Wednesday, 7 January 2015

New Year's Birding: Fair Isle

Its the new year, 2015 has come! though not without a little birding.

For the turn of the year I headed into Fair Isle, a peerie bit of birding was done in the final hours of the daylight which brought to me a Buzzard (Shetland Tick), a Sparrowhawk, two Barnacles and a Merlin along with a few other bits and pieces.
After the bells of New Year a party was held and in the early hours I finally got to sleep before preparing to go New Year's Birding with Tommy and Henry.

The first bird of the year was a Snipe picked up by Henry at around 1 but my first was a Greylag flock, the first 19 species I picked up before meeting with Tommy and Henry.
We managed to get a good haul but missed a few species, Buzzard, Water Rail, Kittiwake (all seen by others), Golden Plover, Skylark and Curlew though all were found later on.

Though we enjoyed ourselves, some of my highlights had to be the Snow Buntings on Meoness, three Tundra Bean Geese and a Sparrowhawk in the Plantation.
A good day spent and I managed a few bad photos of some birds, which the day total for the island was 40 (5 down on last years count).

A bit unfocused but the Buzzard from the 31st at Hessawalls

Buzzard again with landing gear extended

Purple Sandpiper on South Harbour, the 1st

Iceland Gull north of Setter on the 1st

 3 Tundra Beans at Shirva, also the 1st

Part of a flock of 81 Turnstones outside Quoy on the 4th

Sunset from Nether Taft on the 4th

From the rest of my trip I picked up several other species and added to the Fair Isle year list with Woodcock (41st), Teal (42nd), Great-northern Diver (44th), Wigeon (45th) and Skylark (46th).

Over the several days I was birding in wind and rain, force 9 gales, pounding showers and hail hunting for those year ticks.
By the time I left Fair Isle, the year list was on a total of 48 species (with quite a few editions from Susannah and also a Mealy Redpoll from Deryk), it was a great time though, my Fair Isle list went up by two birds which brought my total to 169.
My Shetland List also got an addition on the last day of the year in the form of a Buzzard (on the 31st of December 2011 my last addition was a Rough-legged Buzzard on the Shetland Mainland), 28 additions were added to my Shetland List last year, more than half of 2013 additions!

An update on the Warden's Blog on the happenings over the festive period-

But below is the New Years Day count (not all of which were seen by myself).

1. Snipe 2. Greylag Goose 3. Mallard 4. Blackbird 5. Herring Gull 6. Starling 7. House Sparrow 8. Hooded Crow 9. Redwing 10. Fieldfare 11.Rock Dove 12. Great Black-backed Gull 13. Fulmar 14. Common Gull 15. Redshank 16. Turnstone 17. Eider 18.Shag 19. Rock Pipit 20. Robin 21. Song Thrush 22. Wren 23.Iceland Gull 24. Purple Sandpiper 25. Snow Bunting 26. Gannet 27. Grey Heron 28. Tundra Bean Goose 29. Sparrowhawk 30. Black Guillemot 31. Raven 32. Barnacle Goose 33. Merlin 34. Common Guillemot 35. Buzzard 36. Water Rail 37. Goldeneye (Susannah) 38. Kittiwake (Susannah) 39. Twite (Susannah).

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