Friday 27 October 2017

Shetland 26th September - 8th October 2017: Day 7

2nd October 2017: Day 7: 

Wild, wet and windy would be an apt way to describe the day. The weather blew through in curtains of driving rain all day and made birding and even standing up challenging at times but the crew persevered and we ended up having a reasonable day. Hoswick was given a good look after breakfast and despite the wind we found nine YBWs, Spot Fly, two Redstarts, the odd phyllosc and Peter had the Reed Bunting again and found a Red-breasted Flycatcher that eluded the rest of us. 

Hoswick at dawn

No Sibe at the end of the rainbow this time

With incoming weather we made our way south and explored around Loch of Spiggie where 15 Whoopers and a raft of Tufted Duck bobbed but the quarry where the first Siberian Accentor was last year only contained some Song Thrushes, two Robins and sheep poo... 

Whooper Swans - bit blowy

Incoming over Spiggie

...but Bay of Scousburgh looks lovely

Getting closer

St Ninian's Isle

Checking at the Accentor Quarry

Grutness called and I refound the Little Bunting in the road after about 15 minutes but it took a little while longer to get some superb views after it was flushed by an inconsiderate muppet that wanted to get closer to the Redstart on the same fence. 

Little Bunting

A Mealy Redpoll dropped onto the lichen covered wall and Redstart, Blackcap and Goldcrest all popped up too while a House Martin hawked low over our heads. 

Mealy Redpoll

House Martin
Opposite the 1st Quarry looking towards the airport, Sumburgh hotel (left) and Grutness (right)

Towards Brough Head

The Sumburgh quarries and environs added three more Redstarts, heaps of Robins, Blackbirds, Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs and a lone Dunnock but the head itself was too windy and the next wave of rain was on the way so we escaped but not before seeing four Risso's Dolphins and three high speed Long-tailed Ducks.






Shetland Mega Big Foot Wren

Interesting Chiffchaff - Peter Moore

Sumburgh Head Hotel
Sumburgh Head

Risso's Dolphins- Peter Moore

Pool of Virkie and Exnaboe added a nice list of waders to the trip with Sanderling, Curlew Sandpiper, Grey Plover and Black-tailed Godwit as well as 11 Barwits and a good number of commoner species. Two immature drake Goosanders were a pleasant surprise as the fed right alongside the car. I have never seen them swimming with their tails up before. Another new bird for the Shetland list. 




Ringed Plover

Grey Plover - Peter Moore
Shag - Peter Moore
After a surprisingly successful dash back to Sumburgh to locate Peter's wayward radio we headed back inland.  The Common Crane that we saw last year was striding about a hay field near Hillwell with Rock Doves for company while Swallows hawked around so low to the ground to prevent them hurtling into the distance. It was not even possible to get out of the car and required some shuffling around to view! A Gadwall and four Moorhens on the Loch were new and several Wheatears got blown off of roadside posts while the juvenile Little Stint up the road at Noss was found feeding in the flooded, slurry soaked corner of a field with Pied, White and Grey Wagtails as companions. A Rock Pipit present looked bigger than it! 

Common Crane

Little Stint

Little Stint - Bob Vaughan

Little Stint - Peter Moore

The wind was still increasing and so we were encouraged by team leader Bradders to check out some notionally sheltered easterly sites including:

The reverse waves of Boddam...

The damp Golden Plovers and  soggy Skylarks of Voxter...

Golden Plover
The wet waders of Levenwick...

Turfstones, Deadshanks and Wormcatcher
The general dampness of Veensgarth and not forgetting the howling unpleasentness of Fladdabister...

you need sound for the video to get the full effect...
Bird Free Fladdabister
Bob and I suffering from imminent wind...

We knew when to call it a day and eventually persuaded Bradders of this too and a nice cup of tea and my special spag bol was calling... oh and a beer.

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