Great Northern Diver
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.
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.
Sheer numbers at twitches was surprising
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.
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.......
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.
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.
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.
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......