Sunday 14 October 2018

Shetland Day 2: 30th September 2018

Another squally day and so we decided to head north and cover some of the lesser watched spots out that way.  We did not encounter another birder all day.

Staring at Olaberry, we walked down hill towards the old church where we saw the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll last year but some Twite, Meadow Pipits and a White Wagtail were our scant rewards although the former did show rather well as they fed on some Meadowsweet seedheads.  A female Merlin did her best to catch a Snipe.


Shetland Starlings
The skies were ever changing with blue patches quickly replaced by black clouds, a flurry of rain and then an ever ephemeral rainbow.

Ollaberry views

Up the road to North Collafirth (trying to ignore that fact that there were now two American sparrows on Foula) where we checked out the sheltered wooded garden at Green Brae. Another Robin was a surprise but two Willow Warblers and some chunky arboreal Wrens were the only other passerines.

View from Green Brae



Sheltering Rock Doves

Further stops gave us the chance to scan through a heap of Golden Plovers at Isbister, a Mealy Redpoll at Voe and over 100 Eider in Ronas Voe before lunch was taken in a very civil style on a bench at Hillswick with pie in hand and an Otter fishing offshore.

The Iris bed Hell of Isbister
Sheltering from a squall at Isbister in the bin shed of the house with the fusilage of the Potez 840-02 in their front garden...

Sorry but the rams of this particular are quite literally dog ugly- again more help needed!

Mealy Redpoll at Voe
Ronas Voe looking stunning - a brief blue spell but still howling!

Pies at Hillswick

The Hillswick view minus Otter

We dared the winds of Eshaness in a vain hope that we would at long last find a Neararctic tottering around on the short turf. As it was it was so windy that you could barely stand up so some traditional epic sea and cliff scapes were taken and the usual walk across the rolling greens was forsaken for searching through a small flock of Golden Plover from the car.



Golden Plover
The amazing garden at Orbister was completely devoid of any birdlife and the shout of ‘Pheasant!’ over the radio when a male crashed out of cover sounded, if I was to be honest, a little desperate...

Our Icky was still up at Lunna so we made that our final stop of the day but it was just far too windy and I amused myself by watching plunge-diving Kittiwakes in the bay opposite the Kirk.

The Lunna nettles where we found the warbler...

A double rainbow at Busta

Whooper Swan on our very own Orwick Water

The warbler actually had the last laugh on us that day as by the time we called it a night it had been quite correctly re-identified as a Melodious Warbler with the short primary projection being visible in the new photos but at least in our defence it did still have a nice wing panel, the appearance of pale edged greater coverts and bluish legs!

There are always opportunities to learn...

The Eye of Mordor was burning bright to the east long after dark...

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