Friday 23 March 2018

New Patch at Sandwick

Even though I am doing a few surveys, the beach and breeding birds I have decided to do a patch one as well

I have always done one prior to moving to Shetland so after being here 4 years of searching around I have started  on close to home down at Sanick/ Noness in Sandwick.

Besides being next to a sandy/ rocky beach with an easterly sea flow there are areas of cliff, some small gardens with grass and shrubs, a cemetery / Church, farm buildings, a stream, old buildings and vehicles , rough grassland and areas where sheep and horses graze.

I have already seen a few good birds which I will start the survey with. Today was very cold with occasional snow flurries although nothing much . This was the end of three days of easterly gales.

Mistle Thrush (2) Red Throated Diver, Shag (5) Turnstone (98) Redshank (17) Curlew, Ringed Plover (4) Oystercatcher (28) Lapwing (17) Golden Plover (67) Hoodie(2) Greylag(28) Starling (100+) House sparrow (8) Twite (22) Blackbird (3) Redwing (8) Fieldfare (10) Long Tailed Duck (8) Goldeneye(2) Common Gull (4) Herring Gull (2) GBB, Wren,Rock Dove (2), Rock Pipit,(12) Meadow Pipit (2), Black Guillemot, Red Breasted Merganser   - 29 Species

Totals (Inc Prev)

1. Black Redstart                                                          32. Rock Pipit
2. Dusky Warbler                                                         33. Meadow pipit
3. Blackcap                                                                  34. Red Breasted Merganser
4. Chaffinch                                                                 35. Black Guillemot
5. Ruff
6. Merlin
7. Mistle Thrush
8. Red Throated Diver
9. Siberian Oystercatcher
10 Shag
11 Turnstone
12. Redshank
13 Curlew
14 Ringed Plover
15 Lapwing
16. Golden Plover
17. Hoodie
18. Greylag
19. Starling
20. House sparrow
21 Twite
22 Blackbird
23  Redwing
24 Fieldfare
25 Wren
26 Long Tailed duck
27 Goldeneye
28 Common Gull
29 Herring Gull
30 GBB
31 Rock Dove

Thursday 8 March 2018

Shetland bucks the trend for waders

I was very interested to read that Scotland's woodland birds have increased by 67% between 1994 - 2016, while farmland birds have also increased in the same time period by 13%. Its not all good news as upland birds have decreased by 16%.

                                                          Good to see a good number of Skylark in Shetland

The survey suggests that 10 out of 17 upland birds have declined, with Curlew -62%, Lapwing - 63%, Golden Plover-43% decline.

However in Shetland Curlew are doing well, and there even might be a slight increase, Lapwing and Redshank only show a slight decline by around10% with Golden Plover just a few % down

Shetland Amenity Trust give the following indication on numbers in Shetland
Curlew 2,300 breeding pairs
Redshank 1, 170
Golden Plover 1,450
Lapwing 1,740

This is partly down to a lot of crofts, poor soils and less improved ground

In Shetland we have very little woodland and as a result little diversity in this area, perhaps highlighted by the fact there may be only 3 pairs of breeding Robin in Shetland. Good news for farmland birds and the mixed type of farmland/ Crofting helps. For instance the House Sparrow appears to be doing well here and poorly down in England and Skylarks seem to do well.

This week has seen a lot of birds leave Shetland and headed ? with all the lochs frozen duck and swans will have found it difficult to find food, this also may be the point that the Pied Billed Grebe either leaves or perishes it will be interesting if any more records are submitted.

                                        Whimbrel numbers down but may benefit from peatland restoration

The field outside our living room window has been full of birds today including 5 species of wader. Redshank(6), Oystercatcher(4)  Turnstone(8) Golden Plover(12 briefly) Curlew(2) also Greylag(4) Starling (30) Herring Gull (2) Rock Dove (6) Blackbird (8) Rock Pipit(2) Fieldfare (4)

 I have seen a Peregrine at the Scord Scalloway chasing thrushes while a Sparrowhawk flew low over the road at Cunningsburgh. Gulls such as Iceland and Glaucous still present in small numbers and seaduck, King Eider (Yell) and Surf Scoter (Unst) reported. The Pied Billed Grebe has survived and is still at the north end of Spiggie