Saturday, 15 October 2011


I've decided that, having made the effort to write something each day we were in Shetland, I might as well upload them. Mainly because I can't be arsed to write a summary now, so it's either this or nothing. Bear in mind though that these were written at the time, so references to the birding looking 'promising' at the start of the holiday may sound like wildly optimistic wishful thinking with the benefit of two weeks' hindsight...

Day 1 (Saturday 1st October)

It was all going so smoothly until we got to the chalet. We arrived at a surprisingly calm and mild Sumburgh on schedule at 10:45, picked up the hire car, quick cup of tea and chat at Rob's, during which Dave found Rob's third garden Yellow-browed Warbler (I found the first two), drove across Mainland, Barred Warbler flew in front of the car at Voe (landed in a rose bush just for confirmation), saw the Black-headed Bunting at Belmont and then.... couldn't get into the chalet. The door was supposed to be open, and the key inside, but no, the door was locked and the key nowhere to be seen. Bollocks.

Fortunately the people in the chalet next door knew where a key might be found, and eventually we got in. Apparently the owner thought we were arriving next week. Good job he hadn't double booked it!!

Next, and more annoying problem – no phone reception either in the chalet or anywhere nearby. Arse. But there are a few places both north and south of here where the phone works, so we should be able to get news out reasonably quickly if necessary.

So, no blog posts until we get to Rob's next Saturday It's also very odd not being able to take the Blackberry out every five minutes to check emails. How quickly we come to regard technology as a basic human right....

Anyway, apart from seeing the Black-headed Bunting near the ferry terminal at Belmont we didn't do a great deal of birding apart from a couple of hours this afternoon at Norwick, where there were at least 6 Yellow-browed Warblers and not a lot else. But with a Siberian Blue Robin (unfortunately killed by a cat) on Foula today, and various other new bits and pieces, it's looking promising. In the absence of any internet access we've had to resort to watching television, writing our blog posts ready for uploading in a week's time, and working our way through a 'catering' sized bottle of Tesco own brand whisky (“A versatile drink which brings enjoyment to every occasion” according to the blurb on the label).

Finally some good news. Mark has brought two compact cameras for some reason, so I have a 'non bird photos' camera for the week.

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