30 Oct 2011

Siberian Rubythroat.

Siberian Rubythroat. One of those mythical birds you dream of finding on Shetland in the Autumn. We all hope to find a 'Sibee' but the Rubythroat is the holy grail.  A little gem of of a bird that all birders aspire to see at some time or other. Well one lucky guy on Shetland found one in his garden at Gulberswick. Normally they don't stay long but this one seems to have stayed and following a recent trip to Sweden I decided to go for it. Eventually there would be one on the mainland but 1000's would be going for it and where else could you see a British Rubythroat with on,y 10 other people watching!
Plans were made and I travelled in the early hours of Friday morning to catch the 09.45 from Edinburgh. Hopes were high as the S S Easterly strong winds and rain weren't really conducive for it to move off. Luckily Russ Hayward texted me before I'd got on the plane to let me know the bird was still there.

Steve Griffin introduced himself to me at the airport and we travelled together to Sumburgh where I'd arranged a hire car. Landing at 11.00 we were on site by 11.30 to find a handful of people there Unfortunately the bird hadn't been seen for 3 hours but within minutes it popped out on the to drive briefly before before chased off by the local Robins.

At times it went missing for long periods and at one point left the garden altogether. I went for a wander and it flew out of some sedge along a burn adjacent to the garden, landed on the fence, cocked its tail, peered at me over its shoulder and then disappeared back into the garden!

The weather was atrocious and photography virtually impossible. Unfortunately the only time the bird came really close (within 4 m) it was almost dark and I was already shooting on 4000 ISO and 1/60th second shutter speed!.

We left the bird at dusk and returned to the Sumburgh Hotel for a celebration meal and a few beers. Steve was leaving early in the morning & I'd arranged to pick Paul Hackett and Chris Galvin up at 07.30 off the ferry. Once again the weather was atrocious but this time I managed the requisite 'record' shots.

What a fantastic bird and many thanks to the home owner, Alan, for being so accommodating and letting birders peer in through his front gate.

Not to be outdone in the show-off stakes this Sheltand Wren posed for the camera on a nearby fence. Why couldn't the Rubythoat have been so close. Never mind - I'd realised an ambition nurtured over time, since a kid, poring over bird books and looking at the pictures of male Siberian Rubythroats and dreaming............

After spending  total of 8 hrs on site over two days I was freezing cold and wet through but very happy as  I returned to Sumburgh for the start of the journey home.

No comments :