Sunday 30 April 2017

South Mainland Birds

This weeks weather has been very mixed, early in the week snow showers and strong winds then by the end sun but still strong winds and cold

Finally caught up with a pod of killer whales, this pod led by `Busta' came through Lerwick harbour very fast and distant, just coming to the surface 3 times in front of me then gone heading north.

Strong winds hitting the telephoto lens didn't help and snow showers came over too.

Final sighting at Rova Head to the north of Lerwick but even more distant, just after this a heavy snow shower came over and everything disappeared including the Orcas. They eventually came close in shore to feed and gave incredible view to just a few people up in Nesting.

Lots of birds nesting now, with several pairs of Oystercatcher in a couple of fields at Sumburgh. A pair of Blackbirds have also had young, lots of other species are now bringing in lots of nesting material.

Oystercatchers are very noisy at the moment

Wrens in full song and find nest sites in the stone walls

Plenty of waders about, this pair of Ringed Plover feeding in a pool but on the beach at Grutness Turnstone (18) Sanderling (32) Dunlin (14) Redshank (6)

This Shag was resting up and allowed close approach

Still quiet a few Long Tailed Duck in various bays with some males displaying, they will soon to be moving off heading north and no doubt congregating in Bluemull Sound near Unst before leaving for their breeding grounds

Eider having a good meal - crab minus the claw

Lots of Gannet feeding off Grutness

Elsewhere in Shetland now two Common crane, White Billed Diver, Sub-alpine Warbler new in today as well as several Hawfinch

Although the Aurora season has ended you can see many photos on the Shetland Aurora Hunter facebook page just send me a request to join.

Sunday 23 April 2017

Common Crane

After seeing the Crane flying over Hillwell last week i managed to find it on the ground yesterday. Walking along the road to Brake i came across the Crane not in the ploughed field but in a marshy area 4 rigs away.

It was soon asleep and stayed like this for a good 20 mins before being disturbed by a couple of Ravens who came for a closer look

After preening it took off and headed straight towards me. By this time the wind had picked up to force 6 and the snow also started to fall

keeping the long telephoto steady was becoming a problem so i increased the ISO to 2000 and this gave me around 1/1000 second, just enough to get reasonable sharp photos

I think it may have flown over me had it not been for a flock of Greylag heading towards it so it veered off north landing 100 m north of its original position

As it came into land it disturbed a pair of Snipe which immediately took off

These views are the best i have had over the two year period that the bird has been present in the area. Migration has now picked up and a few days ago a Hermit Thrush was found on Noss, although officially the island was not open, so people had to find their own boats over that evening. The next day it had gone.

On the day i went to see the Crane a White Tailed Eagle flew over Hillwell and then disappeared to-date no one else has seen it. Elsewhere a Viking Gull, Glaucous and Iceland Gulls, Kestrel, Siskin, Goldcrest, Song Thrush , Chaffinch, Swallow and a number of Grey wagtails have arrived and been greeted by snow showers.

We headed over to Sandsayre as a pod of 6 Killer Whales had been heading south from Lerwick but we never saw them as they passed the back of Mousa, the sea was choppy and again the wind was strong. Still a number of Purple Sandpiper on the beach and divers further out

Birds on the day

Common Crane, Greylag, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Moorhen, Tufted, Mallard, Wigeon, Oystercatcher, Snipe, Whimbrel, Lapwing, Purple sandpiper, Redshank, Curlew,  Raven, Hoodie, Redwing, Siskin, House Sparrow, Starling, Twite, Blackbird, Wren, Gannet, Herring gull, BH Gull, LBB, Red Throated Diver, Gt Northern Diver, Black Guillemot, Eider, Shag, Long Tailed duck, Rock Pipit

Monday 17 April 2017

Duck anyone

Sunday turned out to be better weather than forecasted, with lots of blue sky, but also cold and windy. As a Green winged Teal had been reported last night at Boddam  we headed down the South Mainland. This may have been the bird seen at Scatness yesterday

No one else about as we parked. The first birds i noticed was a nice pair of Pintail in the middle of the voe with Teal , Mallard and Shelduck also  seen. Redshank (3 pairs) Turnstone (48) and a couple of Snipe fed along the rocky shoreline.

A large number of Starling and a few house sparrow, one collecting nest material seemed busy searching through the mass of seaweed.

A few pairs of Rock Pipit showed close by while a Cormorant and a Shag rested on a large rock with a dozen Fulmar.

This morning a third Lapland bunting turned up at Sumburgh, this time a female. It may have been brought down by the singing male. Also a Pod of Risso dolphin pass the head, looks like the ones seen at Busta Voe yesterday, looking good already for cetaceans.

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