Sunday 17 January 2016

Better viewing

I have been surprised by the good weather we are currently having, still, dry with some sun as well. Much better than the forecast which said rain and cloud all week, although we did have snow this weekend and it has been very cold

Today had a quick look round Sandwick which revealed many waders feeding in the fields. Very few Geese around but I did see a large flock of Greylag over at Bigton. On the sea a small flock of Goldeneye and Eider with the odd long Tailed duck as well.

Blackbird numbers still seem higher than normal.

Back to last Monday,  I went for an early morning look for the Little Gulls in the south mainland, on arrival at Grutness one of the juvenile birds showed well, that was until 3 dogs appeared. They soon moved to the other side of the bay and the gull reappeared feeding close in.

At least twice the bird caught small fish but it was constantly searching. Common and herring gulls joined in. A flock of 22 Turnstone soon left the sandy area  when the dogs came back down to the car park end. I could also see a Gt Northern Diver but it failed to give a close view.

Up at Sumburgh Head things were quiet with only Blackbird(6) Rock Pipit, Twite (3) but on the cliffs 50-60 pairs of Fulmar could be seen in pairs while several hundred rested on the sea below the cliffs. Around 20 Rock dove , also in pairs sat around only flying off when a pair of rabbits started to chase each other .

A quick look at West Voe, produced 22 Goldeneye, Velvet Scoter and 64 Long Tailed duck close in shore and Gt Northern Diver (2) well out in the bay.

In the afternoon I had a quick visit to try and see the Mourning dove again, but it was hiding in a garden somewhere, however on Tuesday I did get a view of it sat low down in a bush much to the delight of 5 birders who had come up from Sussex for the day, couldn't have been better for them.

Out at the catch , a nice flock of 30 Long tailed duck close by a displaying flock of 22 Eider. Possibly 20- 25 Grey Seals also came to collect the free food pumped out into the bay. No white winged gulls as yet but February seems to be the best month. Three Glaucous Gulls turned up in Yell on Tuesday, so its nearly time.

Sunday 10 January 2016

Early year birding

With all the gales and heavy rain since my blog its been difficult to get out. However Friday and Saturday it was still and dry but overcast. As I wasn't at work I decided to check Sandwick to see what was around.

Down at Sandsayre the waves still crashed in and made viewing difficult but I did managed to pick out Eider (44) Goldeneye (4) Shag (6) Black Guillemot (2) Herring Gull (8) GTBB (4).

Down at the flooded meadow Greylag (28) but no sign of the Tundra Bean Goose seen a few  days ago. Also Teal(4) Mallard (4) while counts around the whole of Sandwick revealed Blackbird (28) Redwing (16) Fieldfare (5) Lapwing ( 78) Turnstone (188) Curlew (147) Redshank (69) Oystercatcher (18) Golden Plover (203) and around (200+ Starlings).

At Swinster Song Thrush among the gulls, Jack Snipe, Common Snipe (4) Water rail (a few seen in south mainland) Hoddie (21) Raven (6) Rock Dove (68)

Although a few Little Auks have been found in Shetland this is nothing compared to 100's seen on the east coast of Scotland including 960 on the 8 January at Aberdeen. But at least the Mourning Dove is still present in Lerwick.

Saturday, although we had gales and showers throughout the day we made our way down to Sumburgh area. First stop was the West Voe where the beach was fully covered in seaweed. This attracted Turnstone(16) and a number of Herring, Common and GTBB gulls. Out on the sea Goldeneye (28) joined by a  Velvet Scoter and Long Tailed Duck (8) Shag (12) and a close in Gt N Diver.

Over at a very windy Grutness a similar view of a beach covered in seaweed with the usual waders Turnstone (8) Redshank (5) but my attention was drawn to two Little Gulls, an adult and a juvenile which fed in the surf. Other gulls joined in and Gt N Diver (2) with a few LT Duck (4)

Lots of Lapwing fed in the fields around the south mainland (200+) joined by many Blackbirds and a few Fieldfare and Redwing. Near Boddam a Grey Heron flew across the road. Back home a Merlin flew close to the house putting up a flock of around 50 Starling from the field and a Robin sang close by.