Thursday, March 31, 2011

Welcome back Good Shepherd! and a few new birds...


Good Shepherd coming into the North Haven today.
I was happy to see her but was equally glad I wasn't on board.

The Good Shepherd Ferry went out for refit and or maintenance on the 1st of March and came back today 30 days later... Due to technical problems and new mechanical parts needed we made due with freight planes and 1 trip from the Snolda Ferry on the 17th. So a few more trips will be made soon to restock the Isle with Feed & Fuel.

New birds in the Garden today...
record shots

2 Brambling new in with the Twite.

A Dunnock

Whooper Swan with Ewes ready to give birth to their Lambs 


don't chirp with your mouth full...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Missed a few Birds & Whales

2 Sunny Siskins in the garden today
 It's good to be back on Isle, but it seems I missed a few good birds... Mostly the elusive Great Grey Shrike that I still need for my list! Plus, a pod of Orcas (Killer Whales) were seen 4 out of the 10 days we were away... ouch! Not much new to see today... but a nice day to be outside for yard work. The Twite & the House Sparrows kept me company and about noon 2 Siskin dropped in for a long lunch.

This Pied Wagtail was ringed...

Some of the other birds seen on the South Harbour Beach today while searching for the Hawfinch briefly seen in my garden by Will (Asst. Warden and head bird ringer) The bird was most likely spooked by that Merlin seen resting on the stone wall near the Haa while looking for it. I dipped it in my own garden... Ouch again!

Rock Pipit


Purple Sandpiper

Monday, March 28, 2011

Trip to mainland Scotland & a little Twitch

I'm back... The past 10 days we have been having fun on the Scottish mainland.
Here are some random photo's

To Start with Henry got to be co-pilot

View from the Northlink Ferry about 5am. The sea was extremely rough between Shetland & Orkney.

Drive by Pheasant...
We rented a car and drove from Aberdeen into the Cairngorms Mountains - Scottish Highlands 

Henry caught a big one! Rainbow Trout!

Our only family photo from the trip

I'm not sure but I guess this is a common Frog? but it seemed very colourful.

Edinburgh Castle

Very Rare on Fair Isle... Common every place else... Blue Tit

Caught in the act... Look they are mating...

I wanted to add this to my heart shapes found in nature collection... was quite working?
 2 Magpie and a Wood Pigeon

Magpies are very rare on Fair Isle - only one record of one bird... April, 1987

I also twitched this bird at the Museum of Scotland
Jimmy Midway Stout's Pechora Pipit... A Fair Isle Bird & First record for Britain from 1925.

Wow! I couldn't beleave it! I was expecting a old dusty rolled skin and was in awe of the beauty of the taxidermy and the pristine care this specimen has been giving over the years. Thank you Museum of Scotland! This bird has so much Fair Isle folklore and legend that it was like coming face to face with the Loch Ness Monster... It does exsist!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Twite Wet & Happy St. Pat's Day

Wet Twite

Saw my first Pied Wagtail yesterday as well as yet another Iceland Gull. Two female Siskins in the garden the day before. Lots of birds starting to move though as I am leaving the Island for the next week. I was busy preparing to leave today, but did take these photos today of these wet Twite before the sun came out for a lovely day. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Two Stunningly Un-Rare Birds

Man about the House... Sparrow

Living on Fair Isle...
Sometimes I get to caught up with looking for rare birds.

Today I'm looking a two stunning common birds that most birders don't give a second look to on Fair Isle.

House Sparrows are my year around friends & entertainment. They grace my Garden for free food, a small price to pay to keep a health population about the house. The plumage would be much more appreciated if they were as rare as Little Buntings. Let's hope it doesn't come to that as they have been disappearing from gardens all over the UK. Lucky for the Fair Isle House Sparrows we have no Blue Tits or colourful Tits of any kind to make them seem plain or dull.
A beautiful day as viewed from my studio at the South Lighthouse.

The Fulmar is not a seagull, it is a small northern relative of the Albatross family. It is so common here that I've heard it said If you wake up and can't see a Fulmar your not on Fair Isle. The Fulmar is my favorite bird in flight... like someone took a stiff strait wing glider and through it off a cliff it rides the up drafts with no need to flap. They are so pure white you can't take a photo with out some part of it looking overexposed.
Enjoying the sunny day

This is the best shot of a Fulmar I've ever taken... but I can't help think when looking at the birds facial expression it reassembles many humans with the feeling of I don't really want my photo taken right now, but at the same time I secretly love the media attention.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fair Isle Tick Today! Coot and other birds.

Coot! Rare for Fair Isle. 
It was found yesterday, I didn't hear about it til today... I guess that's better than last year when one was present on the island for 3 weeks and died before anyone told me about it. I'm happy to have seen it with so little about to get a tick is amazing. I was bummed that my battery was dead in my camera so I have used a photo I took of a very approachable and common Coot at Kew Gardens, London.

I recharged my batteries and went out for a walk with it being a lovely day and all. Birds of note: Robins, one in my garden and saw another in Schoolton's.

2 Red-Breasted Merganser - South Harbour

Sheep Rock
Klingers Geo
I flushed a large brown bird from the bottom of Klingers Geo which I guessed was a Woodcock by it's flight, color and shape. I had not seen any lately and thought it odd... it might be worth getting a better look if I could? As I looked around I found these wings from a different bird...

That made me pretty sure my guess was right, but I would of rather found what ate this Woodcock?

On the rocks at the bottom of the cliffs the Guillemots had all gathered claiming nest sites.
To think they have chosen a cliff edge on a remote island as a safe place to raise their young...

I'm nervous leaning over the edge just looking at them with all the Fulmars flying past my head.
The noise is really unbelievable.

The Guillemot is like a Penguin that remembers how to fly

A Sunset to boot!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Nothing much!

Seaweed eating sheep.

Goldeneye & Red-Breasted Merganser in the South Harbour

Snow Bunting in the garden but that was it...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Today was much like this!

Today was much like this!

I woke up to snow on the grown? We haven't had snow on the ground since Christmas. It was cold and the wind was really blowing! The Snow was going by more than falling. The birds have a hard time finding food on days like this and I felt really sad for this poor Oystercatcher missing one foot awkwardly hopping around in the wind trying to scratch a living.

In the Summer and Autumn bits of wool blow across the field and tangle and strangle around the feet of waders like this poor Oystercatcher. It seemed to make do as I did see it pull up a worm but this snow sure wasn't helping any. 

I filled my feeders and cleaned the salt off my window and was surprised with two Siskins in my window box, one more than yesterday. About noon the wind stopped and the sun came out? most of the snow melted quite quickly. The afternoon was a pleasant surprise of sunshine.

The Cat Rocks - zoomed view from the Auld Haa

If you need help? The CAT is lying down with it's tail behind it looking right. The ear is the highest point and is today accompanied by a Shag & a Gull with a passing Fulmar. The CAT rocks looks sort of like a Spinx.

With the light snow and wind you can really see the evidence of the hand worked rigs from years long ago. 

What are Ewe two up to?   I think they are eating Lichen that grow on top of the stone walls.

I found this today too. 

I Love Lichen!