Sunday 23 October 2022

Shetland Raven

Since we arrived in Shetland about 8.5 years ago we have seen a big increase in Raven numbers
They would be a rare sight on the east side but now we can look out of our living room window and see them every day in Sandwick

The main concentration seems to be up at Quendale and they were blamed for taking a number of lambs the other year

I took these down at the harbour on Lerwick and allowed close approach as they fed on Dis guarded fish


Tuesday 18 October 2022

Homeyer's Great Grey Shrike

 This is a possible first for the Uk, and seem to have all the credentials.

The bird spent about 1- days at Hillswick but i left it until the crowds died down
I only met three other birders from Doncaster who arrived at the same time

after a searcg of over an hour we had all but given up but i took a short cut back to the car passing the shop and there it was on the wires briefly before flying up towards the hotel. I manage to call the others and we got fine views as it perched on wires
It then flew down into a nearby garden giving even better views
This is the south east Russian bird which normally winters in India


Great Grey Shrikes have taken a bit of a nosedive in recent winters, with just 17 confirmed birds reported in the winter of 2021-22. The first bird to be reported this autumn was in Shetland, at Hillswick, Mainland. However, when pictures made it online the bird revealed a lot of white in the wing and tail. Crucially, the two outermost tail fathers (T6 and T5) are wholly white and the primary patch is also large (c 50% of exposed primaries at broadest point) and runs along the secondaries. The bird also has a pale rump, blurry white scapulars, and a white supercilium that bridges the bill. Plus, the bird's underside is relatively plain, with subtle scaling on the breast. OK there's variation/overlap with excubitor but to have so many pro-homeyeri features makes this a good candidate for Britain's first accepted

Saturday 15 October 2022

Lerwick Glaucous Gull

We have had a Glaucous gull in Lerwick harbour for around three weeks
In fact, one day there was two
We dont normally see these gulls until winter although they are recorded (perhaps 1 bird) most months normally in Unst

Its a big bird, the second largest gull in the UK after the GTBB

Been three times and was very approachable the first time.

The second and third visit it was seen on the roof of the fish factory

It's been quiet an attraction for those leaving Shetland as it has followed the ferry


Monday 10 October 2022

Shetland Barred Warbler and more

7 10 22

 Although i have seen a few Barred Warbler since moving to Shetland I have never managed to get any photos until now.

Most as very mobile and sit in deep vegetation but this one at Lunna, in the northeast mainland, was more or less obliging.

Another bird that has been present in same area for past four days. 

It favoured a line of Sycamore bushes to north of Lunna Kirk. 

It was surprisingly difficult to see in the bushes, but I managed to get some photos on the wall and wires against the sun

It was visible at the end of the bushes for a while before taking off and flying up towards Lunna House. 

Later I saw the Turtle Dove at Gott, but briefly as it flew over and two Hornemann's Arctic Redpolls at Hillswick which sheltered in the corner of the walled garden

I arrived after a brief visit to see the Maywick Myrtle Warbler but in Force 6 winds and torrential rain i move north after good views of the bird but no chance of any photos. This is the second time i have seen this species in Shetland. Amazing this rare north American visitor which had been present for three days was joined by a second bird, just a short distance away in conifers down towards Ireland (Shetland)


There has been a lot of problems with Twitchers parking in laybys and blocking this single-track road. Also breaking down fences, urinating in front of the windows of the house which had children inside and using foul language. Thanks fully these are a minority but increasing numbers of visitors will always cause problems. 

Later in the day, a Least Heron a very rare visitor and only the second for the Uk arrived at Scousburgh causing hundreds of birders to descend on the area. Again, on single track roads blocking it completely. Also seen speeding along roads which have lots of blind bends.