Saturday, 31 March 2018

31st March 2018 Unst E1 Clear then snow

A Chaffinch had arrived in our garden overnight so I popped out of the house at dawn to refill the feeders. As I stepped out of the house a juvenile Iceland Gull was seen following a Common Gull doing a tour of Norwick before heading back out to sea. Skaw produced a Grey Wagtail on the beach and a slight increase in the number of Fieldfares both there and along Holsen's road was evident with the latter also playing host to a Mistle Thrush. On arriving home I was pleased to find a female Hawfinch had joined the female Chaffinch on our feeders. A snowstorm then commenced with heavy snow lasting a couple of hours and even settling. The female Hawfinch continued to binge on the feeders and then sleep in the roses and a male Chaffinch arrived. It then brightened into a glorious blue sky and even a warm day. It appeared that the snowstorm did a good job in grounding some migrants as stepping out of the house the first bird I saw was a Sandwich Tern flying back and forth along the shore - only the second I've seen on Unst! A walk in to the beach produced a female Hawfinch in Norwick that I wondered whether was the same female I'd left at our house? Robbie arrived to look for the Tern and gave me a lift to the beach. We walked to Vaylie where the Hawfinch was still present along with our first Greenfinch of the year. A visitor told us he'd seen a Sand Martin at Westing so Robbie left to take a look for it. I remained at Vaylie finding our first Chiffchaff of the year, a Grey Wagtail flew north. I then returned to the beach where 2 Yellowhammers were now present - another yeartick. Our Hawfinch was still present so quite likely 3 birds were involved today. We next tried Clibberswick where I counted 94 Skylarks in a single flock and nearby my first Pied Wagtail of the year was seen on Haroldswick beach with the 2 Jack Snipe were still performing on the pools. Next stop was Setters Hill where we inadvertently flushed our first Long-eared Owl of the year that flew to the trees of the children's playground. A Water Rail was seen walking around on a lawn near the church and another Chiffchaff was present at Clingera. 

Heron 4
Iceland Gull 1 juvenile
Sandwich Tern 1
Jack Snipe 2
Long-eared Owl 1
Wood Pigeon 3
Pied Wagtail 2
Grey Wagtail 2
Skylark 130 including a flock of 94
Dunnock 1
Robin 8 
Song Thrush 2
Redwing 8
Mistle Thrush 1
Fieldfare 18
Blackbird 25
Chiffchaff 2
Yellowhammer 2
Greenfinch 1 male
Chaffinch 8
Hawfinch 2-3

Grey Wagtail at Skaw

Female Hawfinch at Millfield

hopes for Summer migrants put on hold, or so we thought ...

Sandwich Tern off Millfield

Male Greenfinch at Valyie

Chiffchaff at Valyie

Yellowhammers (left ringed) at Norwick

Long-eared Owl at Setters Hill

Water Rail at Baltasound