Monday, 8 September 2014

Autumn delight

The week started with problems with my 800mm sigmonster lens, the aperture wouldn't open or close so it was off to the camera centre in Lerwick at the beginning of the week. The heavy weight around 14 lbs in old money would cost a bit in postage to send off, but its a lens I have used a lot since i bought it off e-bay back in 2007 and I wouldn't want to be without out it during the migration period.

Having to use the 500 mm sigma 150-500 mm lens is still a good bet, with the crop factor it gives me 50 mm lens, the 800mm lens using the converter in the Nikon D7100 gives an incredible 1600 mm lens.

With the great weather Friday and Saturday we headed to the south mainland, always a good bet for a mixture of birds. With the Puffins, Guillemot and Razorbill long gone from Sumburgh cliffs we decided to stay at Grutness.

On the pool a Little Stint was still present along with three Dunlin

                                                                           Little Stint on the pool

                                                                                      Ringed Plover

Making my way over to the beach a large flock of about 150 starlings flew over and landed on the top of an old barn. Also over 30 House sparrows fed on the jetty closely watched by two Eider which sat right at the edge near the sea.


At the beach a lot of seaweed had been washed up which attracted waders, starling, wheatear, white wagtails and a couple of Hoddie Crow. At the waters edge two Curlew Sandpiper looked impressive, the first I have seen since a summer plumage individual at Boddam the other June. This species is a scare migrant to Shetland with most being seen in September- six had been seen earlier in the day by Rebecca Nason.

                                                                                          Curlew Sandpiper

Other birds present included Knot (62) Sanderling (82) Dunlin (12) Ringed Plover (11) Turnstone (5) Oystercatcher (8) all looking superb in the afternoon sunlight.


Heading back to the car two Red Admirals took flight, a good year for this migratory species, while a Large White the only species of butterfly to breed in Shetland was in flight around the garden area, Two Shetland Bumble bees also caught my eye as they fed on wildflowers along the roadside.

The following day we made our way around Scatness, a lot of standing water to the west of the main lock attracted Ringed Plover (42) and Sanderling (12) with small flocks of Skylark and Meadow Pipit flying over. Again only two Arctic Tern could be seen and these attracted the interest of a light Phase Arctic Skua. Right at the far end on a rock was a Grey Heron looking out of places as it stood close to 12 Shag

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