Saturday 15 October 2011

Shetland Days 9 - 12


Back to near gale force westerlies, accompanied by heavy showers. There are now pretty much no migrants anywhere (apart from an arrival of Redwings and Fieldfares overnight), and the only bird of note we saw all day was the Buff-bellied Pipit at Quendale.


Decided to go a bit further afield today, so we drove to Lerwick, where several Purple Sandpipers and a Long-tailed Duck were new for the holiday list, but Helendale and Seafield were devoid of migrants. Fladdabister produced the only warblers we've seen for a few days – a Garden Warbler and a Blackcap, and 1 Chiffchaff was the only migrant at Hoswick (as an aside, we've seen more Willow Warblers than Chiffchaffs here since we arrived, which is very unusual).

We were then reduced to twitching the Citrine Wagtail again, and I managed to get a photo for a change, although it was being blown about a lot in the wind. Finally, back at Pool of Virkie, a Curlew Sandpiper was new for the holiday list, and 6 juv Arctic Terns were also here.


Our last full day was mostly spent driving around South Mainland trying to think of somewhere that might be hiding a migrant, but apart from 3 Snow Buntings on the top of Mossy Hill, we largely failed to find any. Saw the American Golden Plover again at Dunrossness, and the Isabelline Shrike again at Fleck.

Mark totally gripped me off this morning with a brief Robin in Exnaboe, the only one of the trip. Apart from that though, our last couple of hours produced nothing in flat calm, sunny weather. Strange how, every time the wind's dropped below about force 7, we've been travelling and haven't been able to take full advantage of it. Our flight from Sumburgh was delayed due to a fault with the plane (we actually had to get off and board a different one after farting about on the runway for half an hour), which meant a fast walk across Glasgow Airport to catch the connecting flight, but apart from that the journey home was uneventful.

So, a bit of a mixed bag this year - saw some good birds (certainly more than in 2008, when we didn't see a single BB rarity!), but nothing really outstanding, and once again we failed to find much, despite trying hard. It would be an understatement to say that the weather wasn't in our favour though! Probably shan't be going next year, so book your flights now - it will no doubt be mega....

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