Tuesday, 21 June 2016

21st June 2016 Unst & Yell S3

An early morning visit to Skaw produced a Great Northern Diver sat on the sea off the beach. A late afternoon visit to Baltasound and Haroldswick produced more Dunlin and Turnstone than of late and a Sanderling on Haroldswick beach with a Common Tern seen briefly fishing in Haroldswick Bay.

Great Northern Diver off Skaw

Dark morph Arctic Skua at Cunnister, Yell
The white spots on the leading edge of the wing made this a rather eye-catching individual. Olsen & Larsson state that albinism is regular in the North Atlantic islands (as high as 2% in certain populations). Such birds show pale marginal and lesser coverts, creating a pale leading edge to the inner wing, and many also have paler areas elsewhere, especially a pale patch in the central and lower parts of the belly that today's bird also showed! The book even includes a photograph (Figure 76) of a similar individual photographed by Gordon Langsbury in Shetland in June 1993.

Red-throated Diver in Haroldswick Bay
carrying food

Common Tern in Haroldswick Bay

Sanderling and Turnstone crossing paths on Haroldswick beach
Being mid-late June it would seem likely the Sanderling is still heading north whereas the Turnstone might be heading south per The Birds of Shetland

Sanderling on Haroldswick Beach

 Dunlin on Haroldswick Beach