Sunday, 24 May 2015

Little Egret and more

A Green Winged Teal and an Iceland gull (centre of photo) both at Spiggie

This week started well with more migrants arriving, although it was still cool for the time of the year. A reasonable number of Swallow and House Martin have been seen so lets hope some stay to breed, last year a pair of swallow nested at Cunningsburgh and i have seen birds around the area this year.

On the west side 100's of Long Tailed and Pomerine Skuas passed Watsness. It now seems a long time ago that the male Long Tailed Skua set up a territory on Burra, which it held for 3 years

Down at Grutness a nice flock of Sanderling in various plumage held a ringed bird. This multi- coloured ringed bird created a lot of discussion on facebook as to whether or not its over the top. A close in Gt Northern Diver provided some photo opportunities as did the shags.

                                                This 4 year old Sanderling was ringed in Northern Spain

News of a Little Egret at Spiggie last Sunday morning was good, so a quick trip down saw the distant Egret feeding before being disturbed by a pair of Curlew. After we left it started to rain but this didn't deter more birders, including a bird tour for getting to grips with this rare egret for Shetland. This was the second Little egret we had seen at Spiggie, the last in the 1990's

On Monday i manged to get down to Levenwick after work and easily located the two male Ring Necked Ducks which had arrived the previous day.(These had moved to Hillwell on the Tuesday) They were very, very distant hence the poor quality photos. On the same bit of water, a Red necked Phalarope was busy feeding, no doubt this is one of the birds that will be on Fetlar in the next few days. A Hoopoe also appeared on Unst the same day.

Other birds at Levenwick included:
Gt Skua, Whitethroat, House Martin, mallard, Greylag, Red Throated Diver, Curlew, Lapwing, Snipe, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Wheatear, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, House Sparrow, Starling, Wheatear, Raven, Hoddie, Herring Gull, Rock Dove, Fulmar, Common Gull

 A pair of Shelduck displayed. while another pair protected 9 young in the south mainland, a strong hold for this species.

At Grutness a pair of White Wagtail chased away a Dunlin. Curlews flew over with lapwings and a very nervous mixed  flock of waders included Turnstone,Sanderling, Dunlin and Ringed Plover kept moving from one side of the shore to the other every few minutes.

It looks like Fair Isle is the place to be at present, with far more rare migrants than mainland Shetland, hopefully that will change soon as the period for migration normally finishes by mid June.

This weekend I managed to catch up with the corncrake in the south mainland, it called 13 times in 90 mins but didn't show despite being very close to the front of some very thick grass. Later in the day we went back but this time it didn't call in a 60 min period. Many have seen this very showy bird but this is the third time we have been without success. A party of six swallow was nice to see along with sedge warbler and a few chiff- chaff, but little else yesterday

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