Sunday 29 November 2015

Rufus Turtle Dove & Whoopers

Just as winter weather arrived in Shetland news of a Rufus Turtle Dove in Scalloway came through late on Wednesday. Luckily it stayed and I managed to see it on Saturday in between heavy rain.

It was easy to find being opposite where the Eastern Bonelli Warbler was found earlier this year. A small group of birders looked into a garden towards the dove which was sat in a tree, according to the other birders the bird had only just reappeared after a few hours absence.

The Rufus Turtle Dove, only the second record for Shetland soon came down to feed on the ground with 5 Collared Dove and a host of starling and sparrow.

The light was very poor, so I had to pump the ISO up to 4000 at F/5.6 only giving around a 1/60. The dove was constantly moving so I had difficulty in getting a sharp photo.

The only previous Shetland record refers to a bird seen on Fair Isle 31 October - 1 November 1974 These Doves breed in eastern and centre Asia and are rare visitors to the UK. This rare `meena' bird breeds in the western most part of the range. Only three other records refer to this species
  • 2003: first-winter, Hill of Rattar, Caithness, 5 December to at least 24 March 2004
  • 2002: juvenile to first-winter, Stromness, Orkney, 20 November to 20 December
  • 1975: juvenile to first-winter, Spurn, E Yorks, 8 November
This is the first mainland record for Shetland

Elsewhere in Shetland the Lesser Scaup is still at Loch of Benston, a couple of Bullfinch in Scalloway and the odd Kestrel and Sparrowhawk linger. Lots of Fieldfare and Redwing still around the moors but Blackbird numbers have dropped. Locally we have a couple of wintering Robin and lots of Raven displaying.

Lots of wintering Whooper swans can still be found on Spiggie with lots of Tufted, Goldeneye, Teal, Mallard and occasional Pintail, Pochard and Shoveler , Little and Slavonian Grebes

A couple of Mountain Hares have been seen dead around the Cunningsburgh area, I am just waiting for a decent day to get back onto these moors for a closer look at these white Hares.

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