It’s been a good few days for birds and the weather. Not that some people are happy, as recently I met a few birders how had been disappointed with the migrant birds that had been on Shetland. Like many people who look at the various birding websites, they see many superb birds and expect them still be around when they turn up. These websites can be useful, and sometimes birds stay around but many are recorded in people’s gardens and others only appear in the report after the bird has long gone, so they can be a useful historical record.
This doesn't deter the many birders who need to add the bird to their bird list and some go to extreme length’s to see the bird, hiring planes and sometimes helicopters to achieve their ambitions at great financial costs.
Spring migrants are colourful and some sing, but many of these long distant migrants are non-breeders in Shetland and pass through the islands on the way to breeding sites while others have been blown well off course by winds and end up in strange places
The last few days have been very good and Shetland has many superb bird spots where you can find your own birds, as I don’t have internet access anyway. Staying in the south mainland I have recently found Bluethroat, Red Backed shrike, Red Rumped swallow, Rosefinch (male and female) Wryneck(see last blog) Icterine warbler (2), Black Redstart, common Redstart, Marsh warbler, Wood warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Brent Goose and lots of Spotted Flycatcher and Blackcap.
When you put the hours in you can find the birds, however you may see the bird but trying to photograph them is completely different even though is very little cover for the bird to hide except behind the occasional wall or in rhubarb patch- that’s a sore point as Shetland bushes tend to eat rare birds.
I saw a Sub-alpine warbler the other year which disappeared into a patch of rhubarb and never came out. I was thinking that the Red back shrike had done the same this year but it turned up after a 2 hour wait.
Red Backed Shrike
Well back to the weather and although Shetland often has a black cloud over it on a weather map its usually doing something else, we have had better weather than Sheffield, since moving here it has only been bad weather for two days out of 6 weeks, with the last few days hot and sunny superb.