|It's a boy! After 4 female Rubythroats on Fair Isle (included the first for Britain in 1975), this stunner is the first male for the island. (image by Richard Cope)|
The 17th was relatively quiet, with Red-breasted Flycatcher at the Plantation, Lesser Whitethroat and Crossbill the few new migrants and the Dotterel and Dusky Warbler putting in their final appearances.
Freshening winds on 18th saw a few more birds coming in, with Bluethroat (at Haa then Quoy), Red-breasted Flycatcher (on Dronger), 2 Crossbill (one of which was found as a casualty having flown into a window and was clearly a Common Crossbill, thereby preventing any ‘dead parrot’ jokes) and an increase in Redpolls (with around 60 Mealys and 5 Lessers recorded) and Snow Buntings (a total of 220 were noted). A ‘Lesser’ Golden Plover over Ward Hill was probably an American but carried on North and was never confirmed.
The 19th saw a day of near gale force easterlies and constant heavy rain, with birds clearly arriving but almost impossible to see; a Hawfinch (at the Haa), 4 Bullfinch (the lingering pair added to by two more males at Gunnawark) and the autumn’s first Black Redstart being the only highlights picked out.
The 20th saw a slight improvement, with the rain easing briefly but then being replaced by fog, whilst the winds remained very strong from the east. Star turn was taken by a typical mouse-like Lanceolated Warbler at Shirva, one of the latest Fair Isle records. There were also 2 Waxwings, 2 Yellowhammers and a Goldfinch (all the first records of the autumn), along with Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Mistle Thrush, 4 Crossbill, 9 Jack Snipe and an increase in thrushes and Blackcaps (to 58). The lingering Richard’s and Olive-backed Pipits were both also still present.
|Mystery bird! The Lanceolated Warbler at least manages to show the key identification feature of its well-defined, thinly fringed tertials as it proves remarkably elusive for the camera.|
|The Olive-backed Pipit remains around the Stackhoull area. How many have been involved in the sightings this autumn is a matter of conjecture.|
|The initial view of a chat with a cocked tail perched on the fence that was almost enough to make Graham fall off his bike! (image by Richard Cope)|
|The Dronger Bullfinch.|