Sunday, 30 October 2016

30th October 2016 Unst SW2 Light rain then cleared

Having read about the Poms and Sooties passing North Ronaldsay yesterday I spent the early morning at Lamba Ness seeing a large northerly movement of Fulmars but little else apart from a few Gannets and Auks in light rain and poor visibility. Not long after returning home I saw the news of the 'Fea's Petrel flying NW past North Ronaldsay at 9.13am plus 4 Poms and a Little Auk'. After initial thoughts of 'bu**er it, why couldn't that/they have flown past Lamba Ness' it then proved sufficient encouragement to head back down there. The rain had stopped and the visibility had improved and I'd seen a Sooty within a minute, 3 Sooties, 2 blue Fulmars & a Bonxie within 5 minutes and 40 minutes later with the tally being a summer-plumaged large Diver sp. (S), 7 Sooties, 9 blue Fulmars, 4 Bonxies (S) a Fea's/Zino Petrel flew into view... simply stunning! Whilst never close, it was brilliant all the same, especially as I'd picked it up well round to the south so enjoyed views for a couple of minutes as it headed north at 11.30am. Despite the near-calm conditions its flight was so undulating, rising and falling effortlessly on its long wings and the sharp contrast between its primarily jet black underwings and snow white underparts breathtaking! After watching it for a couple of minutes with it 4/5 of the way past me it rose and suddenly doubled-back, but only for 100m or so, before doubling-back again to continue north. With just 2 hours 17 mins between the two sightings it is presumably too short a time for the same individual to have been involved? but whatever did the trick for one to pass the NE of Orkney this morning worked for the NE of Shetland too. I remained seawatching until nearly 3pm seeing another 7 Sooties (13N & 1S) and another 5 blue Fulmars (all N), 9 Long-tailed Ducks (all w/p drakes 2N & 7S), 12 Little Auks (all S including flocks of 5 & 3) and a juvenile Glaucous Gull (S). Shortly after returning home I received a text from Brydon to say that he had found a male Pine Bunting behind the Post Office! We soon arrived and saw it in fading light.

Summer-plumaged Great Northern / White-billed Diver passing Lamba Ness
Being up against the sky, frustratingly, try as I might, I simply couldn't see its bill colour or bill shape

Sooty Shearwater passing Lamba Ness

Juvenile Glaucous Gull passing Lamba Ness

 Male Pine Bunting near the Post Office
many thanks Brydon!