Tuesday, 12 October 2010

All the way from Dauria

The plan today was to twitch pies and Otters, and also to find something rare on the 'Glorious Twelfth'. Two out of three achieved – guess which one we failed with!

Starting at Voe, another furtive entrance was made through the anonymous brown door of the Johnson & Wood bakery (anyone would think they were selling porn in there or something!), resulting in the purchase of another macaroni pie and a cheese, bean and tattie. No birds at Voe apart from a flyover Redpoll sp.

A look around the amazing garden at Sandgarth in absolutely flat calm conditions produced just one Yellow-browed Warbler, and then it was on to the ferry terminal at Toft. This is apparently one of the most reliable places in Shetland to see Otters, and sure enough we saw one almost immediately, just off the jetty. It seemed completely oblivious to our presence about 50 yards away, and continued swimming around, popping up every few minutes with a fish. I rattled off loads of photos, but most weren't worth keeping. This was probably the best:

I think we checked some other places after that, but I can't really remember – when you've looked at one barren patch of bushes you've looked at them all. Kergord was equally birdless, so we headed for Strand Loch, where there was a Spotted Sandpiper yesterday. It wasn't there today, but a Long-tailed Duck was new for the holiday list, and yet another Redpoll sp which didn't land.

Somewhere along the line we received a text about an Isabelline Shrike at Scousburgh. However, Mark also had a text from Birdnet about an Isabelline Wheatear, so we were a little confused. The best thing seemed to be to go and have a look for ourselves, so we did. Arriving at Scousburgh, we discovered that it was actually at Spiggie, having flown across the valley, and was in fact an adult female 'Daurian' Shrike (according to those who know about such esoteric matters). First time I've ever seen anything from Dauria. And I still don't know where it is!

The light was terrible by this time, but I managed to get a few reasonable shots at 800 ISO, of which this was the best:

Leaving the shrike wondering why its carefully cached Blackcap 'larder' had moved from where it left it to a more prominent position (courtesy of a certain photographer, tut, tut), I wandered down the road to Loch of Spiggie in a last desperate attempt to get Coot on the holiday list. Couldn't find a Coot, but I did add Daurian Moorhen, Daurian Mute Swan and 3 Daurian, sorry, Slavonian Grebes.

All that's left to do now is drink the last of the whisky and try not to string anything tomorrow. We may not have found much, but at least we haven't fucked anything up this year!!!


seppy said...

sure, there's always coutts on shetland - doesn't he still have a camera shop on the main street in Lerwick? boom boom! (sorry, couldn't resist!)

The Leicester Llama said...

Ha ha! I'd already got him on my holiday list at the Bonelli's Warbler twitch.