Monday 30 September 2019

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Saturday 28 9 19

I was only saying the day before that Saturday would be a good day for migrants and so it was.

 Larger Dunlin behind

Up at Sumburgh Head a Little Bunting and also one at Sumburgh gardens. No Yellow Browed Warblers but plenty of common migrants.

Around Sumburgh/ Grutness lots of Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher , Wheatear and Willow Warblers with the odd Robin, Chaffinch, Whitethroat and Garden Warbler

A large bird of prey disappeared over the ridge just above the quarry and this turned out to be a Short Eared Owl

Arriving back at Grutness a large number of birds gathered at the beach, a nice Semipalmated Sandpiper showed well in a mixed flock of waders which included Sanderling, Purple Sandpiper, Ringed Plover, Turnstone and Redshank

The Semi P is an American wader and a rare visitor to Uk shores and only the 4th to be seen in Shetland.

The Semi P was getting picked on and had to run out of the way several times. It looked very small with the others and was actively feeding along the shoreline.

It took off after about 30 mins and landed at Grutness pool before leaving shortly after in an easterly direction

The wader has been back again to the same spot, the three day on the trot.

Thursday 19 September 2019

Cranes at Sandwick

Went out on another Otter watch a few days ago, this time no luck despite a 4 hour search. Similar for someone else who had been to three other sites before arriving at my spot.

Arriving back in Sandwick I received a message the cranes had moved from near Leebotton up to a field near the Social club

The Common Cranes have now moved to a stubble field just down the road from us and in fact we can see then from our garden without binoculars.

They are still very wary but I managed better photos in good light. Lots of Rock Doves and gulls in the field.

Down at Sumburgh, one of the Stonechats popped up on a wall, while  several Greenland Wheatear and White Wagtails fed on insects above the single tracked road leading to the farm. A flock of around 20 Swallows still feeding over the crop

Only one Dunlin on the pool at Grutness and several Turnstone and Ringed Plover on the beach. Nothing on the sea either at Grutness or West Voe.

A few American waders arrived on the west side and the Snowy Owl has been seen again on Ronas Hill
 Cranes love to eat seed, grain roots and insects and they seem to find lots of food in the stubble field

No sign of the Cranes the last couple of days so they may well be heading south on migration. These two Common Crane are more likely be from the Scandinavian population than the resident English flock

Friday 6 September 2019

Hat Trick of good migrants

After a wash out Saturday, Sunday afternoon was a lot better. The wind had dropped and the rain had stopped.

First stop Grutness and as we pulled up a flock of waders could be seen. Several Dunlin, including an few young ones fed very close. Six Ringed Plover again with young became very aggressive to the Dunlin chasing them but a larger wader took no notice

This was the Curlew Sandpiper, still there after 3 days and seemed very settled. It worked its way around the edge coming reasonably close

A walk round from Grutness, round the farm to the Quarry and back produced 33 Greenland Wheatear.

Just up the path to the farm an Icterine warbler sat nicely on a fence close to the wall. This is the best view I have had of this species of warbler.

A Stonechat was also present and at least 25 Swallow low over the crop. No Common Rosefinch which was present at the farm early morning.

Nothing much on the sea at the moment. Except a female Red breasted Merganser which was close inshore feeding, close by several Black Guillemot including 5 young also dived for food and seem reasonably successful

This one struggled with either a squat lobster or velvet crab, for a few minutes.

Back down at Sandwick a couple of Common Crane arrived and spent the morning, first in a stubble field then flew over the wall onto a grassy area, but stayed distant. These are different to the Unst birds which flew to Fetlar and was seen at the same time as these two that originally fed at Hillwell
These Cranes are still present today in Sandwick although they have moved a short distance away to a stubble field

A few good birds now arriving with Citrine Wagtail, Two Barred Crossbill, Common Rosefinch, Barred Warbler, American Golden Plover, Honey Buzzard and Greenish Warbler