Wednesday, 19 September 2018

19th September 2018 Unst SSW5-6 Overcast

My early morning circuit had produced just a Chiffchaff and 4 Blackcaps some of which seemed to be struggling in the windy weather so receiving news of a Subalpine Warbler present at the Shore Station at Burrafirth came as a considerable surprise! Whilst I was present it was showing well on and off but remained silent and was becoming increasingly elusive as the wind increased. A Blackcap and 2 Siskin were also present. Robbie checked his phone to then see news of a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Uyeasound, so I quickly popped home where my parents very kindly phoned with the news, before heading south where it was seen feeding alongside a Ruff in a field full of Golden Plover. We then visited Lund seeing a Little Bunting and a juvenile Shelduck on Small Waters. During an early evening respite from the storm a Sand Martin flew past our house.

Blackcaps at Valyie








Subalpine Warbler at Burrafirth
With reference to Shirihai & Svensson (2018) its greyish iris, orange-brown orbital ring and buff-fringed primary coverts presumably render it a first-winter female. It is difficult to be sure of its exact tail pattern (especially of T5) and anyway Svensson (BB Vol.106 p.651-668) details some of the extreme variation and problem birds in terms of tail-pattern character, so it would be nice if it starts to call! 

 Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Uyeasound


Little Bunting at Lund

Juvenile Shelduck at Small Waters

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

18th September 2018 Unst S1 Light rain

An early morning visit to Skaw produced a Yellow-browed Warbler and Lamba Ness added a Willow Warbler. Patrick & Hannah Lanaway then arrived and almost immediately Patrick picked out a Barred Warbler in our rosa - a proper welcome to Millfield! Undeterred by the light rain, fortunately it was virtually calm, we headed for Norwick beach where an Otter was watched feeding in the surf. It was soon apparent that birds were arriving with a smart acredula-type Willow Warbler and a Common Rosefinch both seen at Leawart and a Black Redstart, a Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaffs, a Garden Warbler and 3 Blackcaps at Valyie. We moved on to NorthDale where we saw a Pied Flycatcher, a Blackcap, a Willow Warbler, a Yellow-browed Warbler, a Tree Sparrow and 3 Common Rosefinches together. A stop at Haroldswick pools produced our first Blyth's Lesser Whitethroat of the autumn and our last port of call was Burrafirth where a Chiffchaff and Common Rosefinch were present along the burn. So, despite the weather, a very enjoyable day's birding.

Patrick & Hannah at Millfield

Pied Flycatcher at NorthDale

Common Rosefinch at NorthDale



Blyth's Lesser Whitethroat at Haroldswick

Monday, 17 September 2018

17th September 2018 Unst SW3

A Common Rosefinch was present briefly literally at dawn in our garden. As I drove through Norwick a flock of 17 Pinkfeet were present. A Blackcap was the only migrant I saw at Skaw and there was a Kestrel, 5 Blackcaps and 3 Willow Warblers seen on a quick look at Valyie. Late this afternoon a Yellow-browed Warbler and 2 Willow Warblers were seen at Uyeasound. 

Common Rosefinch at Millfield
Despite an ISO2000 setting the light was insufficient to obtain a sharp image

Part of the flock of Pink-footed Geese at Norwick
A few minutes later and a setting of ISO4000 wasn't much better!

Sunday, 16 September 2018

15th September 2018 Unst W4 Clear with showers

Another day of westerlies with birding restricted to a look around Norwick that produced just a Willow Warbler and the Yellow-browed Warbler. An evening drive along Lamba Ness produced a Ruff that given all the westerlies wasn't the wader that I was hoping for!

Yellow-browed Warbler at Norwick

Ruff at Lamba Ness

14th September 2018 Unst W3 Clear with showers

A Baird's Sandpiper seen independently on the houb by Brydon & Mike was unfortunately only present briefly on the rising tide before flying off inland. I only had a brief look at Norwick where a Barred Warbler and a Yellow-browed Warbler were the best that I could find.

Barred Warbler at Norwick

13th September 2018 Unst SW5 Clear with showers

Very little time spent birding today but with the westerly airstream continuing to dominate it was no great surprise that a quick look around Norwick produced nothing more than lingering single Garden, Willow and Yellow-browed Warblers.

Garden Warbler at Norwick

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

12th September 2018 Unst W5-6 Overcast

With strong westerly and squally showers I tried seawatching from Lamba Ness for an hour or so but just saw a constant procession of Fulmars and Gannets and the odd Bonxie and Kittiwake. Skaw failed to deliver a migrant but Norwick had held onto its Wood Warbler and a Garden Warbler as well as producing a surprise in the form of my first Tree Pipit of the Autumn. A walk across Clibberswick failed to produce anything among the Golden Plover flock there.

Tree Pipit at Norwick