Fair Isle Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

Fair Isle Bird Observatory & Guesthouse


31st May 2022
Weather:
Sun and a force 3 easterly wind
The day started quiet and then birds began to arrive towards the afternoon, with a small arrival of Icterine Warblers and a Red-breasted Flycatcher. The Common Rosefinch from yesterday was also around Chalet for most of the day. One Icterine Warbler was trapped in Plantation and then the other two were netted in the Obs Garden in the evening. What pristine lemon yellow birds to see in the hand!


Icterine Warbler, by AW Alex Penn

HIGHLIGHTS:
Quail: One singing on the Houll
Icterine Warbler: One in Plantation, two at Obs Garden
Red-breasted Flycatcher : At Lower Stoneybrek
Serin: At Houll

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 1 Wigeon, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Cuckoo, 69 Oystercatcher, 17 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 43 Ringed Plover, 2 Curlew, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Dunlin, 3 Snipe, 3 Redshank, 3 Common Gull, 28 Arctic Skua, 1 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 85 Skylark, 22 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 1 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Sedge Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 12 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Robin, 87 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 2 Pied Wagtail, 76 Meadow Pipit, 51 Rock Pipit, 1 Common Rosefinch, 11 Twite, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', 1 'North-western' Redpoll, 1 Siskin, 1 Snow Bunting

Year List: 154

Other Wildlife: 1 Painted Lady, 10 Shetland Bee, 3 Buff-tailed Bumblebee


A very cute Ringed Plover chick, by AW Alex Penn

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30th May 2022
Weather:
Sunny spells with a force 6 north-westerly wind moving to south-easterly in the afternoon
Another cruise ship this morning lucked out with gorgeous sunshine and lots of puffins. The afternoon was spent making the most of a weather window to catch up on seabird monitoring. Not many migrants in, and the few in the Obs garden are already ringed suggesting that turnover is low. We are holding out for a change in the wind this week! A couple of Quail are still about, as is the Serin which was again mobile around the south today.


Puffin on Buness with North Light behind, by Ranger Holly Pickett

HIGHLIGHTS:
Quail: One in Obs Garden, one in the south
’Blue-headed Wagtail’: One in Obs Garden, one in the south
Serin: Still all around the south

Sightings of note: 1 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 6 Golden Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Turnstone, 1 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 3 Redshank, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Carrion Crow, 9 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Sedge Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Robin, 1 Dunnock, 1 redpoll sp., 1 Siskin

Year List: 153


'Blue-headed Wagtail', by AW Alex Penn

Other Wildlife: 18 Shetland Bee, 1 Buff-tailed Bumblebee

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29th May 2022
Weather:
Overcast and some drizzle with a force 6 NNW wind
A nice year tick came in the form of a 'brown' male Common Rosefinch which even sang a bit in the Obs garden. A Quail and the Long-tailed Duck lingering in North Haven were other highlights on yet another slightly grey, windy day.


Buff-tailed Bumblebee, by AW Alex Penn

HIGHLIGHTS:
Quail: One in Obs Garden
Common Rosefinch: Brown male singing at Obs Garden

Sightings of note: 1 Quail, 1 Greylag Goose, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 66 Oystercatcher, 19 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 38 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 11 Curlew, 1 Turnstone, 1 Dunlin, 8 Snipe, 3 Redshank, 5 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 63 Arctic Tern, 16 Arctic Skua, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 68 Skylark, 8 Swallow, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Blackbird, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Robin, 59 Wheatear, 2 Pied Wagtail, 80 Meadow Pipit, 35 Rock Pipit, 17 Twite

Year List: 153


Red-breasted Merganser at Hesti Geo, by AW Alex Penn

Other Wildlife: 1 Buff-tailed Bumblebee

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28th May 2022
Weather:
Overcast with a force 5 north-westerly wind, gusting force 7
The strong north-westerlies continued today, so seawatching produced more sightings than census with a 'Blue Fulmar' and Great Northern Diver off South Light. The immature White-tailed Eagle from yesterday appeared again, this time over Swey. Retrapped in Plantation, the Serin has now been present for over a week (it arrived 20th May)! In seabird news, the first Arctic Skuas have laid in Gilsetter.


Wild water around South Light, by Ranger Holly Pickett

HIGHLIGHTS:
White-tailed Eagle: Yesterday's immature over Swey

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 3 Wigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 68 Oystercatcher, 20 Lapwing, 4 Golden Plover, 42 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 8 Curlew, 2 Turnstone, 4 Dunlin, 5 Snipe, 1 Redshank, 4 Black-headed Gull, 7 Common Gull, 8 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 35 Arctic Tern, 17 Arctic Skua, 2 Red-throated Diver, 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 'Blue Fulmar' , 2 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 58 Skylark, 11 Swallow, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 83 Wheatear, 4 Pied Wagtail, 72 Meadow Pipit, 32 Rock Pipit, 22 Twite, 1 Snow Bunting

Year List: 152

Other Wildlife: 1 Shetland Bee

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27th May 2022
Weather:
Morning showers turned to bright sun with a force 6-7 north-westerly wind
A blustery census with few migrants. A couple of Short-eared Owls are about and are always exciting to see hunting over the mires in broad daylight. A single Pink-footed Goose also appeared at Meadow Burn, very odd! Holly spent the afternoon monitoring Guillemots, many of which are on eggs. Meanwhile, Georgia and Alex had the sobering task of beginning to mark and count Bonxies which have succumbed to avian influenza. More information on this will be published on our social media outlets shortly.


Pink-footed Goose, by AW Georgia Platt

HIGHLIGHTS:
White-tailed Eagle: New immature north over Vaasetter
Hobby : Over Meoness

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon,1 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Collared Dove, 67 Oystercatcher, 18 Lapwing, 37 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 13 Curlew, 4 Dunlin, 7 Snipe, 2 Redshank, 9 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Black-headed Gull, 16 Common Gull, 58 Arctic Tern, 25 Arctic Skua, 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Short-eared Owl, 1 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 71 Skylark, 10 Swallow, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Sedge Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Robin, 86 Wheatear, 2 Pied Wagtail, 68 Meadow Pipit, 34 Rock Pipit, 19 Twite, 2 Linnet

Year List: 152


Arctic Skuas are incredible aerial acrobats, by AW Georgia Platt


Thought I could feel eyes on me! Short-eared Owl, by Ranger Holly Pickett

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26th May 2022
Weather:
Heavy rain showers and some sun later on, with a force 5 south-westerly wind
We began census in bright sun but were quickly forced to call it off by heavy rain which lasted most of the morning. The Serin remains around the crofts - unusual as most prior records were only fleeting visits. The afternoon was spent catching up on various jobs that get left when the weather is beautiful and birds are about!


Rain on the way, by Ranger Holly Pickett

HIGHLIGHTS:
White-tailed Eagle: Immature over West Cliffs and South Light
Serin : Still around croft gardens

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 1 Tufted Duck (first of the year), 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 2 Whimbrel, 7 Dunlin, 2 Redshank, 9 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 15 Arctic Tern, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 10 Swallow, 1 Willow Warbler, 4 Sedge Warbler, 4 Garden Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Linnet

Year List: 152


Serin amongst Bluebells at Midway, by AW Alex Penn

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25th May 2022
Weather:
Rain showers with a force 4 south-easterly wind swinging through north to WSW through the day
A drizzly day meant census was kept to the crofts. However, a green Golden Oriole was a real highlight, bombing around much of the south with most views in flight. We also have some tiny Redshank chicks on Da Water along with breeding Lapwing, Curlew and Mallard, demonstrating the value of this small wetland. Some of the Lapwing chicks in nearby Kirki Mire were also ringed today as they are getting quite big. A White-tailed Eagle was again spotted, this time high over the airstrip - they are becoming quite regular this year!


Lapwing chick in the hand, by AW Alex Penn

HIGHLIGHTS:
Quail: One at the School
White-tailed Eagle: Immature high over the airstrip
Golden Oriole : 'Green' individual active all around gardens in the south
Hawfinch: One at Burkle
Serin : Reappeared at Shirva


Golden Oriole in flight, by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 2 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, 1 Water Rail, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Redshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 38 Arctic Tern, 2 Great Northern Diver, 9 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 5 Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Blackbird, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Siskin

Year List: 151


Immature White-tailed Eagle (Who's scruffy lookin'!?), by AW Georgia Platt

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24th May 2022
Weather:
Cloudy with some sunny spells and a force 4 NNW wind
Not many new migrants in today, but the ringed Blyth's Reed Warbler has moved from Plantation to Midway, and a White-tailed Eagle made its way down the west of the island adding some excitement. The spring wildflowers are now out, with Spring Squill, Thrift, Birds-foot Trefoil and Roseroot lining the cliffs.


Portrait of a Gannet, by AW Alex Penn

HIGHLIGHTS:
Quail: Around buildings at North Haven and the Obs
White-tailed Eagle: Moving south high along the west cliffs
Blyth's Reed Warbler: Now at Midway

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Woodpigeon, 50 Oystercatcher, 16 Lapwing, 40 Ringed Plover, 5 Whimbrel, 12 Curlew, 9 Dunlin, 8 Snipe, 5 Redshank, 3 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Arctic Tern, 32 Arctic Skua, 1 Kestrel, 2 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 64 Skylark, 10 Swallow, 1 Chiffchaff, 6 Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Robin, 78 Wheatear, 1 Grey Wagtail, 6 Pied Wagtail, 78 Meadow Pipit, 37 Rock Pipit, 19 Twite, 1 Siskin

Year List: 150

Other Wildlife: 1 Shetland Bee


Dunlin and Ringed Plover amongst Thrift on Meoness, by Ranger Holly Pickett


Swallow at Gully, by Ranger Holly Pickett

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23rd May 2022
Weather:
Cloudy with sunny spells, and force 3 north-westerly wind
Another cruise ship, the Spitzbergen, was welcomed to Fair Isle by morning sunshine. Some of the passengers even opted for a swim in the Havens! Plenty of common migrants in the traps and gardens, and a couple of new birds including a male Redstart, a fly-over Red-throated Diver and a Pied Flycatcher. The Serin surprised us by dropping into the Obs net this afternoon. A stunning little bird to see in the hand, and the first Serin ever to be ringed on Fair Isle! The Blyth's Reed Warbler remains around Plantation, and was retrapped today. It has gone from having almost no body fat at all, to putting on 1.6g (about 15% of its lean body mass), so is obviously feeding well.


The Spitzbergen moored off North Haven, by Ranger Holly Pickett

HIGHLIGHTS:
Blyth's Reed Warbler: Retrapped at Plantation
Serin: Trapped at Obs Garden
'Grey-headed Wagtail': Two at Shalstane


Serin in the hand - look at that yellow rump! by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 2 Cuckoo, 5 Woodpigeon, 1 Water Rail, 58 Oystercatcher, 17 Lapwing, 40 Ringed Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 10 Curlew, 1 Turnstone, 1 Sanderling, 19 Dunlin, 6 Snipe, 1 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 10 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 52 Arctic Tern, 30 Arctic Skua, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Peregrine, 9 Carrion Crow, 82 Skylark, 18 Swallow, 4 House Martin, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 9 Sedge Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Whitethroat, 6 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Robin, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 109 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 7 Pied Wagtail, 1 'White Wagtail', 92 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 41 Rock Pipit, 1 Brambling, 24 Twite, 1 Linnet, 1 redpoll sp., 1 Siskin

Year List: 150

Other Wildlife: 12 Shetland Bee


Shetland Bee, by AW Alex Penn

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22nd May 2022
Weather:
Cloudy with some showers, and force 4 winds changing between north-easterly and southerly
A quieter census today, but a female Bluethroat was trapped at Plantation where the Blyth's Reed Warbler is also still around. The Serin was briefly seen at the Haa associating with Siskins, around the south, and as far north as Chalet, so is likely getting restless to move on. The Buness Puffins put on a great show for the cruise ship passengers this afternoon.


Female Bluethroat in the hand, by visiting Ringer Kevin Kelly

HIGHLIGHTS:
Blyth's Reed Warbler: Still at Plantation
Serin: Active around the south and middle of the island
'Grey-headed Wagtail': One around the South Light
Bluethroat: Female trapped at Plantation


'Grey-headed Wagtail' at South Light, by Ranger Holly Pickett

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 2 Cuckoo, 2 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, 38 Oystercatcher, 20 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 45 Ringed Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 9 Curlew, 1 Turnstone, 4 Dunlin, 9 Snipe, 3 Redshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 8 Common Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 16 Arctic Tern, 7 Arctic Skua, 1 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 103 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin, 15 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 7 Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird, 1 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush, 8 Spotted Flycatcher, 95 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 8 Pied Wagtail, 2 'White Wagtail', 117 Meadow Pipit, 2 Tree Pipit, 38 Rock Pipit, 1 Brambling, 9 Twite, 5 Siskin
Year List: 150

Other Wildlife: 1 Red Admiral, 2 Shetland Bee, 1 Buff-tailed Bumblebee


Serin posing beautifully at Schoolton, by AW Alex Penn

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21st May 2022
Weather:
Sun with force 4 mixed north and north-westerly winds
Some of yesterday's excitement carried on today, with the Serin showing well around Quoy and three 'Grey-headed Wagtails' around the isle. Three Quail were also dotted around the south, including one showing fantastically in a field near Chalet. The real highlight of the day was a Blyth's Reed Warbler trapped at Plantation.


Blyth's Reed Warbler in the hand at Plantation, by AW Alex Penn

HIGHLIGHTS:
Blyth's Reed Warbler: Trapped at Plantation and remained there most of the morning
Serin: Still active around Quoy Rig and Schoolton
Quail: Three - Lower Leogh, Boini Mire and Chalet
'Grey-headed Wagtail': Three around the south

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 7 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, 60 Oystercatcher, 15 Lapwing, 32 Ringed Plover, 8 Whimbrel, 8 Curlew, 8 Dunlin, 7 Snipe, 3 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 4 Common Gull, 7 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 22 Arctic Tern, 12 Arctic Skua, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Long-eared Owl, 1 Peregrine, 1 Jackdaw, 7 Carrion Crow, 77 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 25 Swallow, 8 House Martin, 5 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 13 Sedge Warbler, 7 Blackcap, 4 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, 1 Ring Ouzel, 3 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, 11 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Robin, 1 Redstart, 114 Wheatear, 1 Tree Sparrow, 1 Dunnock, 9 Pied Wagtail, 2 'White Wagtail', 2 Grey Wagtail, 107 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 46 Rock Pipit, 1 Brambling, 17 Twite, 3 Siskin
Year List: 150

Other Wildlife: 1 Red Admiral, 4 Shetland Bee


Very smart 'Grey-headed Wagtail' at Golden Water, by AW Alex Penn

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20th May 2022
Weather:
Sun and clear skies with a force 3 south-easterly wind
What a day!! The morning was off to a fantastic start with a Thrush Nightingale trapped at Plantation on our way to meet the Hansiatic Inspiration cruise ship.
Thrush Nightingale in the hand at Plantation, by AW Alex Penn

The visitors were delighted to get close to some puffins as a large number were in today. After a refuel at the hall, census began and immediately a Quail was seen at Lower Leogh, closely followed by a Hobby, Red-backed Shrike, and female Bluethroat at Boini Mire. Next, AW Georgia very calmly (on the outside!) chimed in with a Serin at the Quoy rig, only the 5th Record for Fair Isle. Luckily it stayed around Quoy and Schoolton for everyone to twitch, even Deryk who had had to spend the day working on the boat to Lerwick.
Beautiful photo of a beautiful bird - Serin at Quoy, by AW Georgia Platt

Shortly after, AW Alex messaged to report a male Collared Flycatcher at North Raeva, and what a stunner it was! It fed actively around both Raevas occasionally landing on the fence, but difficult to pin down. Other highlights of the day included a female 'Blue-headed' and two female 'Grey-headed Wagtails', with one of each next to each other at Utra Scrape allowing for a lovely comparison. Opening the Obs and Chalet nets in the evening, we caught a nice selection of common migrants, ringing Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Spotted Flycatcher, Sedge Warbler (of which there were potentially record-numbers today), and Lesser Whitethroat to name a few.


Collared Flycatcher looking absolutely perfect, by AW Alex Penn

HIGHLIGHTS:
THRUSH NIGHTINGALE: Trapped at Plantation and remained there most of the morning
COLLARED FLYCATCHER: Male at North Raeva, very actively feeding
Serin: Active and calling between Quoy Rig and Schoolton
Quail: One Lower Leogh, one Boini Mire
Red-backed Shrike: Female at Boini Mire
Bluethroat: Female at Boini Mire
'Blue-headed Wagtail': Female at Utra Scrape
'Grey-headed Wagtail': Two females at Utra Scrape and one at the Parks
Marsh Harrier: Over base of Malcolm's Head
Hobby: Around Boini Mire

Sightings of note: 1 Greylag Goose, 2 Swift, 6 Woodpigeon, 7 Collared Dove, 63 Oystercatcher, 22 Lapwing, 35 Ringed Plover, 13 Whimbrel, 8 Curlew, 2 Dunlin, 5 Purple Sandpiper, 8 Snipe, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Redshank, 13 Black-headed Gull, 6 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 56 Arctic Tern, 12 Arctic Skua, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Long-eared Owl, 1 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 1 Jackdaw, 5 Carrion Crow, 91 Skylark, 26 Swallow, 5 House Martin, 5 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 23 Sedge Warbler, 4 Blackcap, 6 Garden Warbler, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 10 Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, 16 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Redstart, 101 Wheatear, 4 Tree Sparrow, 3 Dunnock, 5 Pied Wagtail, 4 'White Wagtail', 101 Meadow Pipit, 3 Tree Pipit, 51 Rock Pipit, 1 Brambling, 20 Twite, 3 Siskin
Year List: 150

Other Wildlife: 2 Red Admiral, 2 Silver Y Moth, 7 Shetland Bee


Cruise passengers enjoying Fair Isle at its best, by AW Alex Penn

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19th May 2022
Weather:
Sun and clear skies with a force 4, southerly wind
A gorgeous sunny day welcomed the Ocean Adventure cruise ship, so the team spent the morning showing passengers the Puffins on Buness (and sampling baked goods at the hall!). An afternoon census turned up a really nice variety of migrants. Hirundines in particular were present in impressive numbers, amongst which the first Swift appeared hawking over Hoini. Cloudless skies allowed some raptor movement and a White-tailed Eagle soared over the north heading straight to Shetland, while the first Marsh Harrier of the year meandered over the shop and continued north. The true highlight of the day was a male Rustic Bunting, reported in the morning and refound with nice views later in the afternoon around Boini Mire.


Dunlin doing its best Phalarope impression, by AW Georgia Platt

HIGHLIGHTS:
RUSTIC BUNTING: Male around Stackhoull and Boini Mire
Red-backed Shrike: Female at Boini Mire
'Blue-headed Wagtail': Male in Golden Water
White-tailed Eagle: Immature heading fast off north coast towards Shetland
Marsh Harrier: Over Stackhoull, Meadow Burn then north


Rustic Bunting at Boini Mire, by AW Alex Penn


Marsh Harrier over Naaversgill, by AW Georgia Platt

Sightings of note: 1 Barnacle Goose, 1 Greylag Goose, 1 Teal, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Swift, 1 Cuckoo, 2 Collared Dove, 61 Oystercatcher, 17 Lapwing, 33 Ringed Plover, 15 Whimbrel, 8 Curlew, 7 Turnstone, 7 Dunlin, 5 Purple Sandpiper, 8 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 3 Redshank, 13 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 27 Arctic Skua, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Long-eared Owl, 2 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 73 Skylark, 6 Sand Martin, 60 Swallow, 34 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 10 Sedge Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 7 Whitethroat, 1 Song Thrush, 9 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Black Redstart, 1 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 133 Wheatear, 3 Tree Sparrow, 6 Pied Wagtail, 3 'White Wagtail', 110 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 43 Rock Pipit, 17 Twite, 1 redpoll spp., 3 Siskin
Year List: 145

Other Wildlife: 2 Red Admiral, 1 Painted Lady, 2 Silver Y Moth, 1 Buff-tailed Bumblebee


Silver Y at Vaadal, by AW Alex Penn

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18th May 2022
Weather:
Sun most of the day with a force 4-5, mostly southerly wind
It was too rough for the planned cruise ships to land passengers, so census continued as normal. A scattering of new migrants in gave good variety, with Spotted Flycatchers, Lesser Whitethroat, and Willow Warblers dotted along the cliffs and in croft gardens. A couple of the Bluethroats are still about, along with the male Red-backed Shrike and a new female at Stonybrek. In seabird news, Arctic Skua numbers are growing slowly and the first Bonxie egg appeared today on Hoini. An evening report of a Blyth's Reed Warbler added to the highlights list, while a possible Iberian Chiffchaff was trapped (Awaiting DNA analysis).


Swallows are still streaming through, by AW Georgia Platt

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: Male at Chapel Plantation and female at Stoneybrek
Bluethroat: Two males around the crofts
'Blue-headed Wagtail': Male in South Haven
Blyth's Reed Warbler: At Shirva
Iberian Chiffchaff: Possible, trapped at Plantation - measurements taken according to formulae given by Demongin and plumage both suggestive, awaiting DNA analysis of dropped feathers.


Late Redwing among the May wildflowers, by Ranger Holly Pickett

Sightings of note: 48 Barnacle Goose, 6 Greylag Goose, 4 Teal, 1 Cuckoo, 4 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 55 Oystercatcher, 14 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 26 Ringed Plover, 9 Whimbrel, 7 Curlew, 7 Turnstone, 16 Dunlin, 3 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 54 Arctic Tern, 17 Arctic Skua, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Long-eared Owl, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 8 Carrion Crow, 84 Skylark, 3 Sand Martin, 50 Swallow, 13 House Martin, 9 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 5 Sedge Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 7 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird, 2 Redwing, 17 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Black Redstart , 2 Redstart, 8 Whinchat, 148 Wheatear, 4 Tree Sparrow, 1 Dunnock, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 5 Pied Wagtail, 5 'White Wagtail', 111 Meadow Pipit, 4 Tree Pipit, 42 Rock Pipit, 12 Twite, 3 Linnet, 1 redpoll sp., 3 Siskin
Year List: 142

Other Wildlife: 2 Red Admiral, 3 Silver Y Moth, 2 Shetland Bee


One of today's Shetland Bees was being eaten by this female Red-backed Shrike! by AW Georgia Platt

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17th May 2022
Weather:
Overcast turning to fog at midday with a force 5 south-easterly wind
Census started off promising with a similar selection of migrants to yesterday including a handful of male Bluethroats, numerous Spotted Flycatchers, and a surprise Long-tailed Duck from Alex. One of the three (minimum) Bluethroats was also trapped, what a treat to see up close! The fog rolled in later on, but a stunning male Red-backed Shrike found by Georgia proved it was worth going out again.


Male Red-backed Shrike, by AW Georgia Platt

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: Male at Chapel Plantation
Bluethroat: Three males around the crofts
'Blue-headed Wagtail': One male in South Haven


Bluethroat in the hand, by AW Georgia Platt

Sightings of note: 7 Greylag Goose, 3 Teal, 1 Long-tailed Duck (first of the Year), 2 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, 59 Oystercatcher, 19 Lapwing, 44 Ringed Plover, 5 Whimbrel, 7 Curlew, 11 Turnstone, 6 Dunlin, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 14 Snipe, 2 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 9 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 35 Arctic Tern, 11 Arctic Skua, 3 Grey Heron, 2 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 75 Skylark, 38 Swallow, 10 House Martin, 6 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 6 Sedge Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 10 Lesser Whitethroat, 8 Whitethroat, 1 Ring Ouzel, 20 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Black Redstart , 2 Redstart, 8 Whinchat, 133 Wheatear, 3 Tree Sparrow, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 8 Pied Wagtail, 8 'White Wagtail', 110 Meadow Pipit, 3 Tree Pipit, 47 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 19 Twite, 1 Linnet, 1 'Mealy Redpoll'
Year List: 141


Whimbrels are a frequent sound around the island at the moment, by AW Georgia Platt

Other Wildlife: 4 Red Admiral

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16th May 2022
Weather:
Sun and a force 4 easterly wind all day
The migration-dam is really starting to burst, and we had an exciting day recording four year ticks and a host of other common migrants. Notably, there has been a large influx of Spotted Flycatchers dotted along the West Cliffs, with a Pied Flycatcher and Red-breasted Flycatcher in their midst. The nice run of birds didn't stop, with a Red-backed Shrike at Tineside, two striking male Bluethroats, a Yellow Wagtail, several Tree Pipits and two Black Redstarts, to name a few! Dog Geo was also brimming with House Martins - a lovely sight and sound. Opening the Obs nets in the evening, we caught a handful of migrants including a Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, and Tree Sparrow, and glimpsed the first Reed Warbler of the year. Birds continued to arrive throughout the day, so looking forward to seeing what a second day of easterlies might bring should the fog hold off.


One of seventeen Spotted Flycatchers on the isle today, by AW Georgia Platt


A veritable 'flying lemon' of a Yellow Wagtail, by Ranger Holly Pickett

HIGHLIGHTS:
Red-backed Shrike: Female at Tineside
Bluethroat: Two males doing the rounds of the south and middle of the isle
Red-breasted Flycatcher : Female type at Dog Geo


Red-backed Shrike at Tineside, by AW Georgia Platt

Sightings of note: 7 Greylag Goose, 9 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, 66 Oystercatcher, 16 Lapwing, 4 Golden Plover, 27 Ringed Plover, 5 Whimbrel, 8 Curlew, 12 Turnstone, 31 Dunlin, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 8 Snipe, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 18 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Arctic Tern, 10 Arctic Skua, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Long-eared Owl, 2 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 81 Skylark, 3 Sand Martin, 41 Swallow, 17 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 7 Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler (first of the year), 3 Garden Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 7 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Whitethroat, 1 Ring Ouzel, 1 Blackbird, 17 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Pied Flycatcher (first of the year), 2 Black Redstart , 1 Redstart, 5 Whinchat, 128 Wheatear, 3 Tree Sparrow, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 4 Pied Wagtail, 3 'White Wagtail', 141 Meadow Pipit, 6 Tree Pipit, 55 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 19 Twite, 1 Linnet, 1 Lapland Bunting
Year List: 141


A slightly more obliging Bluethroat than yesterday's in a ditch at the Sheep Cru, by AW Alex Penn

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15th May 2022
Weather:
Bright sun and a force 3 south-westerly wind swinging to south-easterly around mid-day
A beautiful day started with breeding bird surveys at 7am. Census was a delight in the sun, and as soon as the wind switched to an easterly birds started to drop in. The first was a Spotted Flycatcher at Gunnawark, followed by a handful more around the island. Shortly after, a pristine male Bluethroat appeared at Klingers Geo, what a beauty! The afternoon was spent by Alex and Georgia with the Obs nets open, catching a number of birds including multiple Chiffchaffs, Lesser Whitethroats, a Tree Pipit and a Spotted Flycatcher. To round things off, a couple of very dapper male Ring Ouzels were trapped at Double Dyke. If it was warm enough for us to be in T-shirts, it was also warm enough for the insects, which showed up in the form of a Red Admiral butterfly and some Shetland Bees.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wood Sandpiper: One north over Chapel to North Light
Bluethroat: Male at Klingers


Beautiful male Bluethroat at Klingers, by visiting birder Andrew Harrop and Ranger Holly Pickett

Sightings of note: 7 Greylag Goose, 1 Shelduck, 2 Teal, 2 Cuckoos, 11 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, 59 Oystercatcher, 17 Lapwing, 5 Golden Plover, 36 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 12 Curlew, 36 Turnstone, 20 Dunlin, 14 Purple Sandpiper, 13 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 5 Black-headed Gull, 14 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 50 Arctic Tern, 13 Arctic Skua, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 10 Carrion Crow, 89 Skylark, 5 Sand Martin, 64 Swallow, 10 House Martin, 3 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 7 Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Ring Ouzel, 1 Blackbird, 4 Spotted Flycatchers (first of the year), 1 Whinchat, 170 Wheatear, 3 Tree Sparrow, 1 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 6 Pied Wagtail, 6 'White Wagtail', 134 Meadow Pipit, 4 Tree Pipit, 68 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 22 Twite, 2 Linnet, 2 Siskin
Year List: 137

Other Wildlife: 1 Red Admiral, 4 Shetland Bee


Very smart looking Ring Ouzel in the hand at Double Dyke, by AW Alex Penn


Brilliant photo of one of our resident Peregrines with Puffin, by AW Alex Penn

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14th May 2022
Weather:
Overcast and hazy with low cloud in the north and a force 4 WSW wind
Today we took part in the Global Big Day run by eBird. Although slightly underwhelming compared to last year (Calandra Lark, Red-throated Pipit, Hawfinch, Little Bunting...) there were a couple of nice birds about including the Wood Sandpiper still at Easter Lother Water and the first Red-throated Divers of the year. There was also a small influx of Sedge Warblers by the evening, which we might not have noticed had we not been out looking all day, and bodes well for the coming week (suggestions of south-easterlies - everyone touch wood and cross your fingers). We reached a total of 68 species for the day, which isn't bad going for a dreich day of south-westerlies! In other news the first Starling chicks have appeared in a wall at Shirva, the Ravens have fledged, and the Peregrines at Guidicum were confirmed to have a chick.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wood Sandpiper: Still at Easter Lother Water


Linnet at Burkle by, AW Georgia Platt

Sightings of note: 14 Greylag Goose, 1 Shelduck, 2 Teal, 73 Oystercatcher, 21 Lapwing, 4 Golden Plover, 40 Ringed Plover, 6 Whimbrel, 13 Curlew, 8 Turnstone, 6 Dunlin, 16 Purple Sandpiper, 7 Snipe, 1 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 5 Black-headed Gull, 19 Common Gull, 16 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 39 Arctic Tern, 11 Arctic Skua, 2 Red-throated Diver (first of the year), 1 Grey Heron, 1 Long-eared Owl, 1 Peregrine, 17 Carrion Crow, 86 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin, 62 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 8 Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird, 1 Redwing, 1 Dunnock, 101 Wheatear, 1 Tree Sparrow, 1 Dunnock, 5 Pied Wagtail, 7 'White Wagtail', 114 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 40 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 17 Twite, 2 Linnet, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting
Year List: 135


Low cloud making the landscape look more Viking than ever, by Ranger Holly Pickett

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13th May 2022
Weather:
Rainy showers all day with a force 5 south-westerly wind dropping to a force 3 north-westerly by evening
Miserable weather all day so we didn't get census in, but a few birds about including a Wood Sandpiper back at Easter Lother Water and the first Greenshank of the month at South Harbour and Utra Scrape. We also had the first Guillemot egg on Greenholm, so the seabird season is really starting to kick off!


Yellow Wagtail at Kirki Mire, by AW Alex Penn

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wood Sandpiper: At Easter Lother Water again


Wood Sandpiper at Easter Lother Water, by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 2 Shelduck, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Water Rail, 7 Whimbrel, 14 Curlew, 4 Turnstone, 3 Dunlin, 13 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 2 Manx Shearwater, 1 Grey Heron, 29 Carrion Crow, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Redwing, 1 Dunnock, 1 Yellow Wagtail (flavissima), 1 Goldfinch, 3 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting
Year List: 133


A peek at the first Guillemot egg, by Ranger Holly Pickett


Greenshank at Utra Scrape by Ranger Holly Pickett
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12th May 2022
Weather:
Rainy showers with a force 5 south-westerly wind
Incredible views of two Orca - Hulk and Nótt, were the indisputable highlight today. They lingered close in for quite a while off North Light and Easter Lother. The two bachelor males travel together between Iceland and Scotland, wintering off Iceland to feed on fish then hunting seals in the summer months around the Northern Isles.


Hulk - check out that towering fin! by AW Alex Penn


Nótt, by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 10 Greylag Goose, 2 Shelduck, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Water Rail, 72 Oystercatcher, 20 Lapwing, 34 Ringed Plover, 6 Golden Plover, 7 Whimbrel, 14 Curlew, 7 Turnstone, 1 Knot, 1 Dunlin, 10 Snipe, 3 Black-headed Gull, 21 Common Gull, 21 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 53 Arctic Tern, 5 Arctic Skua, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Long-eared Owl, 1 Kestrel, 2 Peregrine, 28 Carrion Crow, 82 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 43 Swallow, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Sedge Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 1 Ring Ouzel, 1 Blackbird, 125 Wheatear, 1 Tree Sparrow, 1 Dunnock, 7 Pied Wagtail, 3 'White Wagtail', 153 Meadow Pipit, 43 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 21 Twite, 1 Linnet, 2 redpoll spp., 1 Siskin, 3 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting
Year List: 133

Other Wildlife: Two Orca (Hulk and Nótt) off North Light very close-in


Hulk living up to his name, by AW Georgia Platt
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11th May 2022
Weather:
Rainy showers with a force 5 westerly wind
A nice stream of Swallows and yesterday's Cuckoo and flava wagtail made it feel surprisingly spring-like, despite the rain and wind! A year tick came in the form of a Wood Sandpiper, while a Glaucous Gull added excitement. The afternoon was spent seawatching by AWs Alex and Georgia, which proved fruitful with two Orcas close in off Buness. Holly (FI Ranger) spent some time with the school children coming up with ideas to make their garden even more wildlife friendly.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Wood Sandpiper: At Easter Lother Water
Glaucous Gull: With Lesser Black-backed Gulls at Meadow Burn
Osprey: South over Brecks in the early morning


Wood Sandpiper at Easter Lother Water by AW Alex Penn


Orcas are always impressive, especially this close up! by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 9 Greylag Goose, 3 Shelduck, 2 Teal, 1 Cuckoo, 73 Oystercatcher, 20 Lapwing, 34 Ringed Plover, 6 Whimbrel, 9 Curlew, 11 Turnstone, 3 Knot, 3 Dunlin, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 9 Snipe, 3 Redshank, 7 Black-headed Gull, 5 Common Gull, 23 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 57 Arctic Tern, 12 Arctic Skua, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Peregrine, 14 Carrion Crow, 101 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 49 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Sedge Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Ring Ouzel, 1 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 1 Whinchat, 127 Wheatear, 1 Tree Sparrow, 1 Dunnock, 1 flava wagtail ssp., 7 Pied Wagtail, 9 'White Wagtail', 108 Meadow Pipit, 44 Rock Pipit, 1 'Scandinavian Rock Pipit', 1 Chaffinch, 21 Twite, 1 Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', 1 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin
Year List: 133

Other Wildlife: Two Orca (Hulk and Nótt) off Buness heading south


Luca and Harris mind-mapping some exciting ideas in the classroom with Holly, by Head Teacher Gillian
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10th May 2022
Weather:
Cloudy with some sunny spells with rain in the evening and a force 5 south-westerly wind
There were a handful of new birds in this morning - Cuckoo, flava wagtail ssp. and Sanderling. The Arctic Terns were also back on Buness in the early hours. After dinner we opened the Obs nets catching Chiffchaff, Meadow Pipit, Linnet and Goldfinch just before the heavens opened. Best of all, the morning's Cuckoo was still around the Obs Garden and we were able to spring trap it. An astounding bird to see in the hand!


Cuckoo in the hand at the Obs by AW Georgia Platt


Portrait of Cuckoo by AW Georgia Platt

Sightings of note: 9 Greylag Goose, 3 Shelduck, 2 Teal, 1 Cuckoo (first of the year), 2 Woodpigeon, 54 Oystercatcher, 17 Lapwing, 45 Ringed Plover, 11 Whimbrel, 11 Curlew, 6 Turnstone, 5 Knot, 1 Sanderling (first of the year), 3 Dunlin, 7 Purple Sandpiper, 17 Snipe, 5 Black-headed Gull, 12 Common Gull, 27 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 44 Arctic Tern, 9 Arctic Skua, 5 Manx Shearwater, 1 Long-eared Owl, 1 Peregrine, 8 Carrion Crow, 94 Skylark, 3 Sand Martin, 31 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Sedge Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Redwing, 1 Robin, 2 Whinchat, 107 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 1 flava wagtail ssp. , 4 Pied Wagtail, 6 'White Wagtail', 121 Meadow Pipit, 49 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 19 Twite, 6 Linnet, 1 Goldfinch, 4 Siskin
Year List: 132

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9th May 2022
Weather:
Rain most of the day with a force 6-7 southerly wind
Census was cut to only the essential bits due to heavy rain and wind, however some dedicated sea-watching from Alex brought the first Manx Shearwaters of the year while the first Arctic Terns turned up at North Haven.


Manx Shearwater close in to the rocks at South Light by AW Alex Penn


Green Sandpiper at Gilsetter by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 13 Greylag Goose, 1 Water Rail, 3 Dunlin, 10 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 10 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Arctic Tern (first of the year), 1 'Blue Fulmar', 2 Manx Shearwater (first of the year), 1 Short-eared Owl, 9 Carrion Crow, 1 Sand Martin, 17 Swallow, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 2 Fieldfare, 1 Redwing, 1 Robin, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Linnet, 1 Siskin
Year List: 129


'Blue Fulmar' on the cliff at South Restensgeo by Ranger Holly Pickett

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8th May 2022
Weather:
Sunny spells with a force 5 southerly breeze
A breezy day with the highlight coming at the end of census when AW Georgia found a beautifully smart Red-throated Pipit north-west of Tarryfield. Despite being fairly mobile across the heather, it stayed in the area long enough for Alex and Holly to twitch with great views.

HIGHLIGHTS:
RED-THROATED PIPIT: North-west of Tarryfield


Stunning Red-throated Pipit by AW Georgia Platt


Short-eared Owl at Boini Mire by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 16 Greylag Goose, 2 Teal, 2 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Moorhen, 69 Oystercatcher, 17 Lapwing, 9 Golden Plover, 36 Ringed Plover, 10 Whimbrel, 9 Curlew, 7 Turnstone, 1 Knot, 1 Dunlin, 10 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Woodcock, 9 Snipe, 3 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 8 Common Gull, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 5 Arctic Skua, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Peregrine, 8 Carrion Crow, 88 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin, 3 Swallow, 1 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 2 Ring Ouzel, 1 Blackbird, 2 Fieldfare, 2 Song Thrush, 1 Redwing, 3 Robin, 1 Whinchat (first of the year), 122 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 7 Pied Wagtail, 1 'White Wagtail', 135 Meadow Pipit, 46 Rock Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 13 Twite, 3 Linnet, 1 redpoll sp., 2 Siskin
Year List: 127

Turnstone at Kirki Geo by Ranger Holly Pickett

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7th May 2022
Weather:
Uninterrupted sunshine with a force 3 breeze moving from easterly to south-westerly through the day
Glorious sunshine welcomed the first cruise ship of the year. A steady stream of Swallow passage and a White-tailed Eagle were highlights on census. Later, an interesting Chiffchaff was caught in the Obs nets - possibly Iberian but we are awaiting results of DNA analysis on dropped feathers.

HIGHLIGHTS:
White-tailed Eagle: Immature high over Swey
Iberian Chiffchaff: Possible, trapped at Obs - measurements taken according to formulae given by Demongin and plumage both suggestive, awaiting DNA analysis of dropped feathers.

Snipe hoping it hasn't been spotted in Boini Mire, by Ranger Holly Pickett


Siskin at Vaila's Trees, by AW Georgia Platt

Sightings of note: 22 Greylag Goose, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Moorhen, 44 Oystercatcher, 20 Lapwing, 21 Golden Plover, 27 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 14 Curlew, 9 Turnstone, 1 Knot, 1 Dunlin, 18 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Woodcock, 16 Snipe, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Redshank, 11 Common Gull, 5 Arctic Skua, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Long-eared Owl, 1 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 97 Skylark, 7 Sand Martin, 38 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 3 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Ring Ouzel, 1 Blackbird, 1 Redwing, 4 Robin, 163 Wheatear, 1 Redstart, 2 Tree Sparrow, 1 Dunnock, 5 Pied Wagtail, 6 'White Wagtail', 133 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 56 Rock Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 1 Brambling, 25 Twite, 2 Linnet, 1 ‘Mealy Redpoll’, 2 Siskin
Year List: 125

Gannet on Lerness - those eyes! by AW Georgia Platt

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6th May 2022
Weather:
Fog interspersed with bright sunny spells and a force 5 south-westerly wind
Census was delayed by fog, but once we got going it did brighten into some gorgeous sunshine, if a bit blustery! Very few new birds in today.


Bonxie on Buness with the iconic Sheep Rock behind, by Ranger Holly Pickett

Sightings of note: 16 Greylag Goose, 3 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, 46 Oystercatcher, 19 Lapwing, 12 Golden Plover, 25 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 8 Curlew, 14 Turnstone, 2 Dunlin, 7 Purple Sandpiper, 16 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 3 Redshank, 7 Black-headed Gull, 10 Common Gull, 9 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 10 Arctic Skua, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 1 Rook, 44 Carrion Crow, 130 Skylark, 1 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 1 Ring Ouzel, 3 Blackbird, 3 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 3 Robin, 104 Wheatear, 2 Tree Sparrow, 2 Pied Wagtail, 8 'White Wagtail', 139 Meadow Pipit, 52 Rock Pipit, 1 Brambling, 27 Twite, 1 Linnet, 1 'Mealy Redpoll', 3 Siskin, 1 Lapland Bunting
Year List: 125
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5th May 2022
Weather:
Rain showers all day with a force 4 mostly-southerly wind
Drizzle and rain showers prevented a full census today, but yesterday's large corvid flock remains and a stunning Long-eared Owl was trapped in Plantation.


Formidable-looking female Long-eared Owl in the hand at Plantation, by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 20 Greylag Goose, 1 Teal, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Moorhen, 4 Dunlin, 12 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 8 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 8 Arctic Skua, 1 Long-eared Owl, 29 Carrion Crow, 6 Swallow, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 1 Robin, 1 Brambling, 1 redpoll sp., 3 Siskin
Year List: 125


Purple Sandpipers unbothered by the waves, by Ranger Holly Pickett

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4th May 2022
Weather:
Some sunny spells and a force 4 south-westerly wind
Firsts for the year came in the form of a female Redstart trapped in Plantation and a Sedge Warbler singing in Chapel Plantation. Some corvid passage too meant a large flock of Carrion Crows with Rooks and Hooded Crows mixed in were doing the rounds of the island.


Redstart in the hand at Plantation by AW Georgia Platt


Carrion Crows at Setter by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 17 Greylag Goose, 1 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, 1 Moorhen, 55 Oystercatcher, 22 Lapwing, 12 Golden Plover, 30 Ringed Plover, 11 Whimbrel, 13 Curlew, 21 Turnstone, 1 Dunlin, 12 Purple Sandpiper, 25 Snipe, 4 Redshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 5 Black-headed Gull, 12 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 8 Arctic Skua, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Hen Harrier, 1 Long-eared Owl, 1 Kestrel, 2 Peregrine, 3 Rook, 37 Carrion Crow, 107 Skylark, 19 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 1 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler (first of the year), 4 Blackcap, 5 Ring Ouzel, 4 Blackbird, 6 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing, 4 Song Thrush, 4 Robin, 1 Redstart (first of the year), 131 Wheatear, 8 Tree Sparrow, 1 Dunnock, 8 Pied Wagtail, 8 'White Wagtail', 174 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 56 Rock Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling, 24 Twite, 3 Siskin, 1 Lapland Bunting, 4 Snow Bunting
Year List: 125

Other Wildlife:Buff-tailed Bumblebee at Aesterhoull


South-west cliffs looking dramatic in the sun by Ranger Holly Pickett


Buff-tailed Bumblebee by AW Alex Penn

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3rd May 2022
Weather:
Overcast with some sunny spells and a force 4 south-easterly wind
The first Common Sandpiper of the year, a very grumpy-looking Long-eared Owl, and a 'Blue Fulmar' brightened a slightly disappointing census. The afternoon was spent by Holly pond dipping with the school children (with the expertise of naturalist Nick Riddiford). We found all sorts of freshwater invertebrates including Water Boatmen, Wandering Snails and a huge Horse Leech (high excitement!). Meanwhile Georgia and Alex did some odd-jobs including the first Shag checks of the seabird season.


Long-eared Owl at Vaila's Trees by AW Georgia Platt


Luca and his prize Horse Leech! by Ranger Holly Pickett

Sightings of note: 17 Greylag Goose, 3 Teal, 1 Woodpigeon, 58 Oystercatcher, 16 Lapwing, 12 Golden Plover, 33 Ringed Plover, 12 Whimbrel, 16 Curlew, 27 Turnstone, 4 Purple Sandpiper, 14 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper (first of the year), 8 Redshank, 10 Common Gull, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 5 Arctic Skua, 1 'Blue Fulmar', 1 Long-eared Owl, 2 Peregrine, 15 Carrion Crow, 92 Skylark, 4 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 2 Ring Ouzel, 3 Blackbird, 2 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 2 Robin, 132 Wheatear, 1 Tree Sparrow, 2 Dunnock, 7 Pied Wagtail, 8 'White Wagtail', 127 Meadow Pipit, 51 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling, 32 Twite, 2 redpoll sp.
Year List: 123


'White Wagtail' at Mid Geo by AW Georgia Platt


'Blue Fulmar' at North Light by AW Alex Penn

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2nd May 2022
Weather: Overcast with a force 5 northerly wind
Not much going on in terms of migration with a stiff northerly wind. The Lapland Bunting is staying put for the moment and a group of Orca were spotted far out off South Light, adding some interest to an otherwise quiet day.


Gannet over Dronger by Ranger Holly Pickett

Sightings of note: 15 Greylag Goose, 3 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, 35 Oystercatcher, 20 Lapwing, 14 Golden Plover, 36 Ringed Plover, 8 Whimbrel, 11 Curlew, 21 Turnstone, 10 Purple Sandpiper, 21 Snipe, 7 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 11 Common Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 10 Arctic Skua, 1 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 111 Skylark, 2 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 6 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 1 Ring Ouzel, 4 Blackbird, 3 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush, 3 Robin, 102 Wheatear, 12 Tree Sparrow, 4 Pied Wagtail, 5 'White Wagtail', 110 Meadow Pipit, 52 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 3 Brambling, 13 Twite, 1 Linnet, 1 'Mealy Redpoll', 1 Lapland Bunting
Year List: 122


In a strong northerly wind, the Outer Stack Gannets land on Dronger to collect mud and turf for their nests, by Ranger Holly Pickett

Other Wildlife: Four Orca distant off South Light

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1st May 2022
Weather:
Overcast with a force 4 easterly wind
Census felt surprisingly quiet today, but a slightly overdue (very smart) male Lapland Bunting and the first Garden Warbler of the year kept the year list going.


Stunning male Lapland Bunting at Taing by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 12 Greylag Goose, 1 Shelduck, 1 Teal, 8 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, 1 Moorhen, 45 Oystercatcher, 23 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 47 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 10 Curlew, 26 Turnstone, 40 Purple Sandpiper, 15 Snipe, 3 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 2 Common Gull, 8 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 4 Arctic Skua, 1 Peregrine, 7 Carrion Crow, 118 Skylark, 1 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler (first of the year), 1 Goldcrest, 2 Ring Ouzel, 4 Blackbird, 2 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, 104 Wheatear, 12 Tree Sparrow, 6 Pied Wagtail, 3 'White Wagtail', 170 Meadow Pipit, 51 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 5 Brambling, 17 Twite, 1 Linnet, 1 redpoll sp., 1 Lapland Bunting (first of the year), 1 Snow Bunting
Year List: 122

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30th April 2022
Weather:
Rainy showers and a force 4 ESE wind
A quieter day after yesterday's excitement, although a number of Tree Sparrows did make an arrival. A few more Arctic Skuas are returning to the Isle, much to the annoyance of the Suka Mire Lapwings.


Arctic Skua and Lapwing in an aerial battle by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 22 Greylag Goose, 1 Shelduck, 2 Teal, 20 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, 1 Moorhen, 57 Oystercatcher, 16 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 34 Ringed Plover, 7 Whimbrel, 10 Curlew, 25 Turnstone, 80 Purple Sandpiper, 20 Snipe, 1 Redshank, 6 Black-headed Gull, 9 Common Gull, 8 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 5 Arctic Skua, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 133 Skylark, 1 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 1 Goldcrest, 7 Ring Ouzel, 5 Blackbird, 3 Song Thrush, 5 Robin, 128 Wheatear, 11 Tree Sparrow (first of the year), 1 Dunnock, 5 Pied Wagtail, 2 'White Wagtail', 140 Meadow Pipit, 47 Rock Pipit, 3 Brambling, 18 Twite, 1 Snow Bunting
Year List: 120


Grasshopper Warbler at Dumlin's Sink by AW Alex Penn


Starlings are nest building in walls all over the island, by Ranger Holly Pickett

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29th April 2022
Weather:
Bright sun and clear skies with a light force 2 north-westerly wind moving to south-westerly by the evening
Another gorgeous calm day brought a couple more year ticks - a smart Lesser Whitethroat at Vaadal and a House Martin over Gillsetter in the evening. The White-tailed Eagle of the last couple of days was still about, and to our amazement was joined briefly by a second individual, and a third! The latter appears to be the bird seen in Shetland yesterday, and quickly continued south towards Orkney when it was hassled by the Ravens nesting at Gunnawark. A third, immature, bird was later spotted above the airstrip and Ditfield making this a record-breaking 3 eagle day!

HIGHLIGHTS:
White-tailed Eagle: One still present and was joined briefly by a second heading south rapidly from Shetland which continued towards Orkney and then a third immature seen high above the airstrip.
Hoopoe: Still on Malcolm's Head


Not one but two White-tailed Eagles (and a tiny Bonxie) by AW Georgia Platt


Dunlin at Easter Lother by Ranger Holly Pickett

Sightings of note: 26 Greylag Goose, 1 Shelduck, 3 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 56 Oystercatcher, 18 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 29 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 6 Curlew, 21 Turnstone, 1 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 7 Snipe, 7 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 10 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Arctic Skua, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Peregrine, 148 Skylark, 4 Sand Martin, 5 Swallow, 1 House Martin (first of the year), 6 Willow Warbler, 7 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat (first of the year), 1 Goldcrest, 2 Ring Ouzel, 8 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 118 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 6 Pied Wagtail, 5 'White Wagtail', 137 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 46 Rock Pipit, 1 'Scandinavian Rock Pipit', 3 Chaffinch, 3 Brambling, 16 Twite, 2 redpoll sp., 5 Snow Bunting
Year List: 119


Lesser Whitethroat at Vaadal by AW Georgia Platt


Tree Pipit at Hesswalls by AW Georgia Platt

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28th April 2022
Weather:
Overcast with a light force 2 westerly, wind swinging to south-westerly through the day
The calmest day we have had since arriving made census a pleasure. Yesterday's White-tailed Eagle is still in the north, the Hoopoe was refound on Malcolm's Head, and another White billed diver from Alex made for an exciting day. The cherry on the cake was two bull orcas close in to the rocks at Skadan before heading out south-west! Looking back at the photos confirmed that these are Hulk and Nótt, two bachelor males that travel together. This is the first time they've been seen this Spring.

HIGHLIGHTS:
White-billed Diver: In non-breeding plumage off Meoness
White-tailed Eagle: Still in the north above Ward Hill and Furse
Hoopoe: Back on Malcolm's Head


Great views of the White-Tailed Eagle by AW Georgia Platt


White-billed Diver showing well on calm waters by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 15 Greylag Goose, 4 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Shelduck, 2 Teal, 2 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Moorhen, 50 Oystercatcher, 19 Lapwing, 16 Golden Plover, 30 Ringed Plover, 8 Whimbrel, 12 Curlew, 25 Turnstone, 10 Purple Sandpiper, 25 Snipe, 5 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 18 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 4 Arctic Skua, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Long-eared Owl, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 121 Skylark, 8 Swallow, 1 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 1 Goldcrest, 3 Ring Ouzel, 3 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 4 Robin, 117 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 12 Pied Wagtail, 6 'White Wagtail', 191 Meadow Pipit, 53 Rock Pipit, 1 'Scandinavian Rock Pipit', 5 Brambling, 32 Twite, 6 Linnet, 1 'Mealy Redpoll', 1 Lesser Redpoll, 3 Siskin, 2 Snow Bunting
Year List: 117

Other Wildlife:Two bull Orca off South Harbour and Skadan before heading south-west

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27th April 2022
Weather:
Sunny with few clouds and a force 2 breeze moving from north-easterly to south-westerly throughout the day
A beautiful day with a light breeze made perfect conditions for raptor movement. We were treated to three year ticks: Osprey, Hen Harrier and a White-tailed Eagle that thermalled amongst Bonxies and gulls above Ward Hill for a good part of the afternoon.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Short-toed Lark: Still on Lerness
Osprey: North high over Vaasetter and the Havens
White-tailed Eagle: Hanging on thermals above Ward Hill and the Mast
Hen Harrier: Heading north at great height


Stunning White-Tailed Eagle soaring overhead by AW Georgia Platt

Sightings of note: 3 Barnacle Goose, 25 Greylag Goose, 1 Shelduck, 1 Teal, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 49 Oystercatcher, 15 Lapwing, 24 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 17 Curlew, 15 Turnstone, 4 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Jacksnipe, 25 Snipe, 6 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 14 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Peregrine, 8 Carrion Crow, 140 Skylark, 2 Swallow, 4 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Ring Ouzel, 7 Blackbird, 11 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 5 Robin, 137 Wheatear, 9 Pied Wagtail, 10 'White Wagtail', 144 Meadow Pipit, 54 Rock Pipit, 8 Brambling, 26 Twite, 4 Linnet, 1 'Mealy Redpoll', 1 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin, 1 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting
Year List: 117

Other Wildlife: Common Seal at South Haven


Whimbrel near South Light by AW Georgia Platt

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26th April 2022
Weather:
Sunny spells with a force 4 north-easterly wind
Still northerlies but census produced a nice variety of birds, just not in great numbers, including the Short-toed Lark still on Lerness and a Whooper Swan in South Harbour. We heard back about the Portuguese control Song Thrush trapped at Plantation on the 14th April. It was ringed on its wintering grounds in Portugal this January, and seems to be the first ever Portuguese-ringed Song Thrush trapped in the UK.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Short-toed Lark: Still on Lerness


Portuguese Control Song Thrush in the hand by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 3 Barnacle Goose, 26 Greylag Goose, 1 Whooper Swan, 1 Shelduck, 4 Teal, 3 Woodpigeon, 46 Oystercatcher, 18 Lapwing, 15 Golden Plover, 33 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 13 Curlew, 7 Turnstone, 18 Snipe, 6 Redshank, 4 Black-headed Gull, 21 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 4 Carrion Crow, 149 Skylark, 5 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 2 Ring Ouzel, 5 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 8 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush, 8 Robin, 112 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, 7 Pied Wagtail, 16 'White Wagtail', 160 Meadow Pipit, 40 Rock Pipit, 1 'Scandinavian Rock Pipit', 2 Chaffinch, 25 Brambling, 23 Twite, 3 Linnet, 1 'Mealy Redpoll', 1 redpoll sp., 1 Siskin, 1 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting
Year List: 114
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25th April 2022
Weather:
Overcast with some light drizzle with a force 4 northerly wind
A handful of birds in today including three Barnacle Geese, a couple of Mistle Thrushes, and a Black Redstart. The biggest news of the day is that the first Lapwing chicks in Kirki Mire have hatched. We also now have Mallard ducklings at Gilsetter, whose mother was ringed here last year.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Short-toed Lark: Still on Lerness


Mallard ducklings at Gilsetter by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 3 Barnacle Goose, 25 Greylag Goose, 1 Shelduck, 4 Teal, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, 1 Moorhen, 56 Oystercatcher, 17 Lapwing, 28 Golden Plover, 34 Ringed Plover, 12 Curlew, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 29 Turnstone, 47 Purple Sandpiper, 28 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 11 Redshank, 6 Black-headed Gull, 12 Common Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Arctic Skua, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 124 Skylark, 4 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Ring Ouzel, 5 Blackbird, 2 Fieldfare, 1 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 2 Mistle Thrush, 7 Robin, 1 Black Redstart, 97 Wheatear, 4 Dunnock, 9 Pied Wagtail, 9 'White Wagtail', 196 Meadow Pipit, 38 Rock Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 10 Brambling, 19 Twite, 3 Linnet, 2 'Mealy Redpoll', 1 redpoll sp., 1 Siskin, 2 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting
Year List: 114
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24th April 2022
Weather:
Overcast for most of the day and a haze over the sea with a force 4 north-easterly wind
More north-easterlies so not much migration other than an influx of Ring Ouzels, while goose numbers seem to be finally falling. The first Gannet egg appeared at Lerness today, so the seabird season is only just around the corner!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Short-toed Lark: Still on Lerness


Razorbill by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 19 Greylag Goose, 1 Shelduck, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Collared Dove, 45 Oystercatcher, 10 Lapwing, 20 Golden Plover, 30 Ringed Plover, 11 Curlew, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 19 Turnstone, 5 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Woodcock, 1 Jack Snipe, 33 Snipe, 7 Redshank, 12 Black-headed Gull, 4 Common Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Arctic Skua (first of the year), 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Peregrine, 5 Carrion Crow, 141 Skylark, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 6 Ring Ouzel, 7 Blackbird, 3 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 5 Robin, 92 Wheatear, 3 Dunnock, 3 Pied Wagtail, 6 'White Wagtail', 97 Meadow Pipit, 28 Rock Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 9 Brambling, 10 Twite, 1 Linnet, 2 Siskin, 2 Snow Bunting
Year List: 114
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23rd April 2022
Weather:
Overcast with fog at the top of Ward Hill and a force 4 north-easterly wind
A quiet census but a Hawfinch and the first Greenshank of the year kept things interesting and the year list ticking over.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hawfinch: One over Schoolton/Chapel

Sightings of note: 29 Greylag Goose, 1 Shelduck, 3 Teal, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, 1 Water Rail, 44 Oystercatcher, 19 Lapwing, 18 Golden Plover, 35 Ringed Plover, 8 Curlew, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Turnstone, 16 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Jack Snipe, 33 Snipe, 10 Redshank, 1 Greenshank (first of the year), 5 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 168 Skylark, 3 Willow Warbler, 7 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 2 Ring Ouzel, 6 Blackbird, 4 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush, 7 Robin, 103 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, 7 Pied Wagtail, 3 'White Wagtail', 135 Meadow Pipit, 32 Rock Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 28 Brambling, 17 Twite, 1 'Mealy Redpoll', 2 Linnet, 2 Siskin, 1 Snow Bunting
Year List: 113
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22nd April 2022
Weather:
Bright sun shining through a light haze with a force 6 north-easterly wind
North-easterlies brought another quieter day for migration, but the Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll are still around Gully and the Short-toed Lark reappeared on Lerness. Excitingly, we have heard back from the Norwegian Ringing Scheme about our control Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll. It was ringed in September 2021 over 1000 km away on Selvær, an island off the north coast of Norway!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Short-toed Lark: Back on Lerness
HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL: Two back at Gully


Black-tailed Godwit at South Harbour by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 36 Greylag Goose, 1 Teal, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 46 Oystercatcher, 22 Golden Plover, 37 Ringed Plover, 11 Curlew, 2 Black-tailed Godwit,47 Turnstone, 1 Knot, 5 Purple Sandpiper, 20 Snipe, 18 Redshank, 9 Common Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 96 Skylark, 3 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 1 Goldcrest, 7 Blackbird, 4 Redwing, 6 Robin, 77 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 5 Pied Wagtail, 4 'White Wagtail', 112 Meadow Pipit, 45 Rock Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 18 Brambling, 16 Twite, 2 Linnet, 2 Siskin
Year List: 112
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21st April 2022
Weather:
Sunny spells in between banks of fog with a force 3 north-easterly wind
A foggy morning meant we had to stick to just the crofts for census. A quiet day on the bird front but the first Knot of the year, a Grey Heron upsetting the gulls, and a Shelduck on Golden Water added some interest.


Shellduck at Golden Water by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 22 Greylag Goose, 1 Shelduck, 1 Wigeon, 5 Teal, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 9 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, 11 Golden Plover, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Knot (first of the year), 117 Purple Sandpiper, 8 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Merlin, 1 Carrion Crow, 1 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 1 Goldcrest, 5 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing, 7 Robin, 56 House Sparrow (35m + 21f), 3 Dunnock, 1 'White Wagtail', 4 Chaffinch, 7 Brambling, 4 Linnet, 1 Goldfinch, 2 Siskin, 1 Reed Bunting
Year List: 112
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20th April 2022
Weather:
Bright sun and clear skies turning to fog in the evening, with a force 2 south-easterly wind
Another beautiful day made census a pleasure. Not many birds in with a clear out of almost all the thrushes, but a Sparrowhawk was a nice surprise in the traps, yesterday's Black-tailed Godwits are still about, and a Short-eared Owl over Buness was exciting to see. The afternoon was spent putting up the Oyster Plant exclosure (to keep the sheep out) as a few shoots are now appearing. This was followed by a well-earned beer in the sun, where we watched a handful of Whimbrel and Curlew come in off the sea before the fog rolled in.



Sparrowhawk trapped in Plantation by AW Georgia Platt

Sightings of note: 30 Greylag Goose, 1 Shelduck (First for the year), 1 Wigeon, 7 Teal, 53 Rock Dove, 3 Collared Dove, 45 Oystercatcher, 21 Lapwing, 7 Golden Plover, 40 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 19 Curlew, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 72 Turnstone, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 19 Snipe, 24 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 9 Common Gull, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Rook, 6 Carrion Crow, 179 Skylark, 6 Willow Warbler, 9 Chiffchaff, 8 Blackcap, 4 Goldcrest, 1 Ring Ouzel, 12 Blackbird, 2 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush, 7 Robin, 120 Wheatear, 53 House Sparrow (31m + 22f), 3 Dunnock, 14 Pied Wagtail, 2 'White Wagtail', 155 Meadow Pipit, 63 Rock Pipit, 5 Chaffinch, 13 Brambling, 1 Greenfinch, 28 Twite, 3 Linnet, 1 'Mealy Redpoll', 1 Goldfinch, 2 Siskin, 1 Reed Bunting
Year List: 111
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19th April 2022
Weather:
Bright sun and clear skies with a force 2 south-westerly wind
An absolutely glorious day brought a few unexpected year ticks on census, including two Glossy Ibis, two Stock Doves and two Black-tailed Godwit. The afternoon was spent by Holly (Ranger) conducting a guided walk up Ward Hill while Georgia and Alex (AWs) pushed the traps, catching a Greenfinch (yet another first of the year!)

Stock Dove at Quoy by AW Alex Penn

HIGHLIGHTS:
Stock Dove: One at Kirn O' Skroo and one at Quoy
HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL: Unringed individual at Gully
Glossy Ibis: Two heading north over the Rippack and Vaasetter

Sightings of note: 15 Greylag Goose, 5 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 17 Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Dove, 1 Moorhen, 51 Oystercatcher, 18 Lapwing, 9 Golden Plover, 40 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 18 Curlew, 2 Black-tailed Godwit (first of the year), 63 Turnstone, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 11 Snipe, 27 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 2 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 86 Bonxie, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 2 Rook, 176 Skylark, 1 Swallow, 15 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 9 Blackcap, 2 Goldcrest, 3 Ring Ouzel, 17 Blackbird, 8 Fieldfare, 4 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle thrush, 21 Robin, 108 Wheatear, 6 Dunnock, 15 Pied Wagtail, 5 'White Wagtail', 269 Meadow Pipit, 66 Rock Pipit, 2 'Scandinavian Rock Pipits', 8 Chaffinch, 19 Brambling, Greenfinch (first of the year), 14 Twite, 3 Linnet, 1 'Mealy Redpoll', 1 Siskin, 5 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting
Year List: 110

Other Wildlife: Minke Whale heading east off Easter Lother

Glossy Ibis over the Rippack by AW Alex Penn

Greenfinch trapped in Plantation by AW Georgia Platt

Black-tailed Godwits at Golden Water by AW Georgia Platt
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18th April 2022
Weather:
Haze and drizzle with some sunny spells and a force 5 south-easterly wind
A slightly dreich morning census gave way to a glorious sunny evening. There has been a bit of a clear out of thrushes, but a year tick came in the form of a Green Sandpiper in Vaadal stream and a Long-Eared Owl was flushed off the Parks.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hoopoe : Still at the Base of Malcolm’s Head

Sightings of note: 49 Greylag Goose, 6 Pink-footed Goose, 4 Teal, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 47 Oystercatcher, 20 Lapwing, 11 Golden Plover, 46 Ringed Plover, 11 Curlew, 92 Turnstone, 9 Purple Sandpiper, 32 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper (first of the year), 15 Redshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 15 Common Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 57 Bonxie, 1 'Blue Fulmar', 1 Long-eared Owl, 2 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 2 Rook, 217 Skylark, 9 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 5 Blackcap, 3 Goldcrest, 2 Ring Ouzel, 24 Blackbird, 41 Fieldfare, 22 Redwing, 12 Song Thrush, 22 Robin, 91 Wheatear, 12 Pied Wagtail, 241 Meadow Pipit, 49 Rock Pipit, 12 Chaffinch, 42 Brambling, 3 Twite, 1 Redpoll sp., 3 Goldfinch, 1 Reed Bunting
Year List: 106

Green Sandpiper in Vaadal Stream by AW Alex Penn

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17th April 2022
Weather:
Sunny spells and a force 4 south-easterly wind
More south-easterlies continue to keep census interesting, with a large influx of Wheatears and the first Tree Pipits of the season. Opening the Obs nets at sunset, on the last round before we furled, we were treated to the Norwegian-ringed Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll netted on its way to roost. What a stunner!

HIGHLIGHTS:
HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL : One trapped at the Obs
Lesser Yellowlegs : In Suka Mire
Hoopoe : Still at the base of Malcolm’s Head
Hawfinch : One at Shirva
Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll trapped at the Obs by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 57 Greylag Goose, 6 Pink-footed Goose, 9 Teal, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 8 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, 52 Oystercatcher, 23 Lapwing, 7 Golden Plover, 26 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 10 Curlew, 69 Turnstone, 2 Purple Sand, 3 Woodcock, 24 Snipe, 16 Redshank, 4 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 59 Bonxie, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Merlin, 1 Carrion Crow, 3 Rook, 1 Carrion Crow, 194 Skylark, 3 Swallow, 5 Willow Warbler, 11 Chiffchaff, 6 Blackcap, 7 Goldcrest, 5 Ring Ouzel, 60 Blackbird, 50 Fieldfare, 76 Redwing, 40 Song Thrush, 49 Robin, 225 Wheatear, 2 Dunnock, 16 Pied Wagtail, 5 'White Wagtail', 222 Meadow Pipit, 2 Tree Pipit (first of the year), 60 Rock Pipit, 9 'Scandinavian Rock Pipit', 6 Chaffinch, 79 Brambling, 1 Hawfinch, 9 Twite, 2 Goldfinch, 1 Reed Bunting

Year List: 105
Willow Warbler trapped at Plantation by AW Alex Penn
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16th April 2022
Weather:
Fog and a force 6 south-easterly wind
Heavy fog on the higher parts of the island meant some of the clifftops had to be avoided during census. However, there were still birds about, such as a smart male Hawfinch at Shirva and a couple of large flocks of Brambling roaming the island. More and more Bonxies are also appearing on land, so the seabird season can't be far away!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hawfinch : One at Shirva
Sightings of note: 47 Greylag Goose, 6 Pink-footed Goose, 7 Teal, 2 Woodpigeon, 42 Oystercatcher, 13 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 35 Ringed Plover, 10 Curlew, 53 Turnstone, 1 Purple Sand, 36 Snipe, 20 Redshank, 5 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 5 Bonxie, 1 Kestrel, 1 Carrion Crow, 120 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 5 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 5 Goldcrest, 5 Ring Ouzel, 56 Blackbird, 21 Fieldfare, 40 Redwing, 15 Song Thrush, 51 Robin, 51 Wheatear, 5 Dunnock, 9 Pied Wagtail, 249 Meadow Pipit, 49 Rock Pipit, 3 'Scandinavian Rock Pipit', 6 Chaffinch, 96 Brambling, 1 Hawfinch, 1 Goldfinch

Year List: 104
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15th April 2022
Weather:
Bright sun and a force 4 south-easterly wind
A beautiful day and a favourable wind made for much more interesting birding and warmer hands! Thrushes and geese seem to be clearing out to make way for hirundines, Willow Warblers and some rarities such as the two Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll that are roosting at the Obs. Excitingly, one of these is Norwegian ringed, and we think we can get the full sequence from photos, so look forward to an update on that! The Lesser Yellowlegs was also refound in Suka Mire, showing beautifully in the sun.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Lesser Yellowlegs : In Suka Mire
Hoopoe : Still at the base of Malcolm’s Head
Short-toed Lark: At Lerness
HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL : Two in Gully
Hawfinch : One at Shirva
Lesser Yellowlegs by AW Alex Penn
Sightings of note: 40 Greylag Goose, 5 Pink-footed Goose, 4 Teal, 1 Water Rail, 1 Moorhen, 37 Oystercatcher, 11 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 27 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 9 Curlew, 62 Turnstone, 2 Purple Sand, 30 Snipe, 19 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 9 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 37 Bonxie, 1 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 3 Carrion Crow, 198 Skylark, Short-toed Lark (first of the year), 2 Sand Martin (first of the year), 4 Swallow, 9 Willow Warbler, 17 Chiffchaff, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 15 Goldcrest, 3 Ring Ouzel, 43 Blackbird, 22 Fieldfare, 24 Redwing, 59 Song Thrush, 3 Mistle Thrush, 51 Robin, 85 Wheatear, 3 Dunnock, 5 Pied Wagtail, 269 Meadow Pipit, 49 Rock Pipit, 2 'Scandinavian Rock Pipit', 6 Chaffinch, 89 Brambling, 1 Hawfinch, 16 Twite, 3 'Mealy Redpoll', 4 Goldfinch

Year List: 104
Short-toed Lark at Lerness by AW Alex Penn
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14th April 2022
Weather:
Mostly sunny with a force 2 easterly wind
A Hoopoe at the base of Hoini set the day off to a good start. This was followed by a busy census consisting of a large number of Willow Warblers, Blackcaps and Robins sheltering in the geos of the west cliffs. AWs Alex and Georgia spent the afternoon spring trapping Wheatears, which have also seen a bit of an influx. We opened the Obs nets in the evening. They immediately filled with Brambling on their way in to roost, and we ringed 47 in total. As we began to extract these, a couple of very pale balls of fluff in a pine tree by the net caught our eye. Two Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll were a lovely surprise, although they were determined to roost and didn't go in the net.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Hoopoe: At the base of Malcolm's Head
HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL: Two roosting in the Obs Garden
Hawfinch : Two at Vaila's Trees
Hoopoe at the bottom of Malcolm’s Head by AW Alex Penn
Sightings of note: 1 Barnacle Goose, 84 Greylag Goose, 6 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon, 5 Teal, 3 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Water Rail, 1 Moorhen, 41 Oystercatcher, 14 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 30 Ringed Plover, 4 Whimbrel (first of the year), 15 Curlew, 54 Turnstone, 7 Purple Sand, 1 Jack Snipe, 20 Snipe, 20 Redshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 5 Common Gull, 19 Bonxie, 1 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 1 Rook, 3 Carrion Crow, 229 Skylark, 3 Swallow, 12 Willow Warbler, 14 Chiffchaff, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 8 Blackcap, 24 Goldcrest, 6 Ring Ouzel, 69 Blackbird, 19 Fieldfare, 70 Redwing, 72 Song Thrush, 2 Mistle Thrush, 95 Robin, 2 Black Redstart, 43 Wheatear, 5 Dunnock, 16 Pied Wagtail, 204 Meadow Pipit, 55 Rock Pipit, 17 Chaffinch, 136 Brambling, 2 Linnet, 3 'Mealy Redpoll' (first of the year), 1 Goldfinch, 4 Snow Bunting, 4 Reed Bunting

Year List: 102
Robin at Wirvie by Ranger Holly Pickett
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13th April 2022
Weather:
Rain showers all day with a force 6 nouth-easterly wind
Although the storm force winds and horizontal rain meant census was called off this morning, Spring is certainly arriving on Fair Isle. The island’s crofters have their hands full lambing, with new lambs popping up across the crofts and on the hill. Migrant passerines are beginning to arrive in force, with Goldcrests, Robins, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps on the cliffs, and Wheatears and thrushes in the fields and ditches. Annual but less common European migrants such as Black Redstarts, Hawfinches and Ring Ouzels always feel extra special.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Crane: Still present, seen over Hoini

Hawfinch : Two at the Haa and one at Steeni Geo Sightings of note: 5 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Teal, 1 Golden Plover, 10 Purple Sand, 3 Woodcock, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Kestrel (first of the year), 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler (first of the year), 9 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat (first of the year), 20 Goldcrest, 3 Ring Ouzel, 1 Mistle Thrush, 41 Robin, 3 Black Redstart, 1 Stonechat, 1 Dunnock, 1 Chaffinch, 10 Brambling, 1 redpoll sp., 3 Goldfinch Year List: 99
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12th April 2022
Weather:
Overcast and showers with a force 6 south-easterly wind
It's starting to feel as if migration is getting underway, signalled by the first Willow Warblers of the year, a smattering of Wheatears and a Ring Ouzel. The highlight came after dinner when we were informed of a Crane by Utra. We then watched as it landed on Da Water to be mobbed by the breeding Lapwings.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Crane: First sighted at Utra then settled at Da Water

Crane at Da Water by AW Alex Penn
Sightings of note: 1 Barnacle Goose, 98 Greylag Goose, 5 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon, 8 Teal, 1 Woodpigeon, 48 Oystercatcher, 12 Lapwing, 7 Golden Plover, 33 Ringed Plover, 12 Curlew, 44 Turnstone, 30 Purple Sand, 1 Woodcock, 15 Snipe, 19 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 69 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 10 Bonxie, 1 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 186 Skylark, 2 Willow Warbler , 8 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Ring Ouzel , 79 Blackbird, 4 Fieldfare, 3 Fieldfare, 53 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush, 3 Mistle Thrush, 4 Robin, 1 Stonechat, 10 Wheatear, 3 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 14 Pied Wagtail, 140 Meadow Pipit, 33 Rock Pipit, 6 Chaffinch, 5 Brambling, 1 Redpoll sp., 2 Goldfinch, 12 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting

Year List: 95
Puffin at Pietron by AW Georgia Platt

Ring Ouzel at the base of Malcolm's Head by Ranger Holly Pickett
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11th April 2022
Weather:
Sunny spells and a force 3 south-easterly wind
The team were up at dawn for a Tystie survey, with gorgeous sunrise views while A large number of puffins were back on the cliffs, heralding the start of the seabird season. A more favourable south-easterly wind made for an interesting census, including 3 new species for the year list!

Puffin at Pietron by AW Alex Penn
Sightings of note: 1 Barnacle Goose, 154 Greylag Goose, 6 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Wigeon, 19 Teal, 2 Woodpigeon, 49 Oystercatcher, 15 Lapwing, 5 Golden Plover, 49 Ringed Plover, 14 Curlew, 46 Turnstone, 12 Curlew, 5 Purple Sand, 1 Woodcock, 37 Snipe, 19 Redshank, 2 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 8 Bonxie, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 194 Skylark, 1 Swallow (first of the year), 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap (first of the year), 2 Goldcrest, 71 Blackbird, 4 Fieldfare, 51 Redwing, 10 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush, 3 Robin, 1 Black Redstart (first of the year), 15 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 1 Grey Wagtail, 9 Pied Wagtail, 186 Meadow Pipit, 38 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Brambling, 3 Twite, 1 Linnet, 3 Goldfinch, 10 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting

Year List: 92
Female Black Redstart by AW Georgia Platt

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10th April 2022
Weather:
Sunny with a force 4 northerly wind
A few new arrivals today, such as a Brambling, a Siskin and a large increase in the number of Meadow Pipits on the isle. The indisputable highlight was a large Flapper Skate found washed up by AW Alex Penn on a pebble beach near South Light (Hultry Geo).

Washed-up Flapper Skate with 6'1" Alex as a size reference! by AW Georgia Platt
Sightings of note: 167 Greylag Goose, 6 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Barnacle Goose (first of the year) , 2 Moorhen, 8 Teal, 41 Oystercatcher, 17 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 51 Ringed Plover, 12 Curlew, 43 Turnstone, 12 Curlew, 9 Purple Sand, 1 Woodcock, 2 Jack Snipe, 17 Snipe, 21 Redshank, 3 Black-headed Gull, 6 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 7 Bonxie, 73 Puffin, 1 Carrion Crow, 201 Skylark, 2 Chiffchaff, 88 Blackbird, 3 Fieldfare, 40 Redwing, 15 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Robin, 2 Wheatear, 7 Pied Wagtail, 1 'White Wagtail', 138 Meadow Pipit, 43 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Brambling, 1 Twite, 2 Linnet, 1 Siskin, 8 Snow Bunting

Year List: 89
Smart male Wheatear by AW Alex Penn

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9th April 2022
Weather:
Sunny with hail and light snow showers and a force 8 north-easterly wind
Another windy day with -4C wind chill made working around the clifftops challenging! Still managed census despite cutting out the most exposed areas, with a good number of Redwing, Blackbirds and Skylarks sheltering around the crofts.

Snipe at Burkle by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 147 Greylag Goose, 16 Teal, 46 Oystercatcher, 15 Lapwing, 59 Ringed Plover, 1 Black-headed Gull, 12 Curlew, 57 Turnstone, 10 Purple Sand, 16 Snipe, 59 Common Gull, 20 Redshank, 7 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Bonxie, 2 Puffin, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 163 Skylark, 56 Blackbird, 4 Fieldfare, 88 Redwing, 14 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush, 4 Pied Wagtail, 45 Meadow Pipit, 29 Rock Pipit, 4 Snow Bunting

Year List: 88
Mistle Thrush at Walli Burn by AW Alex Penn

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8th April 2022
Weather:
Sunny with hail showers and a force 6 north-easterly wind
A breezy morning with showers of heavy rain and hail meant we covered our respective census areas throughout the day, instead of in one go in the morning. Still a fair amount of thrush movement and a couple of Woodcock giving a slightly autumnal feel to the bird list, but the first 'White Wagtail' of the year was a nice addition.

'White Wagtail' at South Haven by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 167 Greylag Goose, 8 Teal, 26 Oystercatcher, 13 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 46 Ringed Plover, 2 Black-headed Gull, 7 Curlew, 64 Turnstone, 4 Purple Sand, 2 Woodcock, 17 Snipe, 59 Common Gull, 29 Redshank, 3 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Bonxie, 1 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 3 Chiffchaff, 50 Blackbird, 27 Fieldfare, 86 Redwing, 37 Song Thrush, 1 Robin, 2 Stonechat, 1 Wheatear, 3 Pied Wagtail, 1 'White Wagtail' (first of the year), 2 Chaffinch, 1 Snow Bunting

Year List: 88
Lambing is beginning for the island's crofters - by AW Alex Penn

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7th April 2022
Weather:
Sunny with sleet showers and a force 6 northerly wind
Census today revealed a good number of thrushes and a handful of woodcock brought in by the last few days of gale force winds. We have also heard back about the two control Linnets caught on 2nd March. Both were originally ringed in Shetland, so it appears they are Shetland offspring which wintered elsewhere in the UK and are returning to their natal region.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Lesser Yellowlegs : one still in field west of Skerryholm (5th record for Fair Isle)

Lapwing at Kirki Mire by AW Georgia Platt

Sightings of note: 131 Greylag Goose, 5 Pink-footed Goose, 1 Wigeon, 6 Teal, 2 Woodpigeon, 2 Moorhen,37 Oystercatcher, 9 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover,59 Ringed Plover, 2 Black-headed Gull, 12 Curlew, 47 Turnstone, 3 Purple Sand, 5 Woodcock, 16 Snipe, 59 Common Gull, 13 Redshank, 70 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Bonxie, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Merlin, 1 Carrion Crow, 191 Skylark, 101 Blackbird, 26 Fieldfare, 193 Redwing, 42 Song Thrush, 1 Robin, 2 Stonechat, 4 Pied Wagtail,26 Meadow Pipit, 48 Rock Pipit, 8 Twite

Year List: 88
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6th April 2022
Weather:
Overcast and sleet showers with a force 8 easterly wind (gusting force 9)
No census again today due to high winds. However a Lesser Yellowlegs found by AW Alex on a foray into the elements proved that it's always worth looking. It showed well for a good while, feeding in a field west of Skerryholm and returning there each time we thought we'd lost it. This is the fifth record for Fair Isle and the first since 2019!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Lesser Yellowlegs : one in field west of Skerryholm (5th record for Fair Isle)

Lesser Yellowlegs by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 12 Teal, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Black-headed Gull, 59 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Bonxie, 1 Merlin, 2 Carrion Crow, 2 Blackbird, 33 Fieldfare, 197 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 1 Wheatear

Year List: 88
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5th April 2022
Weather:
Overcast with a force 4 westerly wind
A small amount of migration today with the arrival of a Wheatear, Stonechat and several new Blackbirds. The 'Siberian Chiffchaff' ringed on the 2nd April is still sheltering at the Obs, while two Lapwing pairs have started incubating in Kirki Mire. The afternoon was spent repairing the Vaadal heligoland trap, now that our wire has arrived on the boat.

HIGHLIGHTS:
1 'Siberian Chiffchaff' : one at Obs (same individual ringed the 2nd)

Sightings of note: 173 Greylag Geese, 5 Pink-footed Goose, 4 Teal, 45 Oystercatcher, 1 Woodpigeon, 13 Lapwing (2 incubating), 44 Ringed Plover, 16 Curlew, 87 Turnstone, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 13 Snipe, 24 Redshank, 1 Common Gull, 6 Bonxie, 1 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 1 Carrion Crow, 265 Skylark, 1 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackbird, 12 Redwing, 1 Stonechat, 1 Wheatear, 8 Pied Wagtail, 32 Meadow Pipit, 36 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 11 Twite, 5 Snow Bunting

Year List: 87
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4th April 2022
Weather:
Sunny and some showers with a force 5 north westerly wind
A blustery census today so very few new passerines, but a Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll sheltering in the Good Shepherd's noost was undoubtedly a highlight! A few Bonxies are also trickling back onto the isle, including the High Holm pair which have both returned for the breeding season.

HIGHLIGHTS:
HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL : one in the Shepherd's noost

High Holm Bonxie pair by AW Georgia Platt

Sightings of note: 149 Greylag Geese, 4 Teal, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Moorhen, 36 Oystercatcher, 17 Lapwing, 65 Ringed Plover, 9 Curlew, 100 Turnstone, 30 Purple Sandpiper, 21 Snipe, , 43 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 5 Common Gull, 4 Bonxie, 1 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 230 Skylark, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Fieldfare, 7 Redwing, 1 Stonechat, 1 Pied Wagtail, 41 Meadow Pipit, 28 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 3 Twite, 2 Linnet, 4 Snow Bunting

Year List: 87
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3rd April 2022
Weather:
Rainy showers with a force 6 westerly wind, gusting force 9
Strong wind and driving rain meant no census today. A few ventures out into the elements yielded an Iceland Gull which bathed briefly with the Great Black-backs at Ditfield. Some seawatching resulted in more Bonxie, Puffin and 'Blue Fulmar' sightings. There's always something to look at!

HIGHLIGHTS:
Iceland Gull: one at Ditfield

Iceland Gull at Ditfield by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 6 Teal, 20 Purple Sandpiper, 21 Redshank, 1 Black-headed Gull, 4 Common Gull, 80 Great Black-backed Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Bonxie, 3 Puffin, 1 'Blue Fulmar' , 1 Fieldfare, 1 Linnet

Year List: 86
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2nd April 2022
Weather:
Bright sun and a force 3 northerly wind
An early start for the first Tystie survey of the season meant we got to witness a stunning Fair Isle sunrise. Census was quiet again but the sun continued to shine, with both Shetland and Orkney clearly visible to the north and south. We opened the Obs nets in the evening, ringing a 'Siberian Chiffchaff' and processing two UK-control Linnets which had been around the Haven for a couple of days - watch this space!

Sunrise over Buness by AW Georgia Platt

HIGHLIGHTS:
'Siberian Chiffchaff': one trapped at the Obs

'Siberian Chiffchaff' in the Hand by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 163 Greylag Goose, 6 Pink-footed Goose, 18 Teal, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Moorhen, 2 Woodpigeon, 25 Oystercatcher, 15 Lapwing, 64 Ringed Plover, 15 Curlew, 79 Turnstone, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 26 Snipe, 4 Redshank, 5 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Bonxie, 22 Puffin, 1 Long-eared Owl, 1 Rook , 141 Skylark, 8 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 5 Blackbird, 20 Redwing, 1 Stonechat, 10 Pied Wagtail, 27 Meadow Pipit, 49 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 7 Twite, 2 Linnet, 10 Siskin, 4 Snow Bunting

Year List: 86
Linnets Trapped at the Obs by AW Alex Penn

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1st April 2022
Weather:
Bright sun with some light sleet showers and a force 3 northerly wind
Some sunshine was much appreciated by the team as we undertook the first census of the year. Not much new movement but the first Puffins of the year were sighted on the sea off South Green, hopefully not long until they are on land!

Sightings of note: 152 Greylag Goose, 6 Pink-footed Goose, 7 Teal, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Woodpigeon, 38 Oystercatcher, 13 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 74 Ringed Plover, 16 Curlew, 54 Turnstone, 6 Purple Sandpiper, 21 Snipe, 18 Redshank, 4 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Puffin (first of the year), 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Merlin, 1 Carrion Crow, 246 Skylark, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 4 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 9 Redwing, 1 Stonechat, 7 Pied Wagtail, 52 Meadow Pipit, 35 Rock Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 8 Twite, 11 Snow Bunting

Year List: 86
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31st March 2022
Weather:
Sun and sleet showers with a cold, force 5 northerly wind
Still few migrants to be seen but a productive day for the team included acquiring a burning barrel to burn our mountain of cardboard boxes, washing bird bags, and some admin tasks. A highlight was seeing the Coastguard helicopter on exercise land at the South Light - much excitement!

Coastguard Helicopter at the South Light by AW Alex Penn

Sightings of note: 95 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 5 Teal, 10 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Carrion Crow, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 13 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Stonechat, 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 Chaffinch, 2 Twite, 1 Goldfinch, 8 Snow Bunting

Year List: 85
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30th March 2022
Weather:
Sun breaking through the clouds but with a cold, force 5 northerly wind
Another bitterly cold day of northerlies meant birds were scarce. A couple of firsts for the year, Great Northern Diver and Bonxie, were very welcome.

Redwing at the Chapel by AW Georgia Platt

Sightings of note: 3 Teal, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Moorhen, 11 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 4 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Jack Snipe, 1 Black-headed Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Bonxie (first of the year), 1 Great Northern Diver (first of the year), 1 'Blue Fulmar' , 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Merlin, 1 Carrion Crow, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 5 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 16 Redwing, 1 Stonechat, 3 Pied Wagtail, 1 Chaffinch, 2 Linnet, 1 Goldfinch, 10 Snow Bunting

Year List: 85
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29th March 2022
Weather:
Snow showers interspersed with some sun and a force 4 northerly wind
A cold wind from the arctic brought snow showers today, reminding us that spring isn't quite here just yet! Still no wire for trap repairs so the day consisted of some seawatching, birding and collecting Holly's new bike from the boat. The best sighting of the day was a 'Blue Fulmar' seen from South Light, not a species tick (colour morph of Fulmar), but still a lovely sight!

Stonechat at Boini Mire (photo by AW Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 91 Greylag Goose, 5 Pink-footed Goose, 6 Teal, 3 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 8 Lapwing, 6 Golden Plover, 81 Ringed plover, 7 Purple Sandpiper, 5 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 'Blue Fulmar' , 1 Merlin, 2 Carrion Crow, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 20 Redwing, 1 Robin, 3 Stonechat, 3 Pied Wagtail, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Goldfinch, 10 Snow Bunting

Snow from the South Light (photo by AW Georgia Platt)

Year List:83
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28th March 2022
Weather:
Overcast with a cold, force 3 northerly wind by the afternoon
A northerly wind brought cold weather and few birds. We are also still awaiting the delivery of materials for trap repairs so got some admin jobs out of the way. A Chiffchaff with a large pollen horn was trapped, which suggests it has been feeding on Eucalyptus or Citrus flowers in Iberia or north Africa.

Chiffchaff with pollen horn trapped in Plantation (photo by AW Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 128 Greylag Goose, 6 Pink-footed Goose, 9 Teal, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Woodpigeon, 1 Water Rail, 1 Moorhen, 10 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 20 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Sparrow Hawk (first of the year), 1 Merlin, 2 Carrion Crow, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 5 Blackbird, 2 Fieldfare, 12 Redwing, 2 Stonechat, 1 Wheatear, 1 Dunnock, 4 Pied Wagtail, 1 Chaffinch, 22 Twite, 1 Goldfinch (first of the year), 9 Snow Bunting

Year List: 83
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27th March 2022
Weather:
Good visibility, bright sun and a force 4 westerly wind
Another beautiful day of birding, trap repairs and a guided walk in the sunshine. The highlight was without doubt a White-billed Diver seen by AW Alex off South Light, which continued to show well and to be twitched by the rest of the team and a few keen islanders. Not bad for our first week on the island and first diver species of the season!

AWs and islanders connecting with the White-billed Diver at South Light (photo by Ranger Holly Pickett)

HIGHLIGHTS:
White-billed Diver: one off South Light (new for the year)

White-billed Diver on the sea off South Light - check out that meaty bill! (photo by AW Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 108 Greylag Goose, 4 Teal, 2 Woodpigeon, 1 Water Rail, 11 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 31 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Jack Snipe, 61 Kittiwakes (Greenholm), 2 Black-headed Gull, 10 Common Gull, 2 Carrion Crow, 3 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackbird, 5 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing, 1 Robin, 3 Stonechat, 1 Grey Wagtail, 6 Pied Wagtail, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Brambling, 5 Twite, 2 Siskin, 9 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting

Year List: 81
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26th March 2022
Weather:
Sunshine in between banks of fog and a force 4 westerly wind
The weather surprised us and held off, so trap repairs continued for Alex and Georgia (AWs) while Holly (Ranger) conducted the first guided walk of the season. A Merlin hung around for most of they day taking advantage of Skylarks in their hundreds. An afternoon of birding turned up a handful of common migrants, and Grey Wagtail and a smart male Wheatear made nice additions to the year list.

Sightings of note: 112 Greylag Goose, 6 Teal, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Woodpigeon, 1 Water Rail, 11 Lapwing, 3 Golden Plover, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 6 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 11 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Long-eared Owl, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 2 Carrion Crow, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackbird, 2 Redwing, 1 Stonechat, 1 Wheatear (first of the year), 1 Grey Wagtail (first of the year), 9 Pied Wagtail, 2 Chaffinch, 3 Twite, 1 Linnet, 26 Snow Bunting

Wheatear at South Haven (photo by AW Georgia Platt)

Year List: 80
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25th March 2022
Weather:
mostly overcast and a force 4 westerly wind
A couple of hours of birding in the morning revealed a smattering of common migrants such as Twite, Siskin, and a Long-eared Owl roosting at the Gully Trap, as well as Skylarks still flocking in large numbers. The afternoon was spent tidying our accommodation at the South Light, and looking out for the Orca seen off North Ronaldsay earlier in the day, to no avail (yet!).

Sightings of note: 89 Greylag Goose, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 4 Teal, 2 Woodpigeon, 1 Golden Plover, 47 Ringed Plover, 6 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Jack Snipe, 1 Black-headed Gull, 11 Common Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Long-eared Owl, 2 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 1 Stonechat, 3 Pied Wagtail, 2 Chaffinch, 8 Twite, 5 Siskin, 4 Snow Bunting

Jack Snipe hiding in Boini Mire ditch (photo by AW Georgia Platt)

Year List: 78
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24th March 2022
Weather:
Sporadic sunshine breaking through haze and a force 4 south-westerly wind
A quieter day for migration but walking the north census route produced the first Goldcrest of the year and showed that the Guillemots, Razorbills and Gannets are starting to arrive on the west cliffs. Other welcome sightings included a handful of finches including Siskin, Linnet and Chaffinch.

Sightings of note: 4 Teal, 1 Cormorant, 4 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Golden Plover, 37 Ringed Plover, 10 Purple Sandpiper, 3 Black-headed Gull, 2 Peregrine, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 17 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Stonechat, 3 Pied Wagtail, 1 alba Wagtail sp., 1 Chaffinch, 1 Linnet, 4 Siskin, 5 Snow Bunting

Year List: 78
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23rd March 2022
Weather:
mostly hazy with bright sun and force 4 southerly wind
Another productive day, we made the most of some sunshine by walking the south-west census route in the morning and opened the Obs nets in the evening. A nice surprise was a Blackbird caught in the Plantation trap originally ringed in Heligoland, Germany. Other than that a few more common migrants are beginning to trickle in, such as Chiffchaffs, Redwing, and Fieldfare.

German-ringed Blackbird in the hand at Plantation (photo by AW Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 71 Greylag Goose, 4 Teal, 5 Woodpigeon, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Golden Plover, 11 Curlew, 1 Dunlin, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 14 Redshank, 2 Black-headed Gull, 7 Common Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 6 Chiffchaff, 15 Blackbird, 2 Song Thrush, 8 Robin, 1 Dunnock, 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Linnet, 1 Reed Bunting
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22nd March 2022
Weather:
mostly hazy with sunny spells and a force 4 south-easterly wind
A busy and productive first full day for the team today, as we all walked the south-east census route this morning to familiarise ourselves with the route again, followed by some trap repairs in the afternoon. Not much new to report today other than a few more Chiffchaffs, a Long-eared Owl roosting in the pine tree in Gully and a very unexpected Moorhen caught in Vaadal whilst we were working on the traps! A brilliant bird to kick off the season.

Moorhen in the hand at Plantation (photo by AW Alex Penn)

Sightings of note: 67 Greylag Goose, 5 Pink-footed Goose, 6 Teal, 1 Water Rail, 1 Moorhen (Vaadal), 17 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 4 Curlew, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 47 Snipe, 1 Black-headed Gull, 2 Common Gull, 1 Long-eared Owl (Gully), 2 Carrion Crow, 4 Chiffchaff, 18 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, 6 Robin, 3 Pied Wagtail, 1 Chaffinch, 5 Twite, 6 Snow Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting

Snow Bunting on Meoness (photo by AW Alex Penn)
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21st March 2022
Weather:
sunny spells with a force 4-5 south-easterly breeze
And we're back! Today the seasonal staff arrived back on Fair Isle for the season, and it seems like we brought the good weather with us - sunshine and a light breeze greeted us back to the Isle, as well as a scattering of birds. A couple of Chiffchaffs were a welcome sight, along with a bright Yellowhammer, good numbers of wintering thrushes and a handful of Snow Bunting. We are delighted to be starting the season, full of optimism and energy (for now!) - the team this year consists of Alex Penn and Georgia Platt returning for a third season, and new Ranger Holly Pickett. Welcome to the team Holly!

Yellowhammer at the Haa (photo by AW Alex Penn)

HIGHLIGHTS:
Yellowhammer: one touring the Isle

Sightings of note: 4 Teal, 3 Woodpigeon, 4 Lapwing, 52 Ringed Plover, 11 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Jack Snipe, 1 Black-headed Gull, 2 Carrion Crow, 2 Chiffchaff, 45 Fieldfare, 1 Dunnock, 4 Pied Wagtail, 1 Chaffinch, 4 Snow Bunting

Species present but not counted: Greylag Goose, Eider, Rock Dove, Oystercatcher, Golden Plover, Curlew, Turnstone, Snipe, Redshank, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Tystie, Razorbill, Fulmar, Gannet, Shag, Hooded Crow, Raven, Skylark (present in hundreds), Fair Isle Wren, Starling, Blackbird, Redwing, Robin, House Sparrow, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit

Looking over to the Holms from South Light - always a lovely view, especially in golden hour! (photo by AW Georgia Platt)
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