Friday, 7 October 2016

7th October 2016 Unst NE2 Overcast

A pre-dawn arrival at Uyeasound in the unlikely event the Siberian Thrush had stayed-over but there was unfortunately no sign of it. Soon after birders arrived from mainland Shetland everyone spread out and an Olive-backed Pipit was soon found. We decided to leave shortly afterwards and resume our usual circuit starting at Skaw. Robbie had the same idea and whilst talking to him I noticed a large plump Thrush flying towards us being pursued by a Hooded Crow. On raising my bins I was soon shouting ''White's Thrush!!'' and everyone was soon watching it being chased as it circled once over the farm and then far into the distance with JFC seeing it being knocked down by the Hooded Crow over a distant ridge of Saxa Vord. We could hardly believe our luck, and whilst still celebrating our dream find, it suddenly appeared out of nowhere and zoomed past us now hotly pursued by a Merlin! It landed in the farm compound affording superb views on the ground! We quickly text out the news and the crowd began to gather as the White's Thrush sat recuperating. It soon perked up and started to perform probably even more pleased than us (if that was possible) that it had survived the attention of the predators! We moved onto Norwick where whilst taking a call from Mark C kindly congratulating us (and well done him on finding a Black-throated Thrush in the last few days) I noticed an Osprey heading our way. We also saw a Lesser Whitethroat and a couple of Goldcrests. Burrafirth produced a flock of 6 Common Redpolls, a Siberian Chiffchaff, a Chiffchaff and a Yellow-browed Warbler. Haroldswick added a Song Thrush, 5 Redwing, a Yellow-browed Warbler, another Siberian Chiffchaff, a Blackcap and a Goldcrest. Setters Hill was quiet with just a Blackcap, a Chiffchaff and 2 Goldcrest, Houlland added just a Goldcrest and Saxa Vord another Common Redpoll.  

Olive-backed Pipit at Uyeasound

White's Thrush being pursued by Hooded Crow

White's Thrush overhead
Despite a good few trips to Asia I've never seen a high-flying White's before - stunning!

Merlin with it's eye now on the prize!

White's Thruah at Skaw (top 3 JFC)

Not the Zoothera most of these birders had thought they might see on Unst today!

Mealy Redpolls at Burrafirth

Siberian Chiffchaff at Haroldswick

Brydon making running up hills look easy after a week on Foula!