Saturday, 6 June 2015

Fair Isle - 30th May

I was up at 05:30 and headed out to the south of the island before breakfast. As I left the observatory a female Ring Ouzel was feeding on the grass beside the observatory garden, it quickly flew high, circled and dropped back into the observatory garden. I then birded the gully, Bulls Park, Field Ditch and Chalet seeing very little other than the everyday species. I headed back for breakfast at 08:30 and then out again to the south of the island birding down the road and then out to Rippack, down Walli Burn out to the South Harbour and then back north. The weather was glorious, bright sunshine and a light north-westerly but birds were very thin on the ground beyond the resident and breeding species.

After lunch I decided to head to the north of the island for a change of scenery. First, I visited North Haven and spent time photographing the Arctic Tern and Black Guillemot, the latter were catching large goby of some type and were showing well from the jetty. I wandered up to the North Lighthouse via Wirvie Burn and Golden Water and chilled out at the lighthouse for 20 minutes for a little seawatching. It was exceptionally clear and mainland Shetland was very clear and Foula could be seen, the later approximately 50 miles away. There was little to be seen on the water. The Gannet colony on Kirki Stack was busy and on Easter Lother Water there were three Swallow and three Sand Martin feeding while 20 Bonxie bathed in the water. I continued up to the mast through the Bonxie and Arctic Skua colony before dropping back down to the road via Swey and back to the observatory.

Arctic Skua - Pale phase

Redwing - A late bird was hanging around the plantation area

Arctic Skua - A watched these two birds in high speed pursuit that lasted for at least 5 minutes and ranged from the observatory down to the plantation covering much of the centre of the island. All images I have show the birds in the same wing position in almost perfect synchronisation. I am not sure if this was a territorial dispute or a form of display flight - probably the former

Lapwing - A pair was present at Da Water

Starling were busy feeding chicks which were still in their nest holes scattered around the many walls on the island

Ringed Plover - Seven were present at the south light

Fulmar - South Light

Oystercatcher - A few pairs (perhaps 10 in the south) were scattered around the island, this one at South Light 

Oystercatcher egg on top of a wall, there were two eggs in this nest right next to the road

Arctic Skua - Pale phase

Arctic Tern - South Haven

Arctic Tern with large Sand Eel - South Haven

Black Guillemot with a large goby in South Haven

Black Guillemot - South Haven

Fulmar - On very soggy looking nest amongst Sea Campion, Spring Squill and Thrift 
near to North Light

Various shots of Bonxie near to the masts in the north of the island. The second and third images showing birds in display and the final on a bombing raid

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