Monday, 17 October 2016

Pied Wheatear

Last Friday Steve Minton found a Pied Wheatear down at Scatness and a few people connected with it that day. Saturday's weather was not looking too good, strong winds and overcast with some rain later.

It was very dark and overcast during the morning as we set off south, arriving at Scatness at 11.30 am. One car was visible at the entrance to the track and as i made my way down passing numerous House Sparrow and Meadow Pipit i could see a couple of people heading back.

As i arrived at the coastal path they indicated that it was showing well  about 200 yards further north.
Four people including Hugh Harrop all looked down towards the coast and i arrived to see it straight away on rocks just in front of us.

It kept flying up catching flies but kept fairly close to the path moving up and down the exposed rocks giving great views. This is only the 8th time it has been seen in Shetland with most of the records coming in October.

The Pied Wheatear may have come east from  South East Asia  or China, it normally winters in India or northeast Africa. This and another at Flamborough head which arrived the same day are the only UK  autumn records for 2016.

It favours rock and scree so no wonder it like the rocky coastline in Shetland. This was my 5th new bird of  the year and a little cracker. It looked fairly settled so may stop a few days.

Just a further up date on the Siberian Accentor.  Shetland was the first place in the UK where a Siberian Accentor was seen, following this, one at Easington, East Yorkshire was quickly followed by another in Cleveland. In Europe 35 Siberian Accentors have been recorded between (Oct 4- 14), 11 birds turned up on the 14 October.

This years influx doubled the number of records in the  previous 100 years !

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