Last night's westerly gale gradually subsided over the course of the day, encouraging us out into the field. As usual we didn't see a great deal – just a Yellow-browed Warbler in the willows, and a Jack Snipe in the ditch by Rob's house (not the Ditch of Despair, the one right next to the garden). A flock of 33 Bramblings in Toab was nice, and 2 Snow Buntings were at Sumburgh Head. By early afternoon though we were bored, so we decided to twitch the Arctic Redpoll at Aith. This was quite tame, and even I managed to get some reasonable shots for a change:
Around 14:25 Rob had a phone call from Steve Minton to say he'd flushed what he thought was a Lanceolated Warbler twice from thistles at Scatness. We went straight there, and after about an hour of brief flight views we finally saw it well enough to satisfy ourselves that it was indeed a Lancy. Mark got a couple of good record shots, but I didn't even try, preferring just to see it well rather than end up with a load of blurred crap and not having seen it properly.
After rushing back to the house to look at the photos on the computer and check that it really was a Lancy we went back to Scatness and had further excellent close views of it as it perched on walls and crept around in the grass. I left my camera in the car this time, as it was raining, but I doubt I'd have got much anyway as it was getting distinctly dusky by now.
A splendid British tick, not only for me but also for Rob and Gary, and something I always hoped I'd see in Shetland one day. Thanks Steve!
Remember those two words at the beginning of this post – westerly gale... and the next day a Lanceolated Warbler turns up. So birds are arriving even in apparently 'adverse' conditions and given that the weather for the next few days looks more easterly, this probably is the turning point.