Friday, 31 July 2020

31st July 2020 Unst SSE4 Clear

A late start after our night out(!) On our way to the shop, Kristofer kindly sent me a message to say he'd seen an interesting immature Heron at Dam Loch with purple around the base of its neck... an attached image confirmed its unusual appearance that also included dark patches on its upperparts. We joined Brydon there, and whilst the Heron's whitish face and pale grey upper neck-sides looked typical of those of a Grey Heron its patchy appearance and dark lower neck-sides were plain to see. However, it quickly took flight showing the typical short leg projection of a Grey Heron, and even more eye-catching, the asymmetrical and irregular dark markings present on its neck, mantle and upperwings looked suspiciously like being the result of some form of contamination to its plumage. Brydon picked out a Common Swift flying back and forth over the loch being only the second that I've seen this year.

contaminated? Grey Heron at Dam Loch (top image Kristofer Wilson)

First-summer Great Blue Heron on Bryher April 2015 (J.F. Cooper)

30th July 2020 Unst Calm & overcast

We thoroughly enjoyed attending a Storm-Petrel ringing session at Lamba Ness where a Leach's Petrel and 60 Storm Petrels and just a single retrap were caught before the wind picked-up curtailing the session.
Leach's Petrel at Lamba Ness

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

28th July 2020 Unst

A wet and windy morning so I waited for the rain to ease before heading to Lamba Ness where I saw 2 Manx Shearwaters fly north, 1 south and c.500 Puffins fly north. Skaw produced my first Common Swift of the year - a juvenile. A walk around Norwick added a Merlin, 10 Swallows and a Mealy Redpoll.

Puffins passing Lamba Ness

Manx Shearwater passing Lamba Ness

Juvenile Arctic Skua

Juvenile Common Swift at Skaw

Monday, 27 July 2020

27th July 2020 Unst S3 Clear

A nice morning to be out birding albeit a Moorhen along the burn at Norwick was the only surprise!

Moorhen at Norwick

Sunday, 26 July 2020

26th July 2020 Unst W3 Overcast

I was greeted at Skaw by 2 Teal flying around but otherwise just the typical build-up in numbers of Twite. A walk around Norwick added just a single Mealy Redpoll.

Twite at Skaw

 Teal at Skaw

Mealy Redpoll at Norwick

Saturday, 25 July 2020

25th July 2020 Unst SE3 Overcast

Another day where the wind direction encouraged me to take a look for passerine migrants but when  I failed to find any.

First-summer Arctic Tern at Norwick

Friday, 24 July 2020

24th July 2020 Unst N1 Clear

The flock of 7 Mealy Redpolls were still present at Norwick where I also saw a juvenile Siskin.

Juvenile Wheatear at Skaw
it has been a very good breeding season for them

Juvenile Siskin at Norwick

Arctic Terns at Burrafirth

Thursday, 23 July 2020

23rd July 2020 Unst SE3 Overcast

With an overnight southeasterly I optimistically tried Skaw and Norwick hoping for and early Autumn passerine migrant but only saw 3 Swallows. An equally fruitless evening seawatch from Lamba Ness although the Puffins are always good value and a flock of 7 Mealy Redpolls were seen feeding roadside along Holsens road that included several juveniles.

Millfield from Holsens road

Puffins at Lamba Ness

Adult and juvenile Mealy Redpoll along Holsens road

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

22nd July 2020 Yell SE1

My fourth Summer surveying on Yell was proving another blank for finding any of the only recently discovered Bog Orchids, but a couple of days ago Brydon searched a known site and found a few, that I was able to see today.

Bog Orchids on Yell

21st July 2020 Shetland

On hearing the flight call of a Red-necked Phalarope I quickly picked out a juvenile overhead that conveniently dropped onto a nearby pool.

Juvenile Red-necked Phalarope
This fresh juvenile still retains the mauve wash to its breast that quickly fades to white.

Monday, 20 July 2020

19th July 2020 Unst W3 Overcast

There were 8 Sanderling on the beach at Skaw and 3 at Norwick.

Second-summer Arctic Tern at Norwick
Whilst the upperwing pattern resembles that of a first-summer the black cap save for a few white flecks appears far too well-developed and the patchy underparts comprising a mixture of grey and white feathers are all described features of a second-summer (Olsen & Larsson 1995).

Thursday, 9 July 2020

9th July 2020 Yell W3 Overcast

Another day at work in south Yell that produced 4 Common Blue Damselflies including a 'colourless' female and a pod of at least 7 Killer Whales.

Killer Whales off Ulsta
Unfortunately I didn't have my DSLR camera with me - I should have quickly jumped on the ferry to mainland!

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

7th July 2020 Yell

Whilst busy surveying on Yell I'm not routinely carrying a camera but I've managed mobile phone images of a Common Blue Damselfly found last Friday alongside a peat bog pool being the first Odonota that I've seen on Shetland and a Lesser Twayblade found this afternoon on a heather-covered bank being only the second time I've found this diminutive Orchid on Yell.

Ronas Hill & Yell Sound from above West Yell

Common Blue Damselfly on Yell

Lesser Twayblade on Yell