Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Turtle Dove

We are now well into Spring with plenty of lambs running around but the weather is not that good. Over the past three days we have had thick fog and force 6-7 winds as well as rain.

Monday was the first day out for a while so i decided to go to Quendale to see what was about. It was still windy but at least there seem to be some migrants around. Crossing the bridge to the mill a Common Sandpiper flew onto the burn. Not a common bird in Shetland with only a few breeding pairs mainly over in the west and north

Pied and White Wagtails could be seen feeding along the burn. Around the small area of shrubs Pied Flycatcher (f) Chiffchaff (3) Whitethroat, Robin and a few house Sparrow. Further Chiffchaff up the burn and then at the dam Swallow (4) Lesser Whitethroat and several Twite.

Ravens have come in for a lot of criticism over the last few weeks as the have killed some lambs, pecking out their eyes and tongue. Quendale holds a large number of Ravens so the lambs tend to be kept near the farm buildings.

A large flock of Oystercatcher feeding in a ploughed field had been joined by Gt BB and herring Gulls.

At Brake 20+ Ravens could be seen feeding around the Cattle shed with several feral pigeons. Just as i arrived back at the junction near the bus stop a Turtle Dove flew up from the road , landing briefly on one of the farm building and then taking flight over the other buildings and disappearing.

 I headed back up the valley but it couldn't be found. This is the first Turtle Dove i have seen since in Shetland since the Helendale bird several years ago

Today after another foggy night i found an Iceland gull at East Voe Scalloway on the way into work

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Sunday, 7 May 2017

Fly past

After seeing a Crane the other week at Brake, today we had a fly past of 4 Common Crane - a garden tick in Shetland. A bit distant for photos but great to see, this may have been the three which flew over Lerwick and Noss yesterday + the Brake bird.

                                                                                  Gt Skua

During the last few days we have had a fall of migrants which have included- Shorelark, Sub-Alpine warbler, Ringed Billed Gull, Black Redstart, Hoopoe & Osprey in addition to lots of common migrants. Due to work I missed most of  them but did manage a Black Redstart at Cunningsburgh.

                                                                                                  Red Throated Diver

Yesterday the winds change from a SE direction to a NE which was cooler. The expected cloud didn't arrive until teatime so despite a Force 6 we headed first down to Scatness

                                                                                                       Purple Sandpiper

On Moast Beach one lone Purple Sandpiper, Curlew, Oystercatcher (4) Redshank (2) Turnstone (38) the latter in colourful breeding plumage. White Wagtail, Skylark, Wren, Wheatear, Meadow pipit, Twite, Gannet, Shag and Gt Northern Divers the added cast. The Sub Alpine Warbler had disappeared despite a search along the dyke.


With the sun shining on the blue/ turquoise sea why would you want to be anywhere else. Down at Grutness the first birds that showed was a pair of Red Throated Diver in breeding plumage and the 4 Common Scoter appeared in the middle of the bay.

                                                                                                Common Scoter flock

It was good to see 12 Arctic Terns pass over, the first of the year. Gt Skua chased a Common Gull over a small flock of Razorbill.

On the pool a pair of Ringed Plover displaying with Chiffchaff (3) Willow Warbler, Blackcap new in. Nothing down in the garden but 2 White wagtail and a Pied Wagtail had replaced the Shorelark .

On the beach Sanderling (12) Turnstone (18) Dunlin (4) with the 4 Common Scoter coming a bit closer into the beach.

                                                                                         Displaying Ringed Plover

Common Crane, Ringed Plover, Curlew, Whimbrel, Turnstone, Dunlin, Sanderling, Purple Sandpiper, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Gt Skua, Common Scoter, Mallard, Razorbill, Shag, Red Throated Diver, Gt Northern Diver, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, White/Pied Wagtail, GTBB, Herring Gull, BHG, Common Gull, Fulmar, Sparrow, Starling, Wren, Blackbird, Twite, Gannet, Rock Pipit, Skylark, Meadow pipit, Wheatear, Greylag, Arctic Tern, Kittiwake, Raven, Hoddie, Eider, Teal, Shelduck, Black Guillemot, Rock Dove

Sunday, 30 April 2017

South Mainland Birds

This weeks weather has been very mixed, early in the week snow showers and strong winds then by the end sun but still strong winds and cold

Finally caught up with a pod of killer whales, this pod led by `Busta' came through Lerwick harbour very fast and distant, just coming to the surface 3 times in front of me then gone heading north.

Strong winds hitting the telephoto lens didn't help and snow showers came over too.

Final sighting at Rova Head to the north of Lerwick but even more distant, just after this a heavy snow shower came over and everything disappeared including the Orcas. They eventually came close in shore to feed and gave incredible view to just a few people up in Nesting.

Lots of birds nesting now, with several pairs of Oystercatcher in a couple of fields at Sumburgh. A pair of Blackbirds have also had young, lots of other species are now bringing in lots of nesting material.

Oystercatchers are very noisy at the moment

Wrens in full song and find nest sites in the stone walls

Plenty of waders about, this pair of Ringed Plover feeding in a pool but on the beach at Grutness Turnstone (18) Sanderling (32) Dunlin (14) Redshank (6)

This Shag was resting up and allowed close approach

Still quiet a few Long Tailed Duck in various bays with some males displaying, they will soon to be moving off heading north and no doubt congregating in Bluemull Sound near Unst before leaving for their breeding grounds

Eider having a good meal - crab minus the claw

Lots of Gannet feeding off Grutness

Elsewhere in Shetland now two Common crane, White Billed Diver, Sub-alpine Warbler new in today as well as several Hawfinch

Although the Aurora season has ended you can see many photos on the Shetland Aurora Hunter facebook page just send me a request to join.