Friday, 28 February 2020

28th February 2020 Unst E1 Overcast

After an hour seawatching from Lamba Ness I took a look at Skaw before we completed the monthly beached bird surveys.

Lamba Ness seawatch 7.45am-8.45am; 400N Gannet

Burrafirth; juvenile Glaucous Gull

Haroldswick; 3 Great Northern Divers

Easting beach; 3 Great Northern Divers

Uyeasound; Great Northern Diver, 3 Mute Swans, 2 Goosander

Great Northern Diver off Uyeasound

Pair of Goosander on Easter Loch

Thursday, 27 February 2020

27th February 2020 Unst & Yell SW2 Snow showers

Haroldswick; adult Glaucous Gull

Gloup, Yell; juvenile Iceland Gull

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

26th February 2020 Unst W2 Sleet showers

Millfield; 2 Red-throated Divers, Great Northern Diver, 25 Snow Buntings.

Sunday, 23 February 2020

23rd February 2020 Unst NW1 Overcast

Lamba Ness seawatch with Brydon 8.00am - 9.00am; drake Eider N then S, 30N Kittiwake

Millfield; 5 Snow Buntings

Haroldswick; Great Northern Diver, Woodcock, Long-eared Owl

Westing; juv. Iceland Gull

Oil rig off Lamba Ness

Long-eared Owl at Haroldswick

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

19th February 2020 Unst NW2 Clear

Lamba Ness seawatch 8.00am - 8.45am; blue Fulmar N, Merlin, 2w Glaucous Gull

Millfield; Peregrine, 6 Snow Buntings

Saturday, 15 February 2020

15th February 2020 Unst S6 Overcast

Millfield; 2 Snow Buntings

Westing; juv. Iceland Gull

Uyeasound; 16 (14ad,2juv) Whooper Swans, 3 (2ad,juv) Mute Swans.

the White Wife entering into the spirit of Up-Helly-Aa

14th February 2020 Unst S6 Overcast

Millfield; juv. Glaucous Gull, Snow Bunting.

Uyeasound Up-Helly-Aa 2020

Thursday, 13 February 2020

13th February 2020 Unst WSW2 Clear

Much nicer weather today than forecast with thankfully no sign of the promised overnight heavy snow. I sea-watched for an hour that produced 5 blue Fulmars and the largest northbound number of Gannets I've seen so far this year. We took a look around Haroldswick in the afternoon.

Lamba Ness seawatch 9.00am - 10.00am; 100N Fulmars, 5N blue Fulmars, 800N Gannets, 2N Kittiwakes, 5N Guillemot.

Haroldswick; 2 Great Northern Divers, 5 Pink-footed Geese, 5 Redwings, 8 Snow Buntings.

Millfield; 200 Starlings, Snow Bunting.

A snow-capped Saxa Vord hill from Lamba Ness

Gannets passing Lamba Ness

blue Fulmar passing Lamba Ness

Redwings at Haroldswick

Meadow Pipit at Haroldswick
previously seen on the 3rd February it remains the only one that we've seen this year

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

12th February 2020 Unst NW3 Wintry showers

I spent a cold hour seawatching from Lamba Ness this morning that produced my first double-figue count of blue Fulmars this year. We walked to Valyie and back this afternoon.

Lamba Ness seawatch (9.00am - 10.00am); 1N Red-throated Diver, 500N Fulmar, 11N blue Fulmar, 100N Gannet, 2N (ad, 2w) Glaucous Gulls, 5N Kittiwake, 5N Guillemot.

Norwick; Merlin, 2 Moorhens, Long-eared Owl, Song Thrush.

the Lamba Ness track in winter plumage!

Norwick on my return

Monday, 10 February 2020

10th February 2020 Unst W5 Sleet showers

Millfield; 5 Red-throated Divers, juv. Iceland Gull, Razorbill

Sunday, 9 February 2020

9th February 2020 Unst SW3 Overcast

With Storm Ciara ravaging most of the UK we were fortunate to be avoiding the worst of the weather and a visit to Uyeasound produced the drake King Eider, 3 Iceland Gulls and 2 Glaucous Gulls.

Uyeasound; 6 Red-throated Divers, 125 Eiders, drake King Eider, 50 Long-tailed Ducks, 14 Goldeneyes, 3 juv. Iceland Gulls, 2 (juv & 2w) Glaucous Gulls

Westing; 2 Fieldfares

Goldeneyes off Uyeasound

Juvenile Iceland Gull at Uyeasound

Drake King Eider off Uyeasound


Saturday, 8 February 2020

8th February 2020 S7 Overcast

The weather improved around midday enabling us to complete the monthly WeBS counts during the afternoon.

Haroldswick; 5 Pinkfeet Geese

Burrafirth; 2 Whooper Swans

Easter Loch; 16 (14ad,2juv) Whooper Swans, 3 (2ad,juv) Mute Swans

Thursday, 6 February 2020

6th February 2020 Unst WSW5 Drizzle

Millfield; 3 Oystercatchers, Robin, 2 Snow Buntings

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

4th February 2020 Unst NE4 Clear

After an hour's seawatch that produced an adult Glaucous Gull I walked around Skaw seeing several Blackbirds, a Redwing and a Fieldfare. We then walked to Valyie where we flushed our first 2 Woodcock of the year. As we made our way down the hill alarming Corvids alerted us to a juvenile White-tailed Sea-Eagle flying in off the sea - brilliant! It made its way straight towards us with both Ravens and Hooded Crows in pursuit. Much to our surprise it landed in the adjacent field presumably tired and relieved to have made landfall. All too soon it took flight and headed across the valley and began circling over Clibberswick hill where it appeared to land near the summit. We then saw another Woodcock in Haroldswick before taking a drive to Uyeasound where we couldn't see the King Eider.

Holsen's road; 2 Moorhens, 3 Redwings

Lamba Ness seawatch 9.00am-10.00am; 80N Fulmar, 30N Gannet, ad N Glaucous Gull, 18N Kittiwake, 31N Guiilemots

Skaw; 5 Blackbirds, Fieldfare, Redwing

Norwick; juv (2cy) White-tailed Sea-Eagle, 2 Woodcock, Robin, 8 Blackbirds

Haroldswick; Woodcock

Uyeasound; 13 (11ad,2juv) Whooper Swans, 3 Mute Swans (2ad, juv), 6 Long-tailed Ducks,

Baltasound; 3ad European White-fronted Goose

White-tailed Sea-Eagle against the cliffs of Lamba Ness
likely the first land that it saw after leaving Norway! 

Juvenile (2cy) White-tailed Sea-Eagle at Norwick
The third we've seen on Unst but the second in successive years at Norwick. John Lowrie Irvine had recently just messaged me to say that he was watching Sea-Eagles in Norway and just yesterday evening I'd been enviously reading about the numbers Julian Bell is currently seeing in southwest Norway here.

Monday, 3 February 2020

3rd February 2020 Unst SE4 Overcast

With a southeasterly wind overnight there was always the chance of a few early passerine migrants finding there way to the island and during a quick look around the north of the island we saw our first Meadow Pipit of the year, our largest flock of Redwings this year and a trio of Fieldfares.

Burrafirth; 2 Red-throated Divers, 3 Fieldfare

Haroldswick; Meadow Pipit

Norwick; 7 Redwing

Stove; Redwing, 12 Snow Buntings

Sunday, 2 February 2020

2nd February 2020 Unst NW1 Clear

A seawatch from Lamba Ness produced 2 Red-throated Divers, 4 blue Fulmars and 3 Glaucous Gulls flying north. A look at Uyeasound produced better views of the drake King Eider and a walk out to Heogland produced tantalising views of a challenging Gull!

Lamba Ness seawatch 9.00am - 10.15am; 2N Red-throated Diver, 2,000N Fulmar, 4N blue Fulmars, 500N Gannets, 3N Glaucous Gulls (2ad,3w), 20N Kittiwake

Haroldswick; Great Northern Diver

Uyeasound; 3 Red-throated Divers, Great Northern Diver, 13 Whooper Swans, 3 Mute Swans, 75 Eider, drake King Eider, 300 Long-tailed Ducks, 60 Lapwing, 2 Purple Sandpipers, juv. Iceland Gull

Caldback; 30 Snow Buntings 

Third-winter Glaucous Gull passing Lamba Ness

Drake King Eider off Uyeasound

I'm fairly certain that this challenging Gull falls into the Iceland Gull complex but am far less sure exactly where! Just a dark glaucoides?

Saturday, 1 February 2020

1st February 2020 Unst NNE4 Clear

On my way along the track to Lamba Ness there was an Iceland Gull in a roadside field. Seawatching proved disappointingly quiet with just a single blue Fulmar of note. A walk around Skaw produced an Iceland Gull, 8 Glaucous Gulls, a Fieldfare and a Snow Bunting.

Lamba Ness; juv. Iceland Gull. Sea-watch 9.00am - 9.30am; blue Fulmar north, 20N Kittiwakes. 20N Guillemots,

Skaw; juv. Iceland Gull, 8 Glaucous Gulls (4juv,2w,3w,2ad), Black Guillemot, Fieldfare, Snow Bunting

Juvenile Iceland Gull at Skaw