Wednesday, 24 October 2012

With Britain's second ever Chestnut- eared bunting recently identified at Virkie we can expect to see another rush of twitchers reach the isles, which is great for Shetland's economy. Many other interesting birds are also around, but based on previous experience most will only have eyes for the bunting.

This bird is a mega, as it is  a National rarity , other birds just depends on whether its rare to you and this is governed by your experiences in general and your location in the UK.

Being 70 or so miles from the coast its always a pleasure to encounter seabirds, not that they are rare to us, but sometimes you do see special birds such as the Storm Petrels on Mousa and the long gone Black Browed Albatross which could be found at Saito on Hermaness between 1972 - 1995, although missing for a couple of years towards the end. It was on our third visit that we finally saw Albert as Shetlander's named it, sitting on a ledge half way down a cliff. It was a very windy day and not the best for photography.

Common Cranes seem a regular spring visitor to Shetland, sometimes in flocks of 4-5 birds, others singles. We have come across a couple over the years, the most memorable on Yell. We had just left our B&B in mid Yell and started to drive down the track when a crane took off from a ditch , it was gigantic. We watch it fly in front of the car before coming down about 300 yards further on where we got excellent views.

Any raptor usually sends the pulse racing, especially an Eagle on Shetland. We came across this Sea Eagle a few years ago while driving south near to Spiggie. This wing tagged individual originated form the Scottish population and made its way up to Shetland via Orkney , to the displeasure of the local birds.

More to come next time

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