Friday 17 November 2017

Shetland 26th September - 8th October 2017: Day 11

6th October 2017: Day 11:

It was, after some early rain, the calmest day of the week although we rarely saw the sunshine. An early boot about Hoswick for the Booted Warbler reported the evening before did not produce the goods so we headed north as planned to Isbister where a Red-flanked Bluetail had been lurking. We were first there and it took some searching but I was delighted when the obscured wing of a bird under bush became a flashing blue tail as it darted past me. Our crew had the bird to ourselves for quite some time and it was very obliging when it to wanted too. Refinding this one brought back memories of the one that I found at Berry Head in Devon in 2005... Can it really be that long ago?

Red-flanked Bluetail

Come on!  Look at me!
Rock Doves posed for us too and many Snipe erupted from the irises without us even going near them!

Rock Doves

Rock Doves

From here we checked out various gardens in Collafirth, Ollabury, Orbister and Ronas Voe but it was generally quiet with a few Blackcaps, Phylloscs, Mealy Redpolls, two late Spot Flys, a Reed Warbler and the odd Redstart, Siskin, Chaffinch and Brambling.

The Starling Blinged Sheep of Orbister
The seductive sheep of Voe
Eshaness was as stunning as ever with panoramic vistas across land and sea with the majesty of Foula looming up on the horizon. The Golden Plover flock as usual, did not contain the AmGoPlo but there were five Ruff with them and a nice young male Goldeneye and four Tufted Ducks on the Loch. 


  News of an Arctic Redpoll back at Ollabury had Bob reconsidering an odd bird that he saw with sparrows there earlier. He only saw it briefly but it felt too big for a small finch. Ten minutes later we were back by the old church but it took over half an hour in failing light for a giant snowball of a Redpoll to appear. The white rump glowed and extended up into the mantle and it had wonderfully warm buff cheeks. It was very quickly apparent that we were looking at a Hornemann's Arctic. It was pretty confiding and shuffled around in the grassy fence edges occasionally showing off those amazing shaggy white trousers and flashing the white rump through long crossed wings. 

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll

The light was so low and the ISO so high that this one truly is 'Essence of Redpoll in flight'

These last two crackers by Bob Vaughan
  With the light fading we left it to continue feeding and made our way back south to the Brae chippy once again...

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