Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Two tit dip day

With one or two obvious exceptions (which I won't go into), tits are rare in Shetland, so it was a surprise to hear of a Long-tailed Tit at the lighthouse this morning. It was only about the 5th Shetland record, so despite the fact that I see them in my garden every day we went to have look for it. Unfortunately it was only seen by the finder, and then promptly disappeared.

Amazingly, Rob found a Coal Tit later in the day, probably only the 5th record for Mainland Shetland, although there have been a few on other islands (about 15 records in total). As you'll have guessed from the title of today's post, I didn't manage to see that either.

However, before all this, almost the first bird I saw when I left the house this morning was this Long-eared Owl in the Virkie Willows. It was very approachable, but difficult to photograph as there were so many branches in the way. Mark (visible at the bottom left of the second image) got some better ones.

Definitely drinking in the Last Chance Saloon, Mark and I went to Levenwick this afternoon, where this stunning adult male Red-breasted Flycatcher jumped out in front of us. Only 'scarce' maybe, but a cracking little bird, and only the second one I've ever seen that actually had a red breast.

The rest of the day was spent not seeing tits and generally farting around in the south, but we didn't see anything else of note.

So that's it for another year - we saw a few common migrants, a handful of scarce and not a single BB rarity. Unless I see anything else tomorrow morning, my holiday list finished on 96, 12 down on last year. All that's left to do now is pack and get on the plane tomorrow morning, leaving Rob to a Shetland winter of alcoholism, Long-tailed Ducks and vitamin deficiency now that Mark won't be here to cook for him.

2 comments:

beast said...

Before you went shets you did say that you were gonna be posting 'tedious bird diary type wank'. Bet you didn't think it was gonna be 'that' tedious'! Think you got dealt a bum-hand this autumn...you deserved more than you got. Putting aside mega's, shame there just wasn't more migration going on. Sometimes the 'birdin slot-machines' juz don't pay out do they? Bastard when then happens, hope next time you go you're knee-deep in good birding! You gotta keep playin them machines if you want a payout!
Very nice r.b. fly by the way..always good birds..

Andy Mackay said...

No, it wasn't the best Shetland trip I've had, but then that's the way it goes sometimes. The biggest problem was the wind - not just the direction, but the strength of it. It doesn't need to be south-easterly all the time, but it DOES need to drop occasionally! It was noticeable that on the rare occasions the wind did drop, migrants appeared, even though it was still westerly.