Fair Isle Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

Sightings archive: December 2014

26th-31st December 2014
Weather: a few calmer days, rainy at times and winds strengthening from the SW again. Cold at times, with ice patches forming and a very icy evening on 27th.
Highlights: Buzzard (still present), Tundra Bean Goose (3 from 28th), Iceland Gull (juvenile on 26th and 30th).
Migrants: Greylag Goose (max. of 110 counted), Barnacle Goose (2), Wigeon (5), Mallard (30 counted on 26th), Great Northern Diver (1 from Good Shepherd on 29th), Grey Heron (juvenile lingering), Sparrowhawk (male still present), Merlin (2 still present), Water Rail (at least wintering), Golden Plover (7 on 31st), Lapwing (2 on 28th), Purple Sandpiper (up to 7 at South Light), Woodcock (1 in Gully on 26th was the only record, but small numbers probably wintering on the hill), Curlew (max. of 21), Black-headed Gull (2), Guillemot (large numbers on the cliffs on 28th), Skylark (at least 4 wintering), Fieldfare (c20 on 26th, but numbers decreasing after that), Song Thrush (at least 1 still present), small numbers (c30 each) of Blackbirds and Redwings still present, Robin (at least 4 wintering), Snow Bunting (72 on 26th).

21st-25th December 2014MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Weather: a continuation of westerly based winds, although calmer at times. Mostly grey and with regular showers, although 25th a pleasant day.
Highlights: Kumlien's Gull (2nd-winter in South Harbour on 22nd), Little Auk (c20 from the Good Shepherd on 24th), Buzzard (one still present), Tundra Bean Goose (9 until 23rd), Iceland Gull (2 during the week, a juvenile and a 2nd-winter), Glaucous Gull (adult on 22nd and 24th and juvenile on 22nd).
Migrants: Whooper Swan (3 on 21st, 1 remaining to 22nd), Greylag Goose (max. count of 116), Barnacle Goose (2 still), Wigeon (4), Long-tailed Duck (21st), Goldeneye (21st), Merlin, Water Rail (at least one still at Chalet), Woodcock (at Obs on 23rd), Redshank (max. 32), Turnstone (max. count 165), Kittiwake (up to 2), Black-headed Gull (juv.), Common Gull (up to 5), Robin (small numbers, probably around half a dozen, wintering), small number of thrushes, Snow Bunting (20 in Havens on 25th, very festive).

16th-20th December 2014
Weather: mostly still strong SW or W winds, often with heavy rain and hail and some sleet. Quite unpleasant mostly.
Highlights: Buzzard (still present), Tundra Bean Goose (13 present throughout), Iceland Gull (2nd-winter on 16th), Glaucous Gull (juv. on 17th with 2 on 19th).
Migrants: Whooper Swan (an adult flew north over the Obs 18th, with presumably the same bird in Gilsetter on 20th), Barnacle Goose (2), Teal (4), Grey Heron (1 still present), Sparrowhawk (still present), Merlin (up to 2), Water Rail (2 at Barkland), Black-headed Gull (19th), small numbers of thrushes and Robins still present, Snow Bunting (one in Obs garden 19th). Other wildlife: Seven-spot Ladybird (one found on Obs Christmas tree, having been accidentally 'ship-assisted' onto the island, the first live sighting on Fair Isle).

11th-15th December 2014
Weather: a continuation of stormy westerly-based winds and frequent poor weather, with some snow. 
Highlights: Tundra Bean Goose (max count of 12), Iceland Gull (immature on 11th).
Migrants: Pink-footed Goose (juvenile 13th), Greylag Goose (minimum of 79), Barnacle Goose (two still throughout), Wigeon (3 on 13th), Teal (peak of 2) , Long-tailed Duck (3 on 13th), Grey Heron (13th), Sparrowhawk (the presumed lingering male in Plantation on 15th), Merlin, Peregrine (adult), Water Rail (wintering individuals at Chalet and Haa), Lapwing, Purple Sandpiper, Woodcock (one feeding outside Obs in the snow on 15th), Curlew (peak of 16), Black-headed Gull (15th), Kittiwake (single figure counts offshore), Common Gull (up to 5), Guillemot (reasonable numbers offshore on 15th), Skylark (2 still on 13th), Blackbird (40+), Fieldfare (12), Song Thrush (6) Redwing (c20), Robin (at least 3 wintering individuals), Chaffinch (male still), Redpoll sp? (4 in flight near Barkland on 15th, presumably Commons), Snow Bunting (peak of 25).

6th- 10th December 2014
Weather:  dominated by stormy westerly-based winds, with frequent rain, hail and sometimes even lightening showers.
Highlights: Buzzard (at Pund preying on rabbits until 10th), Tundra Bean Goose (up to 14 still), Glaucous Gull (juvenile on 10th).
Migrants: Greylag Goose (minimum of 103), Barnacle Goose (two still throughout), Teal (peak of 17), Long-tailed Duck (10th), Sparrowhawk (at Obs on 10th, presumably the lingering bird from earlier in the month), Merlin, Peregrine (adult on 10th), Water Rail (at least four on 10th), Lapwing (peak of 8 on 7th), Curlew (peak of 9), Common Gull (up to 2), Woodpigeon (7th), Blackbird (22*), Fieldfare (9*), Song Thrush (5) Redwing (14*), Robin (still present in small numbers), Chaffinch (male still).
*incomplete counts from south of island and Obs area only

1st- 5th December 2014
Weather:  becoming cooler, with NW winds on 2nd then a more westerly system of weather developing.
Highlights: Olive-backed Pipit (still at Quoy - the first December record for Fair Isle), Buzzard (still present, usually around Pund), Tundra Bean Goose (at least 8 still).
Migrants: Whooper Swan (‘BLL’ the regular adult last seen on 1st), Greylag Goose (minimum of 63), Barnacle Goose (two still throughout), Wigeon (6 on 2nd), Teal (peak of 4), Great Northern Diver (2 off South Light on 2nd), Sparrowhawk (a late bird on 2nd), Merlin, Water Rail (Chalet), Lapwing (peak of 11 on 2nd), Dunlin (2nd), Woodcock (2nd), Curlew, Kittiwake (single figure counts offshore), Common Gull (up to 5), Guillemot (2 on 2nd), Woodpigeon (one lingering), Skylark, Blackbird (50+), Fieldfare (10+), Redwing (20+), Robin (still present in small numbers), Meadow Pipit (2 on 2nd), Chaffinch (2).