Monday, 9 October 2017

Shetland Week (Tuesday to Friday)


With the winds stuck in the West it wasn’t looking that promising, but at least we managed to get some birding in. We connected with the Little Bunting at Grutness but failed to connect with a Bluethroat in the same area. We saw the Common Crane a couple of times at Loch of Hillwell and it was whilst watching this bird that we heard of an American Buff-bellied Pipit at Grutness. I had seen two previously but it was a good bird so as we were pretty close we headed there and had good views of the bird before it flew off.

American Buff-bellied Pipit, Grutness

It was a pretty miserable day, we started dodging the rain whilst a Rustic Bunting dodged us. Soaked we went back to the digs for a coffee. The lure of Parrot Crossbills in a Lerwick garden proved too much of a pull. It was still raining most of the time and we set up a “Stake Out” on a lone Spruce at the end of a row of houses. During a brief lull in the rain I got out to check some other nearby trees behind the houses, on my way back I picked up a bird flying in. I called the others but the bird dropped into dense cover and it was hard to see. At this point birders were appearing out of the woodwork and there were soon upwards of 20 people milling around. The bird then dropped down and showed really well. Its a sign of the times that Joy was the only person not clicking away with a camera. I had words with one camera man who seemed to want to climb the tree! Another male joined the party but a female flew in but saw the crowd and carried on. We had another go for the Rustic Bunting but just got another soaking.

Parrot Crossbill, Lerwick

The last day saw an improvement in the weather, so Joy and I got up early and birded around the house and beach we had a Whincat and a few bits and pieces, but it was really enjoyable not to be in the car. We then had a fruitless search for a Booted Warbler at Bigton, which did yield a Hawfinch, Slavonian Grebe and Long-tailed Duck. In the afternoon we birded around Sumburgh and although enjoyable we saw little apart from a Redpoll which may or may not have been an Arctic. But poor views and its ability to disappear at will proved too much for us, so we had a coffee in the stunning Cafe at the lighthouse and called it a day.

The next day we flew to Aberdeen stopped briefly in Perth then despite the motorway being closed as we approach Glasgow we were home just after 8pm. Sunday I was mostly knackered!

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