Friday, 13 October 2017

Red Flanked Bluetail

Before I even visited Shetland I had heard that a mythical bird, the Red Flanked Bluetail had been seen in the isles . For me this is one bird  I always wanted to see and I did see one at Sumburgh head in the fog back in 2014.

Then I got lucky with a chance to see another right up at the top end of the mainland at North Roe. It took us about an hour and 10  mins from Sandwick but on the way up the sun started to peek out and there was no wind after 5 days of gales.

The long winding road to North Roe was interesting, this was the first time we had ventured up to this spot. We pass a house with an aircraft in the garden (more at and lots of interesting views.

Parking up I noticed that Gary Buchan was present along with another birder who said the bird had put in an appearance about 20 mins ago. Leaving Gary and me to look for the bird, the others left to try and find the Arctic Redpoll over at Ollaberry .

After about 5 mins I saw the bird near the house and then relocated it round the back in the paddock which allowed us to take a couple of photos. It then disappeared and was found in the small garden, twice it came onto the fence and on one occasion caught a Bluebottle.

I saw it several times again over an hour but now the bird was disappearing for longer spells, spending more time under the bushes.

It was a superb bird and looked far brighter than the Sumburgh bird and more confiding, a  worth while trip

The Red Flanked Bluetail is still there today and has been present since the 5 October.

Other birds this week included a Thrush Nightingale (Voe) Blyth Reed Warbler (Sandwick) 2 Cranes (at Brow) and a scattering of Arctic Redpoll

On the way back a Merlin shot over the road chasing a small bird and several flocks of geese could be seen in the distance.

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