Thursday, 30 September 2010

Fair Isle - Day 4

The morning dawned grey and overvcast with the rain still falling, however perhaps more importantly the wind had dropped to no more than a gentle breeze. As the group enjoyed a superb cooked breakfast, news filtered in of a 1st-winter male Ring Ouzel which had been trapped by one of the assistant wardens and was being brought back to the observatory for ringing. After the bird had been processed, it was shown to all birders present, allowing some excellent views of this scarce migrant.

Ring Ousel
Following breakfast the rain had eased off somewhat, and the group headed out optimistic of potentially encoutering some of the more interesting species possible on the island at this time of year. There was clear evidence of new migrants, filtering through these over the course of the day produced the following:
Buff-breasted Sandpiper (1)
Common Rosefinch (2)
Merlin (1)
Blackcap (5)
Willow Warbler (4)
Hen Harrier (1 juv)
Greenshank (1)
Ring Ouzel (1)
Whinchat (4)
Sparrowhawk (1)
Little Bunting (1)
Jack Snipe (5)
Goldcrest (6)
Lesser Whitethroat (3)
Barred Warbler (1)
Brambling (120+)
Peregrine (1)
Short-eared Owl (2)
Wheatear (4)
Swift (1)
Swallow (5)
Spotted Flycatcher (2)
Siskin (45)
Mandarin (1, first for Fair Isle!)
Yellow-browed Warbler (3)
Redstart (2)
Sedge Warbler (2)
Lapland Bunting

Common Rosefinch

Little Bunting
The most interesting moment of the day occured when a call on the radio told the group that the 'Wood Duck' seen briefly twice the previous day had been seen again in the gully near the observatory. All birders on the island were rounded up and gathered above the gully, creeping slowly forward in the hope that the bird would not be disturbed. Indeed it wasn't, and this allowed everyone present to get good views of the bird, only to reveal it was a female Mandarin Duck! As disappointed as many of the birders present may have been, this bird actually represents the first record for Fair Isle in nearly a century of recording.

Mandarin Duck

Other birds on the island today which the group did not manage to catch up with included, Hawfinch, Arctic Redpoll, Great Grey Shrike, Olive-backed Pipit and a Red-throated Pipit which the group heard but did not see! With lots of birds dropping in to the island in the late afternoon, we will be trying hard to find some more good migrants tomorrow.

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