Monday, January 31, 2011

Barred Warblers of Autumn - Fair Isle Birds - 2010

Bird Watching?

Barred Warbler
I had at least 3 Barred Warblers in my Garden during Autumn 2010 dating from mid Sept. to mid Oct.

They stayed about 5 days each with a few days between sightings. With such close views it was easy to see they were different birds as the 1st was quite plain with very faint bars. The 2nd was more heavily patterned than any Barred Warbler I have ever seen. Witch is not that many, but I do seem to have one or two every year since I moved to Fair Isle 5 years ago. The 3rd bird had deformed tail feathers. The first Barred Warbler I sighted was eating berries from my black current bush. Soon after it found the apple I had set out for Blackcaps. I saw some disputes among the Blackcaps, Garden and Barred Warblers but the Barred Warblers seemed to easily take control of the area. Most of these photos were taken from the windows of the Auld Haa House where I live.

Barred Warbler - undertail & rear flank

Barred Warbler hunting Bluebottle Fly

Barred Warbler swallowing Bluebottle Fly whole

The first time a birdwatcher pointed out to me I had a Barred Warbler in my garden I hardly thought it was anything to get excited about... really could any bird be much more boring as compared to a first Autumn Barred Warbler? (maybe Brown Flycatcher, LOL) Oh, how things have changed since then, I took so many photos and now have started to note the smallest details. If I could only see a male in full breeding plumage I would jump for joy! but that isn't very likely here on Fair Isle. That said views like these of any bird get me a little excited these days thanks to more experience and a little knowledge. 


yum & bonus!
The Barred Warbler's small bristle feathers near the beak are stuck together from drying apple juice.
This unlucky Bluebottle Fly was also attracted to the sweet tasting apple.

3rd Barred Warbler with manky tail feathers

Barred Warbler resting in the window box and protecting his apple/territory

A few birdwatchers walked all the way down island searching for birds only to find a "Lifer" in my window.

This Barred Warbler is from 2008 I caught it in my garage trying to get out the glass window.
I called Simon the Asst. Warden and he came and gathered it for ringing and then let it go on it's way. 
Show this post to anyone disinterested... those who can't see your fascination with dull grey colourless birds.


  1. Nice post Tommy, I had my best views of Barred Warbler in your garden when one was hoping around in some branches whilst we watched it! Keep up the good work, all the best.

  2. I'm so jealous... great photos!