Thursday, 12 May 2016

12th May 2016 Unst NE1

Awoke to a nice light northeasterly breeze but Skaw remained quiet. Half an hour's seawatch from Lamba Ness produced 275 Puffins flying north compared to just 24 Guillemots and 6 Razorbills - Puffin being the commonest passing Auk will take some getting used to! As I descended Holsons Road a Wryneck flew from the verge and briefly sat in the middle of the road. As I brought the car to a stop and grabbed the camera it took flight and flew down a fenceline towards Northdale. After a quick breakfast whilst walking the entrance road to Valyie we flushed a female Bluethroat onto the top of a stone wall before it flew back into cover. Other migrants were also present including two Spotted Flycatchers and a Redwing. Checking the pines at Setter's Hill produced another Spotted Flycatcher and a skulking male Red-backed Shrike so at the time I was pleased with that result! Robbie then kindly let us know that Frank had found a male Bluethroat at Haroldswick Pools that took two attempts before Mike picked it out flying from the marsh into the line of roses where it briefly performed. 

Pied Wagtail 2
Willow Warbler 1

Lamba Ness seawatch 6.00 to 6.30am
Dunlin 4
Puffin c.275 N
Razorbill 6 N
Guillemot 24 N
Snow Bunting 2 males

Holsens Road
Wryneck 1

Willow Warbler 1

Pied Wagtail 1
Bluethroat 1 female
Willow Warbler 5
Chiffchaff 3
Spotted Flycatcher 2
Redwing 1

Female Bluethroat at Valyie

First-summer Black Guillemot in the Bluemull Sound
Black Guillemots retain their dark greater coverts through their first-summer so resemble the appearance of adults of the Icelandic form islandica, or even Pigeon Guillemot, albeit the white underwings of the above individual immediately dispel thoughts of the latter!

Setters Hill
Spotted Flycatcher 1
Red-backed Shrike 1 male

Male Red-backed Shrike at Setters Hill
There are few places for a Red-backed Shrike to skulk on Unst but this is one of them. Little did we know at the time the chain of events that this bird would start...

Shoveler 2
Bluethroat 1 male

Male Red-spotted Bluethroat at Haroldswick