Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Three days to go

Weather websites have been perused. Pants have been ironed (actually I’ve still got a few more pairs to do). The entrails of a weasel have been consulted. And I’ve come up with the following detailed itinerary for the first few days of this year’s Shetland trip:

Saturday afternoon: drink lots of tea whilst looking out of Rob’s window and hoping that something gets blown across his garden in the force 8 south-easterly/north-westerly, depending on which forecast you believe. Comment frequently on how cold it is up here and how like last year the weather is. Possibly accompany Mark to the Toab shop to check on the pie situation. Early night after tedious day's travelling.

Sunday: eagerly head out into the field with ‘first full day of holiday’ enthusiasm, kidding ourselves that just because it’s blowing a north-westerly gale and snowing, it doesn’t mean there won’t be a good bird to be found somewhere. Repeat the mantra that ‘the biggie travels alone’, even though at that moment any biggie with any sense will be staying in a nice hotel in Norway (in a single room of course) rather than trying to battle its way across the North Sea. Give up fairly quickly, telling ourselves that there’s plenty of time yet. Evening: drink large amounts of whisky. Write bollocks on blog.

Monday (when it looks like the wind may briefly drop below gale force): encouraged by news of rarities on Fair Isle/Foula/Unst/Out Skerries, spend every second of the daylight hours combing every square inch of South Mainland for migrants. Walk miles; see nothing. More whisky. More bollocks on blog.

Tuesday: stay in bed sulking, regardless of the weather. Get up in a hurry when someone else finds something interesting in the Virkie Willows (or Rob’s garden). Stay out till dusk trying in vain to find something else. Whisky. Bollocks to blog.

Wednesday: drink whisky in bed. Delete blog.

Um - I don't think I'd better plan much further ahead than that at this stage.

OK, OK, don't start saying "well why bother going then?" Last year the weather looked really promising and I predicted I'd find a Siberian Accentor and look what happened...

14 comments:

beast said...

I think you have the right 'mind-set' Andy...best to expect fuck all...but at the back of your mind i suspect, obviously, you harbour high hopes...[which naturally you try and ignore]. Expect the worst and hope for the best eh? A good system i think...

ps.....all this whiskey you are going to be consuming...i presume a good malt? [Only ask coz i love the stuff].....

Rob said...

I think your summing up of the first few days is likely to be entirely correct. That's how my whole autumn has been so far. And yes, it is fucking cold here at the moment. And it probably will snow whilst you're here too.

Earl Gray or Dave for short! said...

I predict a good yank on Unst after that big low hits Shetland, but as Rob's car is dying you will probably have hitch-hike to see it!!

The Leicester Llama said...

1. Whisky will probably initially be a good malt purchased from the airport, but when that runs out it'll be onto the cheapest stuff we can get from the Toab shop!

2. It's unlikely there will be a good Yank anywhere, as that 'big low' is forming over Iceland rather than North America. It might bring some Arctic Redpolls in, but that's about it.

3. Rob's car is not just dying, but dead. Alternative transport has been arranged, but I hope we don't have to go to Unst in it as it sounds uncomfortable!

Mark said...

I might have a big yank whilst Andy's out of the room!

I've given up on the weather charts. In the last couple of days there's been a Buff-bellied Pipit and two Pechora's in all that shit weather.

I always recall an old friends saying "a faint heart never fucked a fat lady" or something like that.

The Leicester Llama said...

Yes, please wait till I'm out of the room Mark!

I don't take much notice of the weather charts really. It's well known that some eastern stuff always gets through no matter what, although a bit of easterly now and then certainly helps, and not much will make it in a force 8 north-westerly.

The Drunkbirder said...

Here's a thought. Forget the tea and just get cracking on the Whisky early on Saturday and then drink through solidly for 10 days. Job done!

While you're off drinking Whisky spare a thought for me. I'll be valiantly counting Mipits 'streaming' through Burrough Hill desperately hoping for something big like a Woodlark to tulwooeet over.

The Drunkbirder said...

RBA have just mega'd a Veery on Foula. 17.17hrs! Forget the weather forecast just get up there, get in those ditches and see what flies out!

The Leicester Llama said...

Excellent. Perhaps Dave was right after all, and this will be the year of 'lots of Yanks' on Shetland....

I wonder if Rob will go for that - can't remember if he needs it.

Earl Gray or Dave for short! said...

The crystal ball is clearing and my luck must be in? so I predict a Yankee bird at Quendale within the next five days?!?

beast said...

Pager report said this veery was seen briefly....[i wonder...another rufous tailed robin in the making]?
Probably not....but you can always hope...!

Mark said...

Rob and Marcus et al are currently on Foula having chartered a boat. Presumably they successfully connected with the Veery.

Got to admit Andy I'm getting more optimistic. All the American stuff so far has been in the North with Scilly having nowt. What will be will be.

Mark said...

Fuck me those Veery's are flocking one on Whalsay now!!!!

thedrunkbirder said...

And a Pechora Pipit in Rob's garden. From the text I had from Rob I don't think Marcus went to Foula.