Saturday, 17 September 2016

17th September 2016 Unst SW2 Overcast

After a couple of days of what felt like promising conditions with southeasterly winds largely failed to deliver the winds turned to the west and produced a much better day! Skaw and Norwick produced a small flock of Swallows, an increase in the number of Blackcaps present, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, a Garden Warbler and a Common Rosefinch. As we drove towards Burrafirth a large pale Bunting flew from the side of the road and briefly perched on a fence but then flew a hundred meters or so and perched on a wall but frustratingly flew again just as I was scrabbling for my telescope. I suspected that it was a Black-headed Bunting and then heard it repeatedly calling a loud mettalic 'chink', that whilst distant, instantly sounded like two previous Autumn BhB's I've found on Shetland. A dash along the single-track road to Haroldswick where I saw it fly from the verge and conveniently perch on a rock in the field and there was its head pattern 'ghosting' that of a male Black-headed Bunting and large long pink bill - result! I just had time to obtain a few images through the closed car window before it flew a short distance and landed behind the Boat Haven. With no phone signal at site we left to text out the news but although we were quickly joined by Mike back on site we unfortunately couldn't relocate it. Our next stop was Burrafirth where we found our first Yellow-browed Warbler of the Autumn and where we met Robbie who had just found a Pectoral Sandpiper on Hermaness. We then toured Baltasound seeing very little but on a return to Haroldswick bumped into a Barred Warbler on the beach there but again failed to relocate the Bunting.

Black-headed Bunting at Haroldswick

Yellow-browed Warbler at Burrafirth