Sunday 30 July 2023

Hudsonian Godwit- First for Shetland

This Hudsonian Godwit turned up at Grutness this afternoon and is a first for Shetland. Only the 5th for Scotland

                 The first impressions was this was a small Bar tailed Godwit but looked a bit odd.

Certainly the supercilium was very distinctive and it had dark underwing although it only showed once

       This Godwit only has a restricted breeding range in Alaska and is a very rare vagrant to the uk. 

                It was still present as darkness fell allowing many birders to catch up with  the bird.

I left it asleep on the far bank but later it flew off to the beach before quickly returning to the pool

It was joined by two Turnstone, Dunlin (5) Redshank (3) Oystercatcher (6) Ringed Plover (2)

                      The first British record was at Blacktoft Sands RSPB reserve in September 1981

Arctic Terns- Shetland

Love terns, this colony seems to have more Arctic then common (which seem to have increased in many areas
Even at this late stage, there are about 20 Arctic terns flying round with two binging in fish. Not long until they all head south

Friday 28 July 2023

Shetland Arctic Terns

Although there has been less Arctic Terns in Shetland, possibly down to Bird Flu the colony down at Grutness seems to have done ok

There might only be 25% of last years terns here. Elsewhere on Bressay only one check raised with a few dead ones 

These terns will be migrating south anytime now and have to pass though several areas infected with the flu and already 1,000 have died further south.
It will be interested to see how many return next year


Tuesday 25 July 2023

Gull feeding on insects - Shetland & Bird flu

July is always a good time of year to see Common and Black Headed gulls taking advantage of the numerous insects found on umbellifers.

They have keen eyesight to see the insects feeding on top of the plants then swoop down to pick them off. You wouldn't really think there would be enough in a insect but they came back over the same patch time and time again.

I have now seen this south of Mainlands, and Grutness where several gulls swooped down at the same time. The warm weather has no doubt helped in providing an abundance of insects.

Its sad news from down in England with Bird flu reported from the Kittiwakes at Bempton and even worse at Croquet Island where 10,000 BH gulls have died and 50% of the Roseate Terns, 4,000 Sandwick Tern chicks have also passed away.

Along the Aberdeen coast line another 1,000 dead birds have been picked up. Its only going to get worse as migration starts and birds start to pass through these infected areas in the UK and elsewhere in Europe and Africa