Saturday, 14 May 2016

14th May 2016 Unst NW4 Overcast

Arrived at Skaw in breezy conditions. Waling the burn to the beach I noticed a herd of Swans sleeping sat on the sand! Elizabeth, the farmer at Skaw, kindly popped over to tell me there was another group sat a little further along the beach. Anticipating they would be Whoopers I was surprised that the few that were awake were Mute and all proved to be so. In all there were 29 that Mike subsequently told me was a record count for Unst! Where had they come from and where were they intending going?! The two male Snow Buntings were still at Lamba Ness and Vaylie held 5 Chiffchaffs and a Redwing. On returning to Millfield I saw a white-winged Gull flying over the newly ploughed field in front of the croft. It landed and scope views revealed the presence of greyish-centred primaries that immediately suggested it was a Kumlien's Gull. It soon flew off towards Norwick beach and out of sight but was later briefly seen flying high over Clibberswick. The juvenile Glaucous Gull had also found the field. Brydon and Robbie both then very kindly let me know that the Green Warbler had been mist-netted. Not knowing if we would make it in time we arrived to see Roger Riddington carefully examining it. It actually appeared even yellower and more extensively so when seen in the hand than in the field akin to say Japanese Leaf Warbler versus Kamchatka Leaf Warblers seen in the hand on Hegura-jima. A few photos were obtained before it was released into the pines at Setters Hill. On our return to Millfield 7 Mute Swans were seen at Haroldswick beach.

Mute Swan 29
Pied Wagtail 2
Willow Warbler 1

 Mute Swans resting on Skaw beach

Lamba Ness
Snow Bunting 2 males

Skylark 15
Chiffchaff 5
Redwing 1

Glaucous Gull 1 juvenile
Kumlien's Gull 1 2w

 Second-winter Kumlien's Gull at Millfield
In addition to its greyish-centred primaries supportive features included its hefty size, large bill and when it took flight a darkish tail-band. Its grey mantle effectively aged it as a second-winter.

Setters Hill
Green Warbler 1 in-hand

Green Warbler at Setters Hill

Mute Swan 7