Sunday, 12 October 2008

The Inglorious Twelfth

Today we had a plan: sack off the south, and head north to Esha Ness, a big, virtually unwatched headland in the north-west of Mainland. Here we would almost certainly find an American wader on the tundra-like areas of grass and pools, or a rare passerine, either in the geos or in various plantations and gardens on the way.

Here is the list of places we tried: Voe, the Busta House Hotel gardens at Brae, Sullom Plantation, Esha Ness (where we walked about 4 miles in total), Collafirth, Gluss,Voxter Plantation and Loch of Tingwall.

Here is the list of vaguely noteworthy birds we saw: 1 Red Grouse somewhere near Tingwall (a Shetland tick for me); 3 Snow Buntings at Tangwick, Esha Ness; 1 Pied Flycatcher at Gluss, and the regular drake Ring-necked Duck & 1 Slavonian Grebe on Loch of Tingwall. Rob also gripped me and Mark off with a Yellow-browed Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat at Collafirth, but it was raining by then, and we couldn't be arsed to walk to where he'd seen them.

Conclusion: there are very few migrant birds in Shetland at the moment.

Some photos:
Mark reads all about the history of Esha Ness lighthouse

A small part of the birdless expanse of Esha Ness

A birdless geo

Another birdless geo

P.S. How could I forget the highlights of the day - tea and chocolate cake at the Braewick Cafe, and a hearty fry-up cooked for us by Mark this evening.

P.P.S. apparently there were a few birds around today, including a Red-breasted Flycatcher at Voe. So an alternative conclusion would be that we're just incompetent.

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