Wednesday 31 August 2016


Saturday was spent looking for the White Beaked Dolphin which had spent nearly two weeks in Weisdale Voe. We knew the location where it was seen on Friday and started to scan the large area of water for a single fin.

For over an hour we looked carefully but without any joy. The sea wasn't the calmest so any slight waves took our attention. We did however see a few Lion mane jellyfish, Gt Northern Diver (2), Black Guillemot (12) Shag (32) Red Breasted Merganser (4) Redshank, Curlew, Skylark, Meadow and Rock Pipit and a few Grey Seal.

Heading back to the car we met a couple of people who lived in the house overlooking the Voe and they pointed out this was the first day they hadn't seen the dolphin.

                                                                                                Booted Warbler

Recently a pod of Killer whales had been seen close in at Levenwick just as it was going dark and a few Minke Whales have gone through Mousa sound, with one at Bronnies Taing followed by a large pod of Porpoise.

                                                                                               Booted Warbler

After a short spell of rain on Sunday we headed down to Sumburgh. A report of an early morning Booted Warbler and Saturday's Arctic Warbler at Scatness, Geosetter & West mainland with a Wryneck at Hillwell gave an indication that autumn has come early

                                                                                         Booted Warbler

We stopped at Sumburgh gardens and three Willow Warbler showed well, after around 1/2 hour I still could not make out a bird which kept low in the bushes. A couple of people walked round the back of the bushes which saw the willow warblers and a female Pied Flycatcher come out, but the other bird still lingered, eventually showing as a Whitethroat.

                                                                                                Pied Flycatcher

On the way round to Grutness several Greenland Wheatear showed as did Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail. On the beach Sanderling (5) and  Knot (24) showed well until a dog came along and most of the waders headed for the pool.

                                                                                                  Pied Wagtail

With the Knot,a lone Ruff was found taking a sleep with its beak tucked in but  a eye on me, a number have a been seen in the south mainland this week.. Fulmar , Gt Skua (3) Gt Bb and Herring gulls flew over.


A walk to the farm produced more Wheatear, all brightly coloured Greenland race birds. Near the garden a brown bird flew up and onto the lawn and for a brief second I could make it out as a Wryneck. Three more Willow warblers and another female Pied Flycatcher all found in the garden.

                                                                                              Willow Warbler
Just I returned to Sumburgh Garden a small warbler which appeared to have a very light coloured body flew up onto the wall near me and quickly disappeared just as Mick Maher joined me. It showed again lower down the field, it was a Booted Warbler possibly the same as the Sumburgh Head bird.

                                                                                               Booted Warbler

It then gave good views for around 20 minutes spending a good amount of time both on the walls and among the vegetation but moved around a lot. Hugh Harrop had joined us by this time and the bird was becoming more elusive. As we left another birder joined in but the bird had disappeared reappearing later in the day

I did see the Booted Warbler at Sumburgh Farm about the same time last year. I gather that the Scatness  Arctic Warbler was as elusive as yesterday but another one had showed up on the west side of Shetland .

On the way back a Sparrowhawk flew over Fleck while a Kestrel was seen in Sandwick

Sunday 21 August 2016

Greenish Warbler

The last couple of days have been rather foggy with easterly winds, just the thing for a few early autumn migrants. Yesterday a female Sparrowhawk passed over our house chasing small bird, while several Gt Skua , a flock of 18 Golden Plover and a Whooper swan all seen from the house.

Today started well with two Willow Warblers in the garden with Wheatear and three Meadow Pipit. Even the sun came out for about 15 mins around 11am so we headed south arriving at Quendale at 12.30

A Greenish Warbler had been found by Gary Bell a couple of days ago and I was hoping that the poor weather had restricted its movements. Three or four birds had turned up in Orkney and mainland Scotland as well as the Shetland Greenish warbler. On arrival one other birder was present who had been searching in vain for an hour for the warbler.

It then suddenly appeared in an area of shrubs, although well down in the dark vegetation. A few minutes later two Willow Warblers flew out and joined a three near the mill. The Greenish warbler, was smaller and a colder greyer colour than the brightly coloured willow warblers. It then appeared in the open before become very active going in and out of the bushes and on more than one occasion could be seen catching flies.

For a good 10 mins it gave excellent views before eventually going down deep in the vegetation and was not seen again for 15 mins. We changed viewing points but it didn't reappear, so we went back again to the original view point and it came into view again briefly just before heavy rain started to fall. Greenish warblers migrate southeast in August and this is the best month to find them in Britain. Our last one was in June on Fetlar about 20 years ago.

With news that the Common Crane had reappeared at Hillwell a few mins away the temptation to try and see it was too much so we left and headed up the road. Arriving in rain and a strengthening wind we scanned the loch and fields, we again failed to find the bird.

We did see Green Sandpiper (2) Swallow (3) , Redshank, Snipe, Lapwing, Curlew, Mallard, Tufted, Moorhen, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Starling, Raven, Hoddie, Wheatear, Twite,

Rock Doves, Greylag, Whooper swan and lots of gulls

Sunday 7 August 2016

Hint of Autumn

With flocks of birds all over and with a few migrants it is beginning to feel a bit like autumn. Spring migration was a let down for most people and many local birders turned to looking at flowers as a back up, so everyone is looking forward to a magic autumn.

In the last few days Red Kite, Reed Warbler, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper and Green Sandpiper have been seen.  A  few years ago we had an influx of Crossbill at this time of year and it would be good to see some again.

We headed over to Sandness on Saturday in glorious weather. We parked next to the beach which enabled us to view the waders about 1/2 way along. Once located we headed out and got fairly close to them:

                                                                                                   Juvenile  Ringed Plover

Knot (2) Sanderling (3) Ringed Plover (32) Turnstone (22) Oystercatcher (78) Curlew (34) Dunlin(6)


also Arctic Tern (100) Arctic Skua (4) Gt Skua (2) Cormorant (4) Wheatear (8) Pied Wag (2 pairs with 4 +3 young) Rock Pipit, Wren, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, House Sparrow, Starling, Blackbird, Eider, Red breasted merganser, Common, GTBB, Herring gull, Hoddie, Raven, Whooper Swan

A lot of action as Arctic Skuas chased the Arctic Terns

One of the Arctic Skuas had a nice grey colour while the others showed a lot of white with only one dark phased bird.

                                                                                                        Arctic Skua

Shetland has become a great place to see Whales with many Killer Whale sightings, also Minke Whales , White sided and Risso dolphins and Porpoise numbers seem to be building in Mousa sound. On Friday I watched a pod of 8 in the morning and they were still in the same area 5 hours later.

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