3 Oct 2012

Shetland 2102. The pain begins....

The night before my annual Shetland trip saw me dashing down to Burton Mere Wetlands for distant views of a Long-billed Dowitcher! A good start to the weeks holiday.

A long day the next day (Tuesday) saw Matt Meehan & I leave my place early doors and drive up to Glasgow airport for the 13.30 flight - only to get a proverbial kick in the proverbials when we found a Lanceolated Warbler had been found on Fair Isle and there were no flights for three days as one plane was out of action and the scheduled flights were all booked with people working on the Island. Believe me we tried..............Fair Isle kicked us whilst we were down the next day when a Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler was also found....................

Anyway, back to the birds we have seen. One of the team this year, Chris Griffin, had travelled over night on the ferry and was already out birding when we arrived so Matt & I did a search of Sumburgh before heading north to Hoswick where a Siberian Stonechat showed well in the poor light.

 After an early night (and a few bees in our apartment) we woke early(ish) to a fine day. Deciding to clear up some 'lifers' for the lads we tried first for the Buff-bellied Pipit at Scousburgh but couldn't locate it (it was found again late afternoon - arse). We did find a Great Northern Dive in the bay as small consolation.

 Next was the wide ranging Isabelline Shrike at Toab. After an hour or so searching I suddenly picked it up streaking across two fields with the naked eye before getting the binoculars on it and watching it settle on a fence post. It soon moved and disappeared into the housing estate where it was eventually located in someones back garden hedge!

Job done! Next stop Channerwick where the Barred Warbler was seen briefly but the Yellow-browed Warblers were more forthcoming.

By now the weather had really deteriorated and the rest of the day was spent in torrential rain. A search of Voe proved fruitless but we managed to connect with the gorgeous American Golden Plover at Veensgarth and an absolutely stonking male Surf Scoter with the Eider flock. The best views I've ever had of this N American species.

By now we were soaked and cold se around 17.30 we cut our losses and went back to the apartment enjoying a few beers whilst Chris cooked us a Thai green curry!

Tomorrow is another day.....................

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