Monday, May 28, 2012

Spotted Crake in Hand

Spotted Crake Porzana porzana
Adult male.


Asst. Warden Jason Moss caught this bird by hand while crawling and feeling around in ditches in the Chalet Garden. What can one say but... Well done! and THANKS! up until today I had only had brief & rubbish views of Spotted Crake. You know, flying silhouettes with danglely legs flushed and quickly diving into cover again with everyone reassuring me of it's identity. The Spotted Crake was ringed at the Fair Isle Bird Observitory in front of an enthusiastic group of vistors & staff. A really beautiful bird... if you ever get a chance to look at it.

The Spotted Crake was released back into the Chalet Garden where it was a blurr as it ran for cover.

Yellow / Orange Rosefinch
Photo by my 11 year old son Henry for more info see his blog "The Nature of Henry".

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Male Rosefinch & Red-Rumped Swallow - How close is too close?

Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus - male

In the window box birdtable
I woke this morning 8:15am with my son yelling "Dad! female Rosefinch on the birdfeeder!" I was not that surprise because it had been eating the cast off seeds on the ground the night before but still I was  excited! I came down stairs and there it was just outside the window. I soon checked the other window and couldn't believe it! A Male! I called the family over... move slow, don't scare it, I said. then a Redpoll flew up and lost it's fight to get onto the birdfeeder. "It's a red bird day!" I said, and with the day later sightings of 3 Red-backed Shrikes and a Red-Rumped Swallow it certainly was. We have not had a red male in a few years, last year Nick had unpesidented flock of 16 Rosefinch in his garden not one of them red... The 2 Rosefinch were last seen on the feeder at about 9:30pm. Henry & I took about 250 photos over the course of the day, here are a few.  

The bird fluffed & unfluffed

The 2 Rosefinch fed all day on my Nigerseed feeder I made out of a old baby lambs bottle.

The male & female Rosefinch in the old X-mas trees.
Female Rosefinch

Female Rosefinch sharing feeder with the resident Twite.

Rosefinch on the Stick List!

Red-Rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica

When I say the birds are to close I mean like we had to duct our heads and bodies sometimes as the Red-Rumped Swallow came that close. The Red-Rumped Swallow was a self found lifer for Asst. Warden David (sorry I can't recall his last name at the moment) but I don't think he could either at the time. Well done! It is amazing to watch any Swallow but this one is a Fair Isle - First for Britain from 1906 check this out for some history on it:

Red Rumped Swallow flying out of frame. The black bit cut off on the top boarder. 

A Red-Backed Shrike at Setter Croft spotted by Ian Stout.

It's a red bird day!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Thrush Nightingale & Shore Lark

Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia
Fair Isle - May 20th 2012

The Thrush Nightingale was caught & ringed by Fair Isle Bird Observatory Warden David Parnaby on Morning trap rounds. This is the first one I have seen in the hand... though I have seen one almost every year and 3 times in my own garden, it was great to see this bird close up, not flicking around and diving into cover. Plenty of other new birds in today, like in my garden 16 Siskin, a Goldfinch & 2 Tree Sparrows! Elsewhere on isle 2 Bluethroats, the first Icterine Warbler of the year & another Hoopoe all have been reported today... I've got to get back out there! what's next?

(Common) Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos
Fair Isle - May 21st 2012

Wow I can't beleave it! One of each. The "Common" Nightingale is more common in most of Britain but actually rarer on Fair Isle than Thrush Nightingale. Both birds a day apart must mean something? I don't know what that is, but it's great for comparison! The Common Nightingale has a buff or plain chest and a over all rusty red colour. While the Thrush Nightingale has a mottled chest and a duller grey brown body & wings. To confirm one species from the other it usually best to measure & examine the wing feathers as the wardens have done with these 2 birds.

Thrush Nightingale & away it went happily with some new jewellery.

This Shore Lark turned a few heads as well!

Horned Lark aka Shore Lark  Eremophila alpestris
This was a lifer for Henry & me! My bogey bird has finally showed it's self. I had dipped Shore Lark 3 times on Fair Isle. I must say I'm glad to see one in Summer plumage and in a convenient location in the nearby freshly tilde Kennaby crop. Thanks to Dr.Will Miles for a great tick and my Bird of the Week!

Goldfinches & Tree Sparrows are not common on Fair Isle.
always a pleasure to see for me.

Common Rosefinch (v*) The female is a good bird but it's the red adult male you want to see!
May 21st 2012

Oystercatcher egg & nest sight
Shetland Wildlife Group - Fair Isle May 2012
More good eggs! Things started out well as they saw a Wryneck in my garden just minutes after arriving. In retrospect I bet they now wish they had stayed the weekend. Still they saw some good birds The seabirds alone are stunning! But Fair Isle rare bird waited until the weekend and the winds to change to the east.

Reed Bunting on the Auld Haa padio.

Grey or Blue Headed? - Yellow Wagtail was one of the highlights

Whitethroat on the South Harbour beach.

They had no complains about the food and seemed to enjoy their adventure to Fair Isle and stay at the Auld Haa Guesthouse.

Coastguard practice mission

Montagu's Sea-snail Liparis montagui

The rarest sighting on Fair Isle is this badly named fish? The Montagu's Sea-snail caught by my son Henry looks more like a tadpole than a snail? Nick Riddiford says it's a first record for Fair Isle. We have it in our saltwater fish tank where I noticed a big life threatening parasite. I gave it minor surgery to remove the worm. I've seen these worms in the bellies of large fish like Cod & Pollack but never in such a small fish. It's been 2 days and it seems fine?  but we are watching it closely. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Norwegian Girls Gone Wild in Shetland... & Fair Isle. Watch the video!

The Norwegian Girls at the South Lighthouse, Fair Isle.

Three teenage media students come to Shetland. Legend! 
Watch their video it says it all...

Well done! I had seen a longer version as well and I liked that too.

South Lighthouse - Fair Isle, Shetland.

North Lighthouse & the Norwegian Starlets!