Thursday 7 March 2019

Duck, Diver and Waders

Having seen the Tengmalm Owl at Tresta on Saturday I was surprised to find that it was its last day, it had seemed settled.

Lots of birders have been to see it over the past 14 days, but lots more turned up on Sunday only to be disappointed.

Goldeneye have been present in good numbers especially at Spiggie and on a number of other lochs throughout Shetland

Goldeneye male
Goldeneye Female

Lots of wader about with 100's of Oystercatcher back, Knot also returning in good numbers. These are joining the large wader flocks that have been over wintering

a swimming Purple Sandpiper

Black throated Diver in Quendale Bay, may be the same bird that was seen in the same area last year, a rare bird in Shetland

It kept its distance from the beach at Quendale

A couple of White Billed Diver have been found in the north mainland and Scaup and Pintail at Benston in Nesting.

It seems to been a bumper year for Frogs with 100's seen at some sites in the north and west of shetland

Sunday 3 March 2019

Tengmalm Owl in Shetland

You may have noticed that a Tengmalm owl turned up in Shetland Tuesday, 19 February 2019 but was not seen today although it could well be present in deep cover

Hundred's of people have turned up from down south and have seen the owl. Some have caused problems with parking and staying until all hours. Some arriving around 5am  causing noise and why anyone would stop until after midnight it would be anyone guess.

But the truth was revealed recently when people were found to be using  high powered torches to find the bird among the trees during the night, (no need as it was visible most days during daylight hours) not just on one night but at least three. People who told them to stop were then verbally abused

The people who own the garden at Tumblin, Bixter, got frustrated with park outside the house, the noise and torch light and I cannot blame them. I know its only a minority that are causing problems, but I can see Shetland people starting to withhold information if this continues.

I have encountered problems at other sites, both in Shetland and down in England. Some are very aggressive and arrogant  making sure they see the bird no matter what the cost to others or the welfare of the bird - rant over.

I finally managed to see the bird on day 8 of its Shetland stay. It had moved a short distance down to Lea Gardens at Tresta roosting in the pines. On the first day  at its new location, it caught a Ringed Plover and ate it in a near by tree.

I didn't get the best view as it was mostly hidden, but I returned yesterday and had a lot better view in a different place in the gardens

With only about a dozen birders it was easier to get a viewing place. In the 1.5 hours I was present everyone behaved and kept to the owners wishes of keeping to the path and not venturing onto the borders where plants were just coming up.

It was good to talk  to the other birders including a group from Barnsley, who had talked to Russ Haywood a few days before ( left Shetland to return to Rotherham a while ago). Two had driven up from Southampton to Aberdeen then caught the ferry. They had the day in Shetland before returning on the ferry experiencing a rough crossing and then back down to Southampton with a brief stop.

Another Shetland birder who is on a long holiday in Sicily flew back for the day but failed to see the owl

The last Tengmalm owl appeared in Shetland 107 years ago in Unst, the bird was caught and promptly disappeared and may have been stuffed !, so this is very special bird. These Owls normally are found in Russia, Sweden, Finland and Norway.

If you are coming up to see the Owl just be aware that the garden will have no access after the 6 March for an extended period due to scheduled work and no birders will be allowed in

A collection box was put out and local and visiting birders have contributed a good amount for the MRI scanner appeal , so well done to everyone

A Snowy Owl was also present on Ronas Hill the other day

#Tengmalm Owl, #Shetland Rare birds, #Shetland, #rare Owl