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.

Saturday 15 October 2011

Fair Isle mini blog: an unexpected rarity

We awoke this morning full of anticipation, there had definitely been an arrival of birds yesterday and there must be more to find. On getting out in the field though it immediately became clear that a lot of yesterdays birds had left overnnight, or at least the Fieldfare had, numbers were down by half. However, as we moved further away from the observatory it also became clear that Snipe were everywhere where you might expect Snipe to be, a big increase on yesterday, there also seemed to be more Skylark and, for the first time Brambling were feeding in double figures and Snow Bunting trebled. 

Whilst this is a sure indication that winter is just around the corner, there are still summer visitors to be seen. At least two Whinchat, a Whitethroat, three or four Chiffchaff, including a fantastic grey and white Siberian Chiffchaff, and a small number of Blackcaps and Wheatears still give a taste of summer.

New birds in have included a Grey Phalarope, a Yellowhammer, apparently rarer than Lanceolated Warbler here, half a dozen Crossbills, a couple of Common Rosefinches and three or four Short-eared Owls.

The wind this morning was blowing very strong from a southerly direction and by mid-afternoon it began to rain, quite heavily by late afternoon, curtailing any further determined searching.

The rarity value today came in the shape of yesterday's Bluethroat, which only showed to a third of the group (PAS and Andy Mason), if you don't count the Yellowhammer, which only showed to the same third of the group.

The forecast for tomorrow is mostly bright with a few showers, and the wind a brisk south-westerly. It feels like there are still birds to be found.

Andy Clements

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