I missed out on a spring trip this year due to a visit to Israel instead so I was really looking forward to this autumn up on the isle and was hoping it was going to be an improvement over last years average effort. However as it turned out it was without doubt the worst trip I've done to the island as it was nothing but constant westerly gales throughout my stay, in fact it had been westerly several weeks before even arrived. We had a brief spell of South Easterlies which brought us the bird of the autumn in the form of a White's Thrush but after this for the forecast was pretty much for a return to constantly westerlies and these seemed fixed for the remainder of what was left of the autumn. As a result I departed the island early, by a week, in an effort to salvage as much of my annual leave as possible and carry it over into next year where I could build it up to try again. So instead of four and half weeks on the isle I only managed three. Luckily as a result of leaving early I didn't miss anything apart from a couple of really difficult to get Fair Isle ticks in the form a Little and Mediterranean Gulls but I can live with that.
In contrast with previous years no Little Buntings were seen, I only saw 4 Yellow-browed Warblers, no Red-breasted Flycatcher, Shrikes, Barred Warbler or most of the regular scarcities and those that I did see I never got photo's of; these being Ortolan Bunting, Corncrake and Richards Pipit.
It was a good year though for winter geese with good numbers of Greylags, Pink-footed and Barnacles passing through as well as several family groups of Whooper Swans.
It really was a hard slog this year with the constantly poor weather really affecting both birding (virtually no migration) and poor photography (low light with gale force winds) but you make the most of it and one little win was I walked around 168miles, according to my step counter.
So what follows is primarily common species with links to the Blog Page where larger and higher resolution image can be seen.