This is the forth New Years Day that my son Henry and I have made a list of as many bird species we can find on Fair Isle in the 7 hours of daylight. Yes I rang in the new year with Black grouse & Famous Grouse (whisky) til 4am. but still managed to get up at 8:30am. to start the search. I had to because...
I had put out plenty of bird seed and scraps from the party the night before. From the windows we quickly spotted the first birds of the new year. (birds listed as we saw them)
- House Sparrow
- Golden Plover
- Hooded Crow
- Greylag Goose
- Rock Dove
- Common Gull Leaving the house we crossed the Walli Burn and searched the South Harbor finding...
- Rock Pipit
- Eider Duck
- Purple Sandpiper
- Black Headed Gull
- Herring Gull Then down and about the South Lighthouse, Skaden and Muckle Uri Geo we found...
- Black Guillimot
- Razorbill - Strangely I flushed the Razorbill from the near by rocks while looking at the Heron and then it flew out to Sea and out of sight? Twite took flight from the field below Nedder Taft and Snow Bunting feeding at Shirva. 1 Pink Foot with the Greylags in the field between the shop and the Houll called Boini Mire.
- Snow Buntings
- Pink Footed Goose
- Short Eared Owl - the boy just loves Owls! seen in the Plantation and we wished Jack was here!
- Woodcock 3 or 4 seen in various places most memorable was the one that flew out of the Obs trees an into the second story window... LOL! Then seen from the North Lighthouse cliffs tops..
- Black Headed Gull
- Fulmar - today only 1? off the north fog horn... no Little Auks, bummer.
- Kittiwake - flying near the Chapel
- Lapwing - Meoness
- Jacksnipe - Walli Burn & Lower Stonebrek ditch
I couldn't find a Wren, Skylark or Iceland Gull anywhere! I know 41 birds is not much... but not bad for Winter on Fair Isle. It beats our old record of 32 birds quite nicely. I think my better understanding of Gulls & Snipe helps. It is a great way to spend the day with my son and the little bit of compition keeps him motivated. I keep on thinking this is going to be won by one bird, maybe 2 and I had a head start with unchariteristic chaffinch and Greenfinch over wintering that I knew he wouldn't have. Then again I also new Whalsay is bigger has more trees and ponds and some species I wouldn't see here on Fair Isle. The fact the Jon is a much better and more knowageable birder wasn't going to help me at all! But then again I'm "lucky with birds" and I can sleep happy knowing that 41 birds are just a few more than Jon Dunn saw on Whalsay today! making Henry and I the winners. Cheers and I need a nap now.
Jon's Birds (in the order seen on Whalsay): Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, Starling, Shag, Rock Dove, House Sparrow, Hooded Crow, Raven, Goldeneye, Gannet, Cormorant, Great Black-backed Gull, Curlew, Redshank, Teal, Whooper Swan, Lapwing, Wigeon, Kittiwake, Fieldfare, Golden Plover, Turnstone, Common Gull, Rock Pipit, Wren, Blackbird, Red-breasted Merganser, Ringed Plover, Mallard, Black-headed Gull, Eider, Black Guillemot, Tufted Duck, Great Northern Diver, Iceland Gull, Carrion Crow, Snipe. In total 37 species - 9 that I hadn't seen on Fair Isle, Iceland Gull is a good bird anytime of the year! making our combined total for Shetland on New Years Day. 50
*robin, snipe and snowbunting photos taken recently but not today