Monday 21 October 2019

Sub Alpine warbler- Shetland

A Sub Alpine warbler had been present down at Quendale for 4 days so we made this our first call with rain and gales expected later in the afternoon.

A couple of birders had already gone away disappointed but Dougie (From Yell) was still present but had not seen it either

He disappeared after a good look round only seeing Robins & Blackcaps. The garden it had been seen in was very small but it had been favouring a Hebe which attracted a good number of insects to its lilac flowers.

The owners of the cottage opened the door and it was someone we know from Bressay who rents the cottage out, mostly to birders

They had found the bird and had seen it feeding about 1/2 hour before I arrived. So I stared at the Hebe and saw a bird moving inside it then flew, but this was another Robin which no doubt arrived in a big fall a couple of days ago

Another bird flew in low and called, this time identified by its call - the Sub Alpine Warbler. It flew straight out around the back of the cottage

About 20 mins later a bird flew over my shoulder and landed in the small hedge. It showed well this time and was the Subalpine Warbler

It moved in and out of the hedge giving great views from about 20 feet away, totally unconcerned. By the time I had been joined by Dougie and he also managed to get a few shots

I have seen a Moltonii race Subalpine Warbler up in Unst a few years ago, a male in breeding plumage which was collecting nest material, but this was equally as good being so close.

This was identified as a western species from its calls, which comes from Iberia, Southern France and parts of Italy.  I have seem a few in the hilly region just north of the Camargue but always distant

Tuesday 8 October 2019

A missing day
They are here, birders and birds, well its that time of year. Autumn migration is underway and has been for a fortnight

Thursday rained, with birds but mainly water, it came down in buckets and had a Force 8 gale with it making birding very difficult

I spoke to some Newcastle birders that spent three hours searching in very difficult conditions, most seem to have colds now.

Friday was completely different, hardly any wind , or rain and some sun. Birds were not as numerous as everyone had expected, even with easterly winds

I started down at Swinster a few mins away from home. Apart from the common birds a few migrants showed. A Grey Wagtail on the grassy area at the Hoswick end, then two Spotted Flycatcher and a Pied Fly.

Then up popped a Little Bunting onto the fence, one of three along the burn and a Yellow Browed Warbler flew up into the bushes. A Song Thrush jumped onto a fence, it was a good start.

Down at Quendale, a good number of birds had already been reported. Near the bridge and beside the mill Yellow Browed Warbler (5)  with Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap.

The Red breasted Flycatcher had moved from the quarry to an iris bed a short distance away and showed well for 10 mins before flying up the small burn

Up at the Quarry, Redstart, Goldcrest, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Wren and Blackbird. Just opposite in the iris bed a Red Breasted Flycatcher showed well but the tail-less Little Bunting had disappeared. A Kestrel flew over putting up a large flock of Skylark and Meadow pipit

The Turtle Doves(3) had just flown north just as a shower arrived, a large flocks of Starling fed in the stubble field with Rock Dove.

I stopped off at Scatness where around 1500 Barnacle Geese took off  while on the loch Wigeon (150) Pintail (2) Mallard (12) and Moorhen (2)

A drive down to Grutness found better weather, here Turnstone(12) on the pool but the wood sand had gone.

Only a Willow Warbler in the garden and a nice Redstart sat still in the paddock allowing a close approach along with Twite (20)

Over at Spiggie beach, Little Stint (3) , Dunlin, Redshank, Turnstone and Ringed Plover fed along the tideline. On the loch Whooper swan (33) had arrived along with many wigeon

Thursday 3 October 2019

Sunny Shetland

What a great sunny still day with plenty of birds about. No rarities but some nice common migrants

First a stop up at Sumburgh but only a few migrants with Redstart, Blackcap, Redwing, Goldcrest (2) Pied Flycatcher and Robin(2)

The quarry was quiet as well with a Robin and Blackcap along with a flock of Twite. A large flock of Meadow Pipit and Skylark followed me along the road

A willow Warbler at Grutness garden and at Toab. The Semi Palmated Sandpiper returned to the same area of beach at Grutness as the previous three days attracting a fair number of birders.

Little stint

The two Little Stint showed well again at Peerie Spiggie with Turnstone (32) Ringed Plover (4)

Over at Swinster the Olive Backed Pipit showed three times but briefly so no photos.  Dipped on the Barred Warbler in Lerwick for the second time