Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Shetland (finally!) - 27.9.15

First View Of Shetland
The View From Our Accomodation
So after a pretty good nights sleep on the ferry we finally laid eyes on Shetland while having breakfast. Once finished I popped outside and had a scan over Lerwick harbour. Quite a few Eider were joined by 2 Black Guillemot. Overhead were a couple of Raven and 4 Pink-Footed Geese. As we had two teams we decided to have a friendly competition to see who could see the most species during our stay. The other group got their hire car an hour before us and while we were still waiting Brendan called to say that they had just found a Bluethroat outside the accommodation as they were unload their bags! Not a good start for us! Eventually we got our car and headed to the village of Gulberwick which would be our home for the next 8 days. On arrival we met the owner who showed us around. We were only 20 hours late! Bloody Easyjet! We got our birding gear together and as there had been the expected negative news regarding the Lancy we headed south towards Toab hoping to all connect with our first lifer of the trip. We arrived and luckily found the weedy field where the bird was. Over the next 30 minutes or so we had flight views as it flew between the patches of thistles but at one point I was lucky enough to be in the right place to view it perched up just above the floor and so picked out the subtle ID pointers to this my first BLYTH'S REED WARBLER. After all getting satisfactory views we walked back to the car stopping briefly to have a look at our first Yellow-Browed Warbler of the trip.

Next stop was Sandwick in the hope of seeing a juvenile American Golden Plover but all we could find were 8 Golden Plover, 11 Rock Dove and a Black Guillemot.

We then decided to head towards the other groups Bluethroat via a stop off at Leebotten. Here we added 6 Twite and Great Skua to the list.

Red Grouse
We arrived at Tumbling near Bixter and started walking around the area the Bluethroat was last seen. Here I met the Biking Birder Gary Prescott. After a quick chinwag with him I went to look for the bird but with no luck despite it being there for another few days. A Red Grouse and Hen Harrier were seen though and one of my Twitter followers introduced himself to Brendon but not to me as I'd slagged off Easy Jet and he worked for them! As we were nearby we stopped off at the village of Twatt and got the photo by the sign!

Had To Be Done!
Our last stop was Tresta where some good looking trees hopefully held something of interest. Trees on Shetland aren't very common so any well vegetated area could turn up a good bird or two. The best bird here was another Yellow-Browed Warbler. A Goldcrest was in the garden across the road and a Rook was in a nearby field. A Robin sang from the cemetery and I didn't take much notice of it. It was only later that I realised they were slightly uncommon! A quick shop at Tesco and it was dinner and bed.

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