Thursday, 29 October 2015

Mainland - 29.9.15

The day started off at Ollaberry in the hopes of seeing yesterdays Grey-Cheeked Thrush and to give Brendan G his scope back which he left on Unst! We had a good scan around and in the garden where the thrush had favoured but as was becoming far to common for our liking the bird had vanished overnight. I walked up the road to try and see if it was it another garden but all I could find there was another Yellow-Browed Warbler!

After another dip we headed off to Sullom Plantation in the hope of finding something ourselves. We parked up trying to avoid sinking in the grass verge and as soon as I stepped out the car 2 Yellow-Browed Warbler started chasing each other with a 3rd just in from the road! A Chiffchaff singing tried to fool us it was the summer but failed miserably! Half way through Steve pointed out the first Sparrowhawk of the trip. 2 Wren and a Goldcrest were the only other birds of note. We got back to the car and I noticed another car load of birders park up just along the road. Being nosey I went down to see what they could find! I turned a corner onto some rough ground and met one of the birders staring into the hedge. I asked what he had and he replied I don't know. Something took off from the ground and into the hedge. Just then it flicked up and looked roughly Robin sized. I waited a few minutes before heading back to the road to see if it was visible from there. Typically no sooner as I got onto the road the bird saw me and flew straight into the hedge. The other 2 were now in the car so I left to get back to them. It was about 20 minutes later a pager message came through saying there was a Bluethroat just where I'd left so no doubt that was the bird in question!

The nearest we got to a PG Tips!!
Southern tip of Shetland (bar Fair Isle)
Sumburgh Lighthouse
Our next stop was the Busta House hotel where after asking permission we walked round the garden. 2 Pied Wagtail that flew over were the highlights and as myself and Brendon got back to the car the mega alert sounded. We wanted to go but Steve was nowhere to be seen! I found him and told him to go go go. We were headed to Quendale about a 50 minute drive away so off we went but knowing how unlucky this trip had been so far it wasn't a massive surprise to get the message when we were 5 minutes away that the Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler was just a Grasshopper Warbler! Then just to rub salt into our wounds we got news of a Pechora Pipit at Loch of Norby. This was about 30 minutes from where we had just come from but now it was 75 minutes away, A few swear words were said and the decision was made to go for it the next day. After all it was probably the same bird seen a week previously. As everyone else zoomed up the road towards the pipit we headed as far south as its possible to go down to Sumburgh Head lighthouse. We walked around the small garden out the back of it but found nothing more exciting than a Silver-Y moth! The Fulmars were trying their best to cheer us up by flying past close enough to touch. After a late lunch we went back to Quendale as news of a Bluethroat had broken. We bumped into a tour group in the car park that included a couple from the Watford RSPB group who told us where to go and that the bird was almost walking over peoples feet. As it turned out we took the wrong turn not once but twice! The second time we were held up by a herd of cows heading back to the farm. Eventually we found where the bird was but it had flown into the iris beds and became elusive. After a while Steve and I had a good perched view but by then all of us had had enough of the dippy day and so headed back for dinner!

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