Today we decided to head to Norwick on Unst to try and see the 1st winter Citrine Wagtail which would be a lifer for PG, we arrived at Norwick and scanned the beach for the Citrine Wagtail but alas there was no sign of it, i decided to leave RR & PG and go off and check the crop fields & bushes near Valaeye.
This proved to be a good decision as i had great views of a Marsh Warbler & Lesser Whitethroat (which had both been reported earlier) plus there were lots of Brambling & Chaffinch in the crop fields.
As i was heading back to tell RR & PG i could see them dashing off in the opposite direction !!
The Citrine Wagtail had been relocated further up the beach, i eventually joined up with them and had great scope views of this 1st winter Citrine Wagtail.
1st winter Citrine Wagtail.
I only managed poor record digi scope photos of this bird sadly, after enjoying the Citrine Wagtail for quite sometime we headed off to try and see the Marsh Warbler i had seen earlier and luckily it was still favouring the same group of bushes.
We also had brief views of a Yellow Browed Warbler here to, we spent alot of time around Norwick adding Blackcap, Willow Warbler , Wheatear & Song Thrush.
Then we were told that there was a Little Bunting showing every now & again in the next crop field further along from where we were standing, so PG & myself went to look for this whilst RR stayed to try and locate a Common Rosefinch.
Whilst waiting for the Little Bunting to show i saw a Bluethroat fly up from the crop field towards me and then drop down out of sight, i called out to PG who missed it and at the same time the Little Bunting appeared on the wire fence flushed by the Bluethroat which showed very well.
Bluethroat Photo by Paul Frost.
Little Bunting Photo by Paul Frost.
Sadly i never managed a photo of either bird but thankfully Paul Frost got cracking photo's of both the Bluethroat & Little Bunting which he has kindly let me use on my Blog, Thankyou Paul.
We spent all day on Unst where it did not stop raining the whole time, we added Merlin & 20+ Golden Plover on Lamba Nest and a very close flock of Twite at Skaw.
Eastern Yellow Wagtail.
The weather was much better this morning with no rain and little wind, we started of at Noss farm looking for yesterdays Eastern Yellow Wagtail and after a short wait the bird appeared giving great scope views.
Eastern Yellow Wagtail.
Good numbers of Skylark & Meadow Pipit but nothing rare with them plus Swallow & Wheatear were seen here.
A scan across Loch Spiggie produced 2 Slavonian Grebes which were well picked out by RR plus several Whooper Swans were seen.
From here we headed to Geosetter where a stomp around only produced a couple of Chiffchaff , however in the field over the road there were several grey geese and a closer inspection produced 3 Tundra Bean Geese & 15+ Pink Footed Geese amongst the large flock of Greylag Geese.
1st winter Woodchat Shrike.
By the time the afternoon had come around the weather had turned quite windy with rain however news of a 1st winter Woodchat Shrike showing well at Aith made up our minds to where to head next.
In back gardens.
The Woodchat Shrike was using back gardens washing lines & posts to perch on every so often affording very good scope views.
By this time it was raining non stop so headed back to our cottage having had a really great day.
Yellow Browed Warbler.
Once again the weather was windy with rain, we decided to head to another area we hadn't been to on this trip, Dale of Walls, we heard and saw 3 Yellow Browed Warblers plus Wheatear, Wren & Sparrowhawk .
From here we headed to East Burra and had really great views of a 1st winter Red Backed Shrike with a supporting cast of Yellow browed Warbler & Pied Flycatcher.
1st winter Red Backed Shrike.
Several Goldcrest were heard plus on the Loch was a single Arctic Tern & Razorbill.
Day Eight (Last Day)
Red Breasted Merganser.
Our last day on Shetland started at Voe where we searched in vain for a RBF , we added Robin & Collared Dove to the trip list and had great views of Red Breasted Merganser in the harbour area.
On route south we saw the Great White Egret near Nestling and we had flight views of the elusive Barred Warbler at Wester Quarff.
We had a look around Sumborough and saw 2 Purple Sandpipers & 1 Sanderling.
1 of 2 Purple Sandpipers.
After checking various other sites we ended up back at Noss farm for another look at the Eastern Yellow Wagtail.
Eastern Yellow Wagtail.
We were told that a Jack Snipe was also present and after some searching PG relocated the Jack Snipe which showed well and was great to see.
We ended the trip at East Burra where once again we had good views of the Red Backed Shrike & both the Yellow browed Warbler & Pied Flycatcher were also seen & heard.
Red Backed Shrike.
So that concludes my trip to Shetland for another year ,a really great trip in great company and plenty of great birds seen, no lifers this year but plenty of new birds for my Bird year list, here are the final totals :
After spending an hour or so early morning checking through the bushes at Langdon Cliffs with little reward other then a single Black Redstart , 5+ Siskins & several Chiffchaff plusa single Reed Warbler news reached us that an Arctic Warbler had been seen at Shuart, after the 2nd report came out that it was still present and showing well the decision was made to head there.
Great looking bird.
After abit of a run around we eventually managed to see the Arctic Warbler very well later in the afternoon after a failed first attempt in the morning , very long supercilium extending beyond the ear coverts, noticable wing bar with a very faint smaller second wing bar were all noticable.
We heard it call on one occasion whilst we were there , it was very active feeding in the sycamore tree.
We then headed to North Foreland in Thanet to try and see the Desert Wheatear which we had missed earlier in the day (2nd time lucky on both birds today !!).
It's been quite sometime since i last saw a Desert Wheatear so i was really happy to see this bird, they are truly cracking looking birds and certainly one of my favourite Wheatears.
10th October 2021 : St.Aidans Rspb West Yorkshire
News first came out that this bird was a Temminck's Stint on Friday 8th October, it was then re-identified as a Least Sandpiper !! then late Friday evening t was elevated to the MEGA status of LONG-TOED STINT !!!!
Plans were put into place to go on Sunday if the bird had stayed through Saturday which thankfully it did, so an early morning trip with RR & AE on Sunday morning was made, as we arrived in the car park at 7.30am the news was positive , it was roosting on the Eastern Reedbed.
We reached the Eastern reedbed and viewing was very difficult as there were only a few small gaps to see where the Long-Toed Stint was roosting unless you were 7 foot tall and could see over the reed bed.
I had very unsatisfactory views of what would be a new species for me and i could not add that to my life list on those views, eventually it flew towards and landed on a small island on Astley Lake where everyone managed to get really great views of this very educational bird.
Really pleased to finally see this great bird well enough to clinch the id features that make this a Long-Toed Stint.
We also saw a flock of 80+Pink Footed Geese fly overhead plus we heard several Bearded Tits, 1 Kingfisher & 2 Lesser Redpoll.
This is the 1st part of my recent trip to Shetland covering the first 4 days.
We arrived in Lerwick Harbour on the 25th September and as we could not book into our self catering cottage until 2pm we decided we would head south and do some birding around Sumborough and then work our way back up North.
However all that changed when the MEGA alarm went off as were heading South, Rose Breasted Grosbeak Norwick Unst blurted out loud and clear, so a very quick u turn and we headed off to Unst.
Distant on a post.
We hadn't booked a ferry so were very lucky to get on the first one to Yell and even luckier to catch the next ferry to Unst, we eventually arrived at Norwick and although the Red Breasted Grosbeak was still around it was being very elusive, eventually after an hour the star of the show : Rose Breasted Grosbeak gave itself up to it's admiring crowd.
We saw the Rose Breasted Grosbeak in flight several times and the lovely pinkish/red underwings really stood out.
Rose Breasted Grosbeak.
We spent the rest of the day around Unst adding birds like Twite, Hooded Crow & Raven plus on the way back across Yell we called into Kirk Loch and had distant views of 2♂ & 1♀ Greater Scaup which were keeping company with several Tufted Duck.
King Eider 2nd winter ♂
We started the day at Girlsta looking for the 2nd winter ♂ King Eider , i have seen several King Eider but never in this plumage .
We bumped into K. Clements (sorry didn't realise it was you at the time) at a higher vantage point and he had already seen it at that point, we all eventually managed to connect with the bird and although distant good scope views were obtained.
The pale breast and pinkish / orange bill colour all stood out at this range. We also saw a close in Otter eating a crab .
We headed to Boddam from here checking out the ditches and gardens not adding anything, then 4 geese flew overhead and landed , and we quickly added Pale bellied Brent Goose to the holiday trip list.
Pale bellied Brent Geese.
We checked several different locations and habitat today with little reward however coming from Kent (we don't get that many) it's always great to see large numbers of Whooper Swans on Loch Spiggie.
It was really hard going today with very strong gale force winds and persistent rain all day, we started of at Aith and after a little wait we saw the adult Rose Coloured Starling coming to a feeder (sadly no photo) we saw it on several occasions but only fleeting views.
Out in the bay there were distant Black Guillemots , Guillemot ,Shags & Gannets, we headed to nearby St.Michaels Wood to hopefully find some birds but also to get some cover from the rain, there were several Blackbirds feeding on the ground and in one open area i heard then saw 5 Brambling flyover but we could not relocate them in the woods.
We then headed to Burn of Valeye and had a good stomp around with no reward other than a calling Goldcrest which remained unseen.
Out on the Loch there was a large number of Red breasted Mergansers 85+ which were quite close in.
Red Breasted Mergansers
A drive up to Eshaness produced a small flock of Golden Plover & Lapwing but little else in very strong winds & driving rain.
Bar Tailed Godwit
The weather was much calmer today and we had high hopes for birds to appear after yesterdays strong winds, we thought it would be a good idea to start South and just work our way back North checking various locations.
A 1st winter Arctic Tern was our 1st of the trip plus Great northern Diver soon followed, plenty of wader species were seen including one of my favourites Bar Tailed Godwit .
Passerines were a bit thin on the ground with 3 Song Thrush , 2 Wheatear & 35+ Chaffinch seen.
We ended the day looking around both West & East Burra adding 2 Garden Warblers, 2 Siskin & a Common Redpoll, a single Razorbill was also seen close in.
Well that concludes Part One of this trip, after a fantastic first day it was a little slower going with birds hard to find in some challenging weather conditions, the 2nd part of this trip has some real highlights with Unst once again coming good.