Monday, 5 December 2016

5th December 2016 Yell Calm

Set off to work on Yell but the ferry was going via Fetlar due to maintenance on one of the two ferries so giving a chance to sail through the Bluemull Sound producing a Great Northern Diver, some smart Long-tailed Ducks and a flock of Eider that images revealed included the returning drake Surf Scoter. After a short morning at work it was lunch 'half an hour' when fortuitously met Jim Nangle at Mid Yell who said he'd just left the 4 Humpback Whales just a 5 minute drive away at Aywick although they'd swam south out of view. After a quick drive, first stop was White Wife where saw a Humpback swimming towards Gossabrough. Another short drive from where all four were visible and could even hear them blowing - brilliant! Mark called to fix a Christmas meal that seemed surreal whilst we were both out enjoying the warm December sunshine on Shetland! Jim then text to say there was a Goosander near Gutcher that later managed to see in the 'evening' halflight proving to be a nice drake.

Dawn on the Bluemull Sound

Long-tailed Ducks in the Bluemull Sound

 Drake Surf Scoter with Eider in the Bluemull Sound

Gossabrough from near White Wife, Yell

White Wife, Yell

Humpback Whales off White Wife, Yell

 Out Skerries as viewed from White Wife, Yell

Drake Goosander at Sand Water near Gutcher, Yell

Sunday, 4 December 2016

4th December 2016 Unst W1 Overcast

A juvenile Glaucous Gull arrived at Norwick bay early morning before flying inland over Clibberswick. A Blue Fulmar was flying along the southern cliffs of Lamba Ness. A walk to Valyie provided a big surprise with a Common Rosefinch being present accompanying the 4 Chaffinches and single Brambling that have been present there for some time. With a previous late Autumn record for Norwick on the 19/11 and one on Fair Isle on 30/11 it proved not quite as unprecedented as it first seemed.

Juvenile Glaucous Gull at Norwick

Blue Fulmar at Lamba Ness

2nd December 2016 Yell

A glorious day to be working outdoors on Yell with 9 Snow Buntings seen being the highlight.

Sunrise on a beautiful calm December morning

Autumn colours Yell style

27th November 2016 Unst

A tour of the island produced an adult and a juvenile Glaucous Gull on Burrafirth beach, 16 Scaup at Loch of Quoys, 2 Scaup at Easter Loch and 25 Long-tailed Ducks at Belmont Loch.

Adult Glaucous Gull at Burrafirth

Scaup at Loch of Quoys

Long-tailed Ducks at Belmont Loch

Thursday, 24 November 2016

24th November 2016 Unst W3 Overcast

An overcast day with a trickle of Gulls seen arriving in off the sea at Norwick where a third-winter Iceland Gull paused briefly on the beach before flying off inland over Clibberswick. That prompted me to check Burrafirth beach where two juvenile Glaucous Gulls were present.

Third-winter Iceland Gull at Norwick

Juvenile Glaucous Gull at Burrafirth

Juvenile Glaucous Gull at Burrafirth
A slightly darker individual

Sunday, 20 November 2016

20th November 2016 Unst Calm and clear

After being out all day yesterday and seeing very little I didn't have any great expectations for today. However, I had promised that I would help with the annual Greylag count so was out early and a little surprised that there was such a hard frost. I was almost immediately aware of a steady arrival of small flocks of large Gulls and soon saw a couple of flocks that included juvenile Glaucous Gulls. The first couple flew straight inland but some of the subsequent flocks were attracted to Norwick beach that was soon hosting 3 juvenile Glaucous Gulls. I digiscoped them with some of the resulting images revealing 4 were present with what appears an older individual amongst their ranks. Whilst they were sat there I saw another fly ashore before the Gulls were disturbed by a dogwalker and all flew inland. Another inbound flock then included another juvenile Glaucous Gull. Thinking that Burrafirth beach might be playing host to a few Gulls we headed there but nothing prepared us for the 300 or so large Gulls present spread along its length! I'd only just started properly scanning through them, having seen 4 juvenile Glaucous Gulls, when they unfortunately all spooked. My phone then started to ring with Brydon telling me that he had counted 10 among the birds in flight as he was viewing from across the bay. Glaucous Gulls suddenly seemed to be everywhere as virtually all of the Gulls flew south past us to the Loch of Cliff. At Skaw a juvenile Glaucous Gull flew inland and a juvenile and an adult were seen sat on the offshore island. We finally headed for Lamba Ness where a juvenile Glaucous Gull was seen flying north and a juvenile and a second-winter were sat on rocks there. Despite the distraction we still counted 174 Greylags. Apart from the arrival of Gulls the hard frost didn't see the arrival of any other hard weather migrants, and if fact, all day we only saw a handful of clifftop Blackbirds, 2 Redwings, 1 Fieldfare and 1 Skylark!

The first juvenile Glaucous Gull seen arriving with Herring Gulls

Another soon on its way

Four Glaucous Gulls (3 juv) on Norwick beach

First shot of the scene at Burrafirth and it reveals 3 Glaucous Gulls as below

three Glaucous Gulls at Burrafirth

Second shot of the scene at Burrafirth and it reveals 3 or 4 Glaucous Gulls

Third shot of the scene at Burrafirth that reveals 2 Glaucous Gulls and what appears to be a cheeky Iceland Gull that I didn't see in the field as below

 Iceland Gull (left) and Glaucous Gull (right) at Burrafirth

Fourth shot of the scene at Burrafirth that reveals 3 Glaucous Gulls

Fifth shot of the scene at Burrafirth revealing just a single Glaucous Gull

and whilst logic dictates that this depicts another argentatus it would be nice to obtain better images to see just how Azorean'esque it appears (also not seen in the field)

A frosty Norwick

A frosty Clibberswick but with calm seas

Adult Glaucous Gull at Skaw digiscoped at range

Second-winter and juvenile Glaucous Gulls at Lamba Ness

Saturday, 19 November 2016

19th November 2016 Unst SW1 Clear

At Skaw we saw 2 Water Rails chasing each other around and a Snow Bunting. We then walked north from Westing seeing a Goldeneye and a few Teal and Wigeon on a loch there. We then visited Easter Loch where the Goldeneye and Whooper Swans were calling whilst displaying in the warm sunshine.

Water Rails at Skaw