Despite making, like last year, a couple of visits to the Isle in 2017 these visits were a little lacklustre and to a degree the autumn mirrored the spring. Bird of the year was by far and away the stunning Collared Pratincole in the second week of May. As the mirror image spring Collared Pratincole (great rare), autumn White's Thrush (great Rare); spring 2 Red-throated Pipits, autumn 2 Red-throated Pipits; In spring 2 Red-breasted Flycatchers with in autumn 2 Red-breasted Flycatchers. Spring a Rustic Bunting (the only other BB rare in spring), in autumn a Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler (the only other BB rarity in autumn). In spring Bluethroats and a Red-backed Shrike, in autumn Bluethroats and a Great Grey Shrike. You get the idea. Autumn was dominated by howling gales for majority of the time with little respite AND with all of our island neighbors pulling in the rares (Foula especially had a great run with Pechora Pipit, 2-3 Isabelline Shrikes, Rustic Bunting, Booted Warbler and a White-crowned Sparrow) whilst North Ron weighed in with the Blue and White mega. Shetland also had a good run of birds but nothing to the status of the other two islands.
I think Fair Isle must have been cloaked and was totally invisible this autumn.
So poor weather and general lack of migrants meant long hard days in the field and as a subsequent knock on effect far fewer photo's than normal. I did spend a lot of time searching as usual but despite fining a couple of RBFs, Bluethroat and so on I didn't find that hoped for BB rarity. Despite a couple of good birds being seen during the trip, in fact PGTips and White's Thrush are noting to sniff at, this is my poorest year on the isle to date. It makes one want to abandon this type of birding and spend time abroad where the birds are so will I be back next year after this endurance test, well of course I will as you have to ride the rough with the smooth and out up with the off years as when the islands gets it right there's no where else I would want to be........"one average year does not a disaster make" (Yoda).