12 Oct 2011

Shetland. Day 2. Unst

Everyone was up bright and early for the trip to Unst. Bacon & egg batches fit breakfast went downmarket treat and we were on our way before it was light.

Firstly we had to get the ferry to the birdless vwastelands of Yell before driving to the northern end to get the Unst ferry.

Arriving in atrocious weather we met up with Paul & Vicky Wren who I hadn't seen since meeting on Tiree last September. The bunting was seen several times briefly in pouring rain and with the weather getting worse we decided to get a brew before heading north to ......... and the famous 'birders garden'. With B H Bunting being a lifer for four of the party we'd had a good start already.

The garden lived up to it's reputation and as well as the two reported Common Rosefinches we found a third bird. The first of many Yelkow-browed Warblers (2) and a Pied Flycatcher completed the sightings.

With rain still persistently pissing down we headed for Skaw where we found yet another Y B Warbler. An odd female Blackcap with White greater coverts on one side only caused some momentary confusion but was soon resolved.

An Olive-backed Pipit had been showing well in a marshy area adjacent to the school at Baltasound but birders were asked to stay away until the school closed at 15.35. Time for another brew and a trip to Ulyasound where yet another Yellow-browed Warbler was dismissed when we located a juvenile Barred Warbler.

With the sun breaking through at last we headed to the school where Matty first spotted the pipit on the wooden boardwalk. We watched this Siberian waif in silence down to 4 m before others joined us.

By now the weather had improved and we decided to try for better views of the bunting before heading home to dry out, get some tea, a couple of beers and an early night.

A great, albeit wet, day.

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