Monday, 29 September 2014

29th September 2014 Out Skerries SE1

JFC kindly emailed pre-dawn to say that he had seen the weather forecast and the wind should move to southeasterly at some point today. It felt classic conditions at dawn being overcast with a light southerly breeze and very light rain falling. However, the usual 90 minute circuit of the East Isle produced nothing new. A walk to Magnus's Watch was enlivened by a smart summer-plumaged Great Northern Diver overflying the island. As we passed the graveyard we saw the Bluethroat on the graves and it performed much better than during previous encounters. As we were passing the sheep fields the wind just nudged southeasterly and the surprise of the day quickly followed in the form of a Black-headed Bunting sat on a post that almost immediately flew off towards the top iris beds. We quickly left it to find Mike, Chris and Pete and left a note for Edwin. We all quickly assembled at the graveyard and thankfully the Bunting was relocated in Richard's garden and flew to sit on the wall a metre or so from JFC's Chestnut Bunting bush! The bird seemed tired but was soon seen feeding on some seed put down for it and everyone left it to rest. The weather soon deteriorated to heavy drizzle until an hour before dark, but despite persevering, we couldn't find anything else.
Great Northern Diver 1 s/p
Grey Heron 6
Ringed Plover 3
Golden Plover 32
Turnstone 4
Goldcrest 2
Chiffchaff 1
Willow Warbler 2
Blackcap 9
Wren 1
Blackbird 2
Robin 1
Bluethroat 1
Redstart 1
Whinchat 1
Wheatear 6
Dunnock 6
Pied Wagtail 1
alba Wagtail 1 fvo
Tree Pipit 2
Meadow Pipit 30
Black-headed Bunting 1
Great Northern Diver over Out Skerries



Bluethroat on Out Skerries

pale submoustachial stripes


finely streaked crown
rather long primary projection
head pattern 'ghosting' black hood when viewed at certain angles
faintly-streaked upperparts and whitish fringes to coverts

long strong bill
Black-headed Bunting on Out Skerries
Edwin & Marina Tait with Richard's croft in the background
Whilst it is the second Black-headed Bunting we have found on Shetland it was a new bird for long-term birding island resident Edwin

Sunset looking west from Out Skerries