Monday, 25 May 2020

25th May 2020 Unst S4 Light cloud

It felt a warm wind for a change! On walking to Valyie at 10.15am I saw the 2 Cranes take flight, with one circling high calling loudly and departing to the north, whereas the 'original' bird landed. At 10.42am two Cranes were seen circling overhead before also departing to the north - I immediately scanned the mires and the 'original' bird was still present. Looking at my images the one that had departed was missing a secondary on its left wing and was therefore neither of the two subsequently seen circling, confirming that 4 different individuals were seen this morning. We also saw a 2cy Iceland Gull, 2 House Martins, a Tree Pipit, a singing Lesser Whitethroat, our first 2 Spotted Flycatchers of the year, our first 5 Tree Sparrows of the year, the male Snow Bunting and our first Yellowhammer of the year.

Common Crane at Norwick
about to depart north...

Common Cranes over Norwick
the subsequent duo also heading north

Common Crane at Norwick
and the one that decided to remain... and still present this evening

Knot at Norwick

2cy Iceland Gull at Norwick


Tree Pipit at Norwick

Spotted Flycatcher at Norwick

Female Yellowhammer at Norwick

Sunday, 24 May 2020

24th May 2020 Unst NW6 Overcast

I waited for the early morning rain to clear and then made the long trek out to Flubersgerdie arriving at 8.45am. Just 10 minutes later a stunning s/p White-billed Diver flew past at very close range - the only disappointment was that I'd not unpacked my camera from the rucksack and by the time I did, removed the lens cap and switched it on the Diver was flying directly away from me! It was soon followed by a blue Fulmar that was flying south and then a close Manx Shearwater that flew south at 9.36am and it or another flew north more distantly around an hour later. At 11.20am a rather distant Pomarine Skua flew north that was following by 2 Long-tailed Skuas at a similar range that flew north together at 12.15pm that were quickly followed by the only Arctic Skua that flew north at 12.23pm. I hoped the floodgates might be about to open, but sat there for just over another 2 hours, failing to see any more Skuas.

Guillemots and Razorbills passing Flubersgerdie
My earliest memory of Shetland from our family holiday back in May 1978 was being excited at seeing long lines of Auks as we looked out from the MV St. Clair as we sailed towards Shetland. Those numbers are gone now but it was good to see fair numbers of both species passing today.

Flock of Kittiwakes passing Flubersgerdie
It was good to see several flocks flying north today

White-billed Diver past Flubersgerdie
A stunning bird frustratingly photographed at what is probably its least identifiable angle! Oh what might have been - never forget to have your camera ready!


Pomarine Skua passing Flubersgerdie


Long-tailed Skuas passing Flubersgerdie

Saturday, 23 May 2020

23rd May 2020 Unst SW6 Rain

Freda and Magnus must have thought they were seeing double on drawing back their curtains this morning as 2 Cranes were present at Valyie this morning. They remained in place for our daily walk late afternoon after the worst of the weather had passed through when we also saw a Kestrel, the Sedge Warbler, a Willow Warbler and 6 Siskins.

Common Cranes at Norwick

Female Common Kestrel at Norwick

Newly-fledged Blackbird at Valyie

Siskin at Norwick

Friday, 22 May 2020

22nd May 2020 Unst SW4 Fog

The thick fog persisted overnight and remained for much of the morning until the wind increased and the forecast rain arrived. Fortunately the rain cleared and the wind eased late in the afternoon leaving a nice evening. A more productive day seeing a drake Goosander off Norwick, a Great Northern Diver, the lingering Common Crane, our first Wood Sandpiper of the year, 4 Sanderling, we caught-up with the Turtle Dove first seen yesterday by Freda & Magnus, the first 2 House Martins that we've seen on Unst this year, our first 2 Sedge Warblers of the year, a singing Willow Warbler and a male Snow Bunting.



Male Snow Bunting at Lamba Ness

Sanderling at Haroldswick


Turtle Dove at Valyie

Common Crane at Norwick


Drake Goosander from our kitchen window

Sedge Warbler at Skaw

House Martin at Skaw

Thursday, 21 May 2020

21st May 2020 Unst S2 Fog

Thick fog unfortunately rolled-in to north Unst yesterday evening, persisted overnight and for all of the day today. Lean pickings for me again seeing just the lingering Common Crane, a Sparrowhawk, a Sand Martin, 5 Swallows, a Blackcap and 3 Chiffchaffs.

Sand Martin in the fog at Norwick

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

20th May 2020 Unst SE2 Overcast

It proved another slow day for migrants that for us were comprised of the lingering Common Crane, a Common Sandpiper, 3 Swallows, 3 Chiffchaffs and a Carrion Crow.


Common Crane at Norwick

Field Mouse at Millfield

Monday, 18 May 2020

18th May 2020 Unst SE3 Overcast

It was nice to feel the wind from the southeast but alas it wasn't coming from very far. A walk around my usual area completing the Common Breeding Bird Census also produced 2 Barnacle Geese flying north, the Common Crane, a Swallow, a White Wagtail, 5 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler and a surprise female Hawfinch.

Male 'Southern' European Golden Plover at Norwick

Female Hawfinch at Norwick