Sunday, 30 August 2020

30th August 2020 Unst N2 Overcast

I failed to see any passerine migrants at Skaw or Burrafirth but a walk around Norwick produced a Reed Warbler and 5 Willow Warblers. We took a drive south to Westing finding a flock of c.200 Golden Plover but nothing better among them. The fields around Uyeasound added another c.40 Golden Plover, a flock of 12 Ruff and a juvenile Little Gull. Heading back north we drove via the Haroldswick cattle field that is still playing host to the juvenile Rosy Starling found by Robbie a few days ago.

Juvenile Little Gull at Uyeasound

Juvenile Little Gull and Ruff at Uyeasound

Juvenile Rosy Starling at Haroldswick

Thursday, 27 August 2020

27th August 2020 Yell ENE1 Overcast

After a long day at work on Yell I drove home past Adrian Kettle's house in Mid Yell where the juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker that Adrian had found early this morning was obligingly sat on the wooden frame of his garden swing!

Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker at Mid Yell

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

25th August 2020 Unst ENE 1 Overcast

Nice conditions for birding in the morning despite the midges, but once the cloud cleared, the blue skies killed the activity. I mistimed my arrival at Skaw as two large raptors were just disappearing south over the Saxa Vord ridge - despite putting what appeared every Bonxie on Unst into the air for 20 minutes unfortunately I failed to see them again. A Lesser Whitethroat at Lamba Ness was the first I've seen this Autumn. The Greenish Warbler was still present at the Shore Station. A walk around Norwick added the Pied Flycatcher and 2 Willow Warblers. On walking around Haroldswick I bumped into a frustratingly silent Acro, that looked a Marsh Warbler, but promptly disappeared albeit not before I'd obtained a few images. At Clingera 3 Black-tailed Godwits were the first we've seen this year.

large raptors heading south from Skaw

Lesser Whitethroat at Lamba Ness

Marsh Warbler at Haroldswick
Pro-Marsh Warbler features include its large-eyed appearance, broad-based hefty bill, overall pale sandy appearance (I've made no adjustments to the images), the yellowish blush to its underparts, pale undertail-coverts, sturdy pale legs, contrastingly pale-fringed tertials, evenly spaced pale-fringed primaries and c.100% primary projection.

Monday, 24 August 2020

24th August 2020 Unst NW4 Overcast

A day at work on Yell. During my first break I had time to check a single garden at Camb seeing a Willow Warbler. For my second break I took a drive along the White Wife valley at Otterswick. Overlooking the second garden from the car I checked the bird feeders, and in doing so, saw a Barred Warbler fly from one fuscia to another albeit at a range of c.100m. Whilst it landed near the top of the fuscia, it was virtually hidden from view, but a small Phyllosc jumped out of the fuscia and started to mob the Barred! Whilst it's tiny size, grey-green upperparts and silky-white underparts was about all the detail that I could determine... it was also zipping around like another Greenish Warbler... or was I losing the plot!! I needed to get closer so I took a walk up the burn and on arrival at the garden saw the Barred, a Blackcap but disappointingly no sign of a Phyllosc. The next garden failed to produce anything so I headed back towards the sea. As I passed the final garden an unstreaked-Acro flew along the edge of a line of willows. Whilst attempting to obtain views and photograph the Acro, I'd just seen enough to believe that it was a Reed Warbler, when I heard a Greenish Warbler calling from inside the garden - brilliant!! With a little careful maneuvering I soon located the Greenish - the fourth I've found in 4 days! All too soon I had to leave to get back to work but a productive day!

Barred Warbler at White Wife, Otterswick

Reed Warbler at White Wife, Otterswick

Greenish Warbler at White Wife, Otterswick

White Wife with Out Skerries in the background
It makes you wonder how many Greenish Warblers might be on Skerries at the moment... where coincidentally my parents found 3 different birds in 4 days in late August 1997... when as JFC will quite rightly remind me, they were still a BBRC rarity!

Sunday, 23 August 2020

23rd August 2020 Unst N4 Overcast

I joined Brydon at Lamba Ness for an hour's seawatching where I obtained a very brief view of a Storm Petrel and far more prolonged views of a Phalarope called by Brydon that we both felt most-likely a Red-necked but it was just too distant for us to be sure. I returned home and didn't feel too enthused by the northerly wind although perhaps I should have thought more of the presence of a Garden Warbler aptly in our garden. We didn't venture back out until early afternoon when we walked around Norwick seeing our first Pied Flycatcher and Blackcap of the Autumn, 2 Garden Warblers, 3 Willow Warblers and the Wood Warbler when we found a Greenish Warbler at Valyie - superb! As it raised the inevitable question as to whether it was the same bird having moved site we headed for Haroldswick and I met Mike in the small garden where his pishing quickly produced a few brief views that nicely confirmed that individual's continued presence. We then headed for Burrafirth quickly seeing the lingering Barred, Garden and Willow Warblers before finding another Greenish. Amazing! We were soon joined by Robbie who also appreciated it being a real performer! We then had high hopes for a late visit to Skaw but it added just a Garden Warbler.

Garden Warbler at Millfield

Pied Flycatcher at Norwick

Wood Warbler at Norwick

Greenish Warbler at Valyie

Greenish Warbler at Burrafirth

Saturday, 22 August 2020

22nd August 2020 Unst W4 Overcast

The overnight rain had cleared before dawn leaving a breezy day. Burrafirth was still playing host to the Barred Warbler and the Willow Warbler. A look around Haroldswick produced a Sparrowhawk and the Greenish Warbler that had been joined by a Wood Warbler. Skaw added 4 Knot, 2 Garden Warblers and a walk around Norwick produced 3 Garden Warblers, the Wood Warbler and a Willow Warbler.

Greenish Warbler at Haroldswick

Wood Warbler at Haroldswick

Garden Warbler at Skaw

Friday, 21 August 2020

21st August 2020 Unst SE4 Overcast

After the initially clear skies last night it was no real surprise that I couldn't find the Blyth's Reed Warbler at Skaw this morning, but even worse, I failed to find any other passerine migrants either. It was therefore a surprise that Burrafirth was still playing host to the Barred Warbler, the Garden Warbler and the Willow Warbler and Norwick had held on to its Long-tailed Duck, Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler and Wood Warbler too. After lunch I decided to try a few sites that I hadn't visited yesterday, and on getting out of the car at the first garden at Haroldswick, I heard the familiar call of a Greenish Warbler! Despite it being a small garden, it still took a while to see it and a few more views before I managed to photograph it, as it hyper-actively moved around the garden. Within a few minutes it started raining but it was worth getting soaked for more views, although I'd forgotten that I'd left the car window open!! Despite covering the rest of Haroldswick, NorthDale and a few more places we failed to see another migrant!

Greenish Warbler at Haroldswick

Thursday, 20 August 2020

20th August 2020 SE5 Overcast

A return to windier conditions today and it was raining heavily by mid-morning ensuring that I got drenched whilst walking around Norwick! The weather suddenly cleared late afternoon leaving a sunny calm evening that allowed a return visit to Skaw where the Blyth's Reed Warbler remains, a Ruff that is the first I've seen this year and a Grey Wagtail. Norwick added a Garden Warbler, a Wood Warbler and a Willow Warbler.

Gannets off the north cliffs of Lamba Ness

Grey Wagtail at Skaw

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

19th August 2020 Unst E1 Overcast

A Willow Warbler in our garden seemed a good omen for another good day. Skaw was shrouded in early morning fog so I drove to Burrafirth seeing an Otter on one side of the road and a Snipe in what appeared a crouching threat display facing the Otter from the opposite side of the road. I'd not long arrived when Brydon phoned to say that he'd found a Greenish Warbler in Halligarth! I was soon there and whilst I soon heard it call it took me a while to see it by when I'd seen a Barred Warbler and a Willow Warbler, but as the day brightened the Greenish Warbler put on a fine show catching flies. I returned to Burrafirth seeing a Kestrel, the Barred Warbler, a Garden Warbler and 2 Willow Warblers. At Norwick the Long-tailed Duck still present and we found another Barred Warbler and then our first Wood Warbler of the year but just a single Willow Warbler that was singing occasionally. The only passerine migrant I saw at Skaw was the Blyth's Reed Warbler but it proved no more obliging than yesterday. NorthDale produced 3 overflying Knot and the lingering Barred Warbler being my fourth of the day.

Greenish Warbler at Halligarth

Garden Warbler at Burrafirth

Wood Warbler at Norwick

Blyth's Reed Warbler at Skaw

Flock of Snipe dropping in at Lamba Ness

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

18th August 2020 Unst NE2 Overcast

After the windy day yesterday it was a welcome return to calm'ish drifty overcast conditions. The Barred Warbler and Willow Warbler were still at Burrafirth where 2 adult male Peregrine were watched dog-fighting overhead. Haroldswick added a Kestrel and the family party of Sedge Warblers still doing well. Not long after arriving at Skaw I inadvertently flushed an eye-catching unstreaked Acro that gave me the runaround for a while but I finally obtained a few brief views and a couple of poor images that was enough for me to suspect that it was a Blyth's Reed Warbler. I sent one of the poor images to JFC who replied by return saying 'it looks a perfect BRW'... Whilst it remained incredibly elusive moving through dense vegetation but remaining completely hidden it did finally allow me to obtain a couple of better images and called a few times allowing me to obtain a recording. A walk around Norwick produced just 2 Willow Warblers and a visit to NorthDale confirmed the ongoing presence of the Barred Warbler there. With thick fog descending, just when the birding seemed over for the day, Brydon first heard and then quickly located a Citrine Wagtail at Buness that we were fortunate to see and hear before it departed joining an overflying flock of Meadow Pipits.

Barred Warbler at Burrafirth

Adult Sedge Warbler still busy collecting food at Haroldswick

Juvenile Sedge Warbler at Haroldswick

Blyth's Reed Warbler at Skaw

Citrine Wagtail at Buness