Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Wind blown

What most birders hope for, arrived on Tuesday - South easterly gale force 8. This was accompanied by heavy rain which forced an influx of Goldcrest. I was up at Sumburgh quarry where 7-8 were present along with a Chiffchaff and a further 4 down at Grutness with a very wet Tree Pipit. In the bay 147 Shag took shelter from the fierce waves rolling in from the east.

A Firecrest turned up at Geosetter, but by then I was soaked and heading home as it was becoming difficult to hold the binoculars steady

On the way back a dozen or so Fieldfare and a couple of Redwing could be seen in fields around Spiggie, while a field close to Spiggie hotel held 14 Blackbirds. Another rough pasture area held Lapwing (87) Redshank (56) Turnstone (33) and a flock of around 50 Meadow Pipit  while a flock of 56 Pinkfeet flew over. An Iceland gull down at Spiggie.

A good number of yellow Browed Warblers still remain mostly in the south mainland. Surprisingly the wind failed to bring in alt of migrants. Was out again on Friday but the long stay Olive backed Pipit in Lerwick seems to have left.

Arriving at Sumburgh I found many cars parked at the hotel, telescopes trained on an area of stubble which held three Richard's Pipits but at a distance. The row of birders became impatient so three people walked in the field and put the the birds. Whether or not the pipits flew or not i don't know but the group of twitchers moved on to view another field.

Lots of Skylark, Rock Dove, Starling, Sparrow and Fieldfare started to land again as soon as the people left. I walked of to Grutness where a Velvet Scoter fed close in shore but kept flying off returning to the same area of sea after a circuit . Across the dunes around 30 Swallow fed, some coming down to rest on a wire fence giving close views. This flock is the biggest i have seen since moving here.

Flocks of Turnstone and Sanderling joined around 80 Starling to feed among the seaweed which had been washed up in the storms. On closer inspection Wheatear, Rock Pipit, White Wagtail and Wren joined in the feast.

At Hoswick, a Barred Warbler was very mobile moving around the back of the Visitor centre and towards the hotel. Later a Great Grey Shrike was located along the stream, this may have been the Quendale bird.

At the weekend we headed south on both days, the weather was overcast but dry with a force 4 southerly wind. At Quendale the bushes help only 1 yellow Browed warbler, 3 Goldcrest, 2 Robin, Blackcap, Grey ad Pied Wagtails. instead of heading up the stream i took the road towards the beach. On the sea the first Long Tailed ducks (3) of the Autumn along with shag (22) while the beach held Curlew (33) Sanderling (6) Oystercatcher (14) and a Short Eared Owl in the dunes.

After this we headed south to Toab where an Olive Backed Pipit had been reported. This time i did manage a short view before it disappeared into a rose bush and despite an hours wait failed to show. Also in the garden, Goldcrest, Blackcap, willow Warbler & Chiffchaff while Kestrel((2) flew over.

Sunday morning news indicated a Dusky Warbler down at Sanick, but elusive. Later just as we headed out someone reported an unusually coloured egret at Spiggie. We arrived just before the rush. It seem to have a very long beak and a grey colour to its feathers, no one could put a name to it at the time. It did resemble a Little Egret, it did have yellow feet and later that day it was put down as a Little egret - still a good bird. It may be the one seen on an oil rig 50 miles to the east of Shetland yesterday and may have picked up some oil colouring, although the large beak is still puzzling.

Down at Grutness less people and lots of Goldcrest everywhere, in the grass and around buildings. Around 10-12 birds with another 10 up at Compass Hill. . It was good to meet Nat Hall and Hugh Harrop today.

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