Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pochard in my Pond!

Pochard  Aythya ferina - adult male.
After a week of wind and gales the plane finally came to take Henry and the school kids back to Lerwick. The winds are still strong coming from the south east, so the parents were all a bit nervous as the plane took off and flew out of sight. I returned to my quiet home with packages and mail from the plane. While I'm going through it all, I see a duck in my pond? A Wigeon, I thought at first? I'm excited because though I have seen many Wigeon from my garden recently I have never had them swimming in my pond. I grab my binoculars and camera... what is that??? OMG! it's a Pochard! ( I checked my bird guide to be sure. ) I take one rubbish photo through my dirty salt covered window and then it flies away. But only just over the wall of my garden to the pond in the foundations of Gaila. I'm very happy! though I am a little bummed that Henry missed it by about an hour. It also helps me get over the female seen last year for a few days up at Golden Water, the one I wasn't told about until it left. That female was the only Pochard reported for the previous five years, just another bird that is common in Britain but rare on Fair Isle. It's harder and harder to find any new ticks what so ever, so this was quite a surprise.

For me the Pochard in my pond is a Fair Isle Tick, Self Found Tick, Garden Tick & Pond Tick!
Pochard & Sheep at Gaila near the Wali Burn.

Like water off a ducks back.
Scoter still riding out the gales in the North Haven.
The first of the year Oystercatchers have arrived, plus 6 maybe more Bean Geese and 1 or 2 Iceland Gull are still about, also present a noticeable influx of Kittiwakes.

The Weather has been rubbish!
I am glad I have not been aboard the Northlink Ferry recently...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Winter Birdwatching - Little Gull, Scoter, Bean Geese & Waxwing


Scoter & Eider Duck


I took this photos & video from inside my car parked on the pier at the North Haven.


Sheep Rock & the South Haven

I saw a Little Gull?
 This Photo and the Video below are rubbish! but I hope it's enough that someone might believe me...
Little Gulls are not that common here...


A few other Gulls about.......
I didn't bother counting them all.

Bean Geese - Tiaga? Tundra?
On the 21st I saw 8 to10 Bean Geese, on the 22nd I saw 7.
Today I saw 13 Bean Geese, 2 Pink Footed Geese and over 80 Greylag Geese.

Bean Geese

What's This?
A rubbish photo I know, but it maybe just enough to verify Bohemian Waxwing in the Auld Haa Garden today. First of the year! other birds in my garden include Robin, Rock Pipit, Wren, Blackbird, House Sparrows, Starlings, 3 Hooded Crows and Gulls chasing after table scrapes from last nights dinner, one of which is a Iceland Gull!

Skerry Holm - Nedder Taft - Taft - Fair Isle Museum
& Auld Haa House.
 The weather has been mostly grey gales of wind and rain... but when it's nice out I try yo get out for a walk.
South Harbour - Keels & Skerries.

View of the Sunset from the Auld Haa House.

T H Hyndman
A recent Oil Painting I did abstracting Puffins & Sheep Rock.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Extreme Bird Feeder! Dead Seal for the Gulls.

Seal Pup at the South Lighthouse
- LOL! What can I say? I like to feed the birds! Fair Isle, Shetland. I cut open a dead seal that died in a recent storm, thus so the birds can feed, plus the carcase decays faster from the beach... I follow the progress and look in regularly as a birdwatcher over 12 days, I had hope one of the few and rare carrion loving Ivory Gulls in Britain would find a meal. Yes it is sad when you see a dead Seal, but the hide is so tough that most birds can't gain access to the tasty bits. Otherwise leaving the dead seal would have bloated up and stunk, only to become a fly factory. What a great source of nutrition for wintering Gulls. Watch to the end and see one of the many Live & Well Seal pups howl at me as I get to close.                                        -

My video is a hand held selfy documentary done with my pocket camera.

A few recent photos while walking about:
The Kirk & Sheep Rock viewed from top of the Houll.

The Kirk - Church of Scotland.

The Kirk.

Sheep Rock.

The School                                                                                                                            Sheep Rock

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Christmas - Parties & New Years Birding

A fine New Years Day on Fair Isle. 2014
 The sun came out New Years Day though it was still with strong wind, a better than expected day weather wise for our first of the year bird count. I could help but to stop and take some photos in the lovely light of a short day.

South Harbour at high tide.

South Lighthouse

Sheep at Shirva with the Reevas in the background.

Glaucous Gull at Setter.

 David,, Henry & I started our annual first birds of the year bird count at 10 am.

New Years Days Bird List as we saw them:

Fulmar - Greylag - Starling -Rock Dove - Turnstone - Wigeon - House Sparrow - Blackbird - Mallard - Fair Isle Wren - Redshank -Herring Gull - Wood Pigeon - Hooded Crow - Rock Pipit - Black-headed Gull - Eider Duck - Red-breasted Merganser - Shag - Snipe - Purple Sandpiper - Gannet - Black Guillemot - Curlew - Robin - Common Gull - Song Thrush - Snow Bunting - Raven - Lapwing - Jack Snipe - Meadow Pipit - Dunlin - Glaucous Gull - Redwing -Common Scoter - Velvet Scoter - Long-tailed Duck - Whooper Swan - Fieldfare - Teal  Goldeneye.

By 3pm we had 43 species.
A Chaffinch was also seen just by David at 9am. before we started together.
3 Little Auks were seen by Nick Riddiford off the South Lighthouse.
Bringing the Isle total to 45 species.

What day is it?
The posts go backwards in time from here on...
The King of the Swingers! Jungle Book theme.
 Hogmanay Guisers in great home made costumes. 

Liz and others saying goodbye at the plane after Christmass and Boxing Day.
Dec. 27, Liz is heading to the USA.

Also at the plane, look at the Luck Girls!
Who's Nannie knit them Fair Isle Keps for Christmas!

Boxing Day Pantomime - Sleeping Beauty

Well done to the whole cast!

I took some video when walking on a windy Christmas Day...


Never to much Chocolate on Christmas Day!

Christmas Eve Party at the Auld Haa House.

Christmas Eve the tree all a glow.
We have had a Happy Holidays. Happy New Year!