Friday, 16 August 2019

16th August 2019 Unst S4 Light Rain

Steady light rain and a fresh southerly persisted all day. There were again good numbers of Meadow Pipits, alba Wagtails and Wheatears at every site visited. There was a single Knot on the beach at Skaw and 3 at Norwick where the Pied Flycatcher and Willow Warbler remained at Valyie. The Shore Station at Burrafirth proved quiet so it was a nice surprise when an Icterine Warbler flew from cover onto the fence along the burn. A walk around Haroldswick added 25 Snipe on the beach and revealed the continued presence of the juvenile Stonechat at the pool and there was a Willow Warbler at NorthDale. An afternoon visit to Lamba Ness confirmed that both Red-necked Phalaropes had also remained in situ.

Meadow Pipits along the fence-line at Burrafirth

Icterine Warbler at Burrafirth

Common Snipes on Haroldswick beach

Juvenile Stonechat at Haroldswick

Thursday, 15 August 2019

15th August 2019 Unst SE4 Rain

With southeasterly winds and rain I headed to Skaw full of optimism, but disappointingly, left without seeing a migrant and the same was then true for Norwick. I sat out the worst of the rain that passed through during the next 3 hours until it suddenly cleared when I walked to Valyie where it was nice to find my first Pied Flycatcher of the Autumn. I returned to Skaw that again failed to deliver a single migrant, and with the wind now increasing from the west, I tried sea-watching from Lamba Ness albeit the highlight was now two juvenile Red-necked Phalaropes together on the pools there.

Pied Flycatcher at Valyie

Juvenile Red-necked Phalaropes at Lamba Ness

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

14th August 2019 Unst SW3 Clear

A nice sunrise with plenty of Wheatears, Meadow Pipits and alba Wagtails lining the road to Lamba Ness where it was nice to find a few waders on the pools near the tip that included a Greenshank and a juvenile Red-necked Phalarope. A walk around Norwick added just a single Willow Warbler.

Juvenile Red-necked Phalarope at Lamba Ness

Juvenile intermediate phase Arctic Skua

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

13th August 2019 Unst SW1 Clear

After a cooler night the air felt noticeably fresher and more autumnal this morning. As I drove to Skaw I was pleased to find a juvenile Spotted Redshank on one of the roadside pools at Swartling, Lamba Ness. Skaw played host to a single Knot on the beach and a Willow Warbler. Burrafirth added another Willow Warbler as did Valyie. There was a juvenile Stonechat and a Common Whitethroat at Haroldswick where Mike kindly stopped to show us a Convolvulus Hawk-Moth that he'd retrieved from a poly-tunnel. This afternoon the Houb produced the lingering adult Grey Plover and 19 Knot and there was a summer-plumaged Great Northern Diver on the sound.

Juvenile Spotted Redshank at Swartling

12th August 2019 Unst NNW2 Overcast

Single Willow Warblers were seen at Haroldswick and Norwick.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

11th August 2019 Unst N5 Overcast

I waited for the rain to ease before venturing out to Lamba Ness at 10am where I sea-watched until midday. An exhilarating seawatch with literally thousands of Gannets and Fulmars and hundreds of Puffins all flying north. Highlight of the morning was an aberrant extra-pale Fulmar that flew north at  10.45am. Variety was provided by a single Manx Shearwater flying north at 11.10am, a Curlew, a few Bonxies, 2 Great Black-backed Gulls, several Kittiwakes and 2 Arctic Terns. A look at Norwick during the afternoon produced 2 juvenile Sanderling on the beach and a single Willow Warbler.

Aberrant extra-pale Fulmar passing Lamba Ness
Considered rare in the North Atlantic by Flood & van Grouw (BB June'15). They include an image of a similar individual photographed in Norway that they caption 'the light grey of the primaries indicates a quantitative pigment reduction, or dilution - which results in a lighter shade of grey.

Puffins passing Lamba Ness

Curlew passing Lamba Ness

Kittiwake and Gannet passing Lamba Ness

Willow Warbler at Norwick

Saturday, 10 August 2019

10th August 2019 Unst NE1 Overcast

The sea was running a swell so I tried sea-watching for 90 minutes from Lamba Ness but only succeeded in seeing a couple of presumed Atlantic White-sided Dolphins. Skaw failed to produce any migrants but Valyie produced my first returning Blackcap, a juvenile Mealy Redpoll and a Chaffinch.

Mealy Redpoll at Valyie
Its bill looked large and the ground colour of its rump was whitish and really quite eye-catching when in flight so I assumed it was a Mealy.

Male Chaffinch at Valyie