Sunday 28 October 2018

Shetland Day 5: 3rd October 2018

It dawned bright and still and so Busta House was an obvious stop on the way out for the day with the chance to check the gardens without the foliage thrashing around like some rabid Harry Potter tree.

Orwick Water - back at the digs in the early morning light

Busta House

It was still disappointingly quiet but a Barred Warbler appeared from nowhere having announced itself to David with a machine gun rattle and just like the bird at Garderhouse Voe it soon left the roses and began gleaning aphids from the Sycamore canopy giving excellent views as it lumbered around.

Barred Warbler - Peter Moore
I sauntered down to the tiny quay to watch the Black Guillemots and Mergansers on the calm water while Wrens clambered around and a male Merlin hurtled through in his quest for a Starling breakfast. The sea bed here was teaming with small blue-grey Cushion Stars and fish darted through the weed.

Sun Dog

I think this is near Levenwick with Bressay behind
Southwards towards Sumburgh for the first time and a as is the norm the weather turned on us with grey skies and icy rain. We could not find any Snow or Lapland Buntings around Grutness but a couple of Eider and a Grey Seal (I think) bobbed in the bay before we headed up the quarries where the Marsh Warbler was found in no time at all.

More fantastic lichen

Grey Seal?


Shetland Wren

Sumburgh Quarry

Shetland Starling

Coming in to land at eye level with a bit of a wobble...
This was another of those instructive birds and like the River warbler it was great to see one creeping wound horizontally and not sitting up on top singing where it becomes an entirely different bird.  There was nothing about this warm buff bird that even suggested Reed Warbler. The throat still gleamed white, the legs were very pale and the tertials were marked more like a Whitethroat which coupled with the long pale tipped primaries made for a winning id combination.

Marsh Warbler
The local Fulmars cackled around us and a Wheatear and thistle loving Yellow-browed Warbler were the only other birds present.

There seemed no point in heading for the Head so we double backed to Boddam where a nice olive and buff Rosefinch was easily found feeding on Perennial Sow Thistle with some House Sparrows and Twite around the edge of the bay.






Rosefinch stalkers

Perennial Sow Thistle

At this point our plans were somewhat disrupted by news of a Pechora way up on Unst.  We were almost as far away as possible but with Peter and Bob needing this enigmatic species it was a no-brainer and thus the three island hop began.
The ferries required some waiting around and I amused myself at Gutcha on Yell with trying to photograph the interesting fish I could see in the crystal clear waters.  Still working in them but will add names once I have figured them out.  

Gobies or Blennies

Gobies or Blennies

This one had small barbels and triple fins so a Cod family I think

Blenny of some sort?

Spotty Cod type thingy

Spotty Cod type thingy

Mmm... no idea...
Peter, meanwhile took some stunning shots of the Kittiwakes perched up by the ferry terminal.

Kittiwakes - Peter Moore
We arrived at Haroldswick to discover several people standing in the middle of a very wet field. They had seen and heard a Citrine Wagtail fly over but the story of what the pipit had done was somewhat cloudy and thus when a few more people were on site we set about a systematic sweep of said field.
Rather unsurprisingly we put up no pipits with just a few Snipe and our first ever Shetland Water Rail.  The small crowd largely dispersed and we set about spreading out to check the surrounding ditches, damp fields and wall margins.
Suddenly I heard a buzzy Wagtail and the shout went up from several points for Citrine. I picked it up bouncing over and dropping into a stony croft.  There were others closer than me and by the time I got there they were looking at the back of their cameras at something that was quite obviously not a Citrine but a mono-chrome Yellow Wagtail.
We soon relocated it and over the next half hour it led us a merry dance as it bounced around the paddocks in the loose company of a few Meadow Pipits and although it never came close we all got some great views and heard it call on numerous occasions.

It appeared that we had ourselves an Eastern Yellow Wagtail and with it the potential of a tick of this split out form of our own flava!

Eastern Yellow Wagtail

Look at thos all important incredibly long hind claws - Peter Moore

and another from Peter

From reading up on the way back home were discovered that there has not been an accepted record without either or both a sound recording or a DNA sample. At the time we believed that we had neither although subsequently it would appear that someone did in fact record it.  

Wagtail watchers...
This striking grey and white bird seems to tick the appropriate boxes on plumage, call and even hind claw length and those with more patience that I may have to wait a bit longer for that ink it in...

We headed for home safe in the knowledge that we had been in the right place at the right time even if the pipit did became a wagtail...

No comments:

Post a Comment