Several BTO staff are spending a few days on Fair Isle, hoping that the weather sends some interesting migrants their way.
Most of our first day was spent in the car, leaving Norfolk and 4.15am and arriving on Shetland at 3.00pm. That doesn't mean we didn't see any birds though. Soon after first light it became apparent that there was a major migration event unravelling. Flocks of Redwings were a constant feature from South Yorkshire to the Scottish border, along with smaller numbers of Fieldfares.
Once on Shetland we went in search of a Buff-bellied Pipit, a stray from North America. This was partly successful, in as much as a third of the party saw the bird (John Marchant and Paul Stancliffe).
The field that the bird was in, eventually, was also a magnet for migrants. 12 Swallows hawked over it, four Bramblings fed with the local Twite, a Whinchat sat on the fencewire, 25 Redwings joined the 10 or so migrant Blackbirds, and 2 Goldcrests fed in the adjacent ditch, sharing it with 3 Jack Snipe. And then it got dark
Tomorrow we leave for Fair Isle, weather willing. There is a strong southerly wind at the moment and it is around 9 degrees.