Wednesday, 29 January 2020

29th January 2020 Unst SW1 Clear

A beautiful day but only time for a late afternoon walk out to Hamar, Baltasound.

Baltasound; Great Northern Diver, 2 Purple Sandpipers

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

28th January 2020 Unst W2 Overcast

A visit to the shop produced 4 European White-fronted Geese in Baltasound. We then just had time for a late afternoon visit to Uyeasound where the drake King Eider was again very distantly offshore.

Baltasound; 4 European White-fronted Geese

Uyeasound; 18 Whooper Swans, drake King Eider, juv Iceland Gull

Monday, 27 January 2020

27th January 2013 Eastbourne

No such luck this morning, but 7 years ago today we were fortunate enough to find this little beauty...

Bonaparte's Gull at Princess Park, Eastbourne

Sunday, 26 January 2020

26th January 2020 Unst W5 Overcast

I returned to Burrafirth where compared to yesterday there was a reduced stream of Gulls arriving in off the sea although from 8.45am to 11.15am I still saw 56 Glaucous Gulls.

Burrafirth; 5 Pink-footed Geese, 55 Teal, ad Iceland Gull, 56 Glaucous Gulls (21 adults, 4 fourth-winters, 1 third-winter, 12 second-winters and 18 juveniles).

Haroldswick; Great Northern Diver, Guillemot

Ringing recoveries from The Faroese Bird Migration Atlas

Saturday, 25 January 2020

25th January 2020 Unst SW6 Overcast

With rain in the forecast I decided to head straight to Burrafirth to complete the monthly beached bird survey. It was immediately obvious that there was a steady stream of Gulls arriving in off the sea from the north, over Burrafirth and south across Loch of Cliff. From 9.15am to 11am, among the many Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls I saw 66 Glaucous Gulls arrive! I returned at 11.45am but in the next 30 minutes only added one more to the tally. At Skaw I saw a single Glaucous Gull arriving and at Lamba Ness the roost held 2 more and my only Iceland Gull of the day.

Burrafirth; 4 Goldeneye, c.2,500 Herring Gulls, 67 Glaucous Gulls (ageing wasn't precise but my best effort was 29 adults, 4 fourth-winters, 3 third-winters, 12 second-winters and 19 juveniles), c.2,500 Great Black-backed Gulls

Skaw; juv. Glaucous Gull

Lamba Ness; juv Iceland Gull2 Glaucous Gulls (ad & 2w)

Steady stream of Gulls arriving from the north at Burrafirth

Second-winter Glaucous Gull at Burrafirth
Whilst 100 were seen on Unst on 23/1/1981 my previous highest day total was 24 on 10/1/17.

Friday, 24 January 2020

24th January 2020 Unst WNW6 Overcast

On leaving our house I saw 3 Glaucous Gulls arriving in off the sea over Norwick. There was a large flock of Gulls on the slopes of Lamba Ness mainly comprised of adult argentatus Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls but also 7 Glaucous Gulls. I seawatched for 75 minutes being treated to the spectacle of thousands of Fulmars flying north but also seeing 4 blue Fulmars and 5 Glaucous Gulls. We saw our first Peregrine of the year at Caldback. We then headed for Easting beach to conduct the monthly beached bird survey where there were 3 Great Northern Divers offshore and our final Glaucous Gull of the day.

Norwick; 3 Glaucous Gulls (2ad, juv)

Lamba Ness; 1 Oystercatcher, 7 Glaucous Gulls (2ad,2x3w,2w & juv), 700 argentatus Herring Gulls. 

Lamba Ness Sea-watch 9.15am-10.30am; 500 Gannets, 4,000N Fulmars, 4 blue Fulmars, 5 Glaucous Gulls (2ad,3juv), 25 Kittiwake, 18 Guillemots.

Caldback; fem Peregrine

Easter Loch; Pintail, 50 Lapwing

Easting Beach; 3 Great Northern Divers, 12 Red-breasted Mergansers, 11 Oystercatchers, 2w Glaucous Gull

Part of the assemblage of Gulls at Lamba Ness

Juvenile Glaucous Gull passing Lamba Ness

Greylag Geese passing Lamba Ness

Oystercatchers at Easting beach

Thursday, 23 January 2020

23rd January 2020 Unst WSW7 Light rain

A visit to Westing to coincide with high tide failed to produce any Gulls but I did then see an Iceland and 2 Glaucous Gulls at Uyeasound where there was no sign of the King Eider. Later we saw an Iceland and a Glaucous Gull arrive in off the sea at Norwick.

Uyeasound; 15 Goldeneye, juv Iceland Gull, 2 Glaucous Gulls (as, 2w)

Norwick; ad Iceland Gull, ad Glaucous Gull

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

22nd January 2020 Unst SW1 Overcast

Whilst in our garden I noticed a pod of Killer Whales in Norwick. A large bull skirted the coastline with another 4 or 5 remaining further out to sea. They then followed the southern cliffs of Lamba Ness heading back towards the open sea. On reaching the tip of Lamba Ness they then followed the same routine into Skaw where Brydon & Robbie also arrived in time to see them. Whilst at Skaw I also saw 3 Glaucous Gulls. We then headed for Uyeasound where the drake King Eider was sat offshore in Uyea Sound and 3 Glaucous Gulls were present.

Millfield; 5 or 6 Killer Whales

Skaw; 3 Glaucous Gulls (ad, 3w, juv)

Uyeasound; 15 Whooper Swans, 25 Eider, drake King Eider, 20 Long-tailed Duck, fem Pintail, 3 Glaucous Gulls (2w, 2juv)

Norwick; Purple Sandpiper, Redwing

 Orcas from Millfield

Orcas off Lamba Ness

Orcas off Skaw

Brydon photographing the Orcas

Drake King Eider off Uyeasound

Juvenile Glaucous Gulls at Uyeasound

 We saw our first Snowdrops of the year today!

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

21st January 2020 Unst NW4 Overcast

A drop in temperature but less windy and from a more helpful direction for seawatching from Lamba Ness.

Norwick; adult Glaucous Gull in off sea

Lamba Ness seawatch 9.10am-10.10am; 800N Fulmar, 1 blue Fulmar, 3 Glaucous Gulls (adN,juvN,2wS),  120N Guillemots (83 in first 30 mins & 37 in next  30 mins), Little Auk N at 9.39am

Monday, 20 January 2020

20th January 2020 Unst WSW8 Overcast

The very windy weather continues...

Norwick; 3 Glaucous Gulls (adults) in off the sea.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

19th January 2020 Unst W5 Overcast

We awoke to new neighbours with a ship stationery in the wick all day. A juvenile Glaucous Gull was seen flying in off the sea at Norwick. We took a walk out to Heogland but there were rather few Eider and Long-tailed Ducks present although the 3 juvenile Iceland Gulls were still there including the possible Kumlien's. The second-winter Glaucous Gull was bathing on Easter Loch and a juvenile was seen drifting along the cliffs south of Westing. The highlight of the day was seeing a pod of small Dolphins that Brydon found in Baltasound.

Norwick; juv Glaucous Gull

Uyeasound; 25 Eider, 25 Long-tailed Duck, Oystercatcher, 3 juv Iceland Gulls including the possible Kumlien's Gull

Westing; juv Glaucous Gull

Baltasound; 2 Great Northern Diver

Haroldswick; Great Northern Diver

MV Kaami from Bergen, Norway bound for Reykjavik, Iceland

Dolphins in Baltasound

Otter about to take a plunge into the sea

Saturday, 18 January 2020

18th January 2020 Unst NW6 Overcast

With the wind switching to the northwest I spent two hours seawatching from Lamba Ness with Brydon where we saw 15 Glaucous Gulls and 120 Guillemots fly north. There was no sign of the Grey Phalarope at Norwick but a Glaucous Gull flew north and there was a Little Auk sat distantly on the sea there. A visit to Uyeasound produced nice views of 2 Glaucous Gulls.

Lamba Ness seawatch 9.00am - 11.00am; 3N, 1S Red-throated Diver, 600N Fulmar, 15N Glaucous Gulls (3ad,3w,6x2w & 5juv), 120N Guillemots,

Norwick; 48 Teal, Little Auk, Glaucous Gull juv north

Uyeasound; 6 Tufted Duck, Grey Heron, 35 Ringed Plover, 2 Glaucous Gulls (2w, juv).

Red-throated Diver passing Lamba Ness

Juvenile Glaucous Gull at Uyeasound

Second-winter Glaucous Gull at Uyeasound

Friday, 17 January 2020

17th January 2020 Unst SW8 Clear

With a return to stormy weather finding a Grey Phalarope in a sheltered corner off Norwick beach perhaps wasn't a complete surprise but very nice all the same. A look around the island added 3 Glaucous Gulls.

Norwick; first-winter Grey Phalarope

Uyeasound; 15 Whooper Swans (13ad, 2juv), 3 Mute Swans (2ad, juv), 2 Glaucous Gulls (2w, juv)

Baltasound; Glaucous Gull (3w)

 First-winter Grey Phalarope at Norwick
Aged by its black-centred white-fringed tertials and wing-coverts.

Second-winter Glaucous Gull at Uyeasound

Juvenile Glaucous Gull at Uyeasound

Glaucous Gulls and Herring Gull at Uyeasound