Sunday, 23 April 2017

Common Crane

After seeing the Crane flying over Hillwell last week i managed to find it on the ground yesterday. Walking along the road to Brake i came across the Crane not in the ploughed field but in a marshy area 4 rigs away.

It was soon asleep and stayed like this for a good 20 mins before being disturbed by a couple of Ravens who came for a closer look

After preening it took off and headed straight towards me. By this time the wind had picked up to force 6 and the snow also started to fall

keeping the long telephoto steady was becoming a problem so i increased the ISO to 2000 and this gave me around 1/1000 second, just enough to get reasonable sharp photos

I think it may have flown over me had it not been for a flock of Greylag heading towards it so it veered off north landing 100 m north of its original position

As it came into land it disturbed a pair of Snipe which immediately took off

These views are the best i have had over the two year period that the bird has been present in the area. Migration has now picked up and a few days ago a Hermit Thrush was found on Noss, although officially the island was not open, so people had to find their own boats over that evening. The next day it had gone.

On the day i went to see the Crane a White Tailed Eagle flew over Hillwell and then disappeared to-date no one else has seen it. Elsewhere a Viking Gull, Glaucous and Iceland Gulls, Kestrel, Siskin, Goldcrest, Song Thrush , Chaffinch, Swallow and a number of Grey wagtails have arrived and been greeted by snow showers.

We headed over to Sandsayre as a pod of 6 Killer Whales had been heading south from Lerwick but we never saw them as they passed the back of Mousa, the sea was choppy and again the wind was strong. Still a number of Purple Sandpiper on the beach and divers further out

Birds on the day

Common Crane, Greylag, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Moorhen, Tufted, Mallard, Wigeon, Oystercatcher, Snipe, Whimbrel, Lapwing, Purple sandpiper, Redshank, Curlew,  Raven, Hoodie, Redwing, Siskin, House Sparrow, Starling, Twite, Blackbird, Wren, Gannet, Herring gull, BH Gull, LBB, Red Throated Diver, Gt Northern Diver, Black Guillemot, Eider, Shag, Long Tailed duck, Rock Pipit

Monday, 17 April 2017

Duck anyone

Sunday turned out to be better weather than forecasted, with lots of blue sky, but also cold and windy. As a Green winged Teal had been reported last night at Boddam  we headed down the South Mainland. This may have been the bird seen at Scatness yesterday

No one else about as we parked. The first birds i noticed was a nice pair of Pintail in the middle of the voe with Teal , Mallard and Shelduck also  seen. Redshank (3 pairs) Turnstone (48) and a couple of Snipe fed along the rocky shoreline.

A large number of Starling and a few house sparrow, one collecting nest material seemed busy searching through the mass of seaweed.

A few pairs of Rock Pipit showed close by while a Cormorant and a Shag rested on a large rock with a dozen Fulmar.

This morning a third Lapland bunting turned up at Sumburgh, this time a female. It may have been brought down by the singing male. Also a Pod of Risso dolphin pass the head, looks like the ones seen at Busta Voe yesterday, looking good already for cetaceans.

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Sunday, 16 April 2017

Spring arrives

Although the weather may have not been much like spring more birds have arrived back in Shetland. We traveled up to Sumburgh head where a pod of 7 Killer Whales had passed by four hours before.

The two Lapland Bunting showed well down to around 12 feet, these were both male birds one of which had a jet black head.

A few Wheatears the first of the year dived bombed the buntings, while several Skylark sang away and Oystercatcher flew passed piping loudly.

Down at Grutness a few more migrants had arrived, in the garden a Redwing appeared, then joined a Song Thrush in the paddock. A Chiffchaff called and was later seen on the beach beside the house. A Robin , Pied Wagtail (2) White Wagtail (2) joined a large flock of Starling feeding near the Shetland ponies.

Back on the pool Herring and Common Gulls scared off a pair of Mallard and then a pair of Gt Skua flew over, returning birds.

In the Bay just a few birds including a pair of Red Throated Divers in breeding plumage, Shag (6) and a couple of Long Tailed Duck.

At West Voe a Gt Northern Diver coming into breeding plumage caught a couple of fish and a flock of 18 Turnstone worked hard to find food along the rocky coastline. Lots more Skylark sang overhead.

Over at Hillwell just one Whooper Swan, Wigeon (86) Tufted (8) Mallard (15), Shelduck (2) Teal (4), Moorhen (9) and among the gulls a nice Iceland and 2 Lesser Black Back gulls.

Just then a Common Crane flew over heading north then quickly descended towards Spiggie. Just wondered whether this is the same bird that spent several months in the area last year.

Common Crane, Iceland Gull, Lapland Bunting (2) Wheatear, Rock Pipit, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Curlew, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Stock Dove, Gt Skua, Gt Northern Diver, Red Throated Diver, Long Tailed Duck, Wigeon, Tufted, Teal, Mallard, Shag, Song Thrush, Redwing, Robin, White/Pied Wagtail, Gannet,Puffin,  Sparrow, Starling, Raven, Fulmar, LBB, Gt BB, Herring & Common Gull, Chiff Chaff, Moorhen, Greylag, Whooper Swan, Common Guillemot, Redshank, Snipe, Shelduck, Wren, Blackbird, Twite, BH Gull