Monday, 30 March 2020

30th March 2020 Unst N4 Overcast

A quick look around the garden produced 2 overflying Snow Buntings.

Friday, 27 March 2020

27th March 2020 Unst W4 Clear

Being the time of year when winter visitors are departing whilst summer visitors are arriving was neatly illustrated by seeing 3 Whooper Swans flying towards Norwick followed a few minutes later by us seeing our a Chiffchaff in our rosa - the latter being our first for the year.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

26th March 2020 Unst W4 Clear

After a few passing showers early morning it soon became a bright sunny day. More good fortune as whilst again gardening today I heard the Gulls start alarming and looked skywards to see a Common Crane approaching high from the east, fly around the contour of the valley of Norwick and depart to the south - the second we have seen from our garden since living here.

Common Crane over Millfield, Norwick
Our previous earliest date for this species was 31/3.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

25th March 2020 Unst NW1 Overcast

A day staying at home gardening was considerably enlivened by the appearance of a pod of Killer Whales originally hugging the base of the cliffs of Lamba Ness eventually crossed the wick allowing us closer views until they continued south.

Red-throated Diver deciding it was time to depart!

Killer Whales from Millfield

Sunday, 22 March 2020

22nd March 2020 Unst SW5 Overcast

Norwick; juv Glaucous Gull, Pied Wagtail

Baltasound; Long-eared Owl

Juvenile Glaucous Gull at Norwick

Saturday, 21 March 2020

21st March 2020 Unst S3 Overcast

After a fine aurora, clear skies overnight and a southeasterly airflow crossing the North Sea a few more migrants arrived despite the subzero temperatures at dawn.

Lamba Ness; 5 Wigeon.

Skaw; 4 Snipe, 2 (juv & ad) Glaucous Gulls, Pied Wagtail.

Norwick; Snipe, 8 Woodpigeons, 4 Redwing, Mistle Thrush, 2 Pied Wagtails, 2 Siskin.

Haroldswick; 5 Pinkfeet, Bonxie.

A beautiful start to the day at Lamba Ness

Freighter passing Lamba Ness
It's fast approaching that time in Spring when you wonder where such ships have originated and whether there are any transatlantic passengers about to fly ashore...!

Wigeon off Lamba Ness

Adult Glaucous Gull at Skaw
Clearly having some difficulty flying due to its damaged left wing.

Mistle Thrush along Holsens road
The first that we've seen this year.

Starlings and Redwing at Norwick

Bonxie over Haroldswick
The first that we've seen this year. Ignoring the one seen in January last year it is our earliest March date for the species since living here.

Pinkfeet at Haroldswick

Thursday, 19 March 2020

19th March 2020 Unst NW2 Clear

It was nice to enjoy blue skies with some warmth in the sun. Whilst it felt like Spring, unfortunately the wind direction ensured that very few migrants were in evidence.

Norwick; Great Northern Diver, Robin, Pied Wagtail, 2 Snow Buntings.

NorthDale; 2 Fieldfares.

Burrafirth; Redwing.

Haroldswick; 4 Great Northern Diver, 3 Grey Heron, 2 Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtail, Siskin.

Muckle Flugga

part of the Gannetry in the background

Sheep on the Noup

Guillemots on the ledges

Shore Station at Burrafirth

thankfully just a controlled fire of a roof that had become dangerous in recent gales

Fieldfare at NorthDale

Female Siskin at Haroldswick

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

18th March 2020 Unst W6 Squally showers

Norwick; male Pied Wagtail, Snow Bunting

Male Pied Wagtail at Norwick

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

17th March 2020 Unst SW7 Overcast

Norwick; adult Glaucous Gull, Snow Bunting.

Baltasound; 3 Chaffinches.

Snow Bunting at Norwick

Male Chaffinch in Baltasound - the first we've seen this year

Monday, 16 March 2020

16th March 2020 Unst SW4 Clear

A bright and sunny early morning soon gave way to overcast and increasingly windy conditions. A walk around Norwick produced our first Collared Dove of the year.

Haroldswick; 5 Pink-footed Geese, Carrion Crow, Meadow Pipit

Burrafirth; Whooper Swan

Norwick; Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, 2 Siskins.

Collared Dove at Norwick
The first we've seen this year and looking a little sleepy after its journey. Brydon had seen the first for the year in Baltasound a couple of hours earlier. It is the first March Collared Dove we have seen on Unst with the first arrivals in the last 3 years all falling in the first half of April.

Rock Dove at Norwick

Sunday, 15 March 2020

15th March 2020 Unst SW3 Overcast

We covered a good few sites but really the only sign of Spring was a small arrival of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and an additional Carrion Crow!

Haroldswick; 9 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Carrion Crow

Norwick; 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 2 Redwing, Carrion Crow


Wednesday, 11 March 2020

11th March 2020 Unst SW6 Overcast

A windy grey morning so perhaps no surpise that Glaucous Gulls were back on the agenda with a couple seen at Skaw. A look at Norwick added my first 3 Woodpigeons of the year. As we drove into Baltasound a panic was ensuing with lots of Greylags, Lapwings, 8 Woodpigeons and Starlings taking to the air and a trail of Hooded Crows gave away the presence of a Red Kite flying low through Daisy Park! It then flew to the hillside north of Setters Hill where we watched it circling for a while - the first we've seen on Shetland!

Skaw; 2 juv Glaucous Gulls, 8 Skylarks

Norwick; 3 Woodpigeons, 19 Skylarks

NorthDale; 10 Skylarks, Fieldfare, 2 Redwings

Baltasound; 20 Wigeon, Red Kite, 8 Woodpigeons

Woodpigeon at Norwick
my first for the year!

Red Kite at Baltasound
A very welcome unexpected bonus on making a visit to the shop, and with only just over 20 records for Shetland, it's no real surprise that it's the first that we've seen here.

Monday, 9 March 2020

9th March 2020 Unst W2 Overcast

A virtually calm day with a similar array of early migrants to recent days but that also included our first Water Rail of the year.

Skaw; Skylark, 2 Snow Bunting.

Norwick; 2+ Merlins, 2 Redwing, Song Thrush, Carrion Crow, 15 Siskin.

Haroldswick; 2 Great Northern Divers, 5 Pink-footed Geese, 40 Ringed Plovers, Water Rail, 2 Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit.

Shetland Wren in song at Norwick

Male Pied Wagtail at Haroldswick

Female Pied Wagtail at Haroldswick
Whilst its pale flanks and grey mantle resemble those of a White Wagtail the blackness and extent of the rump suggest otherwise

Goose Barnacles at Haroldswick