Tuesday, 31 December 2019

31st December 2019 Unst WSW4 Clear becoming drizzly

We walked the beaches at Norwick, Burrafirth and Easting as part of the monthly SOTEAG beached bird survey. Whilst doing so we saw 2 Great Northern Divers, 21 Whooper Swans at Easter Loch, 5 Pinkfeet at the Heritage Centre, 9 Oystercatchers at Easting, a Purple Sandpiper and an Icelandic Redwing.

Norwick beach

Ringed Plover, Turnstone and Purple Sandpiper at Norwick beach

Easting beach

Monday, 30 December 2019

30th December 2019 Unst W6 Overcast

As I walked out of our front door a Merlin was hunting around our house and a juvenile Glaucous Gull flew past and landed on the slopes of Clibberswick. Scanning across Norwick produced a second-winter Glaucous Gull arriving in off the sea. I then headed to Westing where among the feeding frenzy of Gulls there was a juvenile Iceland Gull and 4 Glaucous Gulls (ad, 2w & 2 juvs).

Juvenile Iceland Gull at Westing

Juvenile Glaucous Gull at Westing

Second-winter Glaucous Gull at Westing

Gulls feeding at Westing

29th December 2019 Unst SW8 Drizzle

An adult Glaucous Gull was seen to fly in off the sea over Norwick during the afternoon.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

28th December 2019 Prestwick Carr, Northumberland

A brief stop on our journey north from Sussex to Aberdeen produced views of the lingering fist-winter Eastern Yellow Wagtail at Prestwick Carr in Northumberland that has been favouring a partially-flooded field just a few miles from the A1(M).

Eastern Yellow Wagtail at Prestwick Carr (David Britton)
It remained rather distant in its chosen partially-flooded horse field, and with the weather being rather breezy, it seemed content not to fly so unfortunately I never heard it call (Dave Pullan has uploaded a sound-recording here). Not having a telescope with me I was grateful that there were other birders on site who kindly let me use theirs. With no camera with me either, hopefully Dave Britton won't mind me using one of his images.

Monday, 16 December 2019

16th December 2019 Unst Calm and clear

A beautiful day being absolutely calm all day. The Tree Sparrow and 2 Snow Buntings were still behind our house. A walk out to Petester produced a Common Scoter, a juvenile Iceland Gull, 6 Glaucous Gulls (2 ad, 2w & 3 juv) and a 'Viking' Gull. Haroldswick added a Woodcock and a Long-eared Owl and at Baltasound School there was a juvenile Whooper Swan. As we drove home there was a Snow Bunting roadside at Saxa Vord camp.

Loch of Cliff


Juvenile Glaucous Gull at Petester

Juvenile Iceland Gull at Petester

Sunday, 15 December 2019

15th December 2019 Unst S1 Overcast

After several days of wet and windy weather it was nice that it was much-improved for the WeBS counts. A walk around Skaw and out to the headland produced a Red-throated Diver, an adult Glaucous Gull and a Redwing. Lamba Ness added a juvenile Iceland Gull. A walk of my circuit around Norwick was disrupted by some of the flooding that was presumably responsible for more Teal and Mallard (including a domestic variant) being on view than is normally the case and I also saw a Merlin carrying prey, a juvenile Glaucous Gull, a Woodcock and 8 Snow Buntings. The flock of 5 Pinkfeet were still at the Heritage Centre. The WeBS count at Burrafirth also produced a decent count of 44 Teal, a juvenile Whooper Swan and 2 adult Glaucous Gulls.

Burn of Norwick in flood

Adult Glaucous Gull at Skaw

Juvenile Iceland Gull at Lamba Ness

Snow Buntings at Millfield

Juvenile Glaucous Gull at Millfield

Merlin carrying prey at Millfield
I'd guess its prey is a House Sparrow

domestic variant Mallard at Norwick
not the 'Black Mallard' I would have chosen to find!

Adult Glaucous Gulls over Quoys

14th December 2019 Unst S4 Rain

Two juvenile Glaucous Gulls were off Norwick and a Tree Sparrow made a brief appearance in our garden.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

11th December 2019 Unst SW9 Rain

Three Glaucous Gulls (2 ad & a juv) were seen to arrive in off the sea over Norwick.

Monday, 9 December 2019

9th December 2019 Unst N5 Clear

After a stormy night I left soon after dawn seeing a juvenile Glaucous Gull cruising along the foreshore at Norwick. Lamba Ness proved disappointing with just a single blue Fulmar, 5 Kittiwakes and 6 Guillemots flying north with the stream of Fulmars and Gannets. A Merlin and a female Otter with her cub were then seen and as I arrived home a juvenile Iceland Gull flew towards Clibberswick hill.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

8th December 2019 Unst W7 Overcast

There was a steady trickle of Gulls all day battling in off the sea against the wind at Norwick among which we saw 5 Glaucous Gulls (3 ad, 3w & juv).

Saturday, 7 December 2019

7th December 2019 Unst NW 1 Overcast

With a northwesterly wind overnight I headed to Lamba Ness and seawatched for an hour from sunrise (now 9am) seeing 2 blue Fulmars, 2 Long-tailed Ducks, a juvenile Glaucous Gull, an unseasonable Bonxie and a decent count for the time of year of 40 Common Guillemots all flying north.

Bonxie passing Lamba Ness

Long-tailed Ducks passing Lamba Ness

even the coastguard was heading north

Friday, 6 December 2019

6th December 2019 Unst NW1 Overcast

A walk around Norwick produced a Purple Sandpiper on the beach and a Woodcock at Valyie. A look at a few lochs added a juvenile Iceland Gull at Dam Loch, 15 Whooper Swans, 25 Goldeneye and a female Scaup at Easter Loch and 30 Long-tailed Duck at Belmont Loch. A Pink-footed Goose was in the field opposite Nordalea as we headed home.

Juvenile Iceland Gull at Dam Loch

Thursday, 5 December 2019

5th December 2019 Unst W6 Rain

We saw 3 adult Glaucous Gulls arrive together in off the sea over Norwick mid-morning.

Monday, 2 December 2019

2nd December 2019 Unst NW2 Drizzle

A juvenile Glaucous Gull was seen at Norwick and a Common Chiffchaff made a brief appearance in our garden today.

Common Chiffchaff at Millfield

Sunday, 1 December 2019

1st December 2019 Unst NW2 Overcast

A male Blackcap was briefly present in our garden.

Male Blackcap at Millfield

Saturday, 30 November 2019

30th November 2019 Unst N1 Overcast

Whilst completing the monthly beached bird surveys I saw 2 juvenile Glaucous Gulls at Norwick, a Skylark at Haroldswick and a female Common Scoter and a Water Rail at Burrafirth.

Female Common Scoter at Burrafirth

Friday, 29 November 2019

29th November 2019 Unst N3 Wintry showers

As forecast a bitterly cold morning with a stiff northerly wind and passing wintry showers. There were 4 juvenile Glaucous Gulls among a flock of mainly Great Black-backed Gulls near the Loch of Lamba Ness. An hour's seawatch produced 2 blue Fulmars, 8 Common Guillemots an adult and a 3w Glaucous Gull all flying north. I then took another look through the flock of Gulls at the Loch of Lamba Ness by which time there was a 2w Glaucous Gull and a diminutive juvenile Iceland Gull.

Adult Glaucous Gull passing Lamba Ness

Third-winter Glaucous Gull passing Lamba Ness

Juvenile Iceland Gull at Lamba Ness

Thursday, 28 November 2019

28th November 2019 Unst NNE5 Wintry showers

With the wind shifting to the north I headed to Lamba Ness sheltering from the squally wintry showers behind the walls there. There were a couple of juvenile Glaucous Gulls among a resting flock of Gulls near the point and an hour's seawatch produced 3 blue Fulmars, 2 Glaucous Gulls (juv & 2w) and 10 Common Guillemots all flying north. A Whooper Swan was present along the burn at Burrafirth and a Merlin was seen in Baltasound.

Juvenile Glaucous Gull passing Lamba Ness

blue Fulmar passing Lamba Ness

a very dark-billed 4w argentatus Herring Gull at Lamba Ness

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

27th November 2019 Unst NE4 Rain

There were 2 juvenile Glaucous Gulls at Norwick.

Juvenile Glaucous Gulls at Norwick

Monday, 25 November 2019

25th November 2019 Unst SE4 Light rain

A female Common Scoter was present off Norwick.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

23rd November 2019 Unst SE2 Overcast

A circuit around Norwick produced a Long-eared Owl, a Siberian Chiffchaff and a Tree Sparrow.

Siberian Chiffchaff at Norwick

Thursday, 21 November 2019

21st November 2019 Unst SE4 Overcast

A circuit around Norwick produced 2 Long-eared Owls and 2 Woodcock.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

19th November 2019 Unst NW1 Clear

Despite the virtually calm conditions I seawatched from Lamba Ness for 90 minutes seeing 10 blue Fulmars and a Little Auk fly north. Skaw was still playing host to the 2 Long-tailed Ducks and 5 Redwings and there were 4 Meadow Pipits at Braeview. The Siberian Chiffchaff was still in our garden where I also saw a Glaucous Gull and 2 Snow Buntings fly over.

freshly dug-over garden

prime Sibe Chiff habbo proving a useful excuse to leave it intact!