Sunday, 17 April 2016

Early Migrants

Spring Migration is gathering pace after a slow start in Shetland. April is a time where Winter birds leave and replaced by birds from the south.

The last couple of weeks an influx of Robins occurred mainly in the south mainland. Especially around Sumburgh.


Its always nice to see these, it has a lovely song that we don't hear often enough in Shetland. All the birds that we have seen have been silent and could be overlooked if it wasn't for their red breast.

Today I counted 9 birds after 12 last week. Joining them this week have been a couple of Swallow at Sandwick and Sumburgh Hotel  and a scattering of Wheatear, travelling all the way up from Africa.

At least Wren's are in full song, always good to hear. They flit in and out of the gaps in walls and have also been seen down on the beach where a number stay to breed.

                                                                                       Shetland Wren

Skylark and Meadow Pipit have been in song for a few weeks now and birds are still chasing each other as well as they firm up territories. Its one of the first songs we hear leaving our house, we are so lucky. It was a declining bird in Sheffield and often was associated with spring crops , so with the move to autumn crops they  became too tall to breed in. Here they can be found on the moors in good numbers.

It always amazes me that such a small bird as the Goldcrest can travel great distances without coming to harm, yesterday three turned up at Sumburgh hotel giving excellent close views, this is following one in our garden earlier in the week.

Rarer birds arriving this week include  a small number of Black Redstart and three Great Grey Shrikes, Hawfinch and a  couple of dozen Brambling.

Most of the Fieldfare and Redwing have gone , while the odd Snow bunting lingers. In West Voe Long Tailed Ducks numbers dropped to (88), Common Scoter (6) Gt Northern Divers (3) Eider (48), while waders are still in flocks: Turnstone (48) Curlew (76) Oystercatcher (26 but also in pairs)

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