Monday, 9 October 2017

Shetland Week (Friday / Saturday)


Drove up to Perth for an overnight stay as we were flying direct from Aberdeen this year. Bob arrived at ours at 9am and we made our way arriving mid afternoon. As we had some time on our hands I suggested we visit a site I know close to Perth where I am guaranteed Black Grouse. It wasn’t much of a detour, we stopped on the way to look down a glen where I briefly had views of Golden Eagle twice, unfortunately no one else got onto the bird. We did however have a lot more success with Black Grouse with several birds seen close to the road.

On the evening we paid a visit to the Cherrybank Inn for a couple of pints. The walls of the bar were full of St Johnstone memorabilia. I found myself reciting the names of the players from the early 70s team. I got most right!


Up at 4.30am jumped into the car and up to Aberdeen. We found the parking we booked easily and the bus dropped us at the terminal where we had to wait for nearly an hour for the desk to open. Then it was on the plane and an hour later we arrived. Joy had never been before and was unaware of what to expect. The weather was dull and it was windy and I think she found it a little bleak. Julian Allen picked us up, as he had arrived earlier and we travelled the mile or so to Grutness where we saw a Great Grey Shrike by the toilet block as we walked along the road we had poor flight views of a Little  Bunting. Next was a short drive to Toab where a Wryneck was performing in one on the gardens, it was proving a good start, although the weather forecast predicted a change in the weather.

Next was Loch of Hillwell where we connected with the Common Crane which was feeding on the opposite hillside. At Spiggie we saw Whooper Swan and some of the more common birds. Then news of a Blyth’s Reed Warbler at Sumburgh Farm came through and we headed down there. We searched the fields at the farm seeing Lesser Whitethroat, loads of Chiffs and a couple of Willow Warblers but not the bird we were looking for. Then we noticed a lot of people visiting the small quarry, we joined them and the bird was showing well. However, I was not convinced it was a Blyth's, it just looked like a Reed Warbler to me. There was a good natured discussion and we agreed that with all the pictures that were being taken that its identity would be firmly established later. By late afternoon it was confirmed as a Reed Warbler.

We next drove to the accommodation which looked bleak from the outside, but inside it was really good and very spacious. Moreover a Yellow-browed Warbler in the garden was a bonus, mainly as we were only to see another couple during the trip.
Bright blue skies on arrival, with Bobby D heading the wrong way!

Great Grey Shike, Greatness

Reed Warbler the bird that was thought to be Blyth’s Reed Warbler

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