Monday, 1 August 2016

Fair Isle summary

Hello

Apologies for the trailing off of blogs recently, a disadvantage of residing on the most isolated populated island in the UK - the Internet and mobile phone coverage on Fair Isle is limited and often absent completely...

We enjoyed a mixture of weather during our stay, the only sustained period of rain being at night. Walking, birding and some ringing has been the main activity of our short time on the island, the long daylight hours meaning we remained busy in the great outdoors for much of the time. The wonderful Fair Isle Bird Observatory hospitality and good food ensured a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

We located over 80 Bonxie or Great Skua chicks on the wilder areas of the island ensuring that the total number of ringed birds were at record levels this year, and with high levels of productivity. We also ringed some Fulmars, both chicks and adult, their legendary projectile vomiting habits reminding us why they are not a favourite amongst sea-bird ringers! We caught and ringed about 40 passerines which included the (Shetland) Starling and (Fair Isle) Wren, Twite, Pied Wagtail, Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit and good numbers of Wheatear. Photographing colour-ringed birds proved an adult male Wheatear to be at least five years old and the identification of a breeding Rock Pipit that was first ringed in 2012 and has since been seen wintering in Aberdeenshire.

No rare birds were located but we did encounter Purple Sandpipers, a Black Redstart, quite a variety of waders and summering Great Northern and Red-throated Divers.

Time now for the long journey home to sunny Northamptonshire...!

Regards

Neil M




A stunning light phase
Arctic Skua - beautiful both
on the ground and in flight.

Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull


Dark phase Arctic Skua

Red-throated Diver


Dark phase Arctic Skua defending
its territory and chick from a
marauding Bonxie

Wheatear

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