Saturday, 27 February 2021

27th February 2021 Unst W5 Hazy sunshine

More Spring-like sunshine but combined with a strong cool breeze! We walked Burrafirth and Norwick beaches for the monthly SOETAG beached birds survey sadly finding another dead badly-oiled Guillemot at Norwick. On a happier note there was a Great Northern Diver, 3 Red-throated Divers and a 2cy Glaucous Gull at Burrafirth.

2cy Glaucous Gull at Burrafirth

dead badly-oiled Guillemot at Norwick

Friday, 26 February 2021

26th February 2021 Yell NW3 Overcast

A morning spent working on Yell where we saw 3 2cy Mute Swans fly past the windfarm near Cullivoe at 8.48am. Robbie had seen presumably the same trio fly off from Baltasound on Unst at 8.15am. None were 'polish' Swans so at least one wasn't one of the youngsters from Easter Loch. We also saw 6 Bar-tailed Godwits at Hamnavoe and a brief visit to mainland produced a surprise pair of Red Grouse fly across the road.

Mute Swans near Cullivoe

Bar-tailed Godwits at Hamnavoe

Monday, 22 February 2021

22nd February 2021 Unst WSW3 Overcast

A nice mild day that became increasingly sunny. A Water Rail was present in our neighbours field feeding around the silage bales. A walk around Skaw produced a Sparrowhawk along the cliffs and my first 2 Skykarks of the year. Lamba Ness produced the surprise for the day being 2 overflying 2cy Mute Swans heading towards Norwick, a Merlin and an oiled 2cy Kittiwake in bad shape. A walk around Norwick added a Redwing and another 2 Skylarks and we saw another at Haroldswick too.  

Water Rail at Millfield

Mute Swans over Lamba Ness

Redwing at Norwick

Sunday, 21 February 2021

21st February 2021 Unst SW6 Clear

A bright but breezy day. I headed out along Clibberswick but there was no sign of yesterday's White-billed Diver. Robbie then saw a pod of Orcas move north past Haroldswick so we returned to view from Clibberswick and saw them cross the wick and then patrolling along the cliffs of Lamba Ness.

Orcas off Norwick

Saturday, 20 February 2021

20th February 2021 Unst SW2 Clear

A Spring-like morning. Walking some beaches sadly produced a dead Razorbill at Inner Skaw on Lamba Ness and an oiled Herring Gull at Burrafirth. There was also a Glaucous Gull on the beach Burrafirth. Just as we were leaving to visit the shop we saw a White-billed Diver off Norwick.

Dead Razorbill on the beach at Inner Skaw, Lamba Ness

Oiled 2cy Herring Gull at Burrafirth

4cy Glaucous Gull at Burrafirth
Being similar in size to a Herring Gull and with its wings projecting so far past the tip of its tail this must be a small female.

White-billed Diver off Norwick

Friday, 19 February 2021

19th February 2021 Unst S5 Overcast

Unfortunately more oiled Guillemots were found at both Norwick and Skaw. A walk around Norwick produced 3 Woodcock and a Snow Bunting was seen briefly among a flock of Twite. The drake Gadwall was still present at Haroldswick. 

The depressing sight of doomed oiled Guillemots still coming ashore at Norwick as they start to return to their breeding ledges at the neighbouring Hermaness Special Protected Area - is anywhere truly protected anymore?

The situation was no better at Skaw where I soon found a dead oiled Guillemot - heartbreaking!
Snow Bunting at Millfield

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

17th February 2021 Yell SE6 Overcast

A day spent counting wildfowl and waders on Yell although the highlight was 2 2cy Iceland Gulls in fields alongside Loch of Vatsetter albeit a flock of 19 Oystercatchers near Burravoe - being part of a Shetland-wide arrival today and a sure sign of Spring - was nearly as welcome!

Whooper Swans on Yell

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

16th February 2021 Unst S6 Rain clearing

Heavy seas off Norwick where there was a Slavonian Grebe riding the waves. Sadly there was also a badly oiled Guillemot seen hopelessly flapping ashore and an oiled Black-headed Gull. This in addition to a badly oiled Common Gull seen off Norwick yesterday and a partially oiled Black-headed Gull at Haroldswick.

Slavonian Grebe off Norwick

15th February 2021 Unst S3 Clear

As the snow had melted overnight we completed our WeBS counts producing the drake Gadwall, 6 Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver, 5 Oystercatchers, 5 Woodcock and a Redwing.

Woodcock at Norwick

13th February 2021 Unst S7 Overcast

A Sparrowhawk flew across Norwick being the first I've seen this year.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

10th February 2021 Unst NW1 Clear

A visit to the shop produced our first Snow Bunting of the year that was keeping company with a Starling on the roof! On our way home we saw a Great Tit scouring the fence of a phone box in Baltasound and then another clinging to the wall of a house near Brakefield. We arrived home to our first Reed Bunting of the year sat in our willows. A walk around Norwick produced a Water Rail, 6 Woodcock, 8 Snipe and our first Song Thrush of the year.


heading back north over Setter

Haroldswick and Saxa Vord hill

Haroldswick pool


Snow Bunting at Skibhoul Stores