, 1 Grey Wagtail, 12 Pied Wagtail, 172 Meadow Pipit, 41 Rock Pipit, 14 Chaffinch, 14 Twite, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Snow Bunting, 1 Yellowhammer

Year list: 93
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4th April 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells with a force 4-5 southerly wind
Another bright spring day with a prevailing southerly wind, which brought a few more common migrants into the isle. An array of corvids were new in, consisting of a single Jackdaw (new for the year), three Rook and a Carrion Crow - all expected annual migrants. A handful of Chiffchaff were scattered in the south west of the isle, and the Stock Dove, two Iceland Gulls and Tufted Duck all made a reappearance after a day of absence. Puffin remain low in numbers on the sea, but it won't be too long before they come ashore to breed again, probably in the next week or so.


Rook at Setter (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one still present, at Hunds Heelor
Iceland Gull: 2cy & 3cy still present around South Green

Sightings of note: 295 Greylag Goose, 8 Pink-footed Goose, 5 Wigeon, 24 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 18 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 3 Water Rail, 44 Oystercatcher, 21 Lapwing, 16 Golden Plover, 88 Ringed Plover, 19 Curlew, 78 Turnstone, 10 Purple Sandpiper, 8 Woodcock, 41 Snipe, 42 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 2 Common Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 17 Puffin, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Short-eared Owl, 2 Peregrine, 1 Jackdaw (first of the year), 3 Rook, 3 Carrion Crow, 204 Skylark, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, 263 Blackbird, 127 Fieldfare, 487 Redwing, 14 Song Thrush, 18 Robin, 1 Stonechat, 12 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 2 Grey Wagtail, 13 Pied Wagtail, 204 Meadow Pipit, 41 Rock Pipit, 11 Chaffinch, 3 Brambling, 14 Twite, 1 Linnet, 1 Goldfinch (first of the year), 2 Siskin, 1 Snow Bunting, 2 Reed Bunting


Male Tufted Duck at Utra Scrape (by Georgia Platt)


Chiffchaff in the hand at Plantation (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 92
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3rd April 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells with a force 5-7 southerly wind
Today marked the beginning of spring census, as the team headed out to cover a bright and breezy isle. A few birds were new in, most notably a handful of Wheatear along the coasts and a remarkable nine Mistle Thrush in the north - the highest spring count since 2018.


Pintail past Buness (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 8 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon, 2 Pintail, 12 Teal, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 20 Woodpigeon, 17 Lapwing, 12 Golden Plover, 78 Ringed Plover, 14 Curlew, 127 Turnstone, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 9 Woodcock, 37 Snipe, 26 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 4 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Bonxie, 2 Puffin, 2 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 168 Skylark, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, 233 Blackbird, 97 Fieldfare, 441 Redwing, 26 Song Thrush, 9 Mistle Thrush, 10 Robin, 3 Stonechat, 11 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 2 Grey Wagtail, 8 Pied Wagtail, 120 Meadow Pipit, 11 Chaffinch, 12 Twite, 2 Siskin, 3 Snow Bunting, 2 Reed Bunting


Snow Bunting on Ward Hill (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 90
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2nd April 2023
Weather:
Bright sun in the morning and clouding over in the afternoon, with a force 5-6 southerly wind
Fine weather for a walk around the north census route this morning, with a bracing wind but glorious sunshine. A good number of thrushes are still present, although many probably moved on towards Scandinavia overnight, and a few Woodcock and Robin also remain. A Black Redstart at North Gunnawark and a Long-eared Owl at North Naaversgill were highlights from the north, as well as the first Bonxie of the year flying over Ward Hill - a welcome sight given the species' recent decimation from avian influenza in the last couple of seasons. Hopefully many more will arrive in the coming weeks!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one still present, moved to Barkland
Iceland Gull: 3cy still present around the south


Stock Dove at Barkland (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 1 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon, 12 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 15 Woodpigeon, 3 Water Rail, 7 Golden Plover, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 12 Woodcock, 1 Black-headed Gull, 3 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Bonxie (first of the year), 2 Puffin, 1 Long-eared Owl, 2 Short-eared Owl, 1 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 1 Rook, 2 Carrion Crow, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 86 Blackbird (north only), 23 Song Thrush, 2 Mistle Thrush, 1 Black Redstart, 1 Dunnock, 4 Grey Wagtail, 8 Pied Wagtail, 9 Chaffinch, 3 Twite, 1 Siskin, 2 Snow Bunting

Year list: 90
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1st April 2023
Weather:
A pleasant, sunny day with few clouds and a force 3-4 south-easterly breeze
A long and very enjoyable day outside, as the team walked the south-west census route in the morning followed by the south-east route in the aftenoon. Some nice early spring migration was still apparent with a few more thrushes in, including a Mistle Thrush over Meoness in the afternoon. Slight increases in Woodcock, Goldcrest, Chaffinch and Robin were also noted, along with the first few Brambling of the year, and a Tufted Duck flying east over Meoness was also new for the year list. Other highlights included two Iceland Gulls still present around the south, and the Stock Dove remaining around Lower Leogh. Overall a lovely day to be out and about exploring the isle, hopefully to be repeated when the team walk the north census route tomorrow morning.


Sally, Alex and Patrick (left to right) looking out towards Hesswalls and Sheep Rock (by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one still present around Lower Leogh
Iceland Gull: two (2cy and 3cy) still present around the south

Sightings of note: 296 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon, 18 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck (first of the year), 26 Woodpigeon, 3 Water Rail, 17 Oystercatcher, 17 Lapwing, 6 Golden Plover, 81 Ringed Plover, 15 Curlew, 54 Turnstone, 1 Dunlin, 6 Purple Sandpiper, 11 Woodcock, 24 Snipe, 20 Redshank, 2 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 12 Puffin, 1 Cormorant, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Carrion Crow, 132 Skylark, 8 Goldcrest, 277 Blackbird, 84 Fieldfare, 151 Redwing, 7 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush (first of the year), 24 Robin, 2 Stonechat, 1 Dunnock (first of the year), 1 Grey Wagtail, 5 Pied Wagtail, 11 Chaffinch, 4 Brambling (first of the year), 3 Twite, 1 Siskin, 1 Snow Bunting, 2 Reed Bunting


Woodcock against a clear blue sky over the Rippack (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 89
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29th-31st March 2023
Weather:
Mixed conditions ranging from rain to thick fog to bright sunshine, with a still day on 30th turning to a force 5-6 south-easterly wind on 31st
Pre-season jobs are nearly finished, as over the last few days the team have been working on some high priority trap repairs and setting up mist nets for the season. A thick fog bank over the sea between Fair Isle and Shetland delayed the arrival of our spring volunteer Patrick Safford by a day, despite it being glorious blue skies and sun here on the isle at the time! With Patrick now here and completing the team, over the next couple of days we will be walking the three census routes in preparation to offically start migration monitoring over the spring. It seems like we have timed it well, as today (31st) a spell of south-easterly wind had brought a small arrival of thrushes to the isle, along with a handful of Goldcrest and Woodcock. A Stock Dove at Utra on 30th and 31st was a nice year tick, which gave the team uncharacteristically good views for an often shy species, and up to three different Iceland Gulls have been around the isle over the last three days, also granting excellent views.


Iceland Gull over Malcolm's Head (by Patrick Safford)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: one around Utra and Skadan on 30th and 31st (first of the year)
Iceland Gull: three individuals noted throughout (2cy, 3cy and adult)

Sightings of note: 2 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon, 2 Pintail (first of the year on 30th), 9 Teal, 25 Woodpigeon, 4 Water Rail, 2 Golden Plover, 40 Purple Sandpiper, 8 Woodcock, 4 Black-headed Gull, 126 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 5 Puffin, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Merlin, 2 Carrion Crow, 2 Chiffchaff, 6 Goldcrest, 4 Robin, 1 Stonechat, 1 Grey Wagtail (first of the year on 30th), 1 White Wagtail, 3 Chaffinch, 4 Twite, 2 Reed Bunting


A slightly soggy Short-eared Owl through the fog at School Brae (by Georgia Platt)

Year list: 85
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27th-28th March 2023
Weather:
Sunny spells with occasional showers, and a mostly northerly-based moderate wind on 27th calming to force 2-3 on 28th
A couple of days of odd jobs and introductions, as we welcomed the new seasonal Ranger Sally Kunzig to the isle. A drop in the wind on 28th saw a few new birds arrive and several year ticks, including probably the most exciting first indicator of spring in the form of a gorgeous male Wheatear at the Haven. In addition, a Greenfinch flying south over Gully was another species new for the year list (which has been a tricky one to get in recent years), and the first few Puffins were seen off South Light, following a steady passage of Razorbill.


Male Wheatear at the Haven, a very welcome sight! (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 1 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Whooper Swan, 7 Teal, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 11 Woodpigeon, 4 Water Rail, 14 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 59 Ringed Plover, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Puffin (first of the year on 28th), 1 Cormorant, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 3 Goldcrest, 3 Robin, 1 Stonechat, 1 Wheatear (first of the year on 28th), 2 Chaffinch, 1 Greenfinch (first of the year on 28th), 1 Linnet (first of the year on 28th), 1 Siskin, 2 Reed Bunting


One of the isle's over-wintering and very bold Water Rails at Chalet (by Georgia Platt)


Male Lapwing at Da Water (by Georgia Platt)

Year list: 82
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24th-26th March 2023
Weather:
Cold but mostly clear and bright with scattered wintry showers, with a moderate south-westerly on 24th turning to a strong northerly on 25th and 26th
A few days of windy but mostly dry weather allowed us to get a good head start on trap repairs, with all of the main Heligoland traps needing some attention after the relentless winter gales. A handful of new birds have been noted, including a Black Redstart at Quoy on 24th, a couple more Chaffinch on 25th and a Yellowhammer also on 25th, a good early entry for the year list. Good numbers of waders remain and are showing early signs of breeding - we've particularly enjoyed watching the group of Ringed Plover around South Light busily chasing and displaying at each other, so much character in such a compact and smart little wader!


Male Blackbird in the hand, trapped in Gully (by Alex Penn)

Rewinding to a few nights ago in the late evening of the 23rd, the isle was treated to an astonishing display of the Aurora Borealis, with this atmospheric phenomenon filling half of the sky with ripples and waves of bright green and deep red. A truly magical thing to witness, and even more special to see it to such a degree from Fair Isle.


Aurora Borealis over the Holms, South Light and Malcolm's Head (top left by Alex Penn, all others by Georgia Platt)

HIGHLIGHTS:
'European' White-fronted Goose: still present on 24th
Glaucous Gull: still present on 24th
Iceland Gull: still present throughout

Sightings of note: 7 Pink-footed Goose, 7 Teal, 15 Woodpigeon, 2 Water Rail, 19 Lapwing, 3 Golden Plover, 73 Ringed Plover, 1 Dunlin, 1 Woodcock, 2 Black-headed Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Long-eared Owl, 2 Carrion Crow, 1 Goldcrest, 4 Robin, 1 Black Redstart (first of the year on 24th), 3 Stonechat, 3 Chaffinch, 1 Snow Bunting, 1 Yellowhammer (first of the year on 25th), 1 Reed Bunting

Year list: 78
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22nd-23rd March 2023
Weather:
Mostly heavy rain showers and very strong south-westerly winds, but calming to force 4-5 on 23rd and brightening significantly late afternoon
With the arrival of Acting Warden Alex Penn and Assistant Warden Georgia Platt on 22nd, both returning for our fourth season on Fair Isle, this marks the start of the 2023 season! Some fairly unpleasant weather greeted us, but with some birding from the car followed by a wander around the crofts when the sun finally appeared late afternoon, it was nice to see a few birds about. Scattered handfuls of Redwing, Fieldfare and Blackbird were noted around the isle, along with a reasonable number of waders enjoying the water-saturated grazed fields. A large number of Greylag Geese have been wintering, with a few Pink-footed Geese and a European White-fronted Goose found lurking amongst them. Continuing with the wintry theme, a smart 3cy Iceland Gull has been sighted on both days around the isle, also accompanied by a 2cy Glaucous Gull having a snooze on Meoness on 22nd. Early spring migrants included a flock of ten Woodpigeon on Meoness, a pair of Stonechat at Aesterhoull, a male Chaffinch at Vaila's Trees and a good number of Meadow Pipit around the crofts - all a sign that spring is on the way.

We are very much looking forward to seeing what the season brings, and to welcome our new Ranger and the first of our residential volunteers in the coming week.



'European' White-fronted Goose in the early evening sun (by Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
'European' White-fronted Goose: one at Taft
Glaucous Gull: 2cy on Meoness on 22nd
Iceland Gull: 3cy at South Harbour on 22nd and North Shirva on 23rd


3cy Iceland Gull at South Light (by Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 6 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Goldeneye, 10 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 3 Water Rail, 20 Lapwing, 3 Golden Plover, 50 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Woodcock, 1 'Blue' Fulmar, 1 Long-eared Owl, 2 Carrion Crow, 2 Goldcrest, 3 Robin, 2 Stonechat, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Siskin, 1 Reed Bunting


South Lighthouse looking grand, the current home and office of the FIBO seasonal staff (by Alex Penn)

Year list: 76
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