Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Red Flag.....Their is only one word for it....'GREAT!'

Its the day when our 1st visitors of the season arrive and also the morning when Will phoned the Obs to say he has found a Great Snipe at Utra. Awesome, We gathered up the troups and raced down south displaying the Red Flag!!. For people who do not know, The red flag system is famous throughout the bird observatories and birding community. If a rare bird turns up, a staff member will drive around holding a red flag from their vehicle alerting any visitors to the news that a good rare bird is in the area. A Great Snipe certainly fits the bill of the red flag. Good Views were had by all has it sat in the ditch but it was not enough to clinch the ID features of the bird, The only way to get the best views was to let it fly, As the wader took off, The adrenalin kicked in as it was confirmed as a Great Snipe. This species belongs to the 'Fair Isle Five' and is usally found in the autumn (more on the FI Five later in the blog). A spring bird is a very rare find as this individual was the 4th spring record for Fair isle but only the 3rd record during the FIBO era (since 1948). The last spring bird was found at Pund by Hywel Maggs at the end of May 2002. Thanks to the boys, I have now seen two of this species where they normally breed in north eastern Europe and north western Russia.

Coming back from the successful twitch, another hard to see species popped its head up as it fed in the ditch along the road, A Quail decided to put on a good show to all of us excited birders....Brilliant.

In the afternoon, from 14:30 onwards, I wandered around the South west on this lovely cool sunny day. Species of note included Redstarts, Whimbrel, Ring Ouzel, Purple Sandpiper, Black Redstart, Black Tailed Godwit and several Tree pipits but the bird of the afternoon as got to go to the Tree sparrow seen at Burkle - A rare bird for Fair isle!
I called in at the Burkle 'cafe' for a quick cuppa before I had slow walk over to Hoini to watch the sunset.

A quick glimpse east saw the northlink extremley close. It turns out a islanders relatives were on the ship and asked the captain to venture close in to  Fair isle, What stunning views that they would of got of the island with the sun setting behind it. I just hope they had a camera with them!

I eventually got back at 21:30 where Chris saved me a delicous sticky toffee pudding, I Think I deserved it after miles and hours of walking!

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