A Fair Isle weekend

Back today from a weekend on Fair Isle – primarily there for work purposes, but Saturday (and what little I saw of Sunday after a great night out at a party at Setter on Saturday – a party that saw me get back to the Haa at 5am!) was reasonable for birding – an Arctic Warbler played hard to get, but was often visible if only distantly. Also my first Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn put in a brief appearance.

Arctic doing not-a-Greenish

There was a definite bunting theme, as apart from a nice smart Little Bunting in the hand, there seemed to be quite a number of Lapland Buntings around – they were often calling overhead, and showed well on occasion. I was briefly stumped when I heard a familiar song – one I last heard in Western Iceland a couple of months ago – then the penny dropped – the AW’s were tape-luring in their garden, and that familiar song was of course Lapland Bunting.

Lapland doing seed

Other highlights a Common Rosefinch sharing the same garden as the Arctic Warbler, and a typically flighty Richard’s Pipit. A great weekend, and fine to see old friends and make a couple of new ones too. Left late this afternoon on the same plane that had just brought the crack team of PS and AS – if there’s a mega to be found on the isle this week, they’re the ones to find it! Back home to a couple of intriguing bird-related emails (watch this space) and confirmation that last week’s dragonfly is indeed a Common Hawker, and not the very similar Bog Hawker it was hoped it might be. Still, it seems as if it’s only the second record for Shetland, and a first for mainland Shetland (the other record being from, appropriately enough, Fair Isle).

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More Buff-breasts, and a dead dragonfly

A funny old day today – went to have my car looked at, and ended up being shown a dead dragonfly – MG had initially seen it zipping around outside his window yesterday, and then found it dead on the floor later in the evening. Not something you see every day up here, as the large dragonflies are entirely absent from Shetland. There’s some sort of damselfly here I think – a small blue one sp. No idea what species, which goes to show how much I know about odonata. So, am hazarding a guess only that the dead dragonfly below is a Common Hawker. It could so easily not be.

dragonfly doing dead

dead dragonfly doing 3/4 view

On much safer ground this evening – walking the golf course, I briefly stumbled across the Buff-breasted Sandpipers again – just enough time to snatch a few more photos, and then they were off. Still not calling when they fly, strangely I think. JA now back on the island, and missed them by a matter of just a few minutes.

getting buff