Tuesday, 30 April 2019

30th April 2019 Unst NE1 Overcast

My final morning counting Black Guillemots and not seeing any 'bonus species' whilst doing so perhaps should have been a hint as to how the day would progress. I covered Skaw, Norwick, NorthDale, Haroldswick and Burrafirth and it was clear that a lot of migrants had departed overnight - especially the Willow Warblers. Today's totals of migrants seen were a 2 Long-eared Owls, a Swallow, 6 Tree Pipits, 4 White Wagtails, 4 Fieldfares, 2 Song Thrush, 2 Dunnocks, 33 Robins, 3 Common Redstarts, 42 Wheatears, a Common Whitethroat, a Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Blackcaps, 15 Chiffchaffs, 7 Willow Warblers, 3 Goldcrests, a male Pied Flycatcher, a Reed Bunting, a Siskin, a Mealy Redpoll, 2 Chaffinches & 1 Brambling.

Male Pied Flycatcher at Norwick

Monday, 29 April 2019

29th April 2019 Unst Calm

Another early morning spent counting Black Guillemots when I was rewarded with seeing 2 Ring Ouzels along the south-facing cliffs of Lamba Ness. I later saw my first Green Sandpiper of the year that flew up from the burn at NorthDale. I covered Skaw, Lamba Ness, Norwick, NorthDale, Haroldswick and Burrafirth. My totals of other common migrants seen today were a Great Northern Diver, a Pink-footed Goose, 2 drake Shoveler at Baltasound, a Sparrowhawk, a White Wagtail,  6 Tree Pipits, a male Ring Ouzel at NorthDale, 4 Song Thrushes, a Redwing, 41 Robins, a female Whinchat, 9 Blackcaps, 2 Whitethroats, 15 Chiffchaffs, 16 Willow Warblers, a Goldcrest, 2 Pied Flycatchers, 4 Reed Buntings, a Linnet, 3 Siskins and 9 Bramblings.

Green Sandpiper at NorthDale

Female Pied Flycatcher at Haroldswick

Dead Puffin on Haroldswick beach

Common Whitethroat at Burrafirth

Sunday, 28 April 2019

28th April 2019 Unst Overcast calm

I spent the first 3 hours of the morning completing the Black Guillemot survey that took me to places that I rarely otherwise visit with Inner Skaw producing my first Lapland Bunting of the year that proved to be the highlight of my day. Black Guillemot numbers were higher than the count a couple of weeks ago and were joined my many other Auks sat on the sea that now included good numbers of Puffins. There was also a thin scatter of Robins and Willow Warblers in the geos. I then covered Skaw, Lamba Ness, Norwick, NorthDale and Haroldswick. Totals of other migrants that I saw today were 4 Sparrowhawks, a Kestrel, a Whimbrel on Lamba Ness, 5 Dunlin on Haroldswick beach, 2 Long-eared Owls, 4 Woodpigeons, 2 Swallows, 4 White Wagtails, 7 Tree Pipits, 48 Robins, 3 Dunnocks, 5 Common Redstarts,  a Whinchat, c.50 Wheatears, 13 Song Thrushes, a Redwing, 3 Ring Ouzels, a Lesser Whitethroat, 13 Blackcaps, 5 Chiffchaffs, 39 Willow Warblers, a Goldcrest, 2 female Pied Flycatchers,  9 Reed Buntings, the female Yellowhammer, 2 Siskins, a Chaffinch and 11 Bramblings.

Black Guillemot off Inner Skaw
I could hear them whistling as it was so calm this morning 

Female Lapland Bunting at Inner Skaw

Common Sandpiper at Norwick

Female Pied Flycatcher at NorthDale

Male Ring Ouzel at Haroldswick

Female Yellowhammer at Haroldswick

Willow Warbler at Haroldswick

Red-throated Diver on sea off Haroldswick

Saturday, 27 April 2019

27th April 2019 Unst SE2 Overcast

The southeasterly wind continues to drift some nice migrants in our direction with my highlights today being an immature male Marsh Harrier at Skaw, an Osprey over Norwick and seeing Connel's showy male Pied Flycatcher at Setters Hill. I completed both beached bird surveys and also covered Skaw, Norwick, Burrafirth, North Dale and some of the Haroldswick sites. My totals of common migrants being the drake Pintail still at Haroldswick, a Kestrel, a Long-eared Owl, 4 Swallows, 3 White Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail, 4 Tree Pipits, 40 Wheatears, 2 Whinchats, 6 Common Redstarts, 35 Robins, 2 Dunnocks, 10 Song Thrushes, a Redwing, a Ring Ouzel, 4 Fieldfares, 11 Blackcaps, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, a Common Whitethroat, 15 Chiffchaffs, 43 Willow Warblers, 3 Goldcrests, 6 Reed Buntings, a female Hawfinch still in our garden, a Siskin, 2 Mealy Redpolls, 2 Chaffinches and 12 Bramblings. 

Immature male Marsh Harrier at Skaw

Osprey in the murk over Norwick

Female Common Redstart at Norwick

Male Pied Flycatcher at Setters Hill
pure class - nice one Connel !

Ring Ouzel at NorthDale

Friday, 26 April 2019

26th April 2019 Unst SE4 Overcast

The wind was both colder and fresher, and whilst there were still plenty of migrants to be seen, with the exception of a few more Fieldfares, it felt like most had remained overnight from yesterday. I covered Skaw, Norwick, NorthDale, Haroldswick, Burrafirth and a couple of the Baltasound sites. Totals of migrants seen today were a Pink-footed Goose, a Kestrel, a Merlin, Long-eared Owl, 3 Woodpigeons, 4 Swallows, a Pied Wagtail, a White Wagtail, 3 Tree Pipits, 10 Wheatears, 33 Robins, 2 male Whinchats, a Common Redstart, 9 Fieldfares, 12 Song Thrushes, 7 Blackcaps, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 10 Chiffchaffs, 22 Willow Warblers, 2 Hawfinches seen at both Norwick and Haroldswick, 3 Reed Buntings, 14 Bramblings and 2 Chaffinches.

Song Thrush at Skaw
Sadly as close as I've got to finding a female Sibe Thrush!

Tree Pipit at Haroldswick

Female Linnet at Haroldswick

Thursday, 25 April 2019

25th April 2019 Unst SE4 Overcast

An overcast morning with the southeasterly wind having subsided overnight making birding all the more enjoyable today. A male Ring Ouzel in our garden shortly after dawn was a nice start to an excellent day that provided my first Common Whitethroat, Whinchat, Wryneck and Tree Pipit for the year among good numbers of common migrants. I covered Skaw, Norwick, Burrafirth, a few of the Haroldswick sites and NorthDale. Today's totals of other migrants seen were a Kestrel, 2 Long-eared Owls, a Woodpigeon, 2 Swallows, 14 Song Thrushes, a Dunnock, 42 Robins, 2 Common Redstarts, 25 Wheatears, a male Stonechat, 8 White Wagtails, 11 Blackcaps, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 16 Chiffchaffs, 32 Willow Warblers, 2 Goldcrests, 5 Reed Buntings, 2 Yellowhammers, a Hawfinch, a Mealy Redpoll, 3 Siskins, 15 Bramblings and a Chaffinch.

Male Ring Ouzel at Millfield

Male Reed Bunting at Skaw

Female White Wagtail at Skaw

Common Whitethroat at Skaw

Male Whinchat at Braehead

Wryneck at Burrafirth

Tree Pipit at NorthDale

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

24th April 2019 Unst SE6 Clear

The blasting southeasterly wind meant that there wasn't much shelter at Skaw at dawn, and worse, there weren't many migrants in evidence either. The next couple of sites visited failed to deliver a single migrant but at least the wind was dropping in strength. A male Common Redstart at Norwick perhaps hinted at what might be to come but I decided to walk a few moorland transects enjoying finding Golden Plovers back on territory and watching the synchronised display flights of Arctic Skuas. Cloud rolled-in at around midday and there was the lightest of showers of rain, and bingo, suddenly there were tired grounded migrants just about everywhere that I looked. I covered Skaw, Lamba Ness, Norwick, Burrafirth and Haroldswick before sadly running out of time. Highlights comprised 4 male Common Redstarts, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Sedge Warbler all being my first records of those species for this year. Totals of other migrants seen today were a Sparrowhawk, a Kestrel, 3 Long-eared Owls, 3 Woodpigeons, a White Wagtail, 25 Wheatears, 18 Robins, a Dunnock, 6 Song Thrushes, a Redwing, a Fieldfare, 12 Blackcaps, 18 Chiffchaffs, 16 Willow Warblers, 3 Goldcrests, the female Yellowhammer, the 2 Hawfinches, 2 Siskins, 10 Bramblings and 2 Chaffinches.

Golden Plover

Arctic Skuas

Lesser Whitethroat at Norwick

Male Common Redstarts at NorthDale

Sedge Warbler at Haroldswick

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

23rd April 2019 Unst SSE3 Clear

The wind was far less strong than forecast making for another pleasant day of blue skies. The 2 Hawfinches remained in our garden and a female Ring Ouzel seen at North Dale was the first that I've seen this year. I covered Skaw, Norwick, North Dale, Haroldswick and Burrafirth with a quick visit to Clingera combined with our visit to the shop. Totals of other migrants seen were the 3 Shoveler, a Sparrowhawk, 3 Long-eared Owls, 2 Swallows, 3 Grey Wagtails, a Pied Wagtail, a White Wagtail, a Dunnock, 12 Robins, 20 Wheatears, 2 Fieldfares, 6 Blackcaps, 12 Chiffchaffs, 4 Willow Warblers, the 2 Jackdaws, the Yellowhammer, a Siskin, 11 Bramblings and 3 Chaffinches.

Male Grey Wagtail at Skaw

Female Ring Ouzel at North Dale

Dark phase Arctic Skua at Haroldswick

acredula-type Willow Warbler at Haroldswick

Mealy Redpolls at Clingera

Monday, 22 April 2019

22nd April 2019 Unst S3 Clear

The return of clear blue skies that lasted all day. Just 2 of the Hawfinches had remained overnight but they again spent all day feeding in our garden. A female Yellowhammer at Haroldswick was the first we have seen this year. We covered Skaw, Norwick, Haroldswick and a couple of sites in Baltasound with totals of migrants seen being a drake Shoveler, the Moorhen at Skaw, 3 Long-eared Owls, a Wood Pigeon, a Swallow, a Grey Wagtail at Skaw, 2 White Wagtails, 4 Pied Wagtails, 3 Dunnocks, 12 Robins, 15 Wheatears, a Song Thrush, 3 Redwings, 3 Blackcaps, 10 Chiffchaffs, 4 Willow Warblers, 2 Jackdaws, a Mealy Redpoll at Norwick, 21 Bramblings and 2 Chaffinches.

Female Yellowhammer at Haroldswick

Jackdaws at Haroldswick

Sunday, 21 April 2019

21st April 2019 Unst SE1 Light rain

In many ways it felt ideal conditions being almost calm with just the lightest of southeasterly breezes and light rain at dawn that quickly cleared. However, unfortunately the breeze was not originating from across the North Sea so it generally proved a quieter day for migrants. That said, the number of Hawfinches in our garden grew from 3 this morning to 6 by this evening - all females. The monthly WeBS count for Burrafirth produced my first Arctic Skua of the year - a dark phase.  Otherwise I covered Skaw, Lamba Ness, Norwick and a few of the sites around Baltasound. Totals of other migrants seen being the female Sparrowhawk, 2 Merlins, 3 Long-eared Owls, 4 Swallows, a Dunnock, 15 Robins, 25 Wheatears, a Song Thrush, 2 Redwings, a Blackcap, 14 Chiffchaffs, 6 Willow Warblers, 2 Goldcrests, 2 Chaffinches and 22 Bramblings.

Hawfinches at Millfield

Female Merlin

Saturday, 20 April 2019

20th April 2019 Unst SW5 Overcast

After all the recent days consisting of clear blue skies and southeasterly winds today dawned overcast, grey and windy blowing from the southwest. Two Hawfinches hopping around our lawn soon after dawn was a good start to the day with the Dunnock, 8 Bramblings and 2 Chaffinches also still in our garden. I headed for Skaw and was pleasantly surprised to still find migrants present consisting of 2 Pied Wagtails, 5 Wheatears, 8 Robins, a Redwing, 3 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler and a Brambling. A leucistic Oystercatcher was also present presumably being the same one seen at Skaw in Spring 2017. Whilst commencing my walk around Norwick I'd seen 2 Robins when I heard Gulls alarming. On looking across at the ridge running from Lamba Ness towards North Dale I saw a Black Kite flying into the wind being pursued by Hooded Crows. My complete circuit added the female Sparrowhawk, a Long-eared Owl, a Wood Pigeon, 2 Robins, 6 Chiffchaffs, 3 Willow Warblers including one singing, 2 Siskins and a Brambling. North Dale lacked shelter with just a Song Thrush and a Siskin seen. A look at Burrafirth produced a Swallow, 3 Wheatears and a male Blackcap. On returning home we were pleased to see there were now 3 Hawfinches in our garden.

Redwing at Skaw

Willow Warbler at Skaw

leucistic Oystercatcher at Skaw

Black Kite over Norwick
With only two records for Shetland prior to as recently as 2009 they've been seen almost annually since.

Female Siskins at Norwick

Willow Warbler at Norwick

Song Thrush at North Dale