Wednesday, 29 March 2017

29th March 2017 Unst NE3 Overcast

A quick tour of the northern sites revealed an arrival of Blackbirds and Redwings with 40 of each including a flock of 20 Redwings at the Brewery. There were 4 Purple Sandpipers and a Pied Wagtail on Skaw beach and the Water Rail was seen in the burn. The 5 Snow Buntings were still at Lamba Ness where there was a Lapwing at the point. At Norwick there was the Pinkfoot, 2 Pied Wagtails, my first Dunnock of the year, 3 Robins, the Goldcrest and a Chaffinch. A brown Merlin flew over our house. At Burrafirth there were 4 adult Whooper Swans in the burn, a drake Common Scoter offshore and a 3w Glaucous Gull on the beach. This evening a flock of 5 Pinkfeet were at the Heritage Centre.

Male Pied Wagtail at Skaw

Adult drake Common Scoter at Burrafirth

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

28th March 2017 Unst & Yell NE3

I seawatched for an hour from dawn but I was completely outclassed by Beachy! I saw 3 blue Fulmars, 4 Razorbills, 6 Guillemots, a Puffin and 16 Kittiwakes all fly north among the usual large numbers of Gannets and Fulmars. A single Snow Bunting was flying around at the point. On the crossing to Yell c.80 Long-tailed Ducks were seen and there was a Fieldfare at the Windhouse bod and an Iceland Gull at Mid Yell. Whilst driving north back across Unst this evening a small flock of Meadow Pipits were evident at the Heritage Centre and a small passerince caught my eye as it flew across the road and into the garden there - my first Chiffchaff of the Spring!

blue Fulmar passing Lamba Ness

Kittiwakes passing Lamba Ness

Long-tailed Duck from the ferry to Yell

Iceland Gull at Mid Yell

Chiffchaff at the Heritage Centre

Monday, 27 March 2017

27th March 2017 Unst N1

Two Pied Wagtails and the Goldcrest were seen at Norwick and a quick look at Uyeasound produced a drake Goosander and a Pink-footed Goose at Easter Loch and the drake Surf Scoter among the Eider around the offshore fish cages.

Drake Goosander at Easter Loch

Drake Surf Scoter with Eider off Uyeasound

Minke Whale off Uyeasound


26th March 2017 Unst W3 Misty

A look at Norwick produced a Goldcrest busily feeding on emerging tiny flies, 2 Meadow Pipits overflew heading inland and there were 2 Woodpigeons and a Redwing present and the Pinkfoot remains with the Greylags. Mark then kindly text to say there was a Chiffchaff in his garden so it suddenly felt like Spring had arrived! As I arrived a Skaw I saw a Water Rail and there was a Pied Wagtail on the beach there being the first I've seen this year. Lamba Ness produced a flock of 7 Meadow Pipits followed by another 2 coasting west along the southern cliffs in the company of either a Lapland or Snow Bunting that dived out of sight below the edge of the cliff. The pools played host to a small flock of 5 Snow Buntings and 6 Skylarks and there was a Redwing among the lichen-covered rocks at the point with 3 Purple Sandpipers on the rocks below. A quick check of Burrafirth revealed a petite juvenile Iceland Gull on the beach. 

Male Goldcrest at Norwick

Shetland Wren at Norwick

Snow Buntings at Lamba Ness

Redwing at Lamba Ness

Juvenile Iceland Gull at Burrafirth

Friday, 17 March 2017

16th March 2017 Unst WSW7 Squally showers

Two Snow Buntings first favouring our vegetable plot but remaining around Millfield all day were a welcome surprise and an addition for the year. A Pink-footed Goose was with Greylags at Norwick and 5 juvenile Iceland Gulls and a juvenile Glaucous Gull were present at Haroldswick bay / Clibberswick. Skylarks were present in small numbers at most of the fields we checked.

Two Iceland Gulls and the Glaucous Gull at Haroldswick

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

15th March 2017 Unst WSW7 Overcast

On our return home there was a marked increase in the number of Oystercatchers, Ringed Plovers, Common Gulls and Skylarks with 20 of the latter at Upper Sotland alone. On a quick check of Norwick we saw a single Fieldfare, a single Redwing and 3 Chaffinches.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

2nd March 2017 Ba Be NP to Tam Dao NP

We walked out to meet Mr. Chat at his boat at 4am seeing a Collared Scops Owl along the way. Mr. Chat took us back to the same inlet as we had visited yesterday evening where we waited in the dark. During the next hour three 'fishing' boats appeared spotlighting the banks that looked as if we weren't the only ones hoping to see White-eared Night-Heron although perhaps the others had other intentions? At 5.45am, still dark, for reasons we don't understand Mr. Chat decided to call it a morning and we headed back to shore despite it still being dark. He then seemed a little surprised that we didn't want to stay to try again in the evening. We were soon on our way and a couple of stops in the National Park before leaving produced three noisy pairs of White-winged Magpies. The logistics of the day seemed a little unclear with Thang suggesting we would change car midway to Tam Dao NP at a motorway junction as he had another group to meet at Hanoi airport. However, we found ourselves at Hanoi airport where Thang left us and Tony drove us back to Tam Dao NP. We requested to go straight to the Water Tank Trail where the weather was clear and calm. Not far along the trail we saw a Bianchi's Warbler and a nearby mixed-species flock contained at least 2 Short-tailed Parrotbills - brilliant! We had a quick look for the Pitta but left empty-handed.

Eastern Cattle Egret 10
Collared Scops Owl 1
Golden-throated Barbet 1
Scarlet Minivet 6
Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 4
Grey Laughingthrush 12
David's Fulvetta 10
Stejneger's Stonechat 2
Blue Rock Thrush 1
Amur Wagtail 1
Streaked Spiderhunter 1

Collared Scops Owl at Ba Be NP
clearly camera shy albeit then showing its collar!

Blue Rock Thrush at Ba Be NP

White-winged Magpie at Ba Be NP

Clearly most visitors to Ba Be NP take a boat trip on the lake!

One last try for Fujian Niltava at Ba Be NP!

Why just carry a spare tyre!

street scenes on the drive back to Tam Dao NP

Tam Dao

Water Tank Trail at Tam Dao NP

David's Fulvetta at Tam Dao NP

Golden-throated Barbet at Tam Dao NP

Bianchi's Warbler at Tam Dao NP
Not the best day for photography but does just about show the extensive broad lateral crown stripes, the wingbar and the extensive white in the tail.

Butterfly sp. at Tam Dao NP

Sunset at the Water Tank Trail, Tam Dao NP