Sunday 5 January 2020


Finally got out having been down with a chest infection.

The weather was good considering we have had severe gales over the past few days . Saturday was still, calm, mild with some sun

Headed down to Sumburgh as a couple of Scoter had been seen in West Voe. On arrival at the south end I could see 6 birders on the sand dunes at the north end.

The was a good number of birds but distant. I first picked up the male Velvet Scoter, then the Common Scoter as well as 6 Gt Northern Divers some with fish.

 even at 1200mm the duck was still a small size

Rafts of Long Tailed Ducks stretched out along the northern end and a few in smaller flocks.

Over at Grutness fewer birds but two Red Throated Diver was a good find, unusual in winter.

Saturday birds
Gt Northern Diver, Red throated Diver, Velvet Scoter, Common Scoter, Lt Duck, Wigeon, Black Guillemot, Shag, Cormorant, Eider, Gt BB, Common Gull, BHG, Herring Gull, Rock Dove, Turnstone, Curlew, Lapwing, Snipe, Starling, House Sparrow, Redwing, Fieldfare, Rock Dove., Wren, Blackbird, Fulmar, Twite, Hoddie, Raven, Greylag,

Wednesday 1 January 2020

Shetland 2019 birds review

For me 2019 has proved a good year for migrants in Shetland.

In January it was a good assortment of common shetland birds but did include a number of Red Throated Diver, normally further south at this time of year. A Black Throated Diver was seen at East Voe although too far away for any photos

February saw more waders gathering along the coast with lots of Purple Sandpiper and Turnstone with a few early Oystercatchers and a number of geese species including Bean, Lesser Whitefront, Pink and Barnacle

March saw more birds returning and I managed to connect with the Black Throated Diver, rare in Shetland. The biggest news of the month was the Tengmalm Owl at Tresta. What a bird, on the first visit it was mostly obscured by branches but a second visit revealed its full glory as it sat out soaking up the sun. Lots of birders arrived from the south but one local birder flew back from a long holiday twice and failed to see it

April saw common migrants arrive in small numbers, Iceland Gulls seen at a couple of spots but the one at Sandsayre lingers for about 10 days. A Black Redstart appeared, always a nice bird to find, this one a male and Two Hawfinch at Scalloway

In May a Lesser Yellowlegs turned up at Scatness and performed well for a few days. Birds surveys were completed and showed little variation from the previous year. Seabirds seem to be doing better at Sumburgh head. A Hoopoe showed well at Burra as did the Golden Oriole at Quarff and the same day a Stone Curlew turned up at Virkie but proved difficult to find

I was away for a good part of June but early on was good for common migrants as well as for a couple of Crane that arrived in Sandwick

At the beginning of July an adult Rose Coloured Starling appeared in a garden in Lerwick and gave excellent views. As well as Common Cranes, Two Barred Crossbills started to appear. The first I saw was in a plantation in Burra where a small flock showed occasionally over several days

But in August a small flock arrived at Clickimin and gave superb close views

September showed more activity with good views of Curlew Sandpiper at Grutness pool , good views of a pair of Common Crane at Sandwick which stayed over a week but did change location half way through.

The best views I have had of an Icterine Warbler at Sumburgh farm and then a Red Backed Shrike at Grutness. A new bird for me was a Isabelline Shrike at Levenwick which turned out to be a Turkestan race bird

October continued to be good with a Red Breasted Flycatcher at Quendale, Rustic Bunting at Levenwick and a Quail at Spiggie a few Yellow Browed Warbler , a superb Bee-eater at Ollaberry and to finish the month a very confiding Sub Alpine Warbler in a garden at Hillwell.

A good variation of Chiffchaff showed during November including a couple of Siberian Chiffchaff at Sumburgh garden and the Quarry

At the beginning of this month an usual Redstart spp. turned up at Sumburgh farm, at first looking like an Eastern Black Redstart but after closer inspection and discussion with other birders was thought to be a Samamiscus race bird

Looking forward to 2020, have a happy new year