Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sailing the North Sea - Framstig Video

The 100 year old boat from Norway adventures to Shetland, then on to Fair Isle. Followed by travel to Orkney and back to Fair Isle then Home to Norway. Along the stormy way I mended thier sail which you can see in this earlier post: http://fair-isle.blogspot.com/2011/07/mending-sails-well-this-is-something.html

I have a brief apperance in the video mending the sail after it being ripped in a gale coming back from Orkney. I must of done an okay job as it held in a much larger storm on the way back to Norway.  The video is pretty cool check it out!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Baking up a Storm - Turtle Cake & Octopie

Henry's Turtle Cake
Jr. Ace of Cakes

With the winds reaching 90 mph on Sunday morning - Storm Force 11 that's like a hurricane...
The rattling of the roof slates made quite a noise most of the night. We woke in the morning to find our chicken coup blew over and part of a stone dike came down. Very annoying damage was found around the hole island with more set backs to the wind turbine. 

So we stayed inside most of the weekend and nothing fights cabin fever like baking!
Henry is a big fan of the American TV Show "Ace of Cakes"
Charm City Cakes - http://www.charmcitycakes.com/gallery
He had been wanting to try his hand in the kitchen. So we had lots of fun & yum!

Mmmm... Chocolate Turtle

Good to the last bite!

Here is my creation...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Rare Bird for Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving?
It 's okay with these Turkeys if you want to wait til Christmas.

Some of the 16 Bean Goose I saw on the way to the "Shop" yesterday.
I saw one White Fronted Goose among them and a few Greylag. plus 5 Barnacle Geese still present

Barnacle Goose

2 of the 3 Swans hanging about the Isle.
Little Auk & Scaup found washed up on the South Haven Beach

Raising the wind turbine, man power for wind power!

It is times like these when all the young able body men get together that you quickly realize we are all over 40

The Reed Bunting from a few days ago... but I did not see it today the crop is all cut now and it my have moved on?

Dunnock (ringed) still hanging around... could stay for the winter?

Large flock of Snow Buntings viewed from my garden.

In the South Harbour?

What's that?

Little Gull  Hydrocoloeus minutus

2 Little Gulls probably the best rare birds that I have blundered into in the past few days...
I found them in the South Harbour driving back from the "Shop" yesterday.
Two is a good record for Fair Isle.
 I made special effort to make a record shot with both birds in frame for any of you doubters out there.  

Plenty of Purple Sandpipers like this one.

Welcome home & Happy Thanksgiving from Fair Isle.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Great Crested Grebe! Lifer & Island Tick!

Great Crested Grebe - North Haven
13th Fair Isle record - 1st since April 2005

White-Fronted Geese
I had done no birding today but looking out the window a Robin & Dunnock being highlights. That is until I had to head down to help unload the Good Shepherd Ferry Boat. Drive bye birding saw geese of all kinds Greylag, Pink-Footed, White-Fronted & Bean Goose. 3 skylarks 2 Reed Buntings another 3 Robins along the way. The Bird Obs is empty as the Warden & family left this morning by plane. If they had taken the boat they would of seen the birds in the Haven.

With the Good Shepherd still out to sea a bit... I took a few photos of this Grey Seal on the beach.

I Go the help unload the boat and Pat asks what was the duck in the Haven? What duck?
Back to the car for my bins... I quickly spot this Scoter? and start taking record photos...

But what is that? it is to big to be a winter phase Black Guillemot?
I watch dumbfounded as it goes into the cave and hides there for 15 min. I'm about to leave... but I was talking to the French Film Crew when the bird came back out into the North Haven. OMG it's some sort of a Grebe! and it wasn't Slavonian! I think it must be Great Crested? With the record shots I confirm my suspicions when I get home an look at my Collins Bird Guide. Not a common bird in Shetland or Fair Isle.

Great Crested Grebe - self found "Lifer" & Island Tick!
My 250th Fair Isle Tick.

As it turned out other Fair Islanders saw it in the morning loading the boat and jokingly referred to it when asking each other what it was? Calling it an "Expensive Duck" I'm glad I saw it but I don't know if the warden saw it before leaving today? and if he did why didn't anyone call me?

I can't help but think of Mickey Mouse... Cheers!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sparrow Hawk & Long-Eared Owls in the Ringing Room Tonight!


Under Wing Pattern

Henry, Sparrowhawk & David - Fair Isle Bird Observatory Warden
Thanks for the call! It is great to see these birds up close.
David caught these birds on evening trap rounds and they all flew away happy.

Long-Eared Owl

Owl & Fieldy

Henry's stare down with an Owl

Whoo Waaaa!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Weekend Birding... 8 Scaup & Rough-Legged Buzzard!

What's that with the Eiders?
3 Scaup and a Tuffed Duck in the South Harbour 
One of each... Scaup, Tuffed Duck & female Eider

Tuffed Duck - 3 Scaup - the middle one has a pointy head like Lesser Scaup but who can say?

On the beach while photographing the Ducks I found this little "Wader" hanging with the Turnstone.
leg colour changes depending on light and shadow

Wing Pattern any help?

Redwing on South Harbour Cliff

Henry & I went down to the lighthouse to feed the fish in the studio.
We saw 2 Blackcaps & a Dunnock on the way, plus Bramblings, Chaffinch, Redwings & Fieldfare.

Henry spots this Snow Bunting just outside the studio tells me to take a photo.
A small flock of about 20 have been hang around the south of the isle for a while now.

 The Skerry Holm Ram

The Girl on Skadan

In the huge tidepool below my Lighthouse Studio I spied 4 more Scaup that flew out to Sea thanks to Henry's loud and excited voice. He saw a Heron and a Sparrowhawk! (Plus a Wigeon) that made 7 Scaup! I thought that might be some sort of a record? To my surprise shortly after on the Scrape I refound our old friend... the Scaup from our pond! OMG! it's alive and well! I watched it leave the pond and saw it was ringed. it even flew! now that's 8 SCAUP in a day! then 2 Owls flew out and around me! Wow! is this cool or what? On Sunday we found our Scaup again on Dave's Pond along the road at Field, It flew off down island as we drove by.

One of the 2 Owls I saw Yesterday... I flushed one from my Garden recently.
I wonder if they are the same two I saw driving to Darts Club Thursday night?
2:30pm and got a call as the sun was setting... Rough-Legged Buzzard in the north high on Ward Hill.
My camera is not nearly as good as my binoculars... consent problem for blogging.
Light was failing plus when it came close I was looking not taking pics.
Rough-Legged Buzzard - Speck to Smudge

As I was looking at the RLB drift over the hill ... Henry yells it's over there! What the heck?
This bird was back lite in failing light and but I could not make out the white patch on tail?
Later, I heard that a common Buzzard was seen today aswell. Wow! That's rare on Fair Isle!
I'm looking for a Buzzard in good light tomorrow.

One Bean Goose... David the Warden counted 59 

Other days highlights:  2 Reed Buntings at Netter Taft crop - Windchat at Chalet - Peregrine and Sparrowhawks

The Buzzard scared up the Gulls
Thanks that helps!