The rain lashed down last night and rattled a pre-dawn Reveille
on the Velux above my head so it was decided on a post breakfast jaunt down to
Tesco in Lerwick to shop for the week. A
patchy 1st winter Glaucous Gull in the main Harbour was our only
birding on the way and we watched it from the car as it paddled around with the
Great Black Backs and Herring Gulls before returning home to Riskaness to stock
|The Waddle at Riskaness|
|View from The Waddle|
We were soon off out again and ventured further west in the
improving conditions towards Burrastow, stopping to check a couple of patches
and watch the doe eyed Harbour Seals bananaring on the rocks with ease.
|Harbour Seals - leisurely slumped|
The garden of the big house had a couple of Redwings and
Blackbirds and 13 Twite bathed in the ditch once again raising the question
about birds sheltering from the rain but then having a bath as soon as it
The copse at the end held a Wren for Pete and me and a Chiffchaff and
Blackcap for Bradders when news filtered through of a probable Lanceolated
Warbler down at Wester Quarff. This was Pete’s
real bogey bird having tried very hard over the last few years after probables,
possibles, Grasshopper Warblers and even Chiffchaffs but could we persuade Mr B
to head south again. Peter was speaking
to the Olivers who had found the bird and it was not in irises and actually felt
gettable. I could hear most of the conversation and Pete was becoming glazed
with anticipation so when Mr B got back up to us we both spoke enthusiastically
and I may have mentioned a fictional dry stone wall and ditch in the hope that
it would get Pete his chance. A few
minutes later and Agnetha was in Dynamic Mode as we hit the road south.
There were only about twenty people on site when we arrived
and they had been carefully keeping tabs on the Lancy as it worked its way
through the grass at their feet. It
chose that moment to flick across the road into the little ditch and within minutes we were all watching this wee mouse of a bird creep under the grasses
along the bank at just a few feet range.
Thermal imagers have become a ‘thing’ in recent years and over the course
of our visit they were a real godsend for finding this bird. Someone would find a thermal spot and watch
it move, allowing others to focus on where it may appear rather than
encroaching on it which actually resulted in some superb field views as it
would pop out and reach up for an insect before crawling back down again. It worked its way into the adjacent field and
the growing line of birders formed a patient line along it.
|Quiet and patient - the bird would walk past the whole line|
The cows were a bit agitated and the owner (a local birder)
requested that the bird be encouraged back onto the other side of the road
which is rightly or wrongly what happened. Having had fantastic views earlier
on I kept back and let the new arrivals through and wandered down to look for
the King Eider which had unfortunately gone north before timing my entry into
the adjacent field with perfection as the Lancy flew right past me and plonked
itself in the grass just a few feet away.
The circle reformed to keep tabs on the bird and I took my leave and walked
across the valley passing a fine male Goosander in the river mouth and then climbed
up the other side.
|Lanceolated Warbler - such skinny legs - Peter Moore|
|Lanceolated Warbler - Peter Moore|
|And just for a laugh - Essence of Lanceolated Warbler |
Over 150 Redwing were moving through the top fields but I
could find nothing different and a Siskin and pair of Stonechat were my only
finds before the lads came to pick me up.
From here we headed back into Lerwick and the Burn of Sand
which runs between the houses on the south side of town. None of us had been here before but it was
noted for future visits as it was well vegetated and easily workable. The Redpoll flock found us eventually but we
could only find Mealies and a few Siskin but Robin, Song Thrush and a brief
Yellow-browed Warbler were also seen.
|Not a bad patch behind your house|
|A proper Dwarf Willow sp - not sure which yet|
|Sunlight on a Mealy Redpoll|
Our last stop was Veensgarth to have a look by the pumping
station. The willows and paddocks were full of birds and I stayed on the
road to count what came out and ended up with 228 Redwings for my
troubles. Sixteen Rook drifted off
towards Loch of Tingwall while the Gott Turtle Dove had probably already gone
Toad in the Hole with Cauliflower Cheese and veg for dinner
was followed by a failed attempt at the early Aurora seen further south but did
reveal a stunning star scape similar to that seen in Lesvos before the cloud
came back in, even obscuring the still rising Moon.
|Jupiter and four of his moons|
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