Monday 29 May 2017


Shetland offers many superb photo opportunities and Saturday presented a close up encounter with a male Scaup at West Voe Sumburgh on the best day of the year, with little wind, 20 degrees and sun all the way.

It was easily located, feeding with a group of 16 Eider Duck close to the shore. A slow approach made sure that no birds were spooked

With Eider coming up onto the stony shoreline the Scaup seemed very relaxed and swam just off shore for all the time i was present

A number of Gull also fed close by, 12 Common Gull, 6 Herring Gull and this Gt Black Back which was dive bombed several times

Also in the bay, Razorbill (12) Common Guillemot (4) Shag (6) Mallard (4) Velvet Scoter (male) Arctic Tern (12) while a few swallow flew over and Skylark and Meadow Pipit sang away.

Next post another close encounter (Canvas prints)

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Saturday 27 May 2017

Spotted Flycatcher

During the week migrants arrived in good numbers , with some rarer one like the Golden Oriole at Kergord, Rustic Buntings on Noss and Unst and a late record of Lesser Kestrel on Noss

I saw none of these but came across this spotted Flycatcher, one of four birds on the day. Back in Sheffield this is a declining species and only a migrant in Shetland. I certainly have had better views up here with little vegetation to hide the birds

This one used three perches to fly off to catch flies and seemed quite content when i left

A few other migrants put in an appearance, with Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Swallow, Common Sandpiper and White Wagtail also present

At West Voe four pairs of Eider displayed and later in the week 6 Velvet Scoter stayed a short time

                                          A Common Redpoll at Sumburgh Gardens was a nice find.

Even though the Arctic terns were only displaying it was good to see a large number with sand eels being brought to the females


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Tuesday 16 May 2017

Turtle Dove

We are now well into Spring with plenty of lambs running around but the weather is not that good. Over the past three days we have had thick fog and force 6-7 winds as well as rain.

Monday was the first day out for a while so i decided to go to Quendale to see what was about. It was still windy but at least there seem to be some migrants around. Crossing the bridge to the mill a Common Sandpiper flew onto the burn. Not a common bird in Shetland with only a few breeding pairs mainly over in the west and north

Pied and White Wagtails could be seen feeding along the burn. Around the small area of shrubs Pied Flycatcher (f) Chiffchaff (3) Whitethroat, Robin and a few house Sparrow. Further Chiffchaff up the burn and then at the dam Swallow (4) Lesser Whitethroat and several Twite.

Ravens have come in for a lot of criticism over the last few weeks as the have killed some lambs, pecking out their eyes and tongue. Quendale holds a large number of Ravens so the lambs tend to be kept near the farm buildings.

A large flock of Oystercatcher feeding in a ploughed field had been joined by Gt BB and herring Gulls.

At Brake 20+ Ravens could be seen feeding around the Cattle shed with several feral pigeons. Just as i arrived back at the junction near the bus stop a Turtle Dove flew up from the road , landing briefly on one of the farm building and then taking flight over the other buildings and disappearing.

 I headed back up the valley but it couldn't be found. This is the first Turtle Dove i have seen since in Shetland since the Helendale bird several years ago

Today after another foggy night i found an Iceland gull at East Voe Scalloway on the way into work

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Sunday 7 May 2017

Fly past

After seeing a Crane the other week at Brake, today we had a fly past of 4 Common Crane - a garden tick in Shetland. A bit distant for photos but great to see, this may have been the three which flew over Lerwick and Noss yesterday + the Brake bird.

                                                                                  Gt Skua

During the last few days we have had a fall of migrants which have included- Shorelark, Sub-Alpine warbler, Ringed Billed Gull, Black Redstart, Hoopoe & Osprey in addition to lots of common migrants. Due to work I missed most of  them but did manage a Black Redstart at Cunningsburgh.

                                                                                                  Red Throated Diver

Yesterday the winds change from a SE direction to a NE which was cooler. The expected cloud didn't arrive until teatime so despite a Force 6 we headed first down to Scatness

                                                                                                       Purple Sandpiper

On Moast Beach one lone Purple Sandpiper, Curlew, Oystercatcher (4) Redshank (2) Turnstone (38) the latter in colourful breeding plumage. White Wagtail, Skylark, Wren, Wheatear, Meadow pipit, Twite, Gannet, Shag and Gt Northern Divers the added cast. The Sub Alpine Warbler had disappeared despite a search along the dyke.


With the sun shining on the blue/ turquoise sea why would you want to be anywhere else. Down at Grutness the first birds that showed was a pair of Red Throated Diver in breeding plumage and the 4 Common Scoter appeared in the middle of the bay.

                                                                                                Common Scoter flock

It was good to see 12 Arctic Terns pass over, the first of the year. Gt Skua chased a Common Gull over a small flock of Razorbill.

On the pool a pair of Ringed Plover displaying with Chiffchaff (3) Willow Warbler, Blackcap new in. Nothing down in the garden but 2 White wagtail and a Pied Wagtail had replaced the Shorelark .

On the beach Sanderling (12) Turnstone (18) Dunlin (4) with the 4 Common Scoter coming a bit closer into the beach.

                                                                                         Displaying Ringed Plover

Common Crane, Ringed Plover, Curlew, Whimbrel, Turnstone, Dunlin, Sanderling, Purple Sandpiper, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Gt Skua, Common Scoter, Mallard, Razorbill, Shag, Red Throated Diver, Gt Northern Diver, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, White/Pied Wagtail, GTBB, Herring Gull, BHG, Common Gull, Fulmar, Sparrow, Starling, Wren, Blackbird, Twite, Gannet, Rock Pipit, Skylark, Meadow pipit, Wheatear, Greylag, Arctic Tern, Kittiwake, Raven, Hoddie, Eider, Teal, Shelduck, Black Guillemot, Rock Dove