Shetland : Part 2
Here is part 2 of my Shetland trip with RR & PG, we decided to head North to Unst today , our first port of call was Baltasound and we saw 2 Mealy Redpoll near the post office, we then had a look around Halligarth where a smart Yellow browed Warbler & a couple of Goldcrest was the best we could find.
Stunning Mealy Redpoll.
We decided to head to Norwick and RR found a cracking Common Redstart along the fence line, we reached a small ploughed field which was alive with birds , 30+ Mealy Redpoll including one very 'pink plumage bird', 30+ Twite, 10+Siskin, 2+ Brambling , Chaffinch, Skylark, 10+ Goldcrest & 1 Tree Sparrow !!!!
With the weather closing in we decided to head up to Lamba Ness to look for Buntings , we spread out and begun our search , the rain start lashing down when PG & RR got onto a Snow Bunting, i soon joined them and enjoyed watching this superb bird.
On the way back to the mainland we called into Westing on Yell to hopefully see the Eastern/ Stejneger's Stonechat , well we saw it very well through the scope and i believe the bird has now been trapped & ringed and DNA has been taken for , so we will know for sure in due course.
Our last bird of the day was a very wet and bedraggled juv Waxwing sheltering in a bonfire pile, apart from being wet it looked OK , it had plenty of berries nearby and was out of the wind & rain.
We started off on Bressay this morning and the weather was awful , so we decided maybe to head north and look for the Bluethroat at Sandness, whilst waiting for the ferry i saw a brief but superb Great Skua fly over the harbour plus lots of Gannets & Kittiwakes and a single Black Guillemot.
We arrived at Sandness and was given some very good info and were soon enjoying several good but brief views of the Bluethroat, sadly i never managed a photo.
From here we headed north for my only Lifer of the trip !!!!!
Killer Whale !!!!!!
Now my only Lifer of the trip was seen today , not a bird but a mammal : KILLER WHALE at least 5 seen together from Braewick Cafe Eshaness.
There was a large bull & a calf among these incredible Orcas , i had superb views as they slowly passed by the viewing area we were in.
Brief video of Killer Whales.
The experience of watching the Orcas has to be one of the best wildlife experiences i have ever been lucky to have had and worth the trip up here on it's own.
RR & PG decided they wanted to look for the Snowy Owl at Ronas Hill today , i decided on doing some birding around Hillswick & Braewick , so i dropped them off at 9am and went my own way for the day.
Starting of at Hillswick Harbour i saw 2 distant Velvet Scoters which were new for the trip & my year list.
From here i had a look from Braewick Cafe and added Common Scoter, Great n Diver, Red Throated Diver Plus close views of Hooded Crow.
I spent a lot time searching in various areas with little reward today however i really enjoyed the thrill of the chase , i picked up RR & PG at Ronas Hill after their 6 hour search which sadly resulted in a dip (less said about this the better) !!!
I took them to Hillswick to see the Velvet Scoter which were still present, plus 2 Long tailed Ducks had joined them and a brief view of an Otter was good to see.
Long tailed Duck (From previous trip)
So our last day on Shetland was upon us , we started of down south and saw a Long tailed Duck at Grutness , then we headed to Loch of Spiggie and had brief views of Little Stint before it was flushed by some dog walkers.
Lot's of Whooper Swans were on the Loch which coming from Kent where they are scarce winter visitors were great to see.
Our main target bird here was a Barred Warbler which would be a welcome holiday & year tick for us all , eventually we managed to see it making it's way along the fence line by the road.
Record shot of Barred Warbler.
Although i only got a poor record shot of this large warbler i saw it very well and was a real bonus bird on our last day , then Hugh Harrop informed us of a Blyth's Reed Warbler that was showing well at Quendale , just like to add Hugh Harrop was very helpful everytime we bumped into him and always shared any info and generally a really good guy (if only everyone had the same outlook).
We headed to Quendale and joined the already assembled birders and enjoyed some really good views of Blyth's Reed Warbler & Siberian Chiffchaff , however i sadly never got any photo's of either.
So that concludes this years trip to Shetland , a really great trip in great company , superb accommodation , many thanks to RR for organising everything.