Friday, June 28, 2013

Last Day of School and Summer Visitors.

The Last Day of School
Henry's Last Day of School At Fair Isle Primary School...

This week I have many lasts, last P.E, last F.I.T, last time I will play rounders in the car park with the school kids. I know I have memories that will last forever.

I'm going to miss school on an Island with 6 Pupils. Next year there will be about nine hundred pupils in my school. I will have about 30 in my class. I will also enjoy coming home and visiting Fair Isle.
(Henry age 12)

A little summer vaction... Then...
 Next semester Lerwick! bound for Anderson High School.

They are growin' fast!

Henry's first day of school - Nov. 2006

A Bees C's
(not bees, but bee mimic hoverflies)

Donald, Maureen & Christine Wilson being shown to the top of the South Lighthouse by distant relative Stuart Thomson.
Thank you to Maureen, who asked Donald to make a donation to the Fair Isle Lighthouse Society
 for her birthday gift.

The Wilson Family 1928 - together again. 
Springfield croft and grain drier. 
Donald's grandfather, Jerome Wilson (of Gaila) who left Fair Isle for Nanaimo, Canada in 1890 came back for a visit with his family.  The small girl in centre you may know, Annie Wilson/Thomson (now of Shirva) her father also Jerome Wilson is standing behind her. I don't think many immigrants went over seas and came back to visit? The Scotch Bakery, the family business must of been quite successful it spanned 4 or 5 generations of Wilson family. 

A mother only a child could love...

Ooo, The wool is falling off Ewe, give her a clip will you?

Ringed Plover

Guests from Barcelona Spain. Wildlife Photographers.

Simmer Dim Sunset

Cabbage White Butterfly - infrequent visitor from the South.

From NYC & Brooklyn

 It's Summer! Time to Enjoy the Puffins!

Puffin Peek-a boo!

 Sunny Days!

Rainbows too!

Add caption

Thursday, June 13, 2013

If you are Golfing all the Golf Courses in Scotland, you have to come to Fair Isle.

Extreme Golf! Playing the most remote golf  course in Scotland.

Alan McPherson, Craig Watson and Stuart Fleming are attempting to play all the golf courses in Scotland from scratch within 10 years. The most recent count in Scotland is approximately 625 golf courses.

Fair Isle Light house Keepers Golf Course was number 579 for Alan MacPherson, who wrote a wonderful trip report on his blog:

Craig Watson and Stuart Fleming detail their adventures on their website:

Shetland Times Golf Story:

More details of the Fair Isle Lighthouse Keepers Golf Course:

These three guys are having fun and going places... Watch the VIDEO... I'm still laughing!


Fair Isle Lighthouse Keepers Golf Course - Map

Maybe you should golf here "2"
Fair Isle is famous for birdwatchers twitching the little lost birds from Siberia and North America. Over the years I have seen all kinds "Twitchiers" Island Tickers. Coast Walkers. Hill Climbers, Knitting Pilgrimages, even Train Spotters. Yes, some fool wrote a book listing the rails and wench system that takes the Good Shepherd Ferry out of the water in times of bad weather as the shortest and most remote rail road in Britain. So some people have to come see it...  These three guys are the first ever to solely come to Fair Isle for a golfing tick. But I think they went away with a bit more, as all the Twitchiers do. Sometimes you need a little reason to get out there and see what happens, if you know what I mean? Hey, they all saw Puffins for the first time.
Puffins in the Simmer Dim

Alternative tee shot to the 3rd green known as the Fish Drier.
Instead of a sand trap this hole has a patch of stones historically used to dry fish in the sun.
Very challenging...Watch out! the ball could bounce any which way...
My son was very exited to play with real golfers for a change.
Top da Hill - Hole # 5

Alan is on edge chipping for birdie on the 6th Green.

The boys on the 6th - Muckle Uri Geo Fair Isle's Signature Hole.

My son Henry running to see Orca / Killer Whales off the 1st Green.
A hole locally known as "The Skadan"
see more photos and video of the whales:
The Simmer Dim 12:30am.
I would like to thank Alan for the 2 sets of clubs (1 men's & 1 women's) and for the new flags, replacing the old ones ripped to shreds by the winds. Plus a special thanks to the guys for donating so many balls into the Sea. All the best. Tommy

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Collared Flycatcher - Temminck's Stint - Birds etc.

Collared Flycatcher - Ficedula albicollis
 Well done to Asst. Warden Richard Cope for finding and identifying a rare and tricky Female Collared Flycatcher. The bird was caught up at the mast on Ward Hill in a mist net, to confirm the ID. I guess that makes Richard the winner of the unspoken birding competition that takes place with every Fair Isle Bird Observatory Directors Meeting. I like "seeing" the new guy earn some respect... and a nice bird.

A Frog Henry caught in the FIBO plantation while looking for the Subalpine Warbler.

Hundreds of Dolphins were seen from a distance off the northern cliffs.
Seen here as a dark strip of disturbance on the calm Sea above the nesting Gannet colony on Kirk Stack.
Temminck's Stint - Calidris temminckii

Temminck's Stint - The only new Island Tick for me this year!

Collared Doves

These guys found some rare birdies 2!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Orca! Killer Whales! South Harbour, Fair Isle.

Whale Sighting!

Video & Photos! turn up the quality!

Hunting in a pack.
 at least 8 Orca swam around Fair Isle yesterday.

update: (Number is thought to be 15 whales in all.)

This was the largest whale... the fin was so long it was bent over.

circling something?

no time to golf now!
Whales off the 1st green.

Henry looking at a hiding seal.

Truly Amazing!
one of the best wildlife experiences ever.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Happy Citril Finch Day! Phone Message - 5th Anniversary

Happy Citril Finch Day!
Yes, it's the 5th Anniversary, how time flies...

For a blast to the past... This year I'm posting the Audio of my phone message to the answering machine of the Fair Isle Bird Observatory. June 6th 2008 about 1pm. At the time, I was the only one who had seen the bird at the time and I had no idea how rare it was or that it was a first record for Britain. It was also the first time I said the words aloud "Citril Finch" I could barely pronounce it name. Legend! Just re-found this video tape while my wife Liz transferred all of her old video to hard-drive. She over laid video of the Citril Finch as viewed from my garden on that foggy day 5 years ago above the audio message. I think it is so funny, lots of ums and pauses. I'm totally clueless, unexcited and matter of fact, but most importantly I was correct with the identification. 

My son Henry (age 12) who knows all about the Citril Finch from the story being told over & over to B&B guests and birdwatchers had never heard this recording before. Henry laughed and smiled then said..."You sound sort of strange and oddly nervous." Yup, Henry is right again. At the time I had been on Fair Isle for about year and a half embracing birdwatching as a hobby. I had never heard this birds name from anyone or any place, so I knew it was going to be sort of rare, but just how rare? Well, it's still the one and only record of this species in Britain.

Citril Finch in my Auld Haa Garden - June 6th 2008
Read the whole story:

Redpoll - Best bird in my garden today.... Cheers!

Monday, June 03, 2013

BBC - Grand Tours of Scotland & New Zealanders come to Fair Isle... a few birds too!

Happy Folks! guests at the Auld Haa House.

Hanna, Marita & me

Richard, Liz, Paul, Hanna & Richard
Liz with her Camera - the crew of BBC's Grand Tours of Scotland with their camera.

Timeline Films
The Camera and crew made their way around Fair Isle gathering stories for an upcoming episode of
 Grand Tours of Scotland on Fair Isle & Foula to be aired this Autumn.
Henry gives a interview about seabirds and rare sightings.

South Lighthouse - shadow of a near miss!
 The WW2 German aircraft bomb crater was made more visible in the low setting sun.

Paul Murton - Tees off! Fair Isle Lighthouse Keepers Golf Course.
I took this photo between takes of their interview with me while playing golf.

Paul Murton - Chipping on the edge of the foggy 6th hole. - Richard Cook filming it. 
Over the cliff into the Sea, we only lost a few balls, but almost the star of the show...
Of course it was grey & foggy during the TV interview... but the next day it was like this!


The rare Thrush Nightingale in the Auld Haa Garden.
At first I hoping it was a Common Nightingale (rarer on Fair Isle, but not in Britain.)
This bird is very weakly marked on it's chest, and the ID was not so easy.
This is my forth garden tick in 7 years for Thrush Nightingale, still zero for Common Nightingale.

A little "Twitch" on going in the garden.

Sometimes it looked very plain.

The white ring on the bill of this duck had me asking questions?
Glaucous Gull? Iceland Gull? - seen from the garden.

White Winged Gull.... all white wings

Female Red-breasted Flycatcher
to bad I didn't get a photo of it's breast...

Your ball is way over there!
Visiting golfer Ron getting a bit of advice from Sue on the Lighthouse Keepers Golf Course.
(optical illusion - windmill is far away on another hill.)

Visiting Canadians!
The school teacher's family wearing some new knitwear.

Warren & Marita Jowett
From New Zealand, Eco Tours

North Lighthouse with the sun setting in the north.