Saturday, 21 July 2012

Shetland breeding birds
With only 70 species of regular breeding birds I thought I would run a quiz to find out what people know about which birds are more successful common breeders than others in Shetland, excluding Fair Isle.

The results are in , and like all good quiz's we have had a break, so here goes !
Most people guessed the the bird that has successfully bred the most number of years between 1965 - 2010.
Yes it was the coot just coming ahead of the Whooper swan. Everyone failed to identify the non-breeder which was the Blue Tit.
So here is the list in order, with the bird with the most years at the top.

1. Coot (16 years) 1972 first year, then 1974, 1976, 1977, 1988, 2000-2010
2. Whooper Swan (15 years) which started breeding in 1994, then 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000-2010
3. Snowy Owl (9 years) discovered by Bobby Tullock breeding on Fetlar in 1967, then successful breeding until 1975. We saw one of the two female young on Fetlar in 1987, just behind the school.The last sighting of  these birds occurred 18 9 1992.
4.Robin (7 years) first in 1989, then 1991, 1992, 2007- 2010
5. Chaffinch (6 years) bred for first time in 1973 then 4 years between 1986- 1993, and 2010
6. Glaucous Gull (5 years) One paired up with a Herring Gull and bred 1975- 1979
7. Tree Sparrow  (5 years) First in 1970, 1976, 1977, 1979 then 2006
8. Greenfinch (4 years) first recorded breeding in 2006, then 2008-2010
9. Chiff Chaff (3  years) first in 2005, followed by 2009 and 2010
10. Marsh Warbler ( 3 years) First in 2002, then 2005 and 2008
11. Sedge warbler (3 years) 1996, 2002 and in 2007
12. Reed Warbler (1 year) Bred at Halligarth, Unst in 1973 the only breeding record for Scotland until recent colonisation of Southern Scotland

And finally, Blue Tit which has never bred. It has only been recorded in Shetland just over 100 times between 1965-2010, between October - March, with October being the best month. A surprise to those bird watching in England where it is a common breeding bird. But don't forget in Shetland there is very little woodland.

Hope this has been helpful and that you may have surprised by a few of the answers.Let me know your thoughts !!

You have to EXPECT the UNEXPECTED when birding in Shetland.

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