Tuesday, 29 June 2021

29th June 2021 Unst NW3 Light drizzle

The Bonaparte's Gull was still present off Norwick beach and the Short-toed Lark was still on Lamba Ness albeit still flighty and elusive. Skaw was playing host to a single Swallow. Robbie had seen the 2cy drake King Eider off Buness and as we had to tax our car we took a look on our way to the Post Office, but by then, it was distant around the mussel floats.

Bonaparte's Gull at Norwick

2cy drake King Eider off Buness

Monday, 28 June 2021

28th June 2021 Unst NW4 Overcast

The Bonaparte's Gull was again present on the beach at Norwick this evening.

First-summer Bonaparte's Gull at Norwick

Sunday, 27 June 2021

27th June 2021 Unst NW5 Overcast

Unpleasantly windy but I completed the monthly beached bird survey also seeing 2 Great Northern Divers off Burrafirth and the Bonaparte's Gull, 2 Sanderling and a Swallow at Norwick.

Great Northern Diver at Burrafirth

Saturday, 26 June 2021

26th June 2021 Unst N3 Overcast

The albino Great Northern Diver, Bonaparte's Gull and Short-toed Lark were all present early morning and again performed to all-comers throughout the day. I then completed the wader productivity survey visits for my breeding bird survey squares during the course of which I saw 3 Great Northern Divers off Lamba Ness, the Song Thrush still at Skaw and a Chiffchaff at Valyie.

Short-toed Lark at Lamba Ness

Song Thrush at Skaw

Friday, 25 June 2021

25th June 2021 Unst

We spent most of the day off-island but on returning this evening there were 4 Great Northern Divers off Norwick including the albino individual and 3 Sanderling and the Bonaparte's Gull were on the beach.

First-summer Bonaparte's Gull at Norwick

Thursday, 24 June 2021

24th June 2021 Unst SE2 Overcast

A quick visit to Skaw produced nothing more than a single Swallow. On returning along Holsens road I met Paul Harvey & Alister Benn who had both seen the Bonaparte's Gull sat asleep on fenceposts at Braeview and it was still present when I was then passing there. A look around Norwick produced the albino Great Northern Diver and a Chiffchaff before the forecast rain duly arrived albeit we continued to be able to watch the Bonaparte's Gull visiting Norwick beach on and off from the comfort of our sofa!

First-summer Bonaparte's Gull at Norwick
Mike sent details of the four previous records for Shetland two of which were also found in June including the only previous record for Unst. As it is the first twitchable individual for over 15 years in the County it's proving a popular bird. Being the fifth for Shetland we went 'one better' than finding the sixth for Sussex here.

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

23rd June 2021 Unst NW5 Overcast

A blustery morning but the wind dropped this afternoon. An afternoon visit to Skaw produced an elusive Marsh Warbler and a Chiffchaff. A walk around Norwick was proving quiet until I checked the beach where a second calendar year Bonaparte's Gull was present among the Black-headed Gulls - superb! Soon joined by Alister, Mike & Robbie it performed well until early evening when it started to commute to and fro the colony of Black-headed Gulls at Norwick mires but then went missing completely until reappearing along the beach at 10.20pm much to the relief of Logan, Phil & Paul.

First-summer Bonaparte's Gull at Norwick

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

22nd June 2021 Unst W2 Partly overcast

The albino Great Northern Diver was still off Norwick and a quick visit to Skaw produced a Swallow. I commenced my survey work for the day and saw a Swallow along the cliffs of Lamba Ness. Whilst then walking past the rapidly drying pools at The Garths I flushed a small pale Lark that I quickly followed-up and was pleased to find was a Short-toed Lark - only the second that I've found on Unst and the first was whilst driving to work for the same Ecological Consultancy - a fringe benefit of working?!

Short-toed Lark at Lamba Ness

Monday, 21 June 2021

20th June 2021 Unst ESE2 Partly cloudy

It was southeasterly winds that brought our Rosy Starlings so perhaps it should not have been surprising that with the winds switching to the east overnight they would move on - there was no sign of them all day. The albino Great Northern Diver was still off Norwick spending most of its time close to the southern cliffs of Lamba Ness.

Sunday, 20 June 2021

19th June 2021 Unst NE2 Partly cloudy

The 2 Rosy Starlings were still present in our garden but there was no sign of the Common Crossbill. The albino Great Northern Diver resurfaced off Norwick and there was a Song Thrush and Blackcap at Skaw. It was good to spend the evening out with Matt and what better way than climbing the Heogs and enjoying more views of the female Snowy Owl.

Matt at Millfield
Matt commencing the most-memorable day of his visit to Shetland so far...!

Otter enjoying the warm sunshine

Song Thrush at Skaw

Male Wheatear at Millfield

Female Snowy Owl on the Heogs

Friday, 18 June 2021

18th June 2021 Unst NW3 Clear

 ... the day wasn't quite over as Mike stumbled across a female Snowy Owl whilst conducting his Whimbrel surveys. So, watch the football or search for a Snowy on a beautiful sunny evening... no contest, and fortunately we were the ones that scored!

Snowy Owl on the Heogs

18th June 2021 Unst W5 Partly cloudy clearing

Bright and breezy for much of the day. The 2 Rosy Starlings and the Common Crossbill spent another day in our garden. Skaw produced my first 3 Common Swifts of the year and a walk around Norwick added 2 Swallows, the singing Marsh Warbler and a Garden Warbler.

Rosy Starlings at Millfield

Marsh Warbler at Valyie


Thursday, 17 June 2021

17th June 2021 Unst W3 Clear

A bright, clear and virtually calm morning. The Rosy Starling and Common Crossbill were still present in our garden early this morning. Skaw was playing host to an unseasonable Robin but with no migrants evident I decided to walk the headland where I was rewarded with another Rosy Starling accompanying a small flock of Starlings. Valyie was still playing host to the singing Marsh Warbler but otherwise seemed quieter in recent days. At Haroldswick there were 4 Sandwich Terns today. On returning home it was no surprise when a Rosy Starling flew from our feeders but then a considerable surprise when it was followed by another with both then remaining in our garden on and off for the rest of the day. Brenda had been watching 3 Collared Doves feeding in our garden that were also still present and a Swallow was buzzing around. I met up with Mark Holling and revisited Valyie where we heard the Icterine Warbler singing on a couple of occasions in an hour spent there.

Robin at Skaw

Rosy Starling at Skaw

Marsh Warbler at Valyie
It was nice to watch this today with Mark Holling being one of the authors of the May BB paper 'The recent history of breeding Marsh Warblers in Britain'.

Rosy Starlings at Millfield

Sandwich Tern at Haroldswick
I received a very prompt reply from Steve Dodd to say 'We ringed 124 on 18/6/19 at Cemlyn, Anglesey as chicks. This is the first year they are back in N Europe. One has been seen at Cemlyn, one in Holland, and one on the Loire coast of France, though none are breeding.'

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

16th June 2021 Unst SW3 Overcast

There was a nice feel to the early morning being calm and overcast but all too soon the cloud cleared and the wind increased. Our garden was still playing host to both the Rosy Starling and Common Crossbill. The albino Great Northern Diver was again off Skaw, 7 Sanderling were on the beach, a Redwing and there was a Grey Wagtail near the mouth of the burn. Whilst driving past Haroldswick beach I heard the raucous call of a Sandwich Tern and was pleased to see there were two present - the first time I've seen more than one on Unst! A walk around Norwick produced 2 Great Northern Divers, the singing Icterine Warbler, a Marsh Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Chiffchaff and the Red-backed Shrike.

Grey Wagtail at Skaw

Sanderling at Skaw

Sandwich Terns at Haroldswick
One bearing an orange leg flag presumably ringed in Wales

Female Red-backed Shrike at Norwick