Sunday, 21 May 2017

21st May 2017 Unst SE1 Overcast clearing

Arrived at Skaw where more migrants were evident than in recent days quickly seeing 6 Swallows, a Redwing, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Chiffchaff and a Mealy Redpoll. I then joined Brydon to take a look around Halligarth seeing a Pied Flycatcher there. A female Goosander flew past a foggy Millfield and out into Norwick bay and I saw another Redwing at Norwick before trying Burrafirth where a Song Thrush and a Tree Pipit were seen and a Sedge Warbler was heard. Arrived at the Baltasound School to a very nice surprise as immediately heard a Rustic Bunting singing that I soon tracked down along the edge of the pines where it continued to sing and a Tree Pipit, a Blackcap and a Siskin were all seen too. A Sand Martin, Blackcap and 2 Chiffchaffs were seen elsewhere in Baltasound before returning to Skaw seeing both the male and female Bluethroats found by the Aberdeen duo. Returned for more views of the Rustic Bunting still singing before trying for Al's singing male Common Rosefinch at Uyeasound that sadly eluded us. We finished with seeing a superb s/p Great Northern Diver in Haroldswick bay.

Male Rustic Bunting at Baltasound School

Male Bluethroat at Skaw

Saturday, 20 May 2017

20th May 2017 Unst E4 Overcast with rain

Potentially promising conditions but difficult birding once the rain started albeit the sites that we checked seemed quiet. Phil Crockett and friends from Aberdeen found a female Bluethroat at Skaw that was looking rather sodden by the time that we saw it late afternoon.

Female Bluethroat at Skaw

Friday, 19 May 2017

19th May 2017 Unst E3 Overcast

A visit to Haroldswick beach this evening produced more views of the Semipalmated Sandpiper and a Garden Warbler and Willow Warbler were present in the adjacent bushes.

Semipalmated Sandpiper at Haroldswick beach

Thursday, 18 May 2017

18th May 2017 Unst Calm & Clear

A quick walk around Skaw on a superb calm morning produced our first Hawfinch of the year but little else was in evidence. We again saw the Semipalmated Sandpiper on Haroldswick beach.

Hawfinch at Skaw


Semipalmated Sandpiper at Haroldswick beach

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

17th May 2017 Unst S4 Clear

Arrived home from Yell to only our second Carrion Crow of the year sat on our doorstep and the first Grey Wagtail of the year in an adjacent field.

Grey Wagtail at Millfield

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

16th May 2017 Unst S3 Overcast

Allan Conlin scored an impressive double finding a Red-rumped Swallow at Braeview and a Semipalmated Sandpiper on Haroldswick beach in quick succession this evening. Whilst looking in vain for the Swallow I did see a female Marsh Harrier fly east over Norwick as well as a juvenile Iceland Gull and 5 House Martins. Fortunately the Semipalmated Sandpiper proved more obliging as it aggressively chased around the accompanying Dunlin.

Marsh Harrier over Norwick

Semipalmated Sandpiper at Haroldswick beach

Monday, 15 May 2017

15th May 2017 Unst SE2 Clear

Our garden at Millfield played host to Swallow, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Common Whitethroat and Willow Warbler, An early morning walk around Skaw produced many of the same but slightly fewer of the migrants seen yesterday. Lamba Ness produced another surprise Wader in the form of a Black-tailed Godwit and the 2 Shorelarks were still present. Whilst watching these I heard a couple of distant Gulls alarming and picked out a large raptor flying strongly northeast out to sea from Skaw. I ran back to the car grabbed the scope and could see it was the Honey Buzzard that Al had seen over Valyie yesterday at 3pm - I had hoped it might overnight on the isle. Just as it was becoming a distant speck through the scope, it suddenly doubled-back and was flying straight towards me. It continued and even briefly landed on Lamba Ness before being mobbed by a Raven that sent it back out to sea. This time it returned via Skaw and I saw it gain height and drift off over Saxa Vord hill as the Bonxies scrambled into the air! The 2 male Grey-headed Wagtails were still present at Norwick as were a juvenile Iceland Gull, 2 Pied Flycatchers and 2 Mealy Redpolls.

Male Whinchat at Skaw

White Wagtail at Skaw

Pale morph adult male Honey Buzzard at Lamba Ness

Black-tailed Godwit at Lamba Ness

Spotted & Pied Flycatchers at Norwick

Female Pied Flycatcher at Norwick

14th May 2017 Unst & Fetlar SE2

Brydon talked four of us into a day's rarity finding on Unst and Fetlar searching as many sites as we could from Skaw to Funzie along with his parent's kind hospitality treating us to a meal. We started well with finding a Dotterel and Unst's second-ever Little Ringed Plover at Lamba Ness. Other highlights included 2 Shorelarks at Lamba Ness, a Shorelark and the Short-toed Lark at Haroldswick, 2 male Grey-headed Wagtails at Norwick, a male Bluethroat at Funzie willows and a host of yearticks including Knot. Common Sandpiper, Common Tern, Cuckoo, Swift, Garden Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Tree Sparrow and Goldfinch.

Barnacle Goose 1
House Martin 1
Whinchat 1

Lamba Ness
Little Ringed Plover 1 female
Dotterel 1
Shore Lark 2

Sparrowhawk 1
Garden Warbler 1
Redwing 2
Spotted Flycatcher 1
Robin 1
Redstart 1
Tree Sparrow 3
Grey-headed Wagtail 2 males
Tree Pipit 1
Brambling 5

North Dale
Cuckoo 1
Song Thrush 1

Common Sandpiper 1
Goldfinch 2

Kestrel 1
Knot 1
Short-toed Lark 1
Shore Lark 1
Pied Flycatcher 1
Dunnock 1
Reed Bunting 2

Sedge Warbler 1

Great Northern Diver 2
Shelduck 2
Pintail 2
Kestrel 1
Coot 1
Collared Dove 1
Chaffinch 1

Shoveler 1

Gutcher, Yell
Whooper Swan 1

Common Tern 1
Swift 1
Garden Warbler 2
Bluethroat 1 male
Pied Flycatcher 1
Redstart 2
Tree Pipit 1

Dotterel at Lamba Ness

Shore Lark at Lamba Ness
a richly-suffused individual

Little Ringed Plover at Lamba Ness
only the second-ever record for Unst!

Male Grey-headed Wagtail at Norwick

Collared Dove at Setters Hill

Common Swift on Fetlar