Sunday, October 28, 2012

Siberian Rubythroat

Siberian Rubythroat Luscinia calliope
 If you want to see a picture of a Siberian Rubythroat I suggest you look in a book...
The one on Fair Isle is nothing but a blurr in consent motion. My rubbish photo below...

Siberian Rubythroat twitch at Schoolton.
Late in the afternoon on Oct. 23, 2012 I got a call from Nick and Elizabeth at Schoolton as they were having great views of a female Siberian Rubythroat from their kitchen windows! I'm the first to get there with my son Henry... it's gone? 2 van loads of Bird Obs folk soon follow. Deep in the bush we see movement, a bit of obscured tail and wing totally backlite and untickable. We wait till dark... nothing. The next morning at sunrise 7:15am I'm the first back about a minute before I here the Obs vans pull in. We see nothing. The weather is rainy crap, Sheep Hill is cancelled and I walk home dejected about 10 am. As I get to my house  I see a bird flick out of the driveway in to the shrubs? Was that it? possibly it...  I check the garden, 2 Waxwings, a Dunnock, Goldfinch and a Great Tit. Nice but none the bird was looking for. As I sit down to eat a bowl of cereal The phone rings Blue Tit at Schoolton! A Blue Tit has not been seen on Fair Isle since 1989! 3 Sibe Ruby have been found here since then. I was just there a half an hour ago. I run back up there. gone! I wait or wander around dipping the next 2 days. The worst 2 days birding of my life! Blue Tit should be easy? As it turns out Sibe Ruby is in my garden that night and I still miss it. The next day my garden is checked by all sorts but I refind the Sibe Ruby along the road by the South Harbour. Brief flight views and a hop in the grass I see the superscilium besides that the bird totally plain and I get nothing on it but shape & movement... That's it, I'm total underwhelmed... Later Susanna refinds the bird in my garden and I get even better view of this Skulky girl. I start to feel better about my sightings. 2 days later I get a record shot from the garden as the bird is searched for by others in the Wali Burn. But still no Blue Tit but one of the Great Tit has learned to use my bird feeders.

Today a record shot! Female Siberian Rubythroat
Photo Oct. 28 from my the Auld Haa Garden on the wall of the stone cru by the Wali Burn.

Siberian Rubythroat - New photo added Oct. 29 2012

 photo taken Oct.30, 2012

Siberian Rubythroat - Female - photo taken Auld Haa - Oct 30, 2012

The last I saw of the Siberian Rubyhroat was on the morning of Nov. 3rd. The mix of good weather, the neighbour's cats & a  chorus of  12 to 50 Waxwings in  the area  may have been incentive to relocate? but to where? Just as I had hopes it would over winter...

Great Tit on a stick in my window.

Woodlark - That's a self found tick!

Snow Bunting
What's this swimming with the eider ducks in the South Harbour?
Female Goosander - a new Fair Isle tick for me!

2 Waxwings briefly in my garden! 
nothing like the invasion 2 years ago at this time.
see photos:
Jackdaw influx of over 40 birds.
The garden at Shriva still looks lovely even in late October.

Olive Backed Pipit

Trash... I thought this might be from the recent helicopter crash?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A pair of Great Tits!

A pair Great Tits are rarely ever seen on Fair Isle!
Once again in the "gutter" as I stare at Tits...

Both seen in my garden, hard to photograph together. Birds on my neighbour's greenhouse gutters.

Soft & Fluffy - Great Tit Parus major

As you can see in this vintage postcard these are old jokes that we seldom get to used on Fair Isle...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Helicopter Down at Sea off Fair Isle

Pictured: Dramatic moment 19 oil rig workers were rescued from the water after their helicopter was forced to make emergency landing off Shetland coast

  • Super Puma helicopter ditched between Shetland and Orkney islands
  • Men on board helped on to passing cargo ship and flown to mainland
  • Helicopter was kept afloat with flotation bags until it could be taken away
  • Super Puma helicopter fleets grounded as investigation begins

    This is the dramatic moment a major rescue operation began after a helicopter carrying 19 oil rig workers ditched in the sea.

    Photographs of the Super Puma helicopter being kept afloat off the coast of Shetland were released for the first time today after every man was helped to safety.

    Rescuers then faced a race against time to lift the aircraft into a recovery vessel before it sank.
    Emergency: Rescuers head towards a Super Puma helicopter which was forced to make an emergency landing off the coast of Shetland with 19 oil rig workers on board

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    I was fogged in Lerwick, Shetland yesterday when this happened... Other Islanders could easily see the rescue taking place with binoculars just west off Fair Isle. Opinions range the ditching was 4 to 7 miles out from shore? Differing from the official reports of 14 miles away... I think, "officially" oil tankers need to stay 12 miles away from landfall? On my plane ride in this morning I could see a distant red & white dot that may or may not of been the Helicopter? But a hour later the next Direct Flight Plane to Fair Isle took a detour and a photographer to get photos of the abandoned and still floating craft. I'm glad no one was hurt. Fair Isle HM Coastgaurd Team & the Good Shepherd played no part of the rescue. cheers!

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

    Great Tit! Great Tick! - Birds & Birdwatchers

    Great Tit Parus major
     The Great Tit is truly great to see on Fair Isle. Would you run for a Great Tit? I did, and I don't run anymore. Still I dipped it! not seeing the bird the first day. Luckily it has stuck around and we have had a chance to catch up with this rare bird. Great Tits are common birds on mainland Britain but to put it into local perspective this is the 1st member of the Tit family I've seen on Fair Isle in the past 6 years. Among all the amazing rare birds seen this Autumn this Great Tit was only my 2nd Island tick... The other being the North American - Magnolia Warbler. Yesterday with no guests left to cook for I did have a chance to do some birding myself, I had a self found & garden tick in Woodlark. Plus an Olive Backed Pipit, 3 Jackdaw, 120 Snow Buntings, etc. and best of all, better views of the Great Tit. Below are assorted photos from the past week.


    Henry photographing the Great Tit   -   Henry's photo at the same time as mine... 

    Shetland Wildlife Autumn Tour - Fair Isle Group
    What Stars!

    Henry's photos of Great Grey Shrike at the Obs.

    Young Birdwatchers... Logan & Henry
    South Harbour finding House Martins, Longtailed Ducks, Etc...
    the boys refound the sculking Lancy - Lanceolated Warbler


    A Robin!

    Super Fly!


    4 Scoter in the South Harbour

    Sarah - Jane - Judd - Corinna - Martin
    "The old birdwatchers"

    Thumbs up! with yet another keen young birder.

    Great Stuff!

    Friday, October 12, 2012

    Red Breasted Flycatcher in Hand & Ringing Room

    Red Breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva
    1st Winter?

    Caught and ringed by the Fair Isle Bird Observatory
    Oct. 11, 2012

    As viewed from above... check out those bristles!

    Spring Male - Red Breasted Flycatcher I saw ringed at the Chalet. June 9th, 2009

    Sweet things...Once I had one eating flies of my window-sill while I was doing the dishes.

    Tuesday, October 09, 2012

    What does the Aurora really look like?

    The camera gathers more light and colour in a time exposed image than a the eye can process from moment to moment. So many people are a bit disappointed to see the northern lights after seeing magical coloured saturated images from photos. So below I have taken out the colour by desaturating the photo above more accurately depicting what we saw last night. Still it's amazing, but better in real life.
    Aurora over Skerry Holm Croft, Fair Isle, Shetland
    Photo by credit to me & Martin Booth - Oct. 8th  2012

    Saturday, October 06, 2012

    Black Throated Thrush Twitch Oct. 6, 2012

    Black-Throated Thrush Turdus atrogularis

    Twitchin' Rainbow

    then we got rained on....

    Fair Isle knitting in action...
    Hat by Elizabeth Riddiford.

    Most of the views were quite distant and in tall grass, it was best to have a sight though some ones scope. I saw it sit on the fence for a few seconds... but later it was flushed and landed just behind me... I got a lucky click! & a second personal Black-Throated Thrush Tick.

    Last night I got this photo of a Lesser Whitethroat... sweet!