Saturday 10 October 2015

Fair Isle - part six

This morning I decided to join Dave Parnaby for the 7am trap round. The gully trap was empty but at the plantation it was a little better. A Robin and two Barred Warblers had joined a previously ringed YBW. Dave got the first Barred Warbler into the heligoland trap but the second had other plans and just as he had corralled it nicely into position, it doubled-back by flying straight between his legs. Not many can say they've been "nutmegged" by a Barred Warbler. We brought the Robin and one Barred Warbler back to the Obs for ringing.

Plantation Heligoland trap

Warden Dave Parnaby with a ringed Robin

Barred Warbler
After breakfast I headed over towards Setter and Pund. But a north wind and persistent drizzle made the going difficult. At Pund I had three Wheatears.

Northern Wheatear, Pund, Fair Isle, Shetland
And from a nearby crop strip I flushed two YBWs and a Common Rosefinch.

A rather soggy Common Rosefinch
A text update reported a Wryneck near the north light. With not much else about I turned on my heels to see that (I have a soft spot for Wrynecks). I stopped at the Plantation where a Common Redstart had dropped in, but the rain got too heavy for decent photos.

Common Redstart, Plantation, Fair Isle
I contined on towards North Light for the Wryneck but the weather really closed in so I canned that plan and instead stopped for lunch at the Obs.
In the afternoon I went to Quoy to try and find the 'eastern' Yellow Wagtail. It was a little tricky to find the right field but in the end I got there. Photos were difficult though, the bird was flighty and you can't really sneak up on a bird in the middle of a field with no cover - hence the ropey record shot.

'eastern' Yellow Wagtail, Quoy, Fair Isle, Shetland
I then headed to Haa and birded around Tommy Hyndman's garden (which is where Britain's first Citril Finch was found) and the fields in front of it. I had two Swallows, two House Martins and flushed three YBWs from the Iris bed in the field.

Scene of Britain's first Citril Finch

Flushed three YBWs from these Irises
I headed back to the Obs via South Light.

At Upper Leogh came across an unringed Barred Warbler sitting in a Rosehip bush - could this have been the one that "nut-megged" Dave earlier that day or a new bird - don't know and it didn't hang about for photos either.

Barred Warbler, Upper Leogh, Fair Isle, Shetland
That evening back at the Obs I decided to change my travel plans and get the Good Shepherd off the island on Thursday morning instead of flying off on Friday afternoon. All week long I had seen flights being cancelled due to low cloud or strong wind. I had a connecting flight from Sumburgh to Aberdeen to catch Friday evening, if my flight off Fair Isle was cancelled I would be 'goosed'. Better safe than sorry and I could bird around Sumburgh on Thursday and Friday. It was to be a decision that would pay off well!
At the log call that night, Dave announced the winners of the BTO bird race which had taken place that day. It was BTO Head Andy Clement's team who won - I reckon they let the boss win ;-).

Tense moments as the the BTO bird race results are announced.
I enjoyed a couple of bottles of this really excellent ale and then hit the hay.

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