1st October 2017: Day 6:
It dawned clear and bright and we headed out early
doors to thoroughly work Hoswick. A Great Northern Diver was in the bay from
the living room and our first YBW called from the garden, audible from the
hall... so not too bad a start while still pulling on the Muckmasters.
|The bottom of the Oli garden in Hoswick|
|Hoswick - our cottage almost dead centre|
Between the four of us we covered the entire village and in my eastern section
I found a Redstart, seven Willow Warblers and three more energetic YBWs. Robins
flicked around in the sunshine and the local plump spotty Starlings positively
glowed. Three Grey Wagtails came in off and a few Chaffinches pinged about.
We picked up the car and trundled up valley to pick up Peter who had just found
a Reed Bunting which we all managed to see, albeit distantly. This is a good
Shetland bird and new one for me like so many species so far! A cracking but silent Tree Pipit crept along
in front of us and Redwings, Song Thrushes and countless Mipits adorned the
fence line. Snipe erupted from the ditches and a glance out to sea revealed
that some interesting weather was coming our way and that Sumburgh was already
As such we retreated and popped over the hill to Sandwick to look for the
putative Siberian Oystercatcher. It was not on the beach so we drove down to
Noness as it was now raining and discovered our second Reed Bunting amongst the
ruins of the various skeletons of long dead Robin Reliants. Another Redstart
and several Robins were seen but there is no cover down there so we headed back
to the bay where an obviously normal Oystercatcher was just departing.
fields around the church were full of Golden Plover and we discovered a single
Bar-tailed Godwit, four Ruff and a few Redshank, Ringed Plovers and Turnstone
amongst them but no funny Oik. A quick look at the bay again only confirmed its
absence but three Twite showed well in the cemetery.
In a quandary as to what to do, we had just decided on a northwards jaunt and
invoked the power of the ever so slightly mangled Double-Deckers. I had barely
got the last mouthful in when I picked up the Pied Mollusc-lover in the Plover
field! An odd looking, skinny bird with seemingly longer legs than the 'normal'
ones and a brown back contrasting with and black head and chest. As for nasal
With that we piled back into the car and headed back north to Melby where a
Rustic Bunting was now performing on the road where we had the Great Northern
Diver. Fortunately I refound it ticking in the willows within a couple of
minutes and it showed very well, grovelling in the verge over the next half
hour. Tysties bobbed offshore and a Wheatear was on the beach with the
Turnstones and Ringed Plovers.
|Rustic Bunting |
|And a much better Tystie from Peter|
News of a Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler way up at South Collafirth sent us back
on the road as Peter had not seen one and it had been 16 years since my only
one up on Blakeney Point. A purposeful 45 minute drive later we joined the
crowd to take our chance and over the next hour superb views were had in flight
and even on the deck at a very well organised twitch. Thanks especially to Andy
Mears who let me look through his scope just as it climbed up into the open in
|Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler - my atmospheric shot|
|The Iris Bed - note the lack of birders in it please|
|and this was when it flew behind us and landed in the nettles before circling back to the iris bed|
With the rain setting in we took our leave and within a few
minutes we were in a horizontal deluge. Late lunch at Brae and then a drive out
toward Aith (stopping for Tiffin at the Roadside Cake Fridge of Happiness) for a joke look for a
Short-toed Lark in now truly appalling weather.
I suggested that it may well be on the road as that is what they like in Lesvos and we drove past some desparate soul out tramping the fields and sure enough the sodden little
blighter popped up right in front of the car and despite its waterlogged
appearance it was feeding well on worms but could have certainly done with some
time with a hairdryer!
|Honestly this is a Short-toed Lark|
With that we called it a day and headed back to the snug cottage in Hoswick, and
we were soon replete from a gargantuan chicken Sunday roast cooked once again
by Peter with the wind and rain still howling outside.