Friday, September 24, 2010

Lapland Buntings

So I saw my first Lapland Bunting of my stay in Fair Isle on 27th August, it started with one on Golden Water that flew around for a bit before departing south, Deryk then had one at the obs then Simon had one flying south later on. Then one of Jack's mates had it on North Ron, at the time we thought that all these birds could be the same bird. Oh how wrong we were, as the next 2 weeks proved. For everyday following on from this initial sighting I would see Lapland Buntings! They were everywhere, mainly in the North and West of the Island where the best views were to be had with birds seemingly happy to stay on the deck until about 5ft away sometimes! After about the first week we'd be walking round on census and hear the familiar trill and chip and just casually say lap bunt and note down how many we'd seen! Whilst on the island we all thought that we would be able to break the previous day total for the island of 90 set 13th September 1960, but we managed to equal it two days on a row! With exactly 90 on both 29th and 30th! Then we finally managed to smash it on the 1st with 142 then double a 50 year old record with 184 on the 2nd! The number for them then levelled off to around 120-110 across the whole island for the rest of my stay. During this time we took the opportunity to try and trap and ring some, one cause it would be cool but also to see if there were any of the subcalcaratus race. On the whole we were very successful managing to process probably around 30 birds of which several had large wings with some of ones around 101mm, I'm sure more will come of it soon so lets see! My daily totals for Lap Bunts were as follows-

27th- 1
28th- 10
29th- 51
30th- 55
31st- 74
1st- 35
2nd- 12
3rd- 25
4th- 34
5th- 28
6th- 10
7th- 15
8th- 34
9th- 49
10th- 19

You can see why they are also called Lapland Longspurs


  1. Nice stuff Tim!
    I remember finding a flock of 6 Lap Bunts in the NW of the Isle near Lerness in 2003 and feeling pretty chuffed with myself! Though nothing like the numbers this autumn! P.s was your in hand Lap Bunt pic taken near the Plantation or Double Dyke? Looks familiar!
    I'm back to Fair Isle next Autumn, can't wait!

  2. Just up the road from the plantation just outside the ringing shed. I can't wait to get back hopefully will be back there next year!