Tuesday, 25 October 2016

25th October 2016 Unst S1 Overcast

Rain overnight had cleared by dawn and it soon became another nice calm day. As I walked to Norwick I met Robbie and Micky and we saw a Chiffchaff, 4 Goldcrests, the 2 Common Rosefinches, 2 Chaffinch, c.10 Brambling and a Mealy Redpoll. Just as we had split up Robbie shouted to say he'd seen a Hawfinch in the roses near the bus shelter. Whilst elusive we eventually saw it fly around us, drop into a sycamore before diving back into the roses. Haroldswick produced a Robin, 2 Blackcaps and 3 Chiffchaffs. Setters Hill held just a Robin and a Waxwing flew over. At the School there was a Robin and 2 Goldcrests. We then met Micky again who had seen a Northern Bullfinch at Halligarth and we were soon there watching a fearless male and listening to it quietly trumpeting.

Hawfinch at Norwick

Northern Bullfinch at Halligarth
Seen previously on Fair Isle 12 years ago I'd forgotten how large these are!

Monday, 24 October 2016

24th October 2016 Unst SE1 Clear

There was a Merlin, 2 Common Rosefinches and 3 Waxwings at Norwick today and a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen hunting over the slopes. As we were driving to Lund I noticed a Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll sat on a fence alongside the road near the junction with Baliasta. On getting out of the car it was apparent there was a small flock of Redpolls that appeared to also consist of at least 3 Coue's Arctic Redpolls, a Greenland Redpoll and 6 Mealy Redpolls. The Wood Sandpiper was also present on a small pool at the junction. Lund produced the Little Bunting and 3 Lapland Buntings and superb views of the Siberian Accentor in the evening sunshine.

Merlin with a sycamore leaf at Norwick

Two Common Rosefinches at Norwick



Ringtail Hen Harrier at Norwick
A well-marked head pattern and a dark boa are oft-quoted characters of Northern Harrier but the pattern of the underside of the primaries (including 4 dark bars on p9) and its streaked underparts are characters of Hen Harrier

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll
dwarfing a Mealy Redpoll

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll alongside a Greenland Redpoll

Coue's Arctic Redpoll with Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll

 Coue's Arctic Redpoll (note tail)

Coue's Arctic Repoll (probably same based on tail)

Coue's Arctic Redpoll (full tail)

Coue's Arctic Redpoll

Possible Coue's Arctic Redpoll?

Wood Sandpiper

Siberian Accentor at Lund

 Lapland Bunting at Lund

Pink-footed Geese at Baltasound

Sunday, 23 October 2016

23rd October 2016 Unst SE1 Overcast

Another overcast but virtually calm morning. Skaw was glowing in the sunshine and a walk along the beach produced my first Black Redstart of the Autumn with 2 Robins, a Dunnock and a Goldcrest also seen plus several flocks of Fieldfares and Redwings. Norwick had held most of its birds from yesterday with 2 Woodcock, a Robin, 3 Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff, 4 Goldcrests, the Waxwing, 2 Chaffinches, 8 Brambling and the Common Rosefinch all seen. North Dale was quiet with just 3 Robins seen chasing each other around. At Burrafirth a Water Rail was inadvertently flushed, a Waxwing flew over calling and 2 Goldcrests were seen on the cliffs. Setters Hill yielded a single Blue Tit and nearby at Halligarth there were 2 Blue Tits, 3 Waxwings, a Blackcap and a Goldcrest. As we drove home a Long-tailed Duck was present at Haroldswick.

Skaw Beach looking prime real estate for a rare Wheatear...

Black Redstart on Skaw beach

Hedge Accentor at Skaw
my Prunella fix for today!

Common Rosefinch at Norwick

Long-tailed Duck at Haroldswick

Saturday, 22 October 2016

22nd October 2016 Unst E1 Overcast

Another nice calm morning although slightly more chilly this morning in overcast conditions. Skaw produced 3 Chiffchaffs and the now usual good numbers of Fieldfares and Redwings. Norwick was better with a late Common Rosefinch found with the Chaffinches and Bramblings, a Waxwing, a Siberian Chiffchaff and 2 of the Yellowhammers still present. We then decided on trying Lund just in case we could emulate Mark's enviable success with finding a Red-flanked Bluetail at Geosetter a couple of days ago. We'd only walked c.50m through the nettles along the wall when a passerine flew c.20m and perched atop a brokem stem and there was a stunning Siberian Accentor sat in the glow of the low late October Shetland sun! I was transfixed watching it sat there until it dropped out of view before I'd thought to raise the camera. We edged towards it and another short flight and photos obtained - phew! We moved closer again and a passerine jumped up - Little Bunting! The Accentor and Bunting then stuck together for a while showing on and off. We then heard Lapland Bunting calls behind us and 3 were feeding around a cattle feeder. We had to then leave it and drive a few miles to get a signal to put the news out but it seemed that all the resident birders were off island. We returned and after obtaining more views we left it to check the rest of the nettle patch. We then saw Micky making his way towards us and were soon enjoying watching the Accentor and Buntings with him. We then headed to Uyeasound seeing a small flock of Brambling and another 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs.

Siberian Accentor at Lund

Little Bunting at Lund

Lapland Bunting at Lund