Thursday, 4 October 2012

Birding Shetland - Clams Explore the West

Stiff westerly as we left the lodge with the intention of exploring an area new to us. Turning south just before Scalloway we drove down Burra. With a distant Foula seen to the west and superb views down the sea lochs south, the area was beautiful in the sunshine, clear due to the wind. Exploring dry stone walls, sea lochs, grasslands and stoney beaches brought us a variety of waders including ringed plovers, turnstones, redshanks, curlew and a couple of dunlin, a couple of wheatears, 49 wigeon and a good number of eider.

Exploring the village gardens of Hamnavoe didn't bring anything unusual but surely this is the most beautiful shed in Britain ......
All with real shells. Beautiful!
A whooper swan was flying along the harbour edge at Scalloway as we drove around towards the main road.
Down to Sumburgh, parking by the hotel. Walked to the farm and quarry but nothing too special bird-wise. A robin and a goldcrest in the quarry, about 60 skylark and a few twite in the potato field. Coffee and cookie in the hotel lounge and a great northern diver seen flying past through the window.

The weather now including quick passing rain showers accompanied each time by a rainbow or two.
Over to Spiggie beach, at the north side of the Loch of Spiggie RSPB reserve, and a fruitless search for the previously seen American buff-bellied pipit. A superb beautiful beach of pure white sand with the usual nosey seals popping up near us to check us out.

Captain overlooking Spiggie Beach

To Channerwick and a razorbill on the sea and a few seals, with two seals playing together and a young one coming very close.

One of the seals kept jumping up and slapping its back feet on the surface of the water. Strange and if anyone can explain what it was up to I'd be grateful.
No birds of note here today; just a snipe and a lot of blackbirds, together with a couple of goldcrests.

Up to Wester Quarff and great views of a very mobile red-breasted flycatcher, together with a yellow-browed warbler
M & M [Tony Barter] Looking at the R B Flicker

Now to Veensgarth to see the American Golden Plover that we'd seen before but wanted closer and hopefully more active views. M & M found it with a few golden plover and lapwing in a field near the cemetry and we filmed it and photographed it.
Once again once we've got Jas' photos downloaded we'll have better images.
A stop and search of a large garden nearby, once permission was granted by the owner, didn't give us anything better than a couple of collared doves and the nearby loch had a group of 24 tufted duck.

The daylight ended with us walking through an area of tall sycamores near to a superb Broch on an island in a loch near Tescos at Lerwick. Nothing seen in the trees and rain started to fall heavily. Another whooper swan and more tufted duck were on the loch.

Another day of hard searching and good birds but will another special turn up before we leave on Saturday evening?

One last thought - a new site has been seen; a deep valley, full of massed vegetation, rather damp, probably slippery underfoot and aromatic ........

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