Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Subalpine Warbler - Western - Male - Fair Isle

Western - Subalpine Warbler

Asst. Warden Jason Moss pulls a little magic out of the morning trap rounds.

Jason has seen a male Eastern Subalpine Warbler every day for over a month now...
This bird is not ringed? It's a new bird! and it's "Western" Yee Haw!
Must of flown in on the "red eye" last night.

Smile for the Birdy!
detail from photo above
Simply Stunning Bird! That eye ring is amazing!

When East meets West?
This male Western - Subalpine Warbler was ringged and released in the Obs Garden.
With the other male Eastern - Subalpine Warbler. What a photo opportunity that is...
Thanks for the show Jason. Cheers!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thrush Nightingale & a Great Night for Barca!

In case you are wondering what a Thrush Nightingale looks like? well I didn't get a photo.
Thrush Nightingale in my garden
I was standing talking to Asst Warden Will about what he had seen on census (not much just common migrants) until Henry playing around the Wali Burn flushed. A bird into my garden. Will said what's that! it flew with a flash of reddish brown and a fanned tail into the old Christmas trees. I guessed, Great Reed Warbler? I think it's a Thrush Nightingale? says Will, it took a while to confirm as the bird was quite flighty or dove deep into cover. Will was right of course as he got his scope on the bird and confirmed the ID from some distance.

I think the best views for others came as the bird went back deep into the Honeysuckle and I was trying to relocate the bird. I took these photo walking back to the rest of the group. Everyone wished they had better views and I never even got a record shot. This is the 3rd Thrush Nightingale I've seen in my garden in the 5 years I have lived here.

not visible but somewhere in there.
The Days other Big Event!


The most remote FC Barcelona Fan celebrates
The win over Manchester United in the Champions League Final.
( for my American friends... Europe's Super Bowl)


That's a happy boy!
other photos from the past few days...
one Canada Goose looks so lonely but reminds me of Upstate New York

I have a hard time sorting out the Whimbrel from the Curlew.
So how am I supposed to know a Slender-Billed Curlew?
just in from Orkney?

 Whimbrel... but what do you think? I thought it was worth giving the tail stripes and bill a second look?
because hey, you never know...

Are you ready to play what bird is it?

Birds on Sunday...
one Rosefinch

two Rosefinch

Eating like Sparrows, where is a breeding male when you need one?

Here's a hint it's been on Fair Isle for a month now?

Eastern Subalpine Warbler - Obs Garden
this is a tough one?

Linnet, the only new bird in today...  Cheers!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Fair Isle Textile Workshop - Knitting and so much more with Kathy Coull

Natural Undyed Fair Isle Wool - Hand Spun - Hand Knit on Fair Isle 

The Fair Isle Textile Workshop

Display in the Fair Isle Hall on view for visitors.
Kathy's textiles looked so lovely today, she didn't mind that I took some photos to share with the world.

I have seen Kathy's Fair Isle Textile Workshop guests around the island and on her croft. Usually a half dozen women at a time who are a bit surprised when they often start by clipping their own sheep! There is a bit more to learn before they just start spinning, knitting and weaving but everyone really seems to love it.
They take away a lot more than just some knitwear but some insight into Fair Isle's fabric of life.

Hand Spun Shetland Lace  -   Hand Knit Natural Colour Fair Isle Knitwear  -  Hand Woven Wrap

The amount of time and labour in these 3 textiles seems just staggering to think of. Truly amazing!
Especially when the starting point is raising a lamb, it's over a year old before it's clipped for the first time.

Shetland Arts & Craft Trail - info:

Home Grown Fair Isle Wool from Fair Isle's (Shetland breed) sheep.

Demonstrating spinning technique next to the display.

The Fair Isle Textile Workshop is a Registered - Scottish Crofting Producer
If you Knit or are interested in Textiles you really should think about taking a workshop with Kathy! You will have to wait till next year though, as she is quite busy... where does she find the time? Cheers. http://www.kathycoull.com/

Here is a link to a BBC Radio story on Fair Isle Knitting

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Small World... Indiana University to Fair Isle - John Hartley & Me.

Small World... Big Surprise - John Hartley & Me.
Little did I know when the National Geographic cruise ship pasted the South Harbour this morning that I had any connection to any of it's 130 passengers other than most of them would likely be Americans. As it turns out... John Hartley was in Fair Isle's George Waterson Museum when he connects to my name on the wall showcasing my art and Lise Sinclair's poetry project. "I think I know that name" said John. After questioning Stuart attending to the museum, John was right! I was at the Hall selling Hats, Art & Postcards when this familiar looking guy walks up to me and says the dreaded words "Do you remember me?" I knew, I knew him but from where? As It turns out, John bought a wall sculpture from my Masters of Fine Arts thesis show in Bloomington, Indiana University in 1988! Now I didn't know John at the time, but when I heard someone wanted to buy my art I insisted on meeting him. I only met John once or twice? Amazing John's mind is still so shape! mine... so yikes!

National Geographic Cruise Ship passing my garden this morning.
 The work of art John bought was entitled "Tidepool" Very funky! painted with bright colours and glitter on 3D shapes. The main image featured a Starfish! Even then in the American Mid West I obviously yearned for the Sea. Coincidentally, earlier today I heard that this Starfish I found recently "tidepooling" with my son is a First Record for Fair Isle. It's the small things in life, Small world....

Small Banded Brittle Star Ophiactis balli.
First for Fair Isle researched by Island Naturalist Nick Riddiford.
Any time we see anything unusual we save it for Nick. cheers.
 John, nice meeting you again. Cheers!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


What Ash Cloud?
The car covered with ash and salt...

Not another Volcano in Iceland? Volcano Vue... didn't this happen this same time last year? For her school project 8 year old Robin (and her father, Darren) just did a car wash fund raiser for the Tall Ships Event this summer. So almost everyone on Fair Isle just paid to have their car washed... Oh well. I need to clean every outside window on the house too. The good news is if the wind slows down we should get planes because the props planes are not effected and do not go up very high.

 But what about the Birds?
It's a "No Fly Zone" here on Fair Isle!
No new migrating birds in these conditions today.
Strong winds from the West and we can hope for an American bird if anything at all.
The sun came in and out of the rain but the wind hasn't eased much.
Here are a few interesting common birds I photographed today.
Between Winter & Summer plumage Black-Headed Gull

5 Wigeon & 2 Wheatear

Male & Female Wigeon