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Fair Isle Bird Obs Plans

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Old Friday 15th November 2019, 21:29   #1
RecoveringScot
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Fair Isle Bird Obs Plans

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotla...tland-50439781
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Old Saturday 16th November 2019, 20:26   #2
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My two penn'orth: don't put cladding on it.....

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Old Saturday 16th November 2019, 20:31   #3
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My two penn'orth: don't put cladding on it.....

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Build it from local stone, to match the rest of the buildings on the island, would be my suggestion.

Probably prohibitively expensive though . . .
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Old Saturday 16th November 2019, 20:55   #4
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Build it from local stone, to match the rest of the buildings on the island, would be my suggestion.

Probably prohibitively expensive though . . .
A chance for some great PR for the insurance company. If only its chairman were a birder ...
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Old Wednesday 20th November 2019, 14:58   #5
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Are there any plans for additional external white lighting?

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Old Wednesday 20th November 2019, 17:31   #6
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Haven't appointed architects yet Ken, nor update on insurance or funding. Seriously I would doubt that a huge increase in external lighting would be allowed - dark skies, navigation, AOOB. Interested in why you ask, seems a strange question at this stage.

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Old Wednesday 20th November 2019, 18:35   #7
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Haven't appointed architects yet Ken, nor update on insurance or funding. Seriously I would doubt that a huge increase in external lighting would be allowed - dark skies, navigation, AOOB. Interested in why you ask, seems a strange question at this stage.

P
Presumably an additional attraction to migrants / vagrants?
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Old Wednesday 20th November 2019, 23:09   #8
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Presumably an additional attraction to migrants / vagrants?
Surely would be frowned upon Andy, by both the planners and the network of bird observatories - not really cricket is it.
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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 00:12   #9
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Surely would be frowned upon Andy, by both the planners and the network of bird observatories - not really cricket is it.
Surely the obs is a commercial enterprise? LED (much reduced carbon footprint) white lights would attract more migrants...thus more bang for your buck?

Having monitored Canary Wharf for 5 years + I can speak with a modicum of experience.

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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 00:55   #10
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Maybe I 've gotten the gist of bird observatories totally wrong. I thought they were scientific bases with charity status, principally for the study of migration of birds, with the early description of " not being for profit educational learning" as an early mission statement.
Canary Wharf was constructed purely as a commercial enterprise - the attraction of birds to the lighting was purely an incidental occurence ( by product ), not at all why the structure was built. Very very different purpose.

I appreciate many " charitable" organizations are run on a business model to provide surplus funds but am aware of problems ( eg Spurn ) where lighting systems were / are deemed wholly unsuitable and inappropriate and against the planning conditions granted.

No unneccessary lights is an even better example of carbon footprint reduction. We'll agree to disagree on that issue Ken.

P

PS What field of experience does your 5 years at Canary Wharf give you? Yes, perhaps a report on birds found attracted to or dead by collision into the building, I dont know.

I dislike the phrase, " More bang for your buck." Its vulgar and another example of Americanism creeping into the English language. There, I feel much better. Night, night ( if the light pollution let's you sleep).

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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 06:56   #11
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What purpose would lighting serve? It would be a distraction to birds who are using their built in navigational aids - what an inappropriate suggestion imho.

The island already has a light emitting aid - it’s called a lighthouse

Cladding wasn’t needed in the recent fire as the Obs was made of wood. Having only been built in 2010 at a cost of £4M.

Having never visited, despite a girlfriend having been an assistant cook in the early 80’s, i have no idea what material has been used for the island buildings. The only reference i can find to quarrying was the mining of 15 tons of material in 1912 that had Copper as the main constituent with other minerals in situ. Presumably ore found cheaper elsewhere in the World made that commercially unviable. There will undoubtably be surface stone that has been used here and there either for building features or more generally for drystone walls or dykes

Laurie -
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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 07:44   #12
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Surely would be frowned upon Andy, by both the planners and the network of bird observatories - not really cricket is it.
Agree Pat, I was only guessing at why he suggested it.
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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 07:57   #13
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What purpose would lighting serve? It would be a distraction to birds who are using their built in navigational aids - what an inappropriate suggestion imho.

The island already has a light emitting aid - it’s called a lighthouse

Cladding wasn’t needed in the recent fire as the Obs was made of wood. Having only been built in 2010 at a cost of £4M.

Having never visited, despite a girlfriend having been an assistant cook in the early 80’s, i have no idea what material has been used for the island buildings. The only reference i can find to quarrying was the mining of 15 tons of material in 1912 that had Copper as the main constituent with other minerals in situ. Presumably ore found cheaper elsewhere in the World made that commercially unviable. There will undoubtably be surface stone that has been used here and there either for building features or more generally for drystone walls or dykes

Laurie -
It's proven that lighting affects the number of birds caught as at Fagburry Cliff where, when the lighting type was changed at the nearby port, it virtually finished the place off as a ringing station AFAIR.

As for affecting migrants ability to migrate, visible lighting could be a beacon that makes a rarity land on the islands instead of drowning?

I agree though, it would be a blight and very unlikely to be approved.
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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 10:37   #14
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I’ve never been to Fair Isle, thus I’m “in the dark” regarding the general layout of the observatory relative to the position of the lighthouse? I’m aware of the effect of white light on invertebrates, fish and birds...there is ample evidence of “light attraction” to these organisms. My question was simply...would there be any provision/consideration for additional supplementary LED lighting for the reasons given in my previous post.

During my monitoring period at Canary Wharf “the falls” could be on occasion quite spectacular, unfortunately the “lights” used at the time were not LED, thus leaving a bigger “footprint”. With the advent of LEDS being almost 90% clean, there may be occasions when if “used” during optimum conditions they might prove to be more advantageous in attracting more migrants for the ringers, possibly increasing the yield and the forthcoming data from the sampling?

Thankfully Pat, not being a quintessential Englishman, I don’t suffer the indignities of US slang and the usage of....indeed I find “coming to the point” preferable to “beating round the bush” so to speak OK?

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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 10:54   #15
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Thankfully Roy, not being a quintessential Englishman, I don’t suffer the indignities of US slang and the usage of....indeed I find “coming to the point” preferable to “beating round the bush” so to speak OK?
Who is Roy?
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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 11:04   #16
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Who is Roy?
Pyrtle I believe?
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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 11:11   #17
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Pyrtle I believe?
Pyrtle is Pat methinks?
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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 11:11   #18
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Pyrtle I believe?
Nope.
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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 11:23   #19
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Nope.
Well I can’t get ‘em all right.
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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 12:09   #20
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Thankfully Pat, not being a quintessential Englishman, I don’t suffer the indignities of US slang and the usage of....indeed I find “coming to the point” preferable to “beating round the bush” so to speak OK?
Many thanks for your reply Ken. Monitoring and recording I've done too but qualified and an expert, I'm definitely not.
Did you ascertain why the spectacular falls occurred and can you safely determine the cause was attributed to the lights of Canary Tower? I've experienced amazing falls in North Norfolk, ( Holkham / Wells Wood / Salthouse etc) purely down to weather conditions, not a beacon in sight.

Just for you, " Have a nice day bud."

Pat

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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 13:45   #21
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As a regular visitor to the island and the Obs I wouldn't have thought additional external lighting would be required to attract migrants.

The island has two lighthouses, North Light and South Light, which serve the island well and will, and do, act as beacons to migrants crossing the North Sea at night as an indicator of land.

The Obs Garden is already a magnet for migrants as it is the single largest stand of bushes and shrubs on the island. The garden has an enviable list of rarities to its credit and seeing the shear volume of thrushes, finches and so on drop into the garden some nights is amazing. These birds are not attracted by Observatory light to the garden, there has been very little external light from the Obs, but by the habitat. Even without the Obs this year the garden held Eastern Olivaceous and River Warblers at the same time which I think shows an already pretty good 'bang for your buck' for those lucky to be on the island at that time.

Most birds that arrive during the day will often navigate the island and many will undoubtably end up in the garden at some point, either feeding or to roost. The Pine Bunting in 2016 that was seen daily in the Bulls Park Crop, about a mile to the south, would return to the garden nightly to roost.

My experience of the location is that having an additional external light source at the Obs would serve little purpose and I think it would have probably been put in place with the last observatory when it was built if it was thought it would be of benefit. I'm not saying it is not something that may be considered in future plans for the new Obs its just probably not really needed.

There has been mention around how to build the new Obs and much has been said about using local materials however there are a whole host of issues with that.

The island is owned by the NT for Scotland and not the Obs, so you can't blast away to get the stone required, and it would need a lot of rocks to rebuild the shell of Obs. I think trying to obtain permission from the NT would be a dead end as much of the island is SSSI and the idea just wouldn't be entertained.

It would also take a lot of time to build using stone and using stone is not a magic bullet for preventing fire. The croft 'Pund' was stone built but it still went up in flames decades ago, it's the internal aspects of the building that would need to be made fireproof so the ideal solution is something similar to what was there before but with improved internal fire prevention that meets today's standards.

The idea for the new Obs will be that it will be at the same location and be of a similar sized footprint but with some changes in design born out of experience of the previous Obs, by new safety regulations and cost/affordability.

It will be challenge to get the new Obs in place for spring/summer 2021 and I look forward to once again enjoying the atmosphere of the Obs Lounge after big rare has been enjoyed by all.
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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 17:53   #22
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Many thanks for your reply Ken. Monitoring and recording I've done too but qualified and an expert, I'm definitely not.
Did you ascertain why the spectacular falls occurred and can you safely determine the cause was attributed to the lights of Canary Tower? I've experienced amazing falls in North Norfolk, ( Holkham / Wells Wood / Salthouse etc) purely down to weather conditions, not a beacon in sight.

Just for you, " Have a nice day bud."

Pat
In answer to your question Pat, when the lights were turned off in 2005 (unbeknown to the monitors) migrant volume dropped during that Spring and Autumn by 90%.(measured in bird days) compared to the previous 4 years data. It would appear that there was a distinct correlation of migrant loss with the absence of the overnight lighting.

Cheers Buddy Boy.
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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 17:55   #23
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As a regular visitor to the island and the Obs I wouldn't have thought additional external lighting would be required to attract migrants.

The island has two lighthouses, North Light and South Light, which serve the island well and will, and do, act as beacons to migrants crossing the North Sea at night as an indicator of land.

The Obs Garden is already a magnet for migrants as it is the single largest stand of bushes and shrubs on the island. The garden has an enviable list of rarities to its credit and seeing the shear volume of thrushes, finches and so on drop into the garden some nights is amazing. These birds are not attracted by Observatory light to the garden, there has been very little external light from the Obs, but by the habitat. Even without the Obs this year the garden held Eastern Olivaceous and River Warblers at the same time which I think shows an already pretty good 'bang for your buck' for those lucky to be on the island at that time.

Most birds that arrive during the day will often navigate the island and many will undoubtably end up in the garden at some point, either feeding or to roost. The Pine Bunting in 2016 that was seen daily in the Bulls Park Crop, about a mile to the south, would return to the garden nightly to roost.

My experience of the location is that having an additional external light source at the Obs would serve little purpose and I think it would have probably been put in place with the last observatory when it was built if it was thought it would be of benefit. I'm not saying it is not something that may be considered in future plans for the new Obs its just probably not really needed.

There has been mention around how to build the new Obs and much has been said about using local materials however there are a whole host of issues with that.

The island is owned by the NT for Scotland and not the Obs, so you can't blast away to get the stone required, and it would need a lot of rocks to rebuild the shell of Obs. I think trying to obtain permission from the NT would be a dead end as much of the island is SSSI and the idea just wouldn't be entertained.

It would also take a lot of time to build using stone and using stone is not a magic bullet for preventing fire. The croft 'Pund' was stone built but it still went up in flames decades ago, it's the internal aspects of the building that would need to be made fireproof so the ideal solution is something similar to what was there before but with improved internal fire prevention that meets today's standards.

The idea for the new Obs will be that it will be at the same location and be of a similar sized footprint but with some changes in design born out of experience of the previous Obs, by new safety regulations and cost/affordability.

It will be challenge to get the new Obs in place for spring/summer 2021 and I look forward to once again enjoying the atmosphere of the Obs Lounge after big rare has been enjoyed by all.
Thanks Steve for such a detailed response.
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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 18:11   #24
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In answer to your question Pat, when the lights were turned off in 2005 (unbeknown to the monitors) migrant volume dropped during that Spring and Autumn by 90%.(measured in bird days) compared to the previous 4 years data. It would appear that there was a distinct correlation of migrant loss with the absence of the overnight lighting.

Cheers Buddy Boy.
Ken, birds were still on migration, they just weren't drawn or distracted to the bright lights of your monitoring station which I 'm assuming is the Tower so as a consequence went unrecorded by you as they continued on their natural flight way. I concur that a bright light source attracts fish, insects and birds - historically, it's quite well documented ( commercial fishing / moth traps and lighthouses ). I wonder what audio recording might reveal on your patch.

Good Evening

P
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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 18:25   #25
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Its interesting that on this side of the pond we have a relatively benign view of the effects of lighting on bird migration - the argument that a lighthouse can save tired migrants from a watery grave isn't one I'd come across before, but seems sensible in circumstances where a small passerine is struggling across the North Sea.
In contrast in North America there is a huge concern about the disorientating effects of lighting on birds, with a campaign to switch off lights in tower blocks during migration season. This has filtered over to Europe - I've seen at least one study where green-spectrum lighting was trialled on a North Sea gas rig to avoid attracting migrants.
It would be interesting to have a contribution from some of Birdforum's North American members to this debate.
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