Saturday 11 October 2014

Little birds still hurt

Little birds still dominate the scene here in Shetland. The Ruby-throat and Whites Thrush have gone but if you are after some more rare birds then a Bonelli Warbler in Scalloway , several Olive backed Pipits, Lancolated Warbler, Arctic Redpoll or Bluethroats may help ease the pain of missing the first two. On Friday I met one birder who had flown into Shetland hoping that the Rubythroat might turn up again.!!!

                                                                                                   Black Redstart

One of the best ways not to get caught out is to find your own birds, which is what i concentrated on this week. No major rarities but i was happy with what i found and photographed. Few birders around the places i went to but i did talk to one who said there was nothing around. When he said nothing, there was nothing he found interesting !

What a shame because i came away this week with the following birds. Totals for week in South Mainland

Merlin, Short Eared Owl. Whooper swan (6) Reed Bunting, Sanderling (33) Wheatear (70+) Robin (100+) Song Thrush (100+) Redwing (35) Blackbird (50+) Twite (200+) Eider (12) Shag (77) Cormorant (4) Starling (300+) House sparrow (100+) Swallow, Black Redstart (3) Yellow Browed Warbler (2) Chiff Chaff (3) Goldcrest (8) Hoddie (20) Raven (70+) Oystercatcher (100+) Ringed Plover (6) , Brambling (6) Chaffinch (3) Barnacle Goose (30+) Pinkfeet (100+) Greylag (100) Mute Swan (17) Tufted (12) Wren (8) Gt Skua (1) Blackcap (5) Fulmar, Kittiwake, Herring Gull, Gt BB, Red Breasted Flycatcher, Black Tailed Godwit (5) Curlew (70) Golden Plover (106  ),Lapwing (50) Meadow Pipit (60) Skylark (60) Turnstone (66) Purple Sandpiper (6) Rock Dove (150) grey Heron, White Wagtail (20), Siskin (12), Snipe (6) Mallard (30) Black Guillemot

I did spend alot of time photographing the birds so I am sure many other birders would have seen more.

Its good to see any birds, Shetland is very fortunate in having good numbers of common ones, such as Starling, Sparrow and Blackbird for we should not take this for granted.Coming in from Sheffield we were too far from the coast to experience migrants so it was great to see so many robins dropping in after the gales earlier in the week.

As for Song Thrush, i recon i saw more in one hour at Sumburgh than in 3 years in Sheffield, even the local birders said numbers of this species have been unusual.

Siskin came over the sea wall exhausted and started to feed immediately. It seems this finch is on the up with good numbers in most areas. All these birds inevitably attracted birds of prey, with Merlin the only regular breeder in Shetland it was great to see one close up.

I came round a wall to see it sat on a fence post looking the other way, I knew that it would spot me straight away when it turned its head so I rattled a few  shots of, but it turned and stayed for a few seconds before taking off and flying very low after a flock of Twite.

The Short Eared Owl was great to see, it appeared to be flushed from a stubble field and flew over a wall and landed on the airstrip. It soon took off and flew north chased by a couple of raven. I remembered earlier in the year that i had good fortune to watch 12 SE Owls in the air at once at a North Lincolnshire hot-spot, sadly this area has been ploughed up.

I did see another SE Owl a couple of days later but it was not as close.

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