Saturday, July 27, 2013

Swinhoe's Storm Petrel & Two-barred Crossbills!

Swinhoe's Storm Petrel  Oceanodroma monorhis 

A first record for Fair Isle and a sixth record for Britain.

The phone rings at 1:40 am. As I jump from bed and run down stairs I was thinking "they caught another Leach's Petrel?" I answer the phone with a groggy, Hello? "Tommy! They caught the Swinhoe's!!! said Susanna from the Fair Isle Bird Observatory. (must be the one they heard a few nights ago but never saw?) I respond "We are on our way! Jumping into yesterday's clothes Henry and I drive through heavy fog. Along the way we pick up two more excited islanders. Though the visibility on the road is only about 20 feet we are going as fast as we can. In the ringing room we add to the group of gathering wildlife enthusiast. Wow! What a bird! Most notably the Swinhoe's is larger, with a forked tail and missing the white rump patch of the Storm Petrel. I have never seen so many happy people at 2am. without alcohol.

Video at the scene...

White feather shafts identification features

Dr. Will Miles is to be commended for all his hard work and late nights.
Thank you Will!

Also yesterday...
The Two-barred Crossbills finally have arrived!

Female - Two-barred Crossbill
Juvenile - Two-barred Crossbill

Male - Two-barred Crossbill

Garden Tiger Moth
Again yesterday saw a second record for Fair Isle caught by Pat Thomson at lower Stoneybreck.

Two days ago we Had 3 Orca or Killer Whale circling Fair Isle.

I like the fin with the blow hole mist and the frighten Shag as they pass around the end of the Skerries.
South Harbour

Whale watching from the golf-course near the 1st green.

Pectoral Sandpiper
 July birding isn't to bad at the moment with Icterine and Subalpine warblers hanging about as well.

This little one was in my garden today. Chiffchaff?


  1. Fab Tommy - a well- timed return to Fair Isle! A Chiffchaff indeed.

  2. Amazing photos!!!!
    I am sold
    I want to vacation here!!!!
    What a blessed place to live!
    Have a great week.

  3. Brilliant Tommy!Great timing on your return!

    I have now seen both female and juvenile Two-bar crossbills - a bogey bird of mine- still to see a male!

    Now trying to find Garden and Jersey Tiger Moth in my 1km square!

    Its blogs like this that makes everyone want to visit FI!

    Thinking can I manage a trip next year?