Sunday, 18 October 2020

Shetland Blackpoll Warbler

 A good run of rare birds in Shetland continued with the Blackpoll warbler over at East Burrafirth near Aith in the west mainland.

The Blackpoll Warbler is a rare North American visitor, recorded only 5 times before in Shetland. All Uk records all have been in October. This is a long distance migrant over wintering in central and south America and travelling up to 12,500 miles a year.

This bird has been present in a small hidden plantation for the past three days. Very few people know about this plantation which was planted 20 years ago. Its a mixed wood with a few confers but also with lots of Alders.

This warbler preferred the Alder finding lots of insects.

Unlike the Red Flanked Bluetail which showed for about 10 mins in around 8 hours looking, this warbler showed straight away and stayed in the same Alder for about 20 mins before disappeared further into the wood.

It was very, very active and with the poor light in the middle of the wood made photography challenging.

Most of these photos were taken at ISO6400 and even then no higher than 1/500 second on a 600mm lens.

The bird was joined by two Yellow Browed Warblers and a Goldcrest while further in a Blue Tit was seen and heard.

It was good to see Paul Bloomer and his wife and they left Hugh Harrop and me to the bird. The day before there may have been over 20 birder present, not good for social distancing in a small are.

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