3 Oct 2009

The Northern Isles - part 4. Bits & bobs.

With the weather seriously miserable  - gale force winds and driving wind -  we struggled to find any birds at all. Even the commoner migrants seemed scarce. A break in the weather allowed us to bird Bressay for the day. Parking in the car park opposite Noss on the east side of the island we walked down the track towards the ruined croft. Hearing a bunting call I searched the croft and saw a bird shoot off between the buildings. Next minute Mark's calling me over to see a bunting on a dry stone wall - A fine Lapland Bunting. A brief view and it was off. Eventually it relocated back on the track from the car park where patient stalking allowed close views down to a few metres.

Checking every crop field and garden we came across resulted in very little for a lot of effort. However our luck changed when a maruading Merlin put up a field full of pipits and the unmistakable call of a Richard's Pipit was heard. The bird seemed to fly towards the coast but as I walked towards where I thought it had gone it flew back callling over my head and promptly disappeared as only pipits can.

At least the ferry terminal gave photo oppurtunities for snapping Black Guillemot & Eider!

Common Seal enjoying the break in the weather
Meanwhile a phone call from Jase Atkinson got my pulse racing as he had a probable Yankee Thrush on his home Isle of Whalsay. He promised to let us know if it was refound the next morning. Unfortunately for us it wasn't but low and behold the day after we left Shetland a Veery was found a couple of miles away. Nice one Jase.

Our final day was spent searching sheltered areas on the mainland with another trip to Voe to see the Barred Warbler. Whilst quietly waitng for this bird this little fella trundled past looking lost and bewildered and far to young to be out by himself. I think this is one little Hedgehog that won't survive the winter.

Its amazing to see so many Twite when you go to Shetland - they seem to be doing very well here and small flocks can be encountered all over the isles.

As usual the best birds turned up after we'd left with Veery & Pechora Pipit on Whalsay and Red-throated Pipit on Unst. Areas we'd searched the day before produced Common Rosefinch & Barred Warbler! C'est la vie. Next year we may be luckier but we will certainly be back.


Jason said...

Nice one Phil, top Taiga Fly & Lap shots. Glad the LBD's stuck for you, shame we didnt get to catch up next time maybe ?

Phil Woollen. said...

No probs Jase. Mark Payne & I already planning next years trip - a week later! It seems all the good stuff is arriving approximately 1- 2 weeks later than hisotrically.

Jason said...

Dont be surprised if its all the week before then ! Shame you missed all this, there is real anticipaction now that absolutely anything could turn up. Bring it on.

Phil Woollen. said...

2 Tree Sparrows, 1 Raven and a Chiffie on my local patch this weekend!