Wednesday, 1 January 2020

1st January 2020 Unst WSW7 Overcast

A windy and heavily overcast start to the year but at least it was mild and remained dry all day. I sea-watched from Lamba Ness for an hour with the highlight being a Little Auk flying north. I walked round a couple of pools that were playing host to Jack Snipe last Autumn and had soon flushed 3 individuals. I then popped home for a coffee before touring the island visiting various sites.

Millfield; Merlin 1 fem-type.

Lamba Ness sea-watch 9.30am - 10.30am; 1 Little Auk north at 10.04am, 1 Fulmar, 40 Gannets, 1 Glaucous Gull 2w north at 9.40am, 40 Kittiwakes & 1 Black Guillemot on sea.

Lamba Ness; 3 Jack Snipe & 2 Glaucous Gulls ads.

Baltasound; 4 Russian White-fronted Geese, 1 Great Northern Diver, 20 Lapwings, 3 Long-eared Owls & 50 Rock Doves.

Westing; Merlin 1 male & 1 Purple Sandpiper.

Uyeasound; 21 Whooper Swans, 3 Mute Swan (the pair of adults with their sole surviving cygnet), 1 Pintail (regularly returning wintering female), 7 Tufted Duck, 13 Goldeneye & 1 Iceland Gull juv.

Haroldswick; 5 Pink-footed Geese

what better way to start the New Year...

Second-winter Glaucous Gull passing Lamba Ness
A tricky individual to age with certainty under seawatch conditions as viewed from below it looks a juvenile but its upperwings appear rather too 'smooth' and it appears to lack any dark in the secondaries.

Jack Snipe at Lamba Ness
The Shetland Bird Reports for 2016 and 2017 only include January site counts of 1's and 2's so perhaps I should attempt a more thorough search at Lamba Ness in coming weeks...

Gulls roosting on Balta Island
too far away for scrutiny although the majority were Great Black-backed Gulls

Adult Russian White-fronted Geese with Greylags at Buness

Long-eared Owl at Baltasound
unusually pale-bellied but the finely-barred primary tips are readily apparent

Male Merlin at Westing

Female Pintail at Easter Loch
present for at least its third January at this site

Family party of Whooper Swans at Wester Loch
Having read that only adults are present at a site in southwest Norway it's encouraging to see some family groups here this winter.