Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Fair Isle Early Spring Bird Photos by Mark

Red Flanked Bluetail - Tarsiger cyanurus

While I was away in the States my birdwatcher friend Mark was house sitting. Besides feeding the cat, chickens and fish, he fed and watched the birds. This post highlights the best photos and best birds he saw in the last 2 weeks. Thank you Mark and FIBO staff for not finding any birds I need for my Fair Isle list. But a rare first ever Fair Isle spring record of the Red Flanked Bluetail made me more than green with envy. Marks photos speak for themselves I think he had a pretty good trip.

(European) Robin

Fair Isle Wren



Bonxie / Great Skua


Mali Munk - Fulmar

Female - Crossbill

Male - Snow Bunting

Male - Lapland Bunting

The South Harbour Skerries getting a good washing.

Purple Sandpiper

Northlink Ferry passing Foula viewed from the North Lighthouse.

Male - Eider Duck
Tree Sparrow at the Auld Haa Today.
I'm home for one day and already adding to the Fair Isle Year List again.

Thanks Mark, Stunning Photos!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

SHETLAND - BBC Murder Mystery on Fair Isle

 I have just a few photos from last September visit from the cast and crew of the TV show SHETLAND.

Let me start by saying that no one here on Fair Isle can recall a Murder on Fair Isle... Ever! Going back  to the Orkneyinga Saga of the Vikings, even they have no mention of murder on Fair Isle. The Vikings called Fair Isle "Fridarey - The Isle of Peace". If you do come to Fair Isle, the only "MURDER" you are likely to find is a small group of Crows... The TV show is not factual or realistic in this way, it's entertainment. Enjoy it if you can.

What is true is the landscape of Fair Isle is spectacular! Fair Isle it's self is a star of the show, even though the weather and the sunlight wasn't great while the camera crew was here, it still shined through. National Geographic placed Fair Isle number 5 on their list of Top Ten Islands in the World.

Here are some links for more info about the show:




Cast and crew flew into Fair Isle for 2 or 3 days,
the rest of the show was shot elsewhere.

A different kind of "roll em" on the Good Shepherd.

A nice bit of kit....

This was the scene on the North Haven pier that I was an extra in.
I don't think I'll make the cut....

Jimmy meets Jimmy
The real Jimmy and Jimmy as played on TV.
I think the Isle would gladly welcome them back if needed. Cheers!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

In my Garden Today!

Bird in my garden today... My parents garden in the USA.

April Fools!

 Henry and I are visiting family in in the States during the 2 week Spring school break.
In the past few days we have seen many common birds here in Upstate New York. 
Any of which I would love to find on Fair Isle.

House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus

Friday, 21 March 2014

World War One Video by Fair Isle the Primary School

Fair Isle is Britain's most remote inhabited island, also claims the most remote primary school. Year around residents total about 65 people, 4 of those attend classes, with 1 other child in the nursery. This year the pupils at the local primary school researched the names on the islands war memorial. Using the information they gathered the pupils created a display for the local museum 'The George Waterson Memorial Centre'. This video was created by the school and presented to the Royal British Legion Scotland as part of the 2014 Primary School War Memorial Competition. Out of 40 schools who enter the competition Fair Isle has made it into the top 4 finalist! Winner will be announced next week, with a grand prize trip to London for the winning school.


Our Boys - Fair Isle & World War One from Fair Isle on Vimeo.

to our national winners! well done kid and all of Fair Isle.

More links to the story:

Royal British Legion - Scotland:

Shetland Times:

Shetland News:


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Support the Fair Isle Marine Environment and Tourism Initiative.

 Dear friends and supporters,

Please register your support for the Fair Isle community and a marine protected area for the waters around Fair Isle, please do so via the website's Guestbook (http://www.fimeti.org.uk/guestbook.asp). "

"The Fair Isle Marine Environment and Tourism Initiative (FIMETI) website at http://www.fimeti.org.uk/ has now been completely updated and includes a wealth of additional information. The website is well worth a visit and spending some time to read with interesting text and photos throughout.

Also hot off the press on the FIMETI News page (http://www.fimeti.org.uk/news.asp) is a forthcoming stakeholders meeting between the Fair Isle community and fishermen's representatives on 24th March, plus some great upcoming cultural and environmental events to look forward to, including 'Da Fishing Hands' premiere of music and song on 23rd May and a Fair Isle Maritime Festival of supporting events from 22nd to 25th May. The Clipperton Project is planning a scientific and educational expedition to Fair Isle in June.

With 100% community support, Fair Isle is very pleased to announce that representatives from the Shetland Fishermen's Association and the Scottish Fishermen's Federation will be visiting the isle next Monday, 24th March, for discussions on the Fair Isle MPA proposal. The community is looking forward to seeing them and determining common ground on the issue of sustainable management measures for Fair Isle waters.

FIMETI's latest annual newsletter 'Making Waves' - with full news and updates regarding Fair Isle's continuing quest for a Marine Protected Area - will be published on the Newsletters page of the website shortly (http://www.fimeti.org.uk/index.asp?pageid=122001). "

Many thanks from the Fair Isle Community.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Fine Art of Fair Isle Knitting.

Wouldn't you like to own this fine Fair Isle Fisherman's Kep and help the Fair Isle Primary School? Hand knitted by Fair Islander by Elena Mera-Long this hat could be yours for the highest donation to benefit the Fair Isle Primary School Fund.

  • Bidding starts at 100.00 pounds.
  • Bidding ends 5pm.(UK) March 31st, 2014.

Send your bids in a private message on Facebook to Elena Mera-Long.
If you are not on Facebook you can email me - tommyartgallery@yahoo.com - and I'll see she gets it. 

For past history of Fair Isle Fisherman Keps for fund raising view this link:

I love the Gold and Blue... Very nautical /Northern Lighthouse Board colours.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

The early bird, a rare Stonechat.

 Yesterday, I thought I saw a Chaffinch's white wing bars fly out of my garden, sadly never seen again. Then today while planting old sprouted garlic in my garden, I swear I heard a Wagtail fly over? Never saw it... With a Snowy Owl and a Gyrfalcon seen recently in Shetland, I have been out an about looking for big white birds? With all the Gulls and Fulmars it is a pain. I went for an afternoon drive knowing Wagtails and Chaffinch often hang out on the side of the road. I was driving to the north of the Isle at the Feely Dyke Cattle Grid when I found this Stonechat! A bird that is getting quite scarce on Fair Isle. It's not a Snowy Owl or a Gyrfalcon, I thought at first it might of been one of the few Robins about, (it wasn't an Accentor,) but that Stonechat made my day.

The Gannets are back on Kirk Stack today.
(Gannets are seen year around at sea, but they have been gone from the nesting sights for a few months.)

Purple Sandpiper - South Harbour

A Big White Bird!

Friday, 28 February 2014

Aurora! Northern Lights and the Merry Dancers.

Fair Isle's Sheep Rock and the Northern Lights.
Amazing display in the sky last night, people all over Shetland and northern Scotland were treated with the best display of northern lights I have ever seen. Though it wasn't the brightest on I have seen, it covered most of the sky. Not only in the north but from the south east to the south west the light was shimmering. A joy to behold as the lights pulsated in streaks across the moonless star lit night.

So many people are disappointed that they can't see the fantasy auroras they have seen in photos. The camera records more colour than you really see in any one moment, that is because a low light camera lens allows photographers to gather more light with a longer exposers. Often making fantastic images! but sadly unrealistic... I have edited and unsaturated my photos to more accurately portraits what I saw, but in no way does this do the experience justice and my colours are a bit off too.

Sheep Rock looking West.

I didn't know which way to look?
180 degrees from the photo above. 

Look at the stars, you can see Orion and the Pleiades constellations in the southern sky.
Showing just how over head it was.

Over head  the aurora streaked and pulsed reminding me of a disco.
No wonder they call it "The Merry Dancers".

Green curtains over the Chapel

It was hard to sleep knowing the Aurora was still fluctuating outside...
but my camera battery ran out about 1:30 am.
I went to bed glowing a bit too.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Auld Coots and the Young Ones

Two Auld Coots...
I was feeding a rare and troubled looking Coot in my garden pond for a week... It fed up and looked much better, David (FIBO Warden) came down a rang it and the next day it moved on... I wonder if it will ever be relocated?

Home coming.

Henry is home for the weekend...

Shelduck in flight with the Greylags on Meoness.
Logan found this (first of the year) Shelduck on Da Water, I later refound it near the Wali Burn.

My friend the white tailed House Sparrow.
My Tree.

Scoping out an Iceland Gull.
A few Glaucous & Iceland Gulls hanging about, even a Kumlien's Gull.

A good show of the Northern Lights shined bright last night.

Sweet Saska

Logan searched the isle all weekend for birds of note....
We helped a bit.

Henry & Me say good bye for a few weeks at the landing strip before his plane back to Lerwick.


Logan made this great video when I showed him the inside of the North Lighthouse. The Camera was set on the edge of the beacon as it slowly spins in one rotation creating an unique view of this amazing landmark.