Thursday, 29 October 2015

Wester Quarff - Weisdale Voe - 30.9.15

Red-Breasted Flycatcher
We started the day with a short trip down the road to Wester Quarff. Here we were out of the wind and in the sun it felt quite pleasant. Again as soon as we had stepped out the car we picked up a Yellow-Browed Warbler with Brendon picking one out in a small tree behind us. We then walked along the road to a well vegetated and tree filled garden where after a good scan we picked out the 2 Red-Breasted Flycatcher, Chiffchaff and at least 3 more YB Warbler. One of the latter even flew across the road and perched up on a barbed wire fence before realising it probably wasn't very safe to do so! Brendon then tried his luck with finding an Otter as me and Steve wandered further up the road. In the next mature garden we found a further 2 YB Warbler and a Lesser Redpoll overhead while out on the water 2 female Red-Breasted Merganser and a Black Guillemot were noted.

Pechora Pipit courtesy of Chris Sharp
Loch of Norby
Whooper Swan
After this success we headed towards Loch of Norby in the hope of connecting with yesterdays Pechora Pipit. After what seemed an eternity driving through barren areas we arrived and parked up next to the farm and were dismayed to find just 2 other birders! The loch was fairly sizeable and so trying to find a pipit somewhere on the edge of it was daunting. We followed the other 2 in and I walked along the edge of the loch which thankfully had been mostly trodden down by birders the previous day. We had walked the entire shore with nothing but Meadow Pipits for our trouble when taking the last few steps in the last 6ft of shore before we hit the farm a bird flew out and alighted on some pallets. It was hidden for me behind some weeds but luckily one of the other birders was higher up and shouted Pechora Pipit. I moved left and got it in the bins for a couple of seconds before it flew onto a tractor trailer and then off over our heads back into the iris bed. Luckily for me I'd seen the bird in Wales a few years ago but the other 2 still needed it so back we walked and after it flying a couple of times it finally perched up on a gate for the other to see well before we left it in the hands of a group of German birders! On the loch was a nice drake Scaup and back at the car a smaller loch held a flock of Wigeon, 3 Gadwall and 3 adult Whooper Swan. Offshore a single Black Guillemot was seen.

Little Gull
After a spot of lunch we headed back towards home but not before stopping off at a tiny place called Cott where in the garden of the last house was an Arctic Warbler. The strange thing with this bird is that it was tail-less just like the Arctic Warbler that spent a few days on Unst! Presuming its the same bird what are the chances of it being re-found on such an expanse of islands! As was usual practice we spent an hour or so looking for it having missed it by seconds on arrival but with no joy. Our 7th YB Warbler of the day was scant consolation but Steve got me onto two grebes out in the Weisdale Voe and to my surprise they were two winter plumaged Slavonian Grebe which were a welcome year tick. Just before joining the main road we stopped off and scanned through the gull flock and found the Little Gull that had been around for a couple of days. Apparently not that common on Shetland.

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