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Saturday 26 June 2010

Cute Tawny Owl Chick!!!!!!

Weather: too hot!!!!!!!

Montagu's Harrier, Turtle Dove and yellowhammer in Norfolk today.

Titchwell: 4 Little Gulls, 8 Spotted Redshanks etc etc. A count of at least 250 oystercatchers at high tide at 7.30pm.

Incredibly cute, fluffy Tawny Owl Chick sitting in tree in Titchwell RSPB carpark which I got some half decent photos of - to be posted later!

Friday 25 June 2010

Festival too

Abba tribute band playing tomorrow in King's Lynn FREE see:


After going out on the town tonight and drinking wine, I am feeling very sad about Michael. Currently dancing around like a devil possessed, spinning around my kitchen floor.......... attempting to moonwalk when you are tipsy doesn't really work!!!!!!!

Thursday 24 June 2010


Feel really sad that Michael Jackson's anniversary is tomorrow - the time has gone so quickly.

So annoyed with myself, I had intended on going to London to join other fans tomorrow. But can't get the day off work as I didn't book it in time. Thousands are meeting at the 02 to celebrate the life of MJ and with flashmobs, soloists, dancers etc I am gutted that I will be at work.

Here is my facebook link is anyone is interested:!/profile.php?id=1382479134

Saturday 19 June 2010

Seriously cold day was brightened by Pink Flamingoes!

Wonderful views of the two Chilean Flamingoes at Cley today along with 8 Spoonbills on Pat's Pool - best thing on offer! 7 of the spoonbills flew off high south, battling their way in the strong northerly wind. Bumped into Dave Appleton on route.

Went to Cley NWT visitor centre to share a cheese scone with Mark and coffee. Bumped into Eddie Myers, Justin L. and Andy W.

Went to Cleyspy to look at digital cameras etc and buy a Father's Day card. They have a fantastic new piece of kit in the shop - a Panasonic Lumix 12mp camera for digiscoping with the Opticron scope, BUT it also fits brilliantly onto the Nikon ED50!!!! It was so simple, it was awesome! Simple bracket that screws onto the camera in seconds - hold over eye piece - screw tight - done! No messing about! The images were brilliant through the 13-40x eye piece and stunning through the 20x! Whole kit £265.

Looked in the galleries in Cley at beautiful paintings and sculptures that one could not possibly afford to buy!

Back to visitor centre with Mark for jacket potato lunch and pot of tea.

Drove to Coastguards and walked to North Hide where we saw a Little Stint and 3 Spotted Redshanks from North Hide along with usual avocets, ringed plovers, little, sandwich and common terns, marsh harriers and also 3 Spoonbills on Billy's Wash.

Battled our way back in pouring rain and 40 mph gusts to the carpark!

Had a look in Walsey Hills - lovely and sunny now, juv whitethroat, willow warbler singing, family of blue tits, Cettis Warbler singing and a interesting LBJ that dived in the cornfield at the back of Walsey. The paths were very overgrown, but just about got through!

Went back to photograph the flamingoes from Daukes' hide in evening light BUT weather was atrocious. Went to Bishop's Hide where flamingoes were slightly closer. Good views of a marsh harrier tussling with a lapwing, but that was about it. It was like a winter's day, freezing cold, driving rain and severe winds - made it to car and headed home.

Friday 18 June 2010

Chilean Flamingoes in Norfolk!

Looking forward to seeing some pretty, pink flamingoes in the morning!!!!!!! Not much else about, so might as well take the camera to Cley!!!! Marsh Warbler singing at Cley this this am courtesy of RBA.

Weather looks rubbish tomorrow, but looking forward to some birding in Norfolk.

For those of those that like going to FREE festivals LEMAR is playing the final night of Festival too in King's Lynn on Saturday 10th July, see:

Wednesday 16 June 2010

Back to reality!

Sapphire (cat) was very pleased I was home, especially when I have been making her a hot water bottle each night - its freezing cold here in the evenings this week.

See Jack Ashton-Booth's blog: (AW on Fair isle)

Took the car to a hand car wash on Monday afternoon, then went to Sainsbury's in Hunstanton to get some shopping for my parents - on getting out of the car I discovered to my horror that loads of patches of paint were removed from the bonnet of my car and also on the roof!!!!!! I just couldn't believe what I was seeing - it looked liked someone had chucked paint stripper over my bonnet, in some places the paint had been stripped down to bare metal!!!!! At first I thought it had been a 'bodge' job from my garage who had replaced the bonnet etc back in January BUT on the other hand the area near the roof was also affected and this was not touched by garage.... complete mystery, don't understand it all. More hassle, more expense.

Returning to work this week was a shock to the system and back to feeling shattered each evening and also have shifts booked for Sundays again. Back to working 6 days a week - oh dear!

Must get my Fair isle pictures added to this blog aswell!!!!

Saturday 12 June 2010

Journey Home to Norfolk

Didn't sleep at all really last night - got out of sleeping bag at around 5.15am and went to the Mother and baby room!!! to have a strip wash and make myself feel/look slightly more awake!

Went to restaurant and had fried egg, beans, potato pancakes, tomato, toast and coffee.

Ferry arrived Aberdeen at 7am and the taxi I had arranged was of course not there, so took one of the other waiting taxis, cost £4.80 to train station (I normally walk but I would have been cutting things a bit fine this morning!) Went to ticket office to collect my new tickets and got the train at 7.52am to Peterborough arriving 2.09pm, so can have a nice long rest etc on train. Typing on my laptop on the train for the first time which is quite fun!

Just phoned Pat Thompson (The Good Shepherd) to see if the boat actually went this morning to justify my change of plans/cost and it did leave this morning at 7.30am but it was 'borderline' and was quote a 'rough' passage when her husband phoned her from the boat a little while ago!!!!! So I am glad I did leave early, especially since the Aberdeen ferry felt like The Good Shepherd on a good day!!!!

Two days in Norfolk before work on Tuesday.

Friday 11 June 2010

FAIR ISLE - Exhilerating plane journey!!!

5 passengers were travelling by plane this morning including Inez Weston who had also been staying at the South Light. Arrived at the airstrip to catch the plane at 9.35am. Said goodbye to Josie and I got to sit at the front with an extremely dishy pilot! Took several pictures, but dull rainy skies. Journey took about 30 minutes. Cost, single £34. To be honest I felt safer on The Good Shepherd! I trust the skipper of the boat in rough weather more than I do a potential dodgy engine in a plane! Arriving at Tingwall airport at 10am I took a picture of the pilot! And also asked someone to take a picture of Inez and I together and we said our goodbyes. Sinclair Taxis took me to the Ferry Terminal which cost £1.70 (booked 24 hours in advance through the Shetland Council) special cheap fare (normal taxi fares around £8!). Left clothes bag in luggage room and trundled back to Lerwick town centre with camera rucksack. Took pictures on quayside. Went into The Shetland Bookshop and bought a signed copy of Simon King"s Shetland Diaries!!! Also bought a Shetland bear. Went into the excellent Perrie coffee shop to have coffee and vanilla cheesecake!

Walked back to ferry terminal and checked in at 3.30pm. This ferry is going via Orkney and arrives there at 11.00pm to drop/load passengers on - in fact as I write on my blog, the ferry is about to leave Orkney at 11.45pm. The sea was very rough coming here. Decided not to go into the recliner lounge as I normally do as I found a whole comfy sofa (these are usually taken very early) mid-way on the ferry which is better for the stomach than being at the back in recliner lounge. Very difficult to sleep as its so hot. Tons of very awake youngsters have just boarded!!!!

Thursday 10 June 2010

FAIR ISLE - Last Day!!! Blyth's Reed Warbler!!!!!!

BLYTH'S REED WARBLER!!!!!! At last a good bird!!!!!!

Just after releasing the bird, three of several happy people!

LEFT TO RIGHT: Jack Ashton-Booth AW, Deryk Shaw, Warden
and Simon Davies, Seabird Officer.

Caught by Jack Ashton-Booth in mist net at The Chalet (his garden!)
along with Deryk Shaw.

Spent all morning re-arranging my travel plans for several reasons: the north westerlies were strong enough to stop the Good Shepherd going this morning and the weather is worse for Saturday morning when I should be leaving so decided to go tomorrow (Friday) instead. I am taking the plane (never been on this!) from Fair isle to Tingwall and then changed my ferry to tomorrow night, arriving Aberdeen Saturday morning and then train to King's Lynn arriving 4.20pmish which will now give me Sunday and Monday before work on Tuesday!

After lunch I walked towards observatory. Photographed flowers on route and when I got as far as The Chalet, I noticed Jack was standing there and Deryk was close behind also and cutting a long story short an 'interesting Acro' was caught which turned out to be a Blyth's Reed Warbler - talk about timing it perfectly!!!!! Phoned Josie to bring Inez down to see it, which she did. We could not get hold of Tommy though. Took some pictures of happy staff!!!!

After all this excitement I carried on to observatory. Photographed Twite on the fence wires by obs. Nothing in the obs. garden. Spent the rest of the time photographing a common tern fishing in North Haven, common seals, eider, male and female, black guillemot etc.

Walked back and at The Chalet, Tommy very kindly gave me a lift back as far as The Puffin.

Dinner and then blog + packing!!!!!!


Wednesday 9 June 2010

FAIR ISLE - Strong North Westerlies and Tea with the Minister and Thomas!

I counted 90 oystercatchers in the field opposite the shop before arriving at The Chalet at 7am for Trap round. One other visitor arrived and off we went with Jack AW, but alas nothing was caught! Although 5 Whimbrel where seen flying over the Plantation. Back at the Chalet Simon was standing there with a Lesser Black backed gull in his hand, so we watched Simon ringing this - took photo of Jack holding the bird. Walked back for breakfast.

Got a lift with Josie and Inez to the shop and posted my postcards. Bought some more oatcakes, an Album 'Ivver Entrancin Wis' Shetland poems in music by Lise Sinclair - cello, harp, viola and voice - Lise lives on Fair isle. Also bought little booklet called 'Coastal Names of Fair isle'.

Strong north westerly winds and freezing cold. Spent the morning photographing inside the The Kirk and the Methodist Chapel. Beautiful stained glass windows in both. Also photographed orchids, ragged robin and other flowers in Meadow Burn adjacent to Schoolton.

I also went to the 'George Waterston Memorial Centre which is in the Auld Skul which was built in the middle of the 19th century and was used as a school for a while and later used as a community hall until 1980. I am ashamed to say I had not been to visit this on previous visits to Fair isle. Stewart Thomson (who lives at Quoy) was manning the Memorial Centre - It was opened in 1986 - named after one time owner of the island and founder of the Fair Isle Bird Observatory. The centre is run by volunteers. The museum has attracted visitors from all over the world. Its presence has also meant that many artifacts, some of them far travelled, have now been added to the collection. The displays cover a wide range - from archaeology and social history and the production of the Fair isle patterns and knitwear; from the high incidence of ship wrecks to the skill of the carpenters who formed the resulting wreckage into useful and beautiful objects. It was wonderful to chat with Stewart Thomson as he had known Richard Richardson extremely well and had also met Geoff Want and Peter Jackson (all close friends of my fathers and sadly all now deceased) He told me his wife's sister Rona looked after Richard's dogs when he passed away. We had a very interesting conversation about all kinds of things related to Richard and other people that we knew. There were several artefacts of Richard's in the museum.

Lunch: best ever! Potato salad, nut roast, salad, cheese, rolls, hot cheese scones, cakes etc!!

Walked along the road as far as Upper Leogh and then turned right along the fence/stiles through Meadow Burn and heard the Quail calling!!! In fact I saw it too, although briefly and also got a dodgy flight shot - would not win any prizes with the photo though! Photographed more flowers and was just walking past Aesterhoull when Stuart Wilson (Minister of the Kirk and elderly gentleman) very kindly invited me into his home for an aperitif - I declined this, but said a cup of tea would be lovely! It was very sweet of him to invite me in - inside, his house was toasty warm and he said it was the warmest house on the island - it was certainly lovely to be out of the bitter winds. Stuart was born on Fair isle but left and returned again 11 years ago. He showed me his family and friends photos on the walls and also introduced me to Thomas.... Thomas was an absolutely wonderful huge, male tabby cat - a cat with enormous character.... a cat not to mess with. Thomas was brought out of 'his room' to meet me and strolled across to be stroked - he turned around and strolled back to 'his room' to continue sleeping! Stuart told me that whenever Thomas saw a dog he would chase it!

Left here and walked back to South Light and spent the rest of the time photographing oystercatchers, turnstones, ringed plovers and the oyster plants.

Dinner: first class.

Spent rest of evening sorting photos.

Tuesday 8 June 2010

FAIR ISLE - Puffin Extravaganza and Stunning Sunset

8.00am - Jack just text me with news of a female Red backed Shrike at Chalet and 2 Short Eared Owls at Field Ditch.

The day started overcast, but the sun broke out and most of the day was glorious sunshine.

After breakfast I still felt tired and had a little sleep! Then had stuff to sort on the phone and then wrote some postcards and by the time I had done this it was lunch time!

After lunch Josie very kindly gave me a lift to the observatory where I went to the shop to see if they had any 'Fair isle hoodies' in the colour and size I wanted, but they didn't. After having having a chat with Hollie and obs staff I had a look in the obs garden to see if there were any megas hiding, but alas none. Spent the rest of the afternoon on Bueness photographing some very obliging puffins including one particular one who just loved posing for the camera - although the light wasn't really perfect where I was. Had a message from Jack at 4.17pm - 'Quail calling on Gillsetter'. Found a dead sheep on the way back down and reported this to Deryk and also another islander on route back. Walked through the gap in the dry stone wall to cross over to look in the Gully - as I neared the edge to look over, I was shocked to see a couple had climbed down there and set up their tent - there they were sitting outside their tent with picnic and kettle boiling on the small piece of grass, directly to the left of the fenced area of trees!!!!! Camping is not allowed on the island. I passed Jack and Simon on the way back to South Light and well...... lets just say I think some VERY early trap rounds with extra loud 'pishing' and clapping may be carried out in the morning!!!!! Unbelievable that someone is camping in the one of the main two Heligoland traps!!! Jack also told me there is another Quail calling at Schoolton this evening. Unfortunately I didn't have time to go that way back to South light.

Walked part of the way back with Jessica who is a starling researcher and a male colleague as far as The Puffin. I got to South light just before 7pm for dinner.

Birthday dinner for a male, swedish researcher who is staying at 'The Puffin' (sorry forgotten his name) who is 30 today and his parents are staying at the South light. Another scrumptious dinner - starters for me: a vegetable dish with bits of pinnaple etc followed by nut roast with new potatoes and vegetables, chocolate pudding and cream, followed by singing 'Happy Birthday' to buns bought out with a lit candle in one of them! Dinner finished much later than normal and it was gone 9pm. Went back in my room and shut my eyes for a little while and then flew outside with camera on tripod and release cable to catch the sun setting.

Monday 7 June 2010

FAIR ISLE - Perfect Day - Ward Hill & North West Cliffs

Got up early, did some hand washing and went out for short while before breakfast and photographed a Rock Pipit and fulmar on nest amongst the pink thrift.

Usual Mega breakfast!

A still, glorious sunny day, looked good for doing Ward Hill - the highest point on the island - although I have been putting off doing this!

On route the egyptian goats were out on the road, I was sure they shouldn’t be, especially when they started munching on some iris’s in the garden opposite! I walked up the drive of the property where they lived and went to unbolt a gate in the front garden to inform the owners, but a loud, barking dog suddenly appeared at the gate that I had just opened! As some of you may know I don’t really love dogs and this was a scary situation - couldn’t walk away as they dog would then escape, so my foot was on the bottom of the gate with the dog pounding up against it - managed to bolt it quickly without getting fingers bitten off and retreated quickly - no sign of the owners. The goats had come back up the drive to see what all the fuss was about and all three stood there half way up the drive looking at me and then returned into their pen!Chatting to the nurse a bit later, apparently the dog is harmless - but not the impression I got at the time! All the sheepdogs here to be fair are very friendly and I feel completely at ease with them.

Walked via the shop and it was so hot I had to take a layer off and then nipped in the shop and sat outside eating a Malteser ice-cream! Photographed house sparrows on fence wires and a starling with caterpillar in beak.

Carried on and walked through the Plantation and through Vaadal (no birds here at all) and up and through the airstrip. Photographed a plane coming in! Up by the mast at least 32 Bonxies!!! They looked menacing, but did not attack me like the arctic skua did yesterday! It was an ideal time to photograph them soaring in the blue skies. Very steep, hard core walking up here - it seemed much more difficut than it used to be! Sat at the top of the cliff edge and had a sandwich break watching tons of seabirds below me. Saw a Red Admiral fly in!!!

Walked down to to Burrista and photographed tons of gannets on nests, distantly. The scene of masses of seabirds swirling around was awesome. Also a young seal was basking alone on a small rock below in the deep blue waters and another seal could be seen circling around. Took me a long time to get back up the headland again! Very high cliffs here - not for the faint hearted! Turning over a stone I found two small black beetles.

I walked up to Ward Hill and saw another 2 Red Admirals. I was also joined by a pair of bonxies who made their presence known! Sat on a slab of concrete next to the OS Trigg and enjoyed vast views of the sea below me. Had a lunch stop here. Phoned the South Light to inform them that I would not be able to get back in time for dinner at 7pm and sent my apologies.

Continued walking all around the cliffs as far as Easter Lother Water and then diverted along the burn to join the main road. Passing Roskille I diverted over a hill to then join up with the Gully and Finniquoy and collapsed on a stile to finish the last of my water when Josie very kindly rung and offered to come and pick me up!

Back at the South Light, my dinner was re-heated for me - vege curry and rice with fruit salad and ice-cream which was very kind of them considering I was so late!

Absolutely shattered - good night!

Sunday 6 June 2010

FAIR ISLE - chilled day!

After last night's party I had no intention what so ever of going to 'Trap round'!!!!!

Got up lazily at 7.30am, showered etc etc and had another luxury breakfast of eggs, hash browns, beans, vege cutlet, spring rolls, toast, porridge, tea and orange juice! Found out from the german lady staying that I had only missed a Lesser Whitethroat on trap round - phew!

Spent the morning trying to mend camera and googling 'lens error' for camera to try and solve it to no avail. I have tried loads of stuff, putting new battery in, taking memory card out, tapping camera VERY firmly! physically tried to get lens out myself. Holding shutter release button down at the same time as the 'OK' button. I now give up.

I have my two SLR's so its not the end of the world, but this camera is so useful for that quick picture required and is excellent for macro pictures, video etc etc. The camera is out of guarantee. Any ideas/help would be greatly appreciated.

Have given up on coolpix camera and have packed away and trying to forget about it.

Had a lovely salad and cheese, oatcakes etc lunch.

There were glimmers of sunshine this morning, but the rest of the afternoon and evening were grey, cold, depressing skies and no exciting birds at all. Eventually went out mid afternoon. Walked along the road past Upper Leogh and turned right to walk along Meadow Burn where I found some orchids (have not ID'd yet) and continued through this 'reedy' area, playing a Great Reed Warbler on the iphone on the way! Sat on the seat at Schoolton where there was no sign of the cat or any birds at all in the garden. Walked around Boini and then over the stile opposite the shop and over to the west cliffs. A Spotted Flycatcher was seen in South Raeva and another one at the bottom of Malcolm's Head along with 3 turnstones, a pied wagtail and usual Arctic Terns, Eiders, fulmars etc.

Dinner: Sunday roast!!! in my case nut roast with all the trimmings and apple crumble and ice-cream/custard for dessert. Two guests this evening: Stuart Wilson a lovely elderly gentleman (born on Fair isle) and a lady called 'Marge' . Sat having a lovely girly chat with Josie, Inez and Marge after dinner. Inez kept us entertained!!!!!

Saturday 5 June 2010

FAIR ISLE - Bluethroat at The Chalet and Puffin Party!

Must have been shattered last night as I did not hear my early alarm - in fact I was woken at 6.45am up by a text from Jack saying 'Bluethroat at The Chalet' - panic set in - especially as I had wanted to say goodbye to Nicholas, Joanna, Barry and Cheryl as they left on the Good Shepherd. Flew into the living room to inform others that there was a Bluethroat around and had 10 minutes to throw clothes on to get to a lift with Josie and guests to The Good Shepherd. Photographed the Good Shepherd leaving North Haven and waved everyone off. Josie kindly gave me a lift back as far as the ringing hut where I watched Jack ringing a Reed Warbler.

Breakfast - usual excellent selection!

Cold day and no sun.

Got a lift up to the shop with Josie and Inez to buy a bottle of wine for this evening's 'Puffin Party' which was being held in the guess where..... 'Puffin' just round the corner from the South Light - all islanders and visitors were in invited. It was being held for some researchers who were staying in the Puffin who were leaving to move into the new obs next week - sounded like an excuse for a party to me!!

Walked up as far as the Chalet and back round via Schoolton where I saw a Chiffchaff flitting about amongst the rhubarb.

Lunch - usual first class selection.

Walked via 'The Chalet' again and then onto 'Pund' where I was attacked badly by an Arctic Skua. Normally I am not bothered as either have a hat on or hold my mono pod above my head. Today I wished I had had my mono pod as this particular Arctic skua beat me in the exact same spot on the back of my head relentlessly and was like grease lightening in turning around and beating me again only a few seconds later! I have never known one to come back at you again so quick and to hit in the same spot over and over again. My head is still sore today! Needless to say I will not return to the same spot this time on Fair isle! Shortly after this as I was walking down by 'Hill Dyke' I dropped my Nikon Coolpix P5000!!! I could hear a horrible loud clicking noise and on inspection the lens was only partially out and would not extend fully out and the screen read 'Lens error !' in red writing - great!!! Saw a Spotted Flycatcher on the fence wire near the ringing hut.

Walked to the Plantation and walked through Vaadal trap to sit on the hill above. As I approached the pond area I disturbed two Twite bathing in the pool - I sat down close by in hope of their return, which amazingly they did and I get some decent pictures, although if the sun had been out they would have been awesome (even though I say so myself). Walked back to South light seeing no other birds of note on route.

Dinner - again scrumptious with starters, main course and dessert.

Flew in shower and washed hair and walked down the hill to the Puffin Party with my bottle of white wine and Inez's bottle of red wine she had kindly asked me to take to party goers even though she didn't attend the party (although I had tried to persuade her several times!) Inez has a baby pink Fair isle hoody top which I just think is brilliant! Not many people of that age would wear something like that but it looks fabulous on her! She is one of the most fascinating people I have ever met - she is Australian and lives in Vancouver Island, Canada - she had so many stories to tell - she doesn't miss a thing and is as sharp as a razor and is incredibly funny.

Puffin Party - Lots of lovely people here, chatted with Hollie and a lovely lady with a beautiful baby called James who just looked smiley and happy the whole time - I was itching to hold him, but he was very popular with everyone else too! Becky Rosser was there who I remembered from the obs team the last time I was here - Becky also found the obs bluethroat the other day. Chatted to Robert the shopkeeper for a long time about my artic skua attack today etc. Also met Ruth and several other people, can't remember names very well! One person's name I have remembered though is 'Maggie' a young lass who is volunteering at the obs when it opens, who was travelling from Grutness to Fair isle on the Good Shepherd TODAY - on the way she and several others had fabulous views of (can't believe this) 4 - yes 4 KILLER WHALES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am green with envy!!! and so were several other people - Hollie said 'I told you not to say anything'!!!!!!!! Everyone there was very friendly and welcoming. I was hoping there would be some music, violin or something, but there wasn't any whilst I was there. After 4 tumbler glasses of high percentage white wine (which is alot for me) I decided to be boringly sensible and leave at 11.50pm - as I walked up the hill to the South Light in semi darkness, I smiled as I realised I was unable to walk in a straight line!!!!

Friday 4 June 2010

FAIR ISLE - Beautiful Day

Left the light house at 6.30am and went to look for the Red backed Shrike that was seen at Quoy last night. Very cold this morning. No sign of the shrike. Went to join others at the tail end of the trap round at the Plantation trap. Simon caught a Garden Warbler in the Vaadal trap. Walked back with Richard to the light house for breakfast. Richard leaves today by plane in the afternoon (no more Geordie jokes!) He made me laugh as in the visitor book in The Kirk where it said ‘nationality’ he put ‘Geordie’!!!!!

Breakfast again was first class.

Walked to the shop to buy 2 packets of their scrumptious oatcakes and some postcards and chocolate (not that I need any!). Walked over the stile opposite the shop and walked across the fields to the West Cliffs where I climbed to the top of one of the Geo’s and sat watching birds flying across in hope of something good, but no luck. Walked back to the lighthouse for lunch.

Lunch: soup, rolls, pasta and cheese and cakes!

Walked to the observatory. On route, nothing in the plantation or the gully traps. At the obs I sat in front of the plantation for quite a while just to see if the bluethroat or anything else appeared, but no luck. Simon appeared and flushed out a blackbird which he said had been here since March. Walked down to the harbour where I spent a long time photographing a Fair isle Wren, a Wheatear, and attempting to photograph a Twite. 3 yachts were moored up in the harbour and one yacht owner sat on the hillside chatting with me while I took pictures - he said he was pleased he had stopped at Fair isle - ‘it was a very pretty island’.

Opposite the observatory I took pictures of 3 Eiders asleep on the rocks below and also Fulmars and Arctic Terns - I got so carried away I genuinely forgot the time and realised at 6.15pm that I had 45 minutes (not possible!) to get back to the South Light for dinner at 7pm!!! I marched back BUT did take a picture of an Arctic Skua on route and also a Chiffchaff near the HM Coastguard hut on right hand side of road, which looked like it had just dropped in. Got back just after 7.05pm!

Dinner: Soup and rolls to start followed by roast veg/potatoes, sweetcorn, beans, peas, boiled minted potatoes and omelette and rhubarb crumble and custard to follow.

Barry and Cheryl leave tomorrow on the Good Shepherd along with another couple who are staying in Springfields (self catering cottage). Ines will still be here though - Ines is a fascinating lady and a real character - very entertaining!

Fell asleep when I returned to my room - shower, downloaded pictures and then too late to do blog - added this on Sat morning.

Thursday 3 June 2010

FAIR ISLE - East Coast Cliffs and excitment in the evening!

Felt really tired this morning so decided to give Trap round at 7am a miss.

Breakfast - again massive selection of goodies!

Sat chatting to Josie for ages about life, so only had time for a short excursion this morning. Misty and dull weather initially, which looked like it would be ideal conditions! Walked up to the Chalet where there had been a Marsh Warbler earlier, I could hear it singing, but it would not come out from the deep cover in the garden! Walked back via the Haa and Schoolton but nothing else of note was seen.

Lunch: celery soup, bread and butter and cakes!

I decided not to to be downbeat about the lack of rares and made my mind up to have a photography afternoon. I walked a section of Fair isle that I never got round to doing before, from the South Light, east along the cliffs to Sheep Rock. Fabulous scenery along these cliffs with amazing rock formations and tons of seabirds. For a while I just sat on the cliff top enjoying the stunning, sunny afternoon. The waves glittered in the sunshine as they crashed against the dark, jagged rocks. I carried on until I got to a very narrow penninsula, so narrow I probably shouldn't have been walking on it - from here I had fabulous views of shags on nests and drying out their wings and also a very unusual nest with chicks in which I believe is a Hooded Crow's nest as two guests had already found this a couple of days ago. There were also guillemots and razorbills nesting on the cliffs. Two Hooded Crows were sitting on the top of a rock in the sea. Barry and Cheryl suddenly appeared - they had come to look at their Hooded Crow nest again.

Left here and continued along the cliff tops almost as far as Sheep Rock and then turned inland and came out on the road roughly opposite 'Setter'. Walked back along the road past the shop. I wished I had walked the opposite road as when I was just climbing the hill to the lighthouse I had a text from Jack telling me there was a Red backed shrike at Quoy and a male Red spotted Bluethroat at the obs!!!!!

If it had been a Mega I would have gone straight out again, but had dinner first and then Josie very kindly drove Richard, Ines (wonderful Australian, eccentric lady, who lives in Canada and told me she was a Class A Bander [ringer!]) and I to the obs to see the bluethroat. I spotted it sitting on the wire fence around the obs garden but only Richard and I saw it for a second and then it went under cover and didn't come out any more. It was a pity Ines didn't see it, Josie then took Ines back (Ines is very elderly and wouldn't have been able to walk back) and Richard and I walked back to try and find new birds on the way back. One LBJ in the gully and nothing in the Plantation. No sign of the red backed shrike at Quoy, but it was 10.15pm, but still really light!

Will definately be going on trap round tomorrow!

Wednesday 2 June 2010

FAIR ISLE - North Light and Cliffs

Decided not to do trap round this morning and have a lie in. Found out from Jack that I made the right descision as not a single bird was caught in the 7am round!!!!!

Full breakfast again as usual!

Had a packed lunch today as decided to head north all day. A dull day initially, with light rain. Walked towards Schoolton and then cut across shortly after this to the shop, where I had a quick browse and then headed north. Nothing in the plantation, but several LBJ's in the trees/bushes in the bottom of the Gully. Spent time at the observatory sitting on the jetty watching inquisitive seals. Eiders sat amongst the rocks along with black guillemots and arctic terns. Sat here and had some of my lunch. I could have sat there all day - my favourite place. More LBJ's in the obs garden, but none of them would show themselves! Walked high up the hill opposite obs and over to Roskille to hopefully see puffins. On the way up I was bombarded continuously by Arctic Skuas and Bonxies which resulted in some decent shots! On the cliff edge I only saw one puffin! but had an amusing time photographing very pretty white and light brown, incredibly cute baby bunnies. A red breasted merganser was sitting on the sea below. Apart from puffins there was plenty of action here with fulmars, shags, eiders, bonxies all soaring around the cliffs. Walked back onto the main road and continued north passing an islander with a sheepdog who pointed out a Swift to me and said 'Swifts flying low is always a sign of rain to come'. Walked past Golden Water (a large pond on the corner of the road). Reached the North Lighthouse and found to my delight several very obliging puffins who were only too happy to pose for the camera! Spent quite a while here, crawling closer and closer to the puffins and was about to take what looked like the best shot when my telephone rang!!!

Walked back towards Observatory and Deryk kindly gave me a lift as far as obs. I walked back down to the beach and took some more beach photos. 3 Linnets were feeding near the beach and the wader pools. Walked back to South light house and on route had a look in the gully where I could see a wren, male blackcap and a common whitethroat flicking about in the sycamore tree. Nothing in the plantation but as I approached the Vaadal Trap what looked like a female Redstart shot out over my head at great speed - searched for this but to no avail. Sent message to Jack and Deryk and Richard.

Dinner: Soup and oatcakes, vege rice dish and salad and apple crumble with ice-cream to follow! Speaking to Richard at dinner he looked for my redstart and confirmed indeed that it was a female redstart.

Went back into my room and fell asleep until 10pm! Still have to have shower and I have 9 minutes to do this in as lights go out at 11.30pm!

Tuesday 1 June 2010

FAIR ISLE - Four birds in Trap Round adds excitement to the morning!

Got up at 5.30am and left at 6.20am walking along the road via the shop. Counted 45 oystercatchers in the fields on route this morning. Not a lot else of note on route to the 'Chalet'. Freezing cold this morning, it was most definately a wool hat day! Jack was doing trap round this morning - nobody else turned up but me. In the Gully trap we had a nice surprise of a Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Garden Warblers. In the Vaadal trap (behind Plantation trap) we caught a female blackbird.

Walked back for breakfast: porridge, fried eggs, beans, tomatoes, vege cutlet, toast, bagels, fruit juice and tea!

On Jack's advice I walked the south west cliffs this morning. Excellent views of two Ravens over my head and a Spotted flycatcher in the South Geo, but apart from that nothing out of the ordinary, disappointingly. Walked to 'Pund' and back onto the main road and back via the School, Old Haa, Schoolton etc for lunch.

Lunch: Soup and warm brown bread rolls and butter and two different types of cakes!

I felt quite despondent about going out this afternoon - don't know why really, probably too many early mornings and the very cold wind this morning. As I don't have enough clothes for two weeks, I decided to wash some clothes by hand and hang out on the line - afterwards my warm, cosy room felt very relaxing and I decided to have a little kip!!!!! Well actually it turned out to be a very long kip! Went out for some air at 6.30pm and watched 4 Seals amusingly watching me amongst the beautiful Eiders amongst the rock pools.

Dinner: Soup and bread, vegetable stew with vege dumplings, fried potatoes, vegetables and Treacle Pudding to follow with coffee.

To make up for an incredibly lazy afternoon I climbed almost to the top of 'Malcolm's Head' and tried out my new 2x Canon Converter with the 300mm F4 lens on the 7D taking shots of Guillemots on a ledge below the cliffs - I was very impressed with the results, the ISO was set at 1250 though and taken at around 9.45pm. I could only see a few distant puffins. Saw a Pintail that Richard had seen over the past few days and managed a distant shot of it. Got back to the lighthouse around 10.15pm.

Think I will have to get to 'Roskille' tomorrow which is above the observatory - was one of the best places to photograph puffins when I was last here.

Pictures to be added!!!