Saturday, 6 October 2012

Quiet Day with Sunshine then Day of Rain and Goodbyes - Birding Shetland

Bart [M & M] can be seen here looking through the previous day’s blog entry, unaware that the final bit about a special new birding location was non other than his workman’s butt!

Bart uses his keyboard skills to navigate the blog

Bart finds the offending photo - Crack Man!
Friday 5th October

A beautiful, calm, sunny day with few birds available and even fewer found.

A wood warbler at Hoswick started the day, followed by more views of the siberian stonechat.

Down to the beach at Norness - Sand lodge and a purple sandpiper on the low tide rocks beside a mill pond sea bathed in sunshine. Stunningly beautiful views.

The possibility of a rosefinch had us going back yet again to Unst, not that we needed much persuasion to head back that way. A lift was given to a young Shetland lass, Felicity, hitchhiking her way to Lerwick for a job interview.

Bramblings, four of them, were found in the derelict gardens behind the Post Office in the village of Baltisound and a couple of goldcrest but no rosefinch.

To the sycamores of Halligarth with a blackcap, a few goldcrests, 3 chiffs, including one with damaged head feathers, a willow warbler and a couple of Shetland wrens.

The clarity of the scenery was amazing, with Sumburgh Head being visible from Unst!

News of a possible pallid harrier back at Hoswick, so back in that direction we went.  A great northern diver was flying past as we docked back onto the mainland.

A Norfolk birder texted us to say he’d seen a strange wheatear; described as having a grey head and an all dark tail so we tried to relocate it with him, alas to no avail.

The day finished with egg and chips!

Saturday 6th October

A blackcap in our garden to start the day with a north wind and some sunshine but yesterday’s clear views gone.

To Virkie for waders and an immature long-tailed duck. Then to Grutness where Bart [M & M] found the red-backed shrike, a first year bird.

With the aim of finding our own, we searched Sumburgh quarry, Quendale valley and Channerwick. Nothing of note really; just a redstart at Channerwick and a swallow at Quendale, with a superb merlin chasing a hooded crow near to the latter.

Over to Hoswick as the weather closed in and rain fell. No views of the Siberian stonechat and no purple sandpipers at Norness.

To Lerwick for fish and chips, with black guillemot and eider close to in the harbour.

Next to Veensgarth to look for the American golden plover. A dozen snipe flushed along loch edge, with a female goldeneye, a few wigeon and two teal there also.

4 wood pigeons and 5 collared doves brought up the ‘50’ species for the day. Another merlin flew by quickly in the strong wind. No sign of any golden plover in this area, we drove over to Breiwick where the special one was located amongst its European cousins.

And so The Clams Shetland Adventure ends. Lifers, year ticks and great birds for all of us.

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