Spring is still with us in Shetland and migration in full flow. Lots of interesting birds have been passing through the islands adding to the 70 odd species that breed in Shetland. In my last blog I covered some rare birds which I had seen and they continue to arrive with Bee-eater, Golden oriole, Glossy Ibis which is moving regularly between Orkney and Shetland, Rustic Bunting and Blyth’s Reed warbler to tempt birdwatcher to travel north- I haven’t seen these this year but, I have managed to catch up with another Icterine warbler, Gt Reed Warbler, Red Breasted Flycatcher and Crane. I have been out and about seeing lots of common migrants.
Often birds don’t appear in their normal habitats; Blackcaps move along walls or fences, white throats and lesser whitethroats along streams and Redstarts normally a woodland bird, on cliffs. Every small bird is worth a look, a sparrow can suddenly become a Rosefinch, a Shetland Starling becomes a Rose coloured starling.
Working a patch is the best way to see movement and I have been covering a few locations in the south mainland. This year I have been surprised with the number of Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, Blackcap and Spotted Flycatcher that have arrived
Coming up on holiday for a couple of weeks a year can only give you a taster but spending more time in an area always reaps benefits with something unusual turning up.
Records are important to provide an overall picture of the state of the bird life in Shetland and the Shetland Bird report provides all this information. There is always room for improvement and the number of common birds is under recorded, rare birds always attract a lot of interest. They also do a lot of good work in recording the state of seabird populations which unfortunately is still in decline.
In addition to sending in bird records I have also started to record Bees, Butterflies and also the location of Polecat Ferrets which seem to be wide spread and abundant.
In Shetland there are not that many birders and those that are here are mainly English, when I have been out and about I have met up with Rebecca Nason (Now in Lerwick), Logan Johnson (Yell) both bloggers, Henry Hyman –another interesting blog from Fair Isle, Jim Wood , Hugh Harrop and Gary Bell who live in the south mainland.