Friday, 30 October 2020

30th October 2020 Unst W6 Clear

A very windy day but at least it remained dry. A Brambling in our garden was a decent start to the day and there were plenty of both Fieldfares and Redwings at everywhere visited. A walk around Norwick produced a Waxwing, a Siberian Chiffchaff, a Goldcrest, 2 Blue Tits, a Reed Bunting and my first Goldfinch of the year. We then completed our monthly WeBS counts that included 2 Glaucous Gulls at Burrafirth.

Brambling at Millfield

Glaucous Gull at Burrafirth

Thursday, 29 October 2020

29th October 2020 Unst SW2 Clear

Another lovely calm day with plenty of warm sunshine. A walk around Norwick had produced a Sparrowhawk, a Woodcock, plenty of small flocks of Great Black-backed and Herring Gulls arriving for the first time this Autumn, 6 Blackcaps, a Siberian Chiffchaff, one of the Yellow-browed Warblers, c.10 Brambling and c.15 Chaffinch but just as I was passing the cemetery nearing home I heard Redpolls calling and turned around to see a Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll accompanied by a much smaller Redpoll sp. flying past me. Whilst watching them fly west, I heard a deep 'chet chet chet' from above me, looked up and there was a superb clean-flanked Hornemann's sat on wires virtually directly above me. On obtaining only a couple of images and I heard another series of call from behind me, turned around, and there was another 2 clean-flanked Hornemann's and a Northwestern Redpoll also sat on the overhead wires! Almost immediately the four birds on the wires flew to some nearby seeding vegetation c.70m away. But before I had reached them frustratingly they flew again, in the direction of the beach. I headed home where I was greeted by Brenda telling me she'd seen a Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll in our garden! I sat down with a coffee and she casually remarked ''it's back'' and sure enough... it then spent a while in our garden before flying off high north. I revisited Norwick but couldn't relocate any Redpolls. At Skaw I saw a Siberian Chiffchaff but on returning home managed my second garden tick of the morning - a Great Tit! We then headed for Burrafirth to complete the beached bird survey where the highlight was a large flock of lively newly-arrived Gulls that included a Glaucous Gull.

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll at Norwick
Far from the best angle to view this beauty but ample opportunity to check its utc's!

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll at Millfield

Great Tit bearing a Norwegian ring at Millfield
Lamba Ness was proving quiet when Brenda sent me a message to say there was a Great Tit in our garden - she had previously seen one in our garden on 30/3/17 but I was working on Yell that day so hadn't seen it. This one did the decent thing and lingered for most of the day! Mike could determine part of the words Stavanger and Norway from images of the ring.

Gulls at Burrafirth

Glaucous Gull at Burrafirth

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

28th October 2020 Unst NE2 Overcast

Another calm day but the birding remained very much the same with a Long-tailed Duck and a Siberian Chiffchaff at Skaw, 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs along Holsen's road, a Siberian Chiffchaff, 2 Yellow-browed Warblers and a ringed Blue Tit around Norwick, a Siberian Chiffchaff and a Blue Tit at Burrafirth and  a Siberian Chiffchaff and the Yellow-browed Warbler still in Baltasound. A visit to Westing added both the lingering Eastern Stonechat and Whinchat and a Long-tailed Duck at Watlee.

Blue Tit at Burrafirth

Eastern Stonechat at Westing

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

27th October 2020 Unst SE1 Clear

After an hour's rain from dawn the skies cleared and it was a warm calm day. A walk around Norwick produced a Long-tailed Duck, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs and a Yellow-browed Warbler. A visit to Skaw added 3 Siberian Chiffchaffs and 3 Blue Tits. Burrafirth was playing host to 2 Common Chiffchaffs and the Siskin. A walk around Haroldswick added another Siberian Chiffchaff and a visit to the shop in Baltasound added 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs and another Yellow-browed Warbler.

Long-tailed Duck at Norwick

Yellow-browed Warbler at Norwick

Otter about to take a dip ...

Yellow-browed Warbler in Baltasound

Monday, 26 October 2020

26th October 2020 Unst S4 Clear

A walk around Norwick produced 6 Blackcaps, a Common Chiffchaff and 3 Siberian Chiffchaffs. Holsen's road added another 3 Siberian Chiffchaffs and a Little Bunting and there were 3 Siberian Chiffchaffs at Skaw too. Burrafirth added another Siberian Chiffchaff and a Siskin. We then returned to Westing where there was again no sign of the Wagtail but the Whinchat was still present and the Eastern Stonechat was still proving wary although Robbie had managed to obtain much better images of it earlier in the day.

Little Bunting along Holsen's road

Siberian Chiffchaff at Burrafirth

Siskin at Burrafirth

Eastern Stonechat at Westing (Robbie Brookes)

Sunday, 25 October 2020

25th October 2020 Unst SW4 Clear

I spent the morning working on Yell seeing a Scaup on Sand Water, a Peregrine and 2 Blue Tits at West Sandwick and 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest at Mid Yell. We returned to Unst on the 12.30pm ferry and whilst passing the Westing junction received the news that an apparent East Siberian Wagtail had been seen on Westing beach for 5 minutes! We reversed the car and made our way to Westing beach but unfortunately the Wagtail hadn't returned although there were plenty of birds still feeding on the beach including 2 Brambling and a Lapland Bunting. On checking the nearby fields we bumped into a smart Eastern Stonechat and a Whinchat near the willows. We then checked the beach at Lund before returning one last time to Westing  at dusk in the hope the Wagtail was back on the beach but it wasn't to be.

    Eastern Stonechat at Westing

Friday, 23 October 2020

23rd October 2020 Unst SE4 Rain by late morning

A walk around Norwick produced a Common Chiffchaff, a Siberian Chiffchaff, a Blackcap, a Great Tit, 2 Northwestern Redpolls, 4 Common Crossbills and my first Waxwing of the year but I failed to see either of the Arctic Redpolls albeit the weather was poor. Skaw added two more Siberian Chiffchaffs but there was no sign of the Pine Bunting.

Common Crossbill at Norwick

Waxwing at Norwick

Great Tit at Norwick

Thursday, 22 October 2020

22nd October 2020 Unst NE4 Clear

Much nicer weather today but the same line-up of species seen including the Pine Bunting at Skaw, both the Hornemann's and Coues's Arctic Redpolls at Valyie, a Woodcock, 3 Blue Tits, fair numbers of Blackbirds, Redwings and Fieldfares, a couple of Blackcaps, a slight increase in the number of Siberian Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest.

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll at Valyie
Dave Pullan recently told me that there were no recordings of this taxa available on xeno-canto so I've added a few of this individual including here.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

21st October 2020 Unst NE6 Light rain showers

The lengthy run of challenging weather continues. I headed to Valyie where migrants in evidence included a Woodcock, 10 Redwings, 3 Fieldfare, 3 Siberian Chiffchaffs and 2 Blackcaps and 5 Northwestern Redpolls but the highlights were a dinky Coues's Arctic Redpoll that put on a nice performance quickly followed by a snowball of a Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll neither of which individuals I'd seen before. I then headed to Skaw where there were a few Redwings lining the Holsen's road and the Pine Bunting was proving both flighty and elusive in the windy conditions.

Woodcock at Valyie

Coues's Arctic Redpoll at Valyie

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll at Valyie

Pine Bunting at Skaw