Wednesday, 11 April 2012


I've just spent the last two days guiding a South African birder & photographer around the isle. He was on a whistle-stop tour of the northern isles - with a view to make a longer trip in the future. He was a throughly nice bloke, full of interesting stories of the places he has been and characters he has met. Although it's a bit early in the season (and the winds were wrong) for much migration he seemed pleased with what I could offer him - including good views of the pair of Peregrines, close-ups of a Gannet colony and some stunning scenery. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I didn't manage to get him a Puffin photo opportunity - even though birds were ashore when I went for a recce on Friday evening. We saw a few in the water but not a single bird came onto land. I also failed to secure him a nicely posed Long-eared Owl - but that wasn't my fault, it was flushed by some other over-eager photographers before we could get there! We went in pursuit and saw it only briefly at Kenaby. He left happy though, sporting a FIBO beanie (a much better garment than the one he arrived with!) and the proud owner of a sweater!
Today, the three youngest kids came back - all tired out after their ski-ing holiday with Grandma & Grandad, but excited to be home. Its lovely to have them back and I set them to work straight away. We gathered the ewes and sorted out those closest to lambing (18 of them) and moved them into the park next to the house - much to Munter the Ram's excitement, though this was short-lived as he was shifted into the haypark! So, shed cleaned out and partitioned, straw spread, feeding troughs/ring moved, silage bales transported............and we are all ready for lambs! Bring it on! Speaking of lambing, our other child, Lachlan, is enjoying his 'work' experience in the Borders, despite the 4am start he had this morning. He phoned this evening with tales of all the lambs he has proudly delivered.
Back on Fair Isle, lambing is in full swing at Setter now, including a set of quads and an eye-watering monster single!! The Obs is starting to fill up with staff, with David & Gillian arriving on the morning plane and regular returnee Becki Rosser in the afternoon! Meanwhile, Sarah (the workcamp Vet) also arrived to help Dave Wheeler with the lambing at Field - very much appreciated I am sure!

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