Sunday 23 December 2018

A Black & White Shetland Christmas

There has not been that many good birds of note recently, except a White Tailed Eagle which has been seen a few times up on the hill at Sandwick.  My local patch, Sandsayre at Sandwick, has turned up three good birds in the past two weeks

Iceland Gull

The Iceland gull was present three days and only in the morning. It was always seen in a flock of gulls just off shore

Black Redstart

This very nice male Black Redstart stayed four days and spent all the time down on the beach or around the rocky outcrop to the north. It easily found enough insects to survive and was present after Storm Deirdre .

Today a Little Gull was present but too far away to take any photos

Purple Sandpiper
Around 30 Purple Sandpiper, 15 Turnstone, 2 Oystercatcher, 4 snipe and a couple of Curlew at Sandsayre
Mountain Hares in the North Mainland
Its always good to find Mountain Hares and during winter they are easily found on the moors , sitting out in their white coats. When we lived in Sheffield we had the only English colony near Ladybower in Derbyshire.

This individual allowed a close approach, first photographed from the car then approached on foot to within 30 feet

Not always in full view, three more sat further up the hill with only their heads showing

To everyone that reads this blog have a happy Christmas and I look forward to posting another blog very soon

Saturday 24 November 2018

Shetland Starling

While migrant Starlings have started to arrive in Shetland, these will soon move through the islands and head south

Our own Starlings, a subspecies do not migrate and provide plenty of entertainment throughout the year.

They seem to be a lot nosier than the migrants and even now are displaying. When caught in the sun they show off their true colours.

While we have flocks of starlings at this time of year, often seen in groups of around 100, we don't have the massive flocks found south

Never the less they are a fine bird to see and can be seen perching on the backs of sheep or Shetland ponies to get a height advantage.

You can now book for the is photography course, contact Shetland Adult Education

Saturday 17 November 2018

Snow Bunting in Shetland

Its always great to find Snow Bunting and i located a party of 7 birds out on Grutness point, snow buntings are fairly regular visitors to Shetland at this time of year

 Initially they wouldn't allow a close approach and flew off as soon as i came over the brow of a hill

 I had virtually given up on them coming back when i saw the flock flying overhead and coming down about 500m to the west.

 Here they seemed more settled and i waiting until they started moving towards me. The continued to feed and came very close

 It was good to see the variety of plumage

In the last few days the flock has increased to 18 birds

Slav Grebe in the bay

 A flock of 56 Long Tailed Duck

The snow bunting are behind you ! well it is panto season

Very pleased to have been invited to give an illustrated talk on Shetland Migration to the Shetland Field Studies Group in Lerwick on Wednesday 28 November 2018 starting at 7 pm