Thursday, 20 October 2016

Fourteen Days Away... Days 1, 2 & 3 : 26th, 27th and 28th September: The pre-amble to Shetland

Days 1, 2 & 3 : 26th, 27th and 28th September: 

Technically my ‘holiday’ started on Monday 26th September with a trip to Norfolk in glorious weather and a long walk at Holkham where a solitary Yellow-browed warbler was heard and the Pink-feet entertained while a Great White Egret dropped into the freshmarsh pool.  The Hoopoe at Brancaster golf course showed very well as it probed around in the bunkers and on the greens and the Pectoral Sandpiper at Titchwell was the star amongst a very good wader selection.  

Hoopoe - Brancaster

Pectoral Sandpiper - RSPB Titchwell

It was then home to finish packing for the start of the journey north the next morning. I limped my poorly car up to Colchester and deposited her with Adrian, after I had of course paid a visit to The Hythe where the spangly Lesser Yellowlegs was seen resting up with the Redshanks and Blackwits before I was dropped off at Bradders place for the next stage of the journey. 

Lesser Yellowlegs - The Hythe

By 3pm we were all sorted and had collected Bob Vaughan (no relation!) and Nick Croft and were on our way. Services somewhere up the A1 hosted a massive noisy Pied Wagtail roost and obligatory Sparrowhawk before we stopped at a posh pub about twenty minutes from Newcastle before eventually hitting the sack for the night.

The 28th saw us with a flat, straight drive north and into Scotland with the intent of squeezing in a little birding before catching the ferry from Aberdeen. There was actually only one bird on the agenda and by 11am the very poorly, but eminently tickable, Brunnich's Guillemot at Anstruther to the south of St Andrews was firmly in the bag. I never thought that I would ever get to see a UK one after working throughout the Portland birds stay. Happiness ensued. 

The quaint Anstruther harbour

But not the biggest twitch in the world...

Brunnich's Guillemot - It is alive - honest!

Add to that a couple of thousand yapping Pink-feet heading south and a constant stream of Meadow Pipits bimbling over the waves and it set us up well for the 200 mile, 12 hour journey on the 'Hjaltland' to distant Lerwick...

Pinkies going south
Eider at Anstruther

Male yellowhammer at Kilminning

Greenfinches flapping in a gutter at Kilminning

The first time I can remember seeing the Isle of May

Goodbye Aberdeen...

and goodnight from me...

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