BTO migration blog

Spring and autumn are exciting times for anyone who watches birds. Here on this blog we will make predictions about when to expect migrant arrivals and departures, so that you know when and where to see these well-travelled birds.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Fair Isle mini blog: or should that be the Shetland mini blog?

What a difference a day makes, at least weather-wise. After yesterday's gale force winds and wintry showers, today dawned still and sunny. So still in fact that the island wind generator came to a standstill.

So, after rushing breakfast, it was time to get out and chart today's migration and find that mega-rarity; remember, there is always something better on Fair Isle. We were all very excited about what today might bring, but it seems the summer-like conditions put migration on hold. Greylag geese were the only birds visibly migrating but in much smaller numbers than yesterday. The Fieldfares and Redwings all but moved out overnight and Brambling was a rare bird.

By lunchtime it was looking like the Siberian Rubythroat on mainland Shetland wasn't going to be eclipsed by anything on Fair Isle, at least today anyway. So on meeting back at the observatory for lunch, and having completed our migration counts, it was decided that if we could possibly get off Fair Isle for the Rubythroat today, we would. After a few telephone calls it was on, by 3.00pm we would be on Mainland Shetland and on our way to what if we saw it, would be a new british bird for all of us.

By 3.50pm the stunning male Siberian Rubythroat, the ninth for Britain, didn't disappoint. It hopped up onto a garden fence and took everyone's breath away.

So our change of plan will see us birding on mainland Shetland tomorrow, checking out the ditches and counting visible migrants. Will the last day bring us any more surprises? Only time will tell.

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