Tuesday, 8 March 2016

weekend birds

Last weekend with good weather, we wasted no time in getting down to the South mainland. Very few people around which was odd as the weather couldn't have been better with no wind and sun and it wasn't too cold.

First at Grutness all the birds seemed far off, a Great Northern Diver, Long tailed duck (9) Shag (6) but most the waders congregated at the north end of the beach. Only a dozen or so Turnstone down at the south side, but a large flock started to work along the beach towards me. Another Turnstone (55) Ringed Plover (8) Oystercatcher (6) working the tide line. At the small lay-by a couple of snipe flew off and a Skylark sang a sign spring is around the corner.

Working my way back to Sumburgh hotel another 5 skylarks landed on the airfield and soon 2 took off on a flight display singing as they started to rise in the air. Flocks of Starling flew in to feed and several sang along the wall to the hotel.

A few Fieldfare and Blackbirds hopped along on shorter grass and a flock of feeding Oystercatchers had large lumps of mud stuck to their orange beaks. A couple of noisy Redshank came over and another Skylark began to sing.

From the beach many duck could be seen in the distance a large raft of 156 Long tailed duck was impressive and it was good to locate the Common Scoter (4) and a Velvet Scoter which have been present for around 2 weeks.

Red Breasted Merganser (10) Goldeneye (12) joined by Shag (12) and an impressive (23)Great Northern Diver looked great in the sun. On the beach Turnstone (18) Starlings and several Rock Pipit search through seaweed.

A quick look down at Spiggie revealed Whooper swan (12) Shelduck (2) Goldeneye (18) Wigeon (23) Teal (6) Snipe (4) many gulls and Greylag Geese . Raven and Hoddie seem to like the fields with sheep which also attracted a couple of 100 Starling.

With the weather still good on Sunday we headed down to Quendale.  Around the mill around 100 starling made a lot of noise, these were joined by a good number of Sparrow. Following the burn up to the dam , I flushed snipe(4) and a Moorhen then just beside the dam a Jack snipe seemed unconcerned as I approached but finally flew out just as I was ready to take a photo.

Past the old house a Peregrine put up a large flock of starling which had been feeding close to the dunes then around 50 Oystercatcher and 20 Curlew took flight. When things calmed down a flock of Rock Dove returned to feed near the lower reaches of the burn and several noisy skeins of Greylag came into land on the farmland.

This weekend we had to go to Lerwick so a good time to look round the harbour, no Iceland or Glaucous Gulls present and a general lack of other gulls. A few Long Tailed Duck and eider could be seen and close  in a few Black Guillemot both in breeding and winter plumage. Several Raven and Hoodie , Oystercatcher and Rock Pipit also gave good views

Sunday was mostly sunny but cold with some snow showers but down at West Voe the sun  shone on Long Tailed Duck (194) Common Scoter (5) Velvet Scoter, Golden Eye (12), Red Breasted Merganser (5) GT Northern Diver (8), over at Grutness only a Red Throated Diver and a couple of Black Guillemot showed.

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