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. 


  1. Hope you get a photo of the Hoopoe.

  2. I can never get close enough to a Hoopoe with my camera for a good photo.