Thursday, 1 November 2012

Shetland attracts all sorts of migrants, both in spring and especially in autumn. Both periods are exciting as you never know what will turn up.  In Shetland birds can turn up anywhere, much depends on the wind direction. When you think about it you could be watching birds from America, Asia, the med or the Artic all within a few miles of each other. That's the great attraction , expect the unexpected !!

When we saw the Killdeer in 2007 it was unexpected as it was first discovered at Banna Minn on the 6 April, so we thought it would have gone before we visited Shetland at the end of May. So to find that it was still there but now down at a little pool near Exnaboe was a big surprise. Most spring birds don't tend to linger, this one however decided that Shetland was a great place to stay and eventually continued to frequent the area until 15 April the following year !!!!!.

It seemed to be paired up with a Ringed Plover, spending all of the time around the small pool

Another one of my favourite american birds is the American Wigeon. These arrive late either in spring or autumn with an exceptional  flock of 10 birds, which included 6 males at the Loch of Hillwell in the southern mainland on the 9 October 2000. Recent spring arrivals have occurred in May and June with the latest being a male on the 9 June 1992.

It is interesting that a ringed bird seen in Shetland in 1966 had been ringed in Sheffield (my home town). Birds are brought to Shetland in westerly gales and during northward migration in spring. The green sheen around the head on these birds are truly memorable

more rare migrants to come soon

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