Saturday, 10 November 2018

10th November 2018 Unst SE7 Rain

A congregation of Gulls off the beach at Norwick proved too much to ignore despite the atrocious weather and they included a juvenile Glaucous Gull and my first juvenile Iceland Gull of the Autumn. Brydon then popped round having seen the Iceland Gull at Haroldswick that we then saw together. Mid-afternoon the weather improved and we saw a few flocks of Redwings and Fieldfares. A return to Norwick beach and all the Gulls had moved on but a Chiffchaff was present.

With two Kumlien's Gulls having been seen on North Ronaldsay in recent days I left home hoping the overnight storm may deliver one. Whilst scanning the flock I was then pleased to see an 'Iceland Gull' flying among the Herring Gulls that on first inspection appeared to lack the striking white primaries of an Iceland, a darkish tail and what appeared quite a large dark bill.

  Willing it to land, it suddenly obliged and I had hopes that it would look something like this...

...whereas unfortunately its primaries appeared very pale...

...and all the more so when viewed against a 'dark' background

Iceland Gull at Norwick & Haroldswick

Chiffchaff at Norwick

Thursday, 8 November 2018

8th November 2018 Unst SE1 Clear

A beautiful calm, sunny and warm day to be out birding all day. A walk around Norwick produced 4 Purple Sandpipers, 6 Robins, a Dunnock, 12 Redwing, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, a Siberian Chiffchaff, 6 Goldcrests, 7 Chaffinches and a Brambling. A look at Lamba Ness added a Great Northern Diver flying south, a Pink-footed Goose, a Peregrine, a Merlin, a juvenile Glaucous Gull, 5 Fieldfares and 12 Snow Buntings. Skaw added a Barnacle Goose, a Blackcap and 15 Snow Buntings. Burrafirth was playing host to a Great Northern Diver, 2 Long-tailed Duck, a female Scaup, a male Merlin, 10 Fieldfare and 5 Redwing. A look around Haroldswick added a Merlin, 20 Fieldfares and 20 Redwings.

Blackcap at Norwick

 Chiffchaff at Norwick

 Siberian Chiffchaff at Norwick

Snow Buntings on Lamba Ness

Redwing at Lamba Ness

Barnacle Goose at Skaw

Scaup at Loch of Cliff

Male Merlin near Burrafirth

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

7th November 2018 Unst SE5 Overcast

A large flock of Gulls were present off Norwick comprised mainly of dark-mantled Herring Gulls and Greater Black-backed Gulls but also a few Kittiwakes, Common, Black-headed and 2 juvenile Glaucous Gulls.

Gulls off Norwick

Kittiwake off Norwick

Juvenile Glaucous Gulls off Norwick

Saturday, 3 November 2018

3rd November 2018 Unst S6 Rain

With poor weather unfortunately persisting for most of the day I didn't venture out but watching a male Common Redpoll feeding in our garden was enjoyable.

Male Common Redpoll at Millfield

Friday, 2 November 2018

2nd November 2018 Unst NW2 Clear

I headed for Lamba Ness in the hope that there might be a seawatch in the light northwesterly but had only seen a single Red-throated Diver, a few Fulmars and Guillemots passing when I picked out a White-billed Diver sat on the sea! It was continually diving and appeared to be catching prey. I dashed to the rocks at the tip but it was still at an uncomfortable range to photograph with my DSLR. A fishing boat appeared to tend to the buoys and it had drifted c.250m south when I last saw it. A Snow Bunting was around the ruins along with c.30 Twite. On driving off Lamba Ness I saw a flock of 40 Snow Buntings flying towards Skaw where there was a Goldcrest and 6 Common Redpolls that flew off towards the Holm of Skaw. Whilst back home scanning the sea just in case the White-billed Diver was off Norwick I saw two large dark Skuas together passing Lamba Ness - fortunately Robbie was out there to see that they were Bonxies. A walk to Valyie and back produced 3 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Woodcock, the lingering Whinchat and a Goldcrest. During a tour of the north end sites we saw a Song Thrush and 2 Common Redpolls at Skeggie, 2 Slavonian Grebes sat on the sea off Haroldswick and a Common Redpoll at Burrafirth.

 White-billed Diver off Lamba Ness

Snow Bunting at Lamba Ness

Goldcrest at Skaw

Whinchat at Norwick beach

Slavonian Grebe off Haroldswick

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

31st October 2018 Unst NW2 Clear

Another nice day to be out birding and from the outset Snipe were flushing from just about everywhere today. A flock of 11 Mallard arrived in off the sea as I walked towards Norwick where I saw a juvenile Glaucous Gull, 2 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Robins, a Whinchat, 5 Redwing, a Goldcrest, 3 Chaffinch and 2 Common Redpolls. I decided to head to the south end of the island today and took a long walk along the coast north from Westing hoping for a rare Wheatear but where just 10 Chaffinch were seen. Next stop was Lund where I finally flushed a migrant that I've been hoping to find in similar circumstances for about as long as I can remember - a Corncrake - brilliant and completely unexpected given the late date! A few paces further and a Woodcock flushed. I'd just arrived at Uyeasound when Brydon kindly phoned to say he'd found a Red-breasted Flycatcher along the burn at Norwick, that by the time I arrived, it had found Valyie where I only managed a few brief flight views. There were now c.6 Robins present, and right on dusk, a flock of 11 Redpolls.

Mallard arriving in off the sea at Norwick

Whinchat at Norwick

Juvenile Glaucous Gull at Norwick

Corncrake at Lund

Whooper Swans at Easter Loch

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

30th October 2018 Unst SE3 Clear

A very promising wind direction and the wind soon calmed so very nice weather to be out birding but most sites proved eerily quiet. At Burrafirth I saw a Long-tailed Duck, a Moorhen, a Robin, 5 Redwings, 8 Fieldfares and 3 Common Redpolls. At Haroldswick I saw my first Jack Snipe of the Autumn, a Whinchat, a Fieldfare, a Yellow-browed Warbler, 3 Brambling and 7 Chaffinches. I met Brydon at Norwick but a Robin and a single Common Redpoll was all that we could find.

Common Redpoll at Burrafirth

Yellow-browed Warbler at the Heritage Centre

Whinchat at Haroldswick