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  • Wild Shetland Tours

Fair Isle

I was lucky enough to spend three days in late April guiding on Fair Isle, my favourite island in Shetland. The weather was beautiful, and Fair Isle looked as lovely as ever. There was also plenty to see, as our visit coincided with the end of a significant arrival of classic early spring migrant birds. Species such as Robins, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Song Thrushes, Reed Buntings, Redwings, Fieldfares and Yellow Wagtails were plentiful, with smaller numbers of Bramblings, Sedge Warblers, Whinchats and Redstarts.

Several Black Redstarts were on the island, including this one at the school (C) Rob Fray

Tree Pipit
A good number of migrant Tree Pipits were on the island, such as this one at Kroga Geo (C) Rob Fray

Some of the more unusual birds seen over the three days included a Black Kite which toured the island, flying directly over our heads on several occasions, a Wryneck at Upper Loegh, a Hoopoe on Buness and a Long-eared Owl in the Gully.

Black Kite
This Black Kite toured the whole island (C) Rob Fray

Long-eared Owl
Long-eared Owl peering out of the pine tree in the Gully (C) Rob Fray

As well as the migrant birds, it was good to see a few more familiar faces amongst the birdlife.

Puffins at the north end of Fair Isle - always a treat! (C) Rob Fray

Another Puffin (C) Rob Fray

The ubiquitous Wheatear (C) Rob Fray

The visit was tinged with sadness, however, as I got to see at first-hand the devastation caused by the recent fire at the Bird Observatory. It was a truly heartbreaking sight, but knowing the Fair Isle community they will rally around and get everything up and running again as soon as is humanly possible.

Fair Isle Bird Observatory
The remains of the Fair Isle Bird Observatory (C) Rob Fray

A poignant sign (C) Rob Fray

Fair Isle
Fair Isle at its best, looking south from Upper Stoneybrek (C) Rob Fray

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