Saturday, 11 November 2017

Pied Billed Grebe

I was on my way back from West Voe, having just photographed a small flock of Long Tailed Duck, when the news came in that a Pied Billed Grebe had just been found on Spiggie loch a few miles up the road

Before I made it back to the car news also came in the a drake King Eider had been found at Quarff  about 20 miles north, a bird I have been waiting to see for some years, the last male was at Tresta back in the 1990's

We headed up to Spiggie for the grebe, this was a first for Shetland but I was a bit apprehensive about getting any photos as Spiggie is very big with often distant views of birds.

Arriving at Setter, a small marshy area at the south end of Spiggie we just managed to park in the last space as another couple of cars pulled up. The majority of birders were locals with only the odd couple of visitors.

Roger Riddington had found the bird, he certainly has a knack for finding rare birds.

We found the Pied Billed Grebe close into the bank just south of the marsh, this was lucky it could have moved to a more distant part. Although the view was from the road it was still some distance away but even through binoculars it was evident that it wasn't the Little grebe that had been seen in the same area over the past few days.

This rare North American bird was a nice find as things had gone a bit quiet with lots of birds departing. This grebe has a large head with a deep sharp bill, yellow now but in the breeding season this would be white with  a thick black band about half way down.

It caught four fish while we watched it move south before suddenly turning back and heading north. At this stage it was like it had an outboard motor attached moving very fast and moving more towards the centre of the loch.

The grebe is still present in the same area a week later.

At this stage it started to rain so everybody left, I checked about the King Eider but this had been scared off by a motor boat and had flown west.

The following day, both birds were present, the King Eider again for only a short time as the person on the motor boat seemed to deliberately disturb the bird. The grebe although viewable was distant but in the same area

Just to show winter is on us, both Iceland and Glaucous gulls were present at the north end of Spiggie along with around 40 Whooper swan

Jut received the Shetland Bird Report and it was good to find that several of my photos have been used. This is an excellent report and well worth buying.

No comments:

Post a Comment