Monday, 31 May 2021

31st May 2021 Unst SSE4 Fog clearing

The haar had rolled in overnight and hampered early morning birding and I'd seen little until arriving at Leawart where through the murk seeing the Bee-eater back on the overhead wires was a considerable surprise! Brenda had photographed the Hawfinch eating an apple core whilst I was out but there was no sign of it or the apple core by the time that I returned home! I persevered but in reality had seen very little until mid-afternoon when on checking a derelict croft's garden my pishing provoked a Lesser Whitethroat-like 'teck' repeated around 15 times from low within an elder. As I tracked the call 'left' through the elders eventually out popped a female Subalpine Warbler! It was soon off and across a field flying towards another croft garden where I obtained some better views and some images before it flew off towards a ruin. No sign of it there but I next heard and then saw it very briefly on the ground in yet another garden before glimpsing it leave back in the direction of the original croft garden where it finally gave itself up again and settled down from around 6pm albeit remaining very furtive.

Millfield: Hawfinch.

Holsens road: Garden Warbler & Chiffchaff.

Skaw: Common Sandpiper & Robin.

Norwick: Sparrowhawk, 2 Sanderling, Bee-eater, Swallow & Redpoll heard flying over.

Haroldswick: Subalpine Warbler.

Bee-eater in the murk

normal service resumed once the fog cleared!

Female Subalpine Warbler at Haroldswick
Thanks Glen for forwarding this interesting link whilst I was still out in the field with it:

Sunday, 30 May 2021

30th May 2021 Unst S3 Overcast

The Hawfinch was still in our garden first thing but not thereafter. A check of the usual sites proved largely unproductive with very few passerine migrants in evidence. Thankfully Phil Crockett had his eyes to the skies hoping to see the thought-provoking Common Buzzard and picked out a Rough-legged Buzzard moving high northwards over Norwick at 11.50am. Half an hour later it flew west over Norwick allowing nice scope views as it gained height until lost in the murk - superb! Some skywatching then produced the Common Buzzard, a Sparrowhawk and a handful of hirundines.

Millfield: 3 House Martin, 2 Swallow & Hawfinch.

Skaw: Fieldfare & Chiffchaff.

Norwick: Common Buzzard, Rough-legged Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Robin, Blackcap, 2 Garden Warblers, 3 Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler & 5 Tree Sparrow.

Rough-legged Buzzard over Norwick

Saturday, 29 May 2021

29th May 2021 Unst SE2 Overcast

A lovely sunny and even warm day that largely failed to deliver much in the way of migrants again so we were soon walking beaches for the monthly beached bird survey. Late morning a Hawfinch appeared on the feeders in our garden and remained on and off more most of the day.

Millfield: Swallow & male Hawfinch.

Skaw: 2 Swallows, 2 Garden Warblers & Chiffchaff.

Norwick: Collared Dove, Swallow, Robin, Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff & singing Willow Warbler.

NorthDale: Swallow & Lesser Whitethroat.

Male Hawfinch at Millfield

Friday, 28 May 2021

28th May 2021 Unst NE3 Overcast

Much lighter winds today that made birding easier although passerine migrants were still in short supply. The Bee-eater was still present at Norwick this morning although roaming far more widely today feeding high in the sky - at 4.15pm I heard and then saw it flying purposefully high south over Haroldswick calling continuously as it did so. Completely unforeseen was the surprise reappearance of the Common Buzzard seen flying west over Norwick at 11am.

Skaw: 29 non-breeding Oystercatchers & Swallow.

Lamba Ness: 5 'altifrons-type' Golden Plover.

Holsens road: Garden Warbler.

Norwick: Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Sanderling, Bee-eater, Robin, 4 Blackcap, Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler & Tree Sparrow.

NorthDale: Lesser Whitethroat.

Haroldswick: Bee-eater, Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, Lesser Whitethroat & Chiffchaff.

'altifrons-type' Golden Plover at Lamba Ness

Bee-eater at Norwick

house tick?!

Common Buzzard over Norwick
As well as the plumage similarities the obvious damage to the tip of p5 & nick to p6 of its left wing confirms that it's the same individual present earlier this Spring last being seen on Unst on the 16/5.
Lesser Whitethroat at NorthDale

Bee-eater heading south over Haroldswick
will this prove my final encounter with this beauty...?

Thursday, 27 May 2021

27th May 2021 Unst NE4 Overcast

Less windy but still blowing from the same unhelpful direction. Very much a repeat of yesterday with just a Fieldfare, Robin and Chiffchaff seen at Skaw, the Snow Bunting at Lamba Ness and the Sanderling, the Bee-eater, a Redwing, a Willow Warbler, the Icterine Warbler, Pied Flycatcher and Tree Sparrow seen at Norwick.

Bee-eater at Norwick

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

26th May 2021 Unst NE6 Overcast

A return to unpleasant weather that hampered birding away from a few sheltered locations. I only saw a Robin and a Fieldfare at Skaw that did little to dispel thoughts of the weather feeling decidedly wintry! Norwick was better still playing host to the Bee-eater, Shore Lark, Icterine Warbler and Pied Flycatcher but otherwise I only saw a Sanderling, a Robin, a Blackcap, a Willow Warbler and a Tree Sparrow. I then teamed up with Phil with a visit to Lamba Ness providing him with brief views of the male Bluethroat.

Fieldfare at Skaw

Shore Lark at Norwick

Icterine Warbler at Norwick

Pied Flycatcher at Norwick

Bee-eater at Norwick

Mowing the lawn in May!!

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

25th May 2021 Unst ENE3 Overcast

Some heavy overnight rain clearly did the trick in grounding some passerine migrants. The very first bird I heard and then saw on arriving at Skaw was a singing male Bluethroat - superb! Perhaps the presence of a female Bluethroat had tempted him to sing? A Short-eared Owl flying south soon followed at Norwick and just as I was leaving an Icterine Warbler flew past me and landed in 'the hedge' at Leawart where the Bee-eater was also still present. I then saw another male Bluethroat on Lamba Ness. 

Millfield: White Wagtail & Blackcap.

Skaw: Common Sandpiper, 2 Bluethroats, Blackcap, Garden Warbler & Tree Sparrow.

Norwick: Short-eared Owl, Bee-eater, Robin, Blackcap, 2 Garden Warblers, Icterine Warbler, Willow Warbler, Pied Flycatcher & Reed Bunting.

Lamba Ness: Bluethroat & Common Whitethroat.

Haroldswick: 3 Willow Warbler & Reed Bunting.

Singing male red-spotted Bluethroat at Skaw

Female Bluethroat at Skaw

Common Sandpiper at Skaw

Garden Warbler at Skaw
the first I've seen this year

Short-eared Owl at Norwick

Female Pied Flycatcher at Norwick

Icterine Warbler at Norwick

Bee-eater at Norwick

Male Bluethroat at Lamba Ness

Common Whitethroat at Lamba Ness

Monday, 24 May 2021

24th May 2021 Unst E4 Clear with rain from mid-afternoon

An early morning tour of the northern sites proved underwhelming for new arrivals with just 2 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs and 2 Reed Buntings seen but both the Bee-eater and Shore Lark were still present. My fortunes didn't improve on visiting a couple of sites once the rain had arrived.

Oystercatcher & Shore Lark at Norwick

Bee-eater at Valyie

Reed Bunting at Norwick