Saturday 15 October 2011

Shetland Day 2

Another warm, sunny and flat calm day here. Up and out by 07:45; as we were putting stuff in the car I picked up a ringtail harrier flying over the field in the front of the chalet. Momentary panic, followed by frustration as it turned and flew off across the sound and disappeared over the hill. Clearly a Hen Harrier on jizz, but one of those 'interesting' dark above/orange below individuals. Others who have seen it over the last couple of weeks think it's a variant Hen rather than a 'Northern Harrier/Marsh Hawk' or whatever you want to call the American race.

The plan for today was to start at Skaw and then work our way south – just one Garden Warbler at Skaw, so on to Norwick, where I had a long overdue and tarty self-found tick: 2 Common Rosefinches with sparrows in a field of oats. There were two here a while ago, but since they haven't been reported for 8 days it's going on my found list. Oh yes. Also around Norwick were 2 Barred Warblers and 2 Yellow-broweds.

Garden Warbler - typical fence-perching Shetland migrant

Rosefinch and House Sparrow friend
Two views of the brilliant Valyie garden at Norwick

Encouraged by this, we then walked around Baltasound for a couple of hours, but saw very little apart from Unst resident Mike Pennington, who greeted us with the words 'get off my island'. One Willow Warbler in Halligarth plantation was the only thing I wrote in my notebook.

Halligarth, Baltasound (can't quite make out the Willow Warbler on this shot)

After a quick cup of tea back at the chalet we headed south to Belmont to try and get better views/photos of the Black-headed Bunting. After a bit of searching it appeared, and I managed to get some semi-decent shots of it.

Another look at Norwick late afternoon produced nothing new apart from another (different) ringtail Hen Harrier, and finally we had good views of an Otter just offshore at Haroldswick.

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