20 Oct 2017

Fair Isle 2017. Day 6. Nutmegged!

Conscious of the weather we'd been checking several times a day and were concerned that we might have to leave early if it looked like flights were going to be delayed. Wednesday dawned clear and still and walking the trap round with Richard it was apparent that there had been a huge clear out of thrushes during the night.

Walking the gully trap Richard flushed a Water Rail into the catching box and asked me to remove it before he opened it again to catch some of the small passerines still in the trap. Water Rail can be quite vicious and he was concerned it would attack some of the smaller birds in the catching box. Unfortunately the box door wasn't quite closed enough and there was just enough gap for the bird to squeeze through....... it flew past Richard and into a small pool so after removing the other birds we walked the trap again and found the Water Rail. It promptly bypassed me and nutmegged Richard before flying out of the gully.
After breakfast our worst fears were realised when Doddy knocked on my door and told me Dave Wheeler had been in contact and unless we left today it was unlikely we'd be able to leave before Monday as the weather was closing in and there were no weekend flights this time of year. Unfortunately we also had to leave within the hour! Wit hMark, Jase and Chris all having weekend commitments it was decided we'd have to go and after packing our bags, saying our goodbyes and loading the van we decided to walk to the airfield.

With a couple of good mainland birds the lads were keen to see (Rock Thrush and Two-barred Greenish Warbler) we decided to head straight  home rather than staying the extra day on Shetland mainland.

Ringing Loganairs help desk I was told that we could change our flights at Sumburgh airport as it would be cheaper than doing it through him. Arriving at the airport we were told we couldn't do it and a tense hour or so ensued with calls going backwards and forwards until it was finally resolved at no charge. Loganair really have to get their act together if they are to take business from Flybe.

We were all sad to leave Fair Isle but have already booked to go back next year. One day I will see Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler.

 Payney birding a geo

Distance walked: 13.2 km - a fair bit of that was spent pacing up and down getting more and more angry and frustrated at Sumburgh airport! Thanks to Lyndsey at Sumburgh for eventually sorting our flights for us!

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