9 Oct 2014

Day 2 Shetland. Buntings and Charts.

A glorious sunrise from our apartment today as we got up early for a planned trip to Unst involving two ferries and the annual Yell rally trying to get from one end of the island to another to catch the next ferry. A change i nthe ferry timings actually meant we had a bit more time this year so the journey wasn't so frenetic.

Eastern Subalpine Warbler is almost guaranteed to be split from Western Subalpine & Moltoni's Warbler as a full species (rather than a race) so with one taking up temporary residence on Unst and Al  & Sean not being with us on last years trip (when another one was coincidentally on Unst) we decided to head north. Especially as there was a long staying Rustic Bunting in Bryden Thomasens back yard at Heligarth - another new bird for Mark & Chris and one I hadn't seen since 2005.

Meeting Dan Pointon, Mick Frosdick, John Pegden, Ash Howe, Dave Mac and Kev Hale at the ferry terminal we decided to head off in convoy to Busta Sound where a female King Eider (a Queen?) had been seen with the Common Eider flock. We soon located it despite the gale force winds and took the next ferry from Yell across to Unst.

The Subalpine Warbler was easy! We just pulled up, got out the car and there it was doing a circuit of the front gardens of a row of houses. By contrast the Rustic Bunting was a complete b@stard to find keg alone see. Bryden came out of his house to tell us he'd seen it that morning so we knew it was still around. After hearing it calling briefly Mark & I staked out an area behind the ruined house. Nothing. Another hour passed and suddenly we heard it tick tick ticking away deep in the Rosa. Alerting the others we waited and the bird suddenly flew out to the old garden, perched up then flew to Brydens garden where it showed on the ground briefly before flying to a nearby croft.

A quick trip down the road for a male Bluethroat lurking in a small wooded garden adjacent to a burn was next on the agenda. Always nice to see although it was a right skulker

The rest if the day was spent searching ditches, gardens and any areas if cover before heading south to Lund where a Marsh Warbler was inhabiting a large nettle bed. One of the highlights was finding this leucistic female Wigeon on a roadside loch.

Taking the ferries back to the mainland we stopped for fish and chips before heading home and settling in to watch the TV and write up our notes for the day.

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