Monday, 11 October 2021

Shetland - week 2

 Common Scoter

Slavonian Grebe
Whooper Swan
Red-throated Diver

 Great Northern Diver

Day 8

A vey mixed day of weather but we did manage to get a full day of birding in. A pair of Slav Grebes made it a good start and whilst at Hoswick watching a Tree Pipit a Sparrowhawk flew over, only our second raptor of the trip, the other being a Merlin. 


The great locusta hunt
Tree Pipit
Ringed Plovers
Ringed Plover
Spotted Flycatcher
Marsh Warbler
Hunting Otter
Shattered on the beach

Among the rocks

Day 9 - Unst

It was a trek up north again on day 4 for a reported Lancolated Warbler which proved to be a waste of time. Birders gave up way to quickly much to our frustration. After our extended search we added Olive-backed Pipit and enjoyed stunning views of an Otter hunting and then sleeping. In the same location as the Grozzer in week one there was a Marsh Warbler & Rosefinch.

When back at Hoswick watching a Tree Pipit a Sparrowhawk flew over, only our second raptor of the trip, the other being a Merlin.  


Semipalmated Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper
Looking south
Gulls feeding on shoreline
Little Stint & Dunlin
Western Bonelli's Warbler
Dramatic background for a twitch
Bonelli's in flight (honest !)

Sheer numbers at twitches was surprising

Day 10

The day started at the Pool of Vikie where we observed a Semipalmated Sandpiper with Dunlin & a Little Stint. The wind was terrifically strong making birding very difficult. 

The afternoon was spent close to our lodge watching a Bonelli's Warbler which was later indentified as Western following it starting to call on it's second day. Eastern birds tend to be in spring and it did prove to be a bit of an anticlimax.


Typical Little Bunting Twitch
Second Rev on the day in fading light
Rev taken from WhatsApp group

Day 11

It was time to see a Little Bunting, we had missed a couple already but there was one only a few miles away in a nice location so we thought we would try again. After a frustrating first hour, we did finally see the bird a few times around the stream.

Then news broke of a Red-eyed Viro in Brae, the captain needed this species so off we set. The twitch was a total shambles with people everywhere chasing the poor bird from pillar to post. I'm actually unsure why so many were twitching the bird as I'd estimate 95% had seen the species before. It was disgraceful and ashamed to be a birder.

Thankfully another REV was discoved closer to home that afternoon which was a lot more pleasurable and Ian managed to get the gret views he wanted. Phew.......


Raddes Warbler
Best I could manage in position I was
Jack Snipe
Spotted Flycatcher
No shortage of Starling in Shetland
Ring-necked Duck
Red-breasted Flycatcher

Day 12

A Radde's Warbler was start attraction of day twelve. The bird gave frustrating views in some nettles before being flushed onto a gate when you could see all the ID features. We left promptly before there was any more chasing.

In quiet farm yard off the main routes we enjoyed some super views of a Red-breasted Flycatcher, female Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher when the owner welcomed us. The only other addition was a drake Ring-necked Duck that we scoped distantly.


Rustic Bunting
The Monarch - just wow
My 60th UK butterfly
Sheer beauty and size

Celebration time
Evening meal at the Dowry

Day 13

A day to remember indeed. Early morning success with a Rustic Bunting then news of a Monarch butterfly in the sunken garden at Sumburgh Hotel. The foot was on the pedal and we were off. Pleeeeeaaaaassssseeeee stick until we got there. And stick it did. The sunken garden made a perfect amphiteatre for the magnificant butterfly that had made the most amazing migration from America. The butterfly attracted a huge crowd including all the tour groups. It was excellent that everyone could see the butterfly well and with no fuss. This was my 60th species of butterfly in the UK.


Quarry Snow Buntings

White-billed Diver

Day 14

Total rain all day, we visited the quarry again to see if anything new was there before travelling east to scope a White-billied Diver, only my second of the species but the day was just horrible. Given the conditions we visited the Shetland Museum that was very informative but we would have prefered to be outside birding.

Day 15 

We were pleased to be leaving in all honesty, 2 weeks was too long with very little else to do here. A Garganey was our only addition before he set sail back to Aberdeen.

We ended up covering over 2,500 miles, walking 60 miles, 130 bird species ( Lifers me 1, Ian 2), saw Otter, Poropise & Dolphin. Accomodation was top class. Great company and we had some great laughs. Would I do again tomorrow? No chance Would I visit again in future? Probably......