Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Little Gull and other Birds about yesterday.

Little Gull Hydrocoloes minutus - South Harbour
a small gull... size? a bit smaller than a Tern, note: dark under wing & reddish legs.
I can see the Little Gull in the South Harbour now as I look up from my computer and look out the window. (I guess when I saw one the other day it didn't count because I didn't get a photo and no one else saw it. beleave me now?)
The Sea and wind  is wild out there!!! but I ventured out in the gale for a better view and a record shot. The water looks calm between the waves when zoomed in? but it looks like this below! blown away! It 's hard to hold still to look with my binoculars or take a photo. We have had no plane service since Friday. The
South Harbour - Fair Isle

Even with the salt spray I can see the 4 newly arived Greenfinch.

We have a Jackdaw influx of 24 or more, some other new birds have been seen with the raging south east winds. Great Grey Shrike, Reed Bunting, Stonechat, Snow Buntings, Bramblings, Blackcap. etc. Scaup and Donnock still in Garden. 


Murder of Jackdaw - I am told that the white collar is a Scandinavian trait?

Henry found this Beautiful but dead Water Rail.
Found in the Lower Leogh Garden.
I wonder if it was the cats? or the weather?

forcast calling for a mega bird?

Waxwings! one year ago today.

Waxwings one year later... these photos have been seen and published around the world.

I looked through the images and found a few I have never shown before...

don't look and maybe they will come?

thinking about it...

Waxwing & Apple roasted on a stick? Yum!

Waxwing Juggling
But unfortunately we have not seen a Waxwing yet this Autumn.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hudsonian Whimbrel - First for Britain! Fair Isle's New Arm Chair Tick.

Paul Baxter

Hudsonian Whimbrel, Fair Isle, near Mavers Geo, 31st August 2007
This is the bird I saw... photos by then Fair Islander Paul Baxter from his blog "Life after Fair Isle"
Paul wrote at the time... Never easy to photograph, I was fortunate to get these record shots. Doubtless this bird would have proved more popular had the Walney bird of earlier in the year proved less co-operative. Nevertheless, it has been successfully 'twitched' by six Shetland birders (so far). The third record for Shetland, following singles on Fair Isle in 1955 and Out Skerries in 1974.
Paul Baxter
note: no white on rump.
Paul Baxter
Britain's Frist Record of Hudsonian Whimbrel
Record on Fair Isle 27th - 31st May 1955
Found and Identified by  Valerie Thom & Ken Williamson
With the new split of the Whimbrel species Hudsonian Whimbrel - husonicus has been added to the official list of birds seen in Britain. Giving Fair Isle another First! What is know as an arm chair tick as the work or sighting was done awhile ago but now counts and is added to your list without getting out of you chair. Have a look at what was recorded in Ken's book... 
Ken Williamson's book published 1965

Hudsonian Whimbrel passage in his own words...

Fair Isle does it again long ago!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Greater Scaup Garden Tick? Bird of the Week

(Greater) SCAUP Aythya marila

Originally found riding the waves in the South Harbour about 5 days ago.

The Scaup moved a shore, then up the Walli Burn one evening after 2 days at sea.
Only to be refound in our Garden the next morning by Liz & Henry.
Soon making it's self at home in my back pond? "Crazy!"
The pond is chuck full of Henry's Tadpoles and is having a feast! Seeing how most of these tadpoles have failed to fully transform to frogs, plus I figure they wouldn't make it though the winter. So let the duck eat!

The small pond is made from an old fiberglass Satillitedish from the islands communications mast.

Bird of the Week Oct. 17th - 23rd - Scaup - Garden & Pond Tick
What a laugh! not your average garden bird?
It's been here for 3days and is still here...
The Obs couldn't resist the ringing tick yesterday, but it was not scared off?
Yes, a strange place for a sea duck? but the bird seems happy for now.

But what's Happening? about 2 weeks ago...
 I Had this young Eider Duck in my pond too?

last week's bird? may it rest in peace...
Bird of the Week - Oct.10th - 16th - Lanceolated Warbler

Other Birds About?

Boring Old Rosefinch
more this year than ever!
Not that many of any rarity... lots of Redwings & Fieldfare. a few Redpoll... Golden Eye uncommon on Fair Isle I found a female or juv. in the South Harbour yesterday evening. Henry & I also spotted a possible Pied Flycatcher on a distant cliff face but it was so windy and faraway to be 100% sure... a few Rosefinch are hanging around. plus some Hen Harriers hunting the Walli Burn. Plus one lonely Oystercatcher on the golf course with some Snow Buntings, Bramblings and a Chaffinch.

Jackdaws like these 2 are not seen on Fair Isle often but are common on mainland Britain.

the hole we live in...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lanceolated Warbler - Locustella lanceolata - but everyone called her Lancy

Lanceolated Warber -  A Fair Isle Speciality

Special but never easy...

like a mouse in a hay stack?
This is what looking for a Locusella Warbler is like... oh, the hay hasn't been cut or stacked yet either.
plus everyone is on pins and needles.

Lancy 2008
Mouse with wings?

Lanceolated & Pallas's Grasshopper Warblers run though the tall grass and ditches like a small rodent. Very mouse like making them very difficult to see or photograph, the ditches were pretty full of water and I beleave it makes them a tiny bit easier to find in these conditions.

Don & Heather - happy to be viewing such a rare bird.

The Obs staff finds another rare Bird! but this guy works in the kitchen? Found the Lancy on the Field Croft.
To be fair he is a very keen birdwatcher and it was his day off. congrats! and thank you!

Lancy 2011
Amazingly the next day this poor Lancy was found dead at Pund.

Lancy 2010
  Other Birds About the Isle? not that many really...

Lapland Bunting Fluffed.


Lapland Bunting in the Sheep's Cru

Blyth's Reed Warbler in the FIBO ringing room
professional hand modeling by Dr. Will Miles

Just a "Small" gift before you go...

Shetland Wildlife Tour Group had another successful trip!

Surf Birds Trip Report

Cheers Shetland Wildlife, see you again next spring.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Traditional Hand Knit Fair Isle Fisherman's Keps (6 Hats for Auction) Museum Fund Raiser


Knit by Annie Thomson
Your chance to own a bit of the "Legend"

As part of this year’s Tall Ships race, the knitters on Fair Isle brought an important part of our history to life by hand knitting Fair Isle fisherman’s keps (hats) and trading them for Norwegian goods with the crew of the Norwegian full-rigged ship Sørlandet. This barter took place on Tuesday 19th July (see blog link below). Only a handful of keps were knitted, each one is unique and could be considered priceless!  Fortunately, besides those used for barter, there are a few available to help raise funds for our museum extension - and you can be part of this historic trade with Fair Isle - without a sailing ship!

All knitted in Fair Isle by masters of their craft , the keps shown below will be auctioned over the next few weeks. The final one to be auctioned, shown above, was knitted by Annie Thomson, né Wilson, born in Springfield, Fair Isle in 1922; doyen and mentor of us all.

Each kep will be sent to the person who gives the highest bid/pledge by the appropriate date. On receipt of the donation the Fair Isle Fisherman's Kep will be sent to the generous contributor when payment has been received by way of cheque or paypal (instructions below).

On offer 6 amazing pieces of Fair Isle Knitwear!

Fair Isle Fisherman's Kep # 1 - by Triona Thomson
present pledged donation £150.00 Sold
Auction ends Oct. 30th 2011 - 10:00 pm.

       Triona Thompson

Fair Isle Fisherman's Kep # 2 - by Katherine Montgomery
present pledge donation £150.00 Sold
Auction ends Nov. 6th, 2011 - 10:00 pm.

Fair Isle Fisherman's Kep # 3 - by Katherine Montgomery
present pledge donation £150.00 Sold
Auction ends Nov. 13th 2011 - 10:00 pm.

Fair Isle Fisherman's Kep # 4 - by Elizabeth Riddiford
present pledge donation £100.00 Sold
Auction ends Nov. 20th 2011 - 10:00 pm.

    Elizabeth Riddiford

Fair Isle Fisherman's Kep # 5 - by Elena Mera-Long
present pledge donation £150.00 Sold
Auction ends Nov. 27th 2011 - 10:00 pm.

        Elena Mera-Long

Annie Thomson           The Legend...
Late 1930s, Annie, 2nd from right, knitting with her mother and sisters outside Springfield on a sunny day.

Annie Thomson in 1958 in Edinburgh
demonstrating her skill at the Ideal Homes Exhibition.

 Annie’s husband, Stewart, noted spinner and maker of spinning wheels,
 displaying the final kep in this fundraiser.

Fair Isle Fisherman's Kep # 6 - by Annie Thomson
present pledged donation £755.00 - Sold
Auction ends Dec 4th 2011 - 10:00 pm.
Born to Knit!

Annie (Wilson) Thomson - born 1922 and still knitting!

Traditional Fair Isle Fisherman's Keps on displayed in the Museum 
prior to the tall Ships barter.

Fair Isle, a name synonymous with a rich heritage of colour and pattern in knitwear, is the most remote inhabited island in Britain. A stepping stone in the seaway between Orkney and Shetland, the Isle lies at the centre of a major sea route, and our tradition of bartering with passing vessels is a long and strong one. From Viking times fresh produce and textiles have been traded for whatever the Isle could not manufacture, and the beautiful knitwear for which Fair Isle is renown has been traded for hundreds of years with passing ships.

Bidding on all hand knit Fair Isle Keps is now open

Bids start at £100.00

Bid by posting in comment below.

confirm bids to: email , or call me - 01595 760 349
or contact George Waterston Memorial Centre & Museum - 01595 760 244

payment - Cheque or Paypal at the end of Auction.

Present bidding:

Kep # 1  £150.00 - end date Oct. 30th 2011 - Sold
Triona Thomson

Kep # 2  £150.00 - end date Nov. 6th 2011 - Sold
Katherine Montgomery

Kep # 3  £150.00 - end date Nov. 13th 2011 - Sold
Katherine Montgomery

Kep # 4  £100.00 - end date Nov. 20th 2011 - Sold
Elizabeth Riddiford

Kep # 5  £150.00 - end date Nov. 27th 2011 - Sold
Elena Mera - Long

Kep # 6  £755.00 - end date Dec. 4th 2011 - Sold
Annie Thomson

Bid now it is for a good cause

The first Fair Isle Fisherman's Kep raised a £300.00 donation - see details:

Fair Isle Fishermens’ KEps: Hand-knitted Fair Isle Fisherman's hats knitted in Fair Isle are currently not sold on Fair Isle and haven't been for years. Until now they had been made only by a few people for family members. The skill have been revitalized throughout the island by the women of a few households who have handed down the history stitch by stitch. The project was sponsored by Jamieson Spinning in Shetland, who donated the pure Shetland yarn used.

Thank you Jamieson's for supporting our heritage.

George Waterston Memorial Centre & Museum

Thousands of pounds are need to add this small but much needed extension. Designed to mimic in shape the kjyls (kilns for drying grain) built onto some of the barns on the Isle, the new extension will house a much needed office and toilet.  The new wind and weather buffering entrance will help to ensure the collection  is doubly protected from the elements every time the door opens. The Museum & the Islanders are very appreciative of any donations of any size beyond this fundraising event. The museum has charitable status (SC005177) and is a member of Museum Galleries Scotland. Donations can be sent to:

George Waterston Memorial Centre & Museum - Fair Isle - Shetland - ZE2 9JU - UK.

Museum Extension Floor Plan.

Museum Extension Elevation Rendering

To see more of the Fair Isle Tall Ships barter with the Sorlandet follow this link to an earlier post.

1774 - The dairy of Janet Schaw, passenger 'Jamaica Packet' travelling to North Carolina.

The yoals coming out to trade with the ship off the coast of Fair Isle. 
 "were loaded with the Island manufactures; such as knitted caps, mittens, stockings and the softest coarse cloth I ever saw made of wool"

Crew of the Norwegian Tall Ship Sorlandet and their newly bartered Fair Isle Keps - July 2011
A chance to own a piece of a legend... a museum piece!
We have no more... when these 6 truly unique keps are gone?
Please bid generously 

Thank you for your Support

please share these posts... Cheers!