Sunday, 18 February 2018

Ecuador contacts

Whilst at Guango Lodge we met three very enthusiastic adventurous birders / naturalists who run PhotoWildlifeTours who not only had a wealth of knowledge of Ecuadors' birds and sites but were also expert in capturing some incredible images. See their website at

We made all of our arrangements / bookings for our November / December trip to Ecuador at short notice in just over a week with much advice and help that we greatly appreciated from those listed below for each site:

Hosteria Pampallacta Termales: Pablo Gonzalez:

Guango Lodge: Irene Bustamante:

Kopal Cabins & Pizzeria: Koos Quellhorst:

San Isidro Lodge: Carmen Bustamante:

Wildsumaco: Fernanda Suarez:

Hosteria El Paraiso de las Orquideas:

Gareno Lodge: Sandro Aguinda:

Pululahua Hostal: Renato Espinosa:

Paz de Aves: Vinizio Paz:

Umbrellabird Lodge 23 de Junio: Luis

Mashpi Chocolate Farm: Alejandro Solano:

Bellavista: Jens Larsen:

Peruvian Antpitta at Cabanas San Isidro

Saturday, 17 February 2018

17th February 2018 Unst SW4 Clear

A nice Spring-like day to do the WeBS counts that produced a juvenile Glaucous Gull and a 3w Iceland Gull at Skaw, the two Mealy Redpolls still lingering at Norwick, only my second Song Thrush of the year at Westing, a Whooper Swan and a Pintail at Dam Loch. In recent days I've seen the drake Surf Scoter now alone from the ferry between Unst and Yell, c.30 Long-tailed Ducks off Belmont, a pair of Goosander on Yell, a juvenile Iceland Gull at Mid Yell, my first Lesser Black-backed Gull of the year and Freda very kindly told us about a Blue Tit in her garden that we subsequently saw.

Iceland Gull at Skaw
Adult-like it shows a dark subterminal band to its bill and a slightly greyish tail suggesting it's a 3w.

Mealy Redpolls at Norwick

Friday, 16 February 2018

16th February 2018 Uyeasound Up Helly Aa

The annual mid-winter fire festival to mark the end of the yule season took place this year on a calm starlit evening ...

the burning galley

the galley

the galley shed bar staff

the guizers assembling into squads in the galley shed

the procession dragging the galley from the galley shed

look who's dragging the galley this year

the themed torchbearers of the procession

the procession heading for Easter Loch at Uyeasound

the return of the galley to Easter Loch

the squads circling the galley

the Guizer Jarl?

torches thrown into the galley

the burning galley

wot not birding!

Saturday, 3 February 2018

3rd February 2018 Yell Calm & sunny

The drake Surf Scoter was seen from the ferry between Unst and Yell and the female King Eider was seen in fading light this afternoon at Mid Yell.

Female King Eider at Mid Yell

King Eider, Otter and Hooded Crow at Mid Yell

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

31st January 2018 Unst Calm with passing showers

A Song Thrush at Norwick was an addition for the year this week and the scatter of Fieldfares and Redwings remain. A tour of the island today revealed a large influx of Gulls into the bays that included a Glaucous Gull and 2 Iceland Gulls at Norwick and 2 Glaucous Gulls at Haroldswick. There was also an adult Whooper Swan at Dam Loch, 20 Snow Buntings at Caldback and the drake Shoveler at Hillsgarth.

Juvenile Glaucous Gull at Norwick

Iceland Gulls at Norwick

Part of the flock of Gulls at Haroldswick ...

... included a couple more juvenile Glaucous Gulls

Snow Buntings at Caldback

Oystercatcher at Baltasound

Thursday, 25 January 2018

25th January 2018 Unst & Yell Calm

I waited for the rain to clear and then made my way south across Unst seeing a juvenile Iceland Gull at Dam Loch and a second-winter at Uyeasound where the 5 White-fronted Geese were still present and there was a sign of Spring in the form of my first returning Oystercatcher of the year! Crossing Bluemull produced a Great Northern Diver, 2 Red-throated Divers, c.20 Long-tailed Ducks, the female Velvet Scoter accompanying 2 Common Scoter and the drake Surf Scoter among the Eider. A quick visit to Cullivoe added another juvenile Iceland Gull and I saw the female King Eider still near the mussel lines in Mid Yell Voe.

Second-winter Iceland Gull at Uyeasound