Monday, April 29, 2013

Fossil Hunting on Buness, Fair Isle

This used to be the nicest beach on Fair Isle... millions of years ago.
Henry wanted to look for fossils...
Fair Isle is not a fossil rich environment , but we have been told there are some plant fossils on Buness.
We went looking, I don't think we found any, though the Geology and rocks are very interesting.
It was a great day to be outside and exploring our world.

You can see the beach ripples in the sedimentary rock face. 

not sure about these round bubbly formations?

other interesting rock?

If you have any geology knowledge about these rock formations? please let us know.

most of the rocks are covered with lichen.

Sheep on Buness with Sheep Rock in the background.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
Henry found this Great Spotted Woodpecker this morning while getting ready for school.
A rare bird for Fair Isle, a island with almost no trees.
I have found and seen only one other here on Fair Isle, this bird is both a garden & tree tick for me. 

Great Spotted Woodpecker on the Twitching Tree.

Other Birds About....

Waxwing! checking out my red beads.
Fruit is now out to entice the bird to stay while it feeds up.

Fat Waxwing
reminds me of the artist Fernando Botero

Great Tit - No ring, new bird from the one seen all Winter.

Henry also spotted and identified this Black Redstart.

Siskins are still here.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

First of the Year Birds! Lapland Bunting, Willow Warbler & Goldfinch

European Goldfinch - Chloris chloris
 if you tell an American like me that this bird is a Goldfinch, one might be tempted to say...
"What did it do? F#@k a woodpecker?"

The European Goldfinch is a infrequent bird in Fair Isle & Shetland. Always a pleasure to see, only a few Fair Isle records every year. We think 3 Goldfinches are on Isle at the moment. I have heard some people call the a nucence, and the only bird they get on their feeders some place in England. Well if you have to have only one bird... this one has the markings of two or three.

Lapland Bunting Calcarius lapponicus - Summer Male 
Just over my garden wall in my neighbour's freshly planted potatoe rigs this stunning breeding male plumage Lapland Bunting has been hanging round for the past few days... A frist of the year, I finally got a record shot this morning. On Fair Isle, Lapland Buntings are more common in the Autumn and it is great to see a spring bird in Summer plumage.

Willow Warbler - first for the year!
When I awoke this morn and looked out my bedroom window, I was treated with 2 small birds, (Warblers?) in the budding Rosa Bagosa. I grabbed broken pair of binoculars one was a Goldcrest the other I was sure a Chiffchaff... because of the time of the year. Wrong! Later I was filling my bird feeders and got a closer look... I think it's a Willow Warbler? soon there after I had it confirmed by the passing Warden David Parnaby. Thanks David, it's nice to have some pros around for the tricky IDs.
While writing this, the Siskins and Goldfinch have been on my feeder just outside my window only about 1 meter away. Chaffinch, Dunnock & a Robin are all about the garden. even had a surprise visit from a Linnet!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Colourful Migrant Birds! & Odd Egg?

Siskin - male

Chaffinch - Brambling

Brambling - Male
It's nice to have some colour in the garden.
Siskin - Greenfinch - Brambling

(European) Goldfinch

Dunnock -
 New to my Twitching Trees - Bird on a Stick Project.

Twite - with Fair Isle ID colour rings


Chaffinch - Brambling - Greenfinch - Siskin - feeding together under my feeder.


Triplets! Lambs are popping out all over the Isle.

(European) Robin

What type of egg is this?
I found this small egg on the edge of my pond?
small, 1 inch wide and completely round? Shell was pliable but brittle.
Very strange? any ideas? no turtles, snakes or reptiles live here?

My best guess is a reject chicken egg laid in the pond edge?
the yoke looks weird?
 I have seen small eggs, when a young chicken starts laying but not round and this small.
Could it be another bird? Duck? Coot? Snipe? Waterail? I really don't know?
What do you think?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Furse Cliff Trail to the Beach

 The other day Henry & I took the sheep path down the cliff at Furse to the beach.

The way down....

the last 20 feet are worn away by the tides & the sheep making it a bit treacherous. 
the track was dry up top, at the bottom the springs make everything slippery on the disappearing ledge .

Heart in Nature

Sea slug

Monday, April 01, 2013

Celebrity Getaway... No Twitching Please

Fair Isle, Shetland, Scotland, UK. 
A little birdy told me.... ( always wanted to use that line. ) The "Mr & Mrs. Smith" who have recently had their "help" book every possible room and mode of transportation on and off Isle for 10 days in June, could in fact be a not so clever alias for Brad and Angelina? Rumour has it, that they (B&A Family) have taken up birdwatching and could be travelling to Britain's most remote island just for sport, a romantic or family Island Getaway or possibly Wedding or Honeymoon?

Fair Isle's rustic and charming Kirk

brad-pitt-and-angelina-jolie.jpg (550×554)
The kids want to see Puffins!

Puffin & Razorbill
Now, do I find it ironic that people seeking privacy take up a sport where everyone carries binoculars, scopes and cameras? YES! but stranger things have been known to happen and why not, when you go birding, you never look at the person next to you. Who ever is planning this visit is going all out and great lengths have been taken. What do I really know?

  • Every room available on Fair Isle has been rented, and deposits have come through from a bank in California.
  • Both the Plane & the Good Shepherd Ferry have been completely booked for the 10 days, no charters will be made available.
  • My own Auld Haa Guesthouse has been booked for "the family" and Liz, Henry & I are to leave for the duration and have been traded air-plane tickets and use of a posh flat in Barcelona for 2 weeks!
  • I have been contacted by a personal chef, "Yes, bring your own macrobiotic, vegan or vegetarian food. I'll leave some Fair Isle Lamb in the freezer."
  • They hope to show Puffins to their kids.
  • Ornithologist & wildlife guide Dr. April J. First has been hired and will be used on thier disposal.
  • I was asked how many seat are in the Kirk. also about Fair Isle Hall kitchen & tables facilities?
  • The alias "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" the movie Brad & Angelina fell in love in, isn't that clever, even to 65 folks on remote Fair Isle.

Auld Haa Guesthouse - Celebrity Getaway Destination?

Celebrity Getaway? it was bound to happen with all the media Shetland has been getting. Dancing Shetland Ponies, TV Shows & Fair Isle being ranked number 5 of the top 10 Islands in the world by National Geographic. In a way Fair Isle is a good choice, you wont be to bothered by your cellphone because reception is dodgy at best, internet slow... the people here really aren't impressed with any visitor until they see how well or fast they clip a sheep or fix and old car. They have eliminated the major paparazzi threat. And what about the local paparazzi  well Liz an I will be in Barcelona and Dave Wheeler? well, his head is in the clouds, not in the stars.