Monday, 30 April 2018

30th April 2018 Unst Calm then E1

Last year I saw White-billed Divers flying north past Flubersgerdie on the 28th April and 5th May and MSC saw one flying north past Esha Ness on 3rd May, so unsurprisingly, it seems fairly clear that the peak passage time for the species is mirroring that at Skogsoy in southwest Norway detailed here. With a light northeasterly wind forecast (both those I saw last Spring were on light northeasterlies) I made the walk out to Flubersgerdie despite awakening to what felt completely calm conditions and a thick frost. Whilst it seemed that little if anything was moving - perhaps becalmed - whilst scanning the surface of the sea my reward sailed into view at 8am - a superb s/p White-billed Diver. Initially distant, close to a flock of Fulmars, it preened and even went to sleep for a while. It then started to dive and began approaching the cliffs eventually being almost beneath my position. It then started to drift south towards the North Holms and I last saw it at 9.50am. The only other notable sighting was a blue Fulmar flying north among the usual suspects that included a Red-throated Diver, a pair of Eider, a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers flying south, Fulmars, Gannets, Shags, Oystercatchers, Bonxies, Kittiwakes, Common Gulls, Guillemots, Razorbills, Black Guillemots and Puffins. A quick look at Norwick produced a couple of Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest and a Hawfinch.

Summer-plumaged White-billed Diver off Flubersgerdie
it showed a green sheen to its head that isn't as readily apparent in the above images

Puffins off Flubersgerdie

Looking towards Yell from Flubersgerdie

Quintessential Shetland - watching migrants along dry stone walls

Hawfinch at Norwick