Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Undetered by Rain - Clam On Shetland

Up and out to a dry and almost windless morning by 7.30am. No wind! Now there's a rare occurance here.

Not much in the garden, blackbirds, starlings and house sparrows, so off to Channerwick. Down the slope and goldcrest, female blackcap, a robin, a dark Shetland wren and a yellow-browed warbler in the sycamore there. More goldcrests in the willowherb patches and a snipe on the beach. Enjoyable thrashing in such calm conditions.

To Sandwick and a long time spent searching the fields and cliffs for a reported red-backed shrike. Not seen unfortunately but an otter floating on its back eating a small, long, thin fish was good to see; as was the garden warbler and pied flycatcher in the Laird's garden ["No" being the firm response from the Laird's wife to my polite request for entry. It looks a fabulous area for migrants and I wonder what goes unseen amongst the high stone walls and trees]

Two purple sandpipers were with a number of turnstone on the beach with rock pipits and pied wagtails on the stranded rotting seaweed.

More searching of the fields and an invite into a cottage for coffee from Wally and Margaret after we'd been shown around their beautiful garden. In the wonderfully cluttered kitchen, with walls covered with family photos and aerial photos of the cottage and how its garden changed over the years, we sat and enjoyed their company for an hour or so. Lovely people, as Shetlanders are. 53 years married and so warm and friendly.

Back to Papa - Glover Lodge for lunch as rain, predicted for 10.00am finally arrived at 12.30. Heavy rain that soon turned to drizzle so out again with the intention of searching the Quendale area. This we did, mostly in further rain, and after M & M had slept and snored for a short while, finding 4 song thrush, a wheatear, 8 swallows, a robin, 6 redwing, c.100 skylark, 5 pied wagtails, 7 oystercatchers and a number of meadow pipits and twite, as well as the everywhere starlings.

News of the previously seen Isabelline shrike back nr Toab in a garden had us driving around to the spot where a small gathering were staring at a small sycamore against a house wall. The bird was found tucked deep down amongst the dying autumn leaves and everyone had great views of the perched bird, well at least a back view anyway. After an hour or so, the bird decided to stretch itself a couple of times before popping down onto the unviewable path. Captain [He who is typing this!] had poor photos digiscoped with the camera focussing on a leaf as below.

Better photos will be provided by Olly Clam once he can download them.

A rush to Scalloway for a reported little auk was to no avail but enjoyable to see yet another area of these fabulous islands.

So no lifers for the Clams today just good fun birding and great company.

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