Saturday, 30 April 2022

30th April 2022 Unst SSE2 Overcast

Our garden was playing host to a White Wagtail, a Willow Warbler and a Chiffchaff. Skaw added another Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and a Carrion Crow. A walk around Norwick produced 2 Sparrowhawks, a Ring Ouzel, a Blackcap, 3 Willow Warblers and 2 Chiffchaffs. Peter Hunter found 2 Glossy Ibis on his farm at Uyeasound yesterday that were still present today so we made a visit and on our way home there was a Common Sandpiper on the beach at Haroldswick.

Willow Warbler at Millfield

One of the two Glossy Ibis at Uyeasound
well done Peter!

Common Sandpiper at Haroldswick

Friday, 29 April 2022

29th April 2022 Unst SE2 Clear

Another beautiful calm morning to complete my Black Guillemot survey during which it soon became apparent some Corvids were on the move seeing 2 Carrion Crows, then a flock of 4 Carrion Crows and 6 Hooded Crows, then a Jackdaw, 4 Carrion Crows and 4 Hooded Crows before finally a single Carrion Crow all seen flying north prior to 9am. I then completed my Common Bird Census square centered upon Skaw where a single Arctic Skua was arguably the only migrant seen. A walk around Norwick proved a little better seeing 4 Great Northern Divers, a Long-tailed Duck, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Whimbrel, an Arctic Skua, a Collared Dove, a Swallow, a White Wagtail, a Robin, a singing Willow Warbler and 6 Bramblings.

calm seas off Norwick

Black Guillemots off Norwick
judging by their whistling they were enjoying the weather as much as I was

Carrion Crows, Hooded Crows and a Jackdaw
the first Carrion Crows and Jackdaw that I've seen on Unst this year

Thursday, 28 April 2022

28th April 2022 Unst WSW3 Overcast

A Whimbrel in the field next to our house was a nice start to the day. Another early morning long walk counting Black Guillemots along the north cliffs of Skaw followed by a walk around Norwick that produced 5 Great Northern Divers, a Sparrowhawk, a Collared Dove, a Redwing, a Chiffchaff, 2 Bramblings and a male Hawfinch.

the north cliffs of Skaw

Land-based aerial views of Black Guillemots

Male Hawfinch at Valyie

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

27th April 2022 Unst NW2 Overcast

Perfect early morning weather to complete a Black Guillemot survey where the highlight was a flock of 9 Snow Buntings atop East Hill. Then straight into completing two Common Bird Census squares that produced a White Wagtail and 3 Brambling on Haroldswick beach. A walk around Norwick produced the surprise of the day being a redhead Goosander sat alongside the burn that runs through the mires and more routine fare the best being a Sparrowhawk, 6 Whimbrel, a Collared Dove, a Redwing, a Robin, a Dunnock, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs and a female Hawfinch.

East Hill cliffs

Black Guillemots on the cliffs at East Hill

Guillemots and a few pairs of Kittiwakes at East Hill

Snow Buntings at East Hill

Raven at East Hill

White Wagtail at Haroldswick

Eider at Norwick

Whimbrel at Norwick

Dunnock at Norwick

Blackcap at Norwick

redhead Goosander at Norwick mires

a ringed Pied Wagtail at Norwick

Saturday, 23 April 2022

23rd April 2022 Unst NE5 Overcast

The cold northeasterlies continue but Ben Dalgleish saved the day by finding a Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll in the Hermaness NR car park.

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll at Hermaness
the first that I've seen in Spring

Thursday, 21 April 2022

21st April 2022 Unst and Shetland NE3 Overcast

As I left our house at 6am I inadvertently flushed 2 Hawfinches from our rosa. As I drove through Haroldswick Robbie's drake Gadwall was among Mallard on the sea off the North Ayre. My first Arctic Skua of the year flew north past me at Firth. Whilst returning through Haroldswick this evening I saw my first Swallow and 2 Willow Warblers of the year at the pool and there were another 1 or 2 Willow Warblers and the Great Tit present at Norwick. Remarkably, yesterday's Greenfinch that had been ringed on Fair Isle the day before was present in Keith Lugg's garden at Mid Yell today!

dark morph Arctic Skua at Firth

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

20th April 2022 Unst SE2 Clear

A day of nice weather that coincided with what felt like a noticeable upturn in the number of Bonxies and Wheatears present on the island. The female Hawfinch was already on our feeders at 5.30am this morning. Skaw was playing host to a Sparrowhawk and 3 Collared Doves, two of which, were later seen flying towards Norwick. A walk to Valyie produced the Common Buzzard flying very high northeast only to return 50 minutes later, a Sparrowhawk, a Redwing, 2 Fieldfares, a couple of Chiffchaffs, a surprise Great Tit, 3 Bramblings and a/the female Hawfinch. A male Greenfinch bearing a BTO ring arrived in our garden mid-afternoon and a partial summer-plumaged White-billed Diver was off Norwick this evening.

Wheatear at Skaw

Collared Doves heading for Norwick

Common Buzzard over Norwick
the feather damage confirm it as the same individual seen over Baltasound yesterday

Great Tit at Valyie
It might proved the only individual I see on Unst this year as I've only seen them in three of the last five years!

Female Hawfinch at Millfield

Male Greenfinch at Millfield
The first that I've seen on Unst since 2019. Seeing that it was bearing a BTO ring both Glen and Phil were quick to point out that it might be the male ringed on Fair Isle yesterday. And sure enough, after some supreme ring-reading and detective work by Glen, he managed to match the final four digits of the ring code to the Fair Isle ring!

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

19th April 2022 Unst & mainland SW5 Overcast

As I left our house just before 6am a Hawfinch was arriving accompanying a flock of c.8 Bramblings that proved all Brenda saw attending our feeders all day. As I drove past Haroldswick pool there was a Shelduck present being the first of the year. The mainland provided my first Blackcap of the year alongside a Brambling in a garden at Firth albeit a flock of 3 Rook flying across open moorland was probably almost as noteworthy. On my return to Unst I noticed a commotion as I drove through Baltasound and saw a raptor flying north being the second Common Buzzard for Unst this year. A Siskin was present on roadside feeders at Brakefield and the Norwegian-ringed Brambling and female Hawfinch were still both feeding in our garden.

Female Shelduck at Haroldswick

Common Buzzard over Baltasound

Brambling at Millfield
Impressive turnaround from Stavanger Museum regarding the ringing details of the male Brambling currently visiting our feeders revealing it was ringed as a 1cy male 968km away on the island of Rost, Rogaland on the 26th September 2021.

Monday, 18 April 2022

18th April 2022 SSE4 Haar

Skaw produced only a single Bonxie and a male Wheatear and a walk around Norwick proved underwhelming with just a couple of Chiffchaffs and a female Hawfinch seen. On returning home Brenda had seen a White Wagtail on our lawn, a Fieldfare, c.6 Bramblings (including one bearing a Norwegian ring) and 3 Hawfinches - all females. During the afternoon 3 Siskins dropped in.

Siskin at Millfield

Brambling at Millfield
bearing a Norwegian ring 5Bxxx007