Saturday 30 September 2017

More scare birds

As the month comes to an end the quality of birds has become better. Possibly 6 Little Bunting are now in the South Mainland and I finally got good view of one at Grutness which kept moving between a paddock and the garden.

I managed to get a few record photos, shooting into the light but better than nothing.

The Red breasted Flycatcher (possibly two) at the large quarry was very confining down to just a couple of feet away. A Spotted Flycatcher , Blackcap , Goldcrest, Siskin, Fieldfare and Robin join the RBF.

Up at Sumburgh head a flock of 47 Ruff were found feeding on a wet area but frequently flying up onto the moorland. A male Kestrel flew over and a reported Marsh Warbler turned out to be a Reed Warbler still scarce in Shetland.

A lot of people came and debated what it was

The Lapland Bunting must have been a fly over as none seem to have a clue where it was. There was now a Robin and a second Chaffinch joining the Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap & Goldcrest

A Peregrine was good to see near Bigton and two Grey Heron 10 miles apart seemed new in as well

 Other interesting birds are bluethroat, Black Throated Diver & Gt Grey Shrike

Wednesday 27 September 2017

Getting Better

Things have started to pick up, more birders arrived and it was good to meet several people who I had meet for the last couple of years, including Robert and his wife from Leeds.

                                                                                Red Breasted Flycatcher
Also the number of migrants increased with strong winds from the east. I also saw Little Bunting twice but I have never managed to get a photo.

                                                                                        Spotted Flycatcher

An Icterine Warbler also put in an appearance up at Sumburgh Head but kept disappearing over the wall onto the cliffs

                                                                                               Garden Warbler

With the sun coming out so  did the flies and this in turn attracted the more common migrants which are always good to see. Although we are only talking about a few birds it is so good to see them close up. These views of Garden warbler are possibly the best I have had since coming to Shetland.


                                                                                          Lesser Whitethroat
                                                                                                  Pied Wagtail

                                                    Chiffchaff (a lot lighter than the one two above)

Autumn is one of the best times to come to Shetland not just for the birds but also the Aurora which has been very active so far (see more photos at and join us for regular updates at Shetland Aurora Hunter on facebook

Tuesday 26 September 2017


Finally the winds turned to the east encouraging migrants to start dropping into Shetland. This time it was the turn of the south mainland to receive some good birds

In Sandwick two Common Rosefinch settled in for a two day stay down at Sandsayre. As i was photographing the birds news came in that a Paddyfield warbler had dropped in just a few miles north down in Cunningsburgh. It was around a 3 mile walk to the headland and back and since i saw the Noss bird the other year i decided not to go.

Later news came back that it was in fact a Sedge warbler so i am glad i didn't go across. Its always difficult to identify warblers even though there may not be much vegetation in Shetland for the birds to hide, its not surprising that they go down into ditches and only give a brief glimpse in flight.

Anyway these two Rosefinch were very confiding, just a pity the weather was poor, very dull and windy result in ISO 2000 being used so not ideal for a quality photo

Another interesting find in Sandwick was this possible Siberian Oystercatcher (Longipes)

As you can see it has a lighter back and was smaller and thinner than the other Common Oystercatcher on the beach. It should have a big white collar but perhaps this hasn't developed yet as these are normally seen in winter plumage

Another feature is the bill, which should be longer than the normal and have a 50% + nasal grove  We will wait for any further news, if correact this will be the first British record.

Garden warblers are always difficult to see in England and you only know one is about when it sings from dense undergrowth. In Shetland they are out in the open giving great views.

One of three Yellow Browed warblers seen on the day, lots in Shetland at present.

                                                                              Lesser Whitethroat

                                                                                  A Few Goldcrest arrived

                                                              A very dull looking Chaffinch

Should be some more birds arriving this week as easterly winds and very strong winds continue, also heavy rain expected