Saturday 15 October 2011

Shetland Day 4

The continuing ‘westerly gale and showers’ theme made conditions difficult for birding, but we made the effort to get out reasonably early, and headed to Norwick once more. This time the Pied Flycatcher appeared for us in the Valyie garden, and a Yellow-browed Warbler was calling, but not a lot else. A drive down to Lamba Ness produced even less, but I did manage to get a nice photo of a female Merlin on the ground. A ringtail Hen Harrier, probably the one we saw at Norwick the other day, was battling against the wind here, and yet another shortly afterwards at Haroldswick. Having only ever seen one Hen Harrier in eight previous visits to Shetland, I've now seen probably four different birds in four days! Also at Haroldswick were a late Swallow feeding low over a field, and a juv Arctic Tern in the bay.

After drawing blanks at several sites we found ourselves at Uyeasound, where I had a somewhat overdue Shetland tick – a Richard's Pipit flying over calling. On the way back to Baltasound we had a text from Rob saying 'Rustic Bunting, OBP and Rosefinch around the school'. What?! We'd struggled to find anything all day and someone had seen all that lot in one place! On arrival at the school we discovered that there's a nice stand of conifers there, and the Olive-backed Pipit was soon found, and showed well on the sheltered side. Mark got some good photos, but I spazzed it as usual, only managing to add to my collection of 'world's worst rarity photos'. No sign of the Rustic Bunting, which would have been another Shetland tick.

My 'best' OBP shot - i.e. the only one where it's actually identifiable...

After this we looked at the Setters Hill Estate plantation and Halligarth with renewed optimism, but needless to say saw bugger all.

No comments: