Wednesday, 31 August 2022

31st August 2022 Unst NNE3 Overcast

Similar weather to yesterday morning so hopes were again high. However, Skaw only produced a flock of 8 Teal being a sign of the change in season! NorthDale was still playing host to the Lesser Whitethroat. Norwick proved better with the 2 Swifts, the Citrine Wagtail, a Redwing, 5 Willow Warblers, the Barred Warbler, the Garden Warbler and 2 Pied Flycatchers.

Barred Warbler at Norwick

Pied Flycatcher at Norwick

Citrine Wagtail at Norwick
Dante has uploaded his recording to xeno canto here

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

30th August 2022 Unst NE3 Overcast

A promising day that started slowly but eventually delivered. At Skaw all I could find was a Grey Wagtail. NorthDale proved quiet too with just a Lesser Whitethroat seen. A circuit around Norwick proved better with a Merlin, 5 Ruff, 2 Swifts, a Whinchat, a Chiffchaff, 5 Willow Warblers, the Blackcap, a Garden Warbler, the Barred Warbler, a Redwing and 2 Common Rosefinches although sadly I found the Great Spotted Woodpecker dead. I'd just come into phone signal at the top of the burn at Valyie when I heard from Dante that he'd found a Citrine Wagtail in Baltasound... when I literally heard what sounded like a Citrine Wagtail overhead! It swept downslope towards the mires with my flight views including its clean breast! I scrambled down the slope and found the Wagtail on a small pool in the wet field below Leawart. It moved to a puddle, then onto the road and then to the old shed base. I managed a recording of a single call but failed to obtain any images before I heard it calling again heading away into the distance. I enlisted the help of Dante and we soon again found it in the wet fields below Valyie where we obtained some images and Dante managed a decent recording of several calls as it flew off high south. We then attempted to find a third Citrine Wagtail but bumped into a Warbler appearing a uniform pale sandy/milky-tea colour in flight... more flight views proved the order of the day by which time on repeatedly seeing its rounded taile we were confident it was an Acro... before Dante eventually saw and photographed it on the ground and heard it call confirming its identity as a Blyth's Reed Warbler. It continued to prove elusive although I finally obtained a few views of it perched.

Citrine Wagtail at Norwick
Interestingly showing a poor ear-covert surround albeit other characters proved compelling as did its call.

Sonogram of the calls from Dante's recording of the Citrine Wagtail

Sonogram of the calls from Paul Kelly's recording of a Citrine Wagtail at Tacumshin on 27/8.

Blyth's Reed Warbler at the Brewery Marsh

Blyth's Reed Warbler at the Brewery Marsh (Dante Shepherd)
for a selection of superior images see Dante's blog

Marsh Warbler at Haroldswick 2nd October 2021
Interesting to compare and contrast

Monday, 29 August 2022

29th August 2022 Unst NNE2 Overcast

A nice calm day to be out birding. My first stop was NorthDale that produced a Wryneck and Willow Warbler. Skaw was playing host to a Barred Warbler and a Common Whitethroat. I then teamed-up with Dante to cover Norwick that produced a Swallow, a Garden Warbler, a Barred Warbler and 2 Willow Warblers. We completed the SOTEAG beached bird surveys for Burrafirth and Easting Beach the latter also producing a Basking Shark just offshore.

Wryneck at NorthDale

Barred Warbler at Norwick

Sunday, 28 August 2022

28th August 2022 Unst NE3 Clear

A nice calm bright morning. A walk around Skaw produced nothing other than a large Basking Shark. I had the SOTEAG beached bird survey to complete for Norwick beach so I completed my usual circuit, and after the absence of migrants seen at Skaw, it was quite a surprise to find a few present around Norwick including a Swift, 4 Swallows, a Whinchat, 3 Reed Warblers, 2 Willow Warblers, my first Wood Warbler of the year, a Blackcap and a Common Rosefinch. 

Common Rosefinch at Norwick

Wood Warbler at Norwick

Saturday, 27 August 2022

27th August 2022 East of Fetlar W3 Overcast

I was invited to participate in another SOTEAG survey and was helped and welcomed aboard the Ayda Ruby II by the skipper Phil Harris at Toft. The swell prevented us heading northwest off Shetland so it was my first trip off the east coast of Unst, Fetlar and Out Skerries. Phil located and approached a trawler and two long-liners and there were seabirds attending all three vessels. Highlights included c.15 Sooty Shearwaters, 2 Manx Shearwaters and a handful of European Storm Petrels and a couple of pods of White-beaked Dolphins. Will also plucked 3 large Cod from the wake of the fishing vessels. As always, grateful thanks to Phil and will for all their hard work.

Out Skerries

Sooty Shearwater east of Shetland

White-beaked Dolphins east of Fetlar

Will landing the big one!

Thursday, 25 August 2022

25th August 2022 Unst SSE2 Clear

A nice day to be out birding with a scatter of migrants present. A visit to NorthDale produced a Willow Warbler and my first Reed Bunting of the autumn. Skaw only added 3 Knot and the lingering Lesser Whitethroat. Norwick proved better with 2 Ruff, 5 Swallows, my first 2 Whinchats of the autumn, my first Reed Warbler of the autumn, the Barred Warbler, 4 Garden Warblers, 8 Willow Warblers, the Pied Flycatcher and 2 Painted Lady Butterflies.

Reed Bunting at NorthDale

Reed Warbler at Norwick

Whinchat at Norwick

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

24th August 2022 Unst SE3 Fog

A day when birding was hampered by thick fog from the outset and then heavy rain from lunchtime. Skaw produced a Willow Warbler and my first Common Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat of the Autumn. Norwick was still playing host to 3 Willow Warblers, the Barred Warbler and the Pied Flycatcher. Whilst chatting to JFC in the evening a/the Shelduck flew past our house.

Lesser Whitethroat at Skaw

Barred Warbler at Norwick

Pied Flycatcher at Norwick

Tuesday, 23 August 2022

23rd August 2022 Unst SE4 Light rain

Southeasterly combined with light rain from the outset today felt very promising conditions. There was more encouragement from a Willow Warbler hopping around our garden from soon after dawn that remained the whole day. Whilst driving to Skaw there was a Pied Flycatcher sat on a fence-line, but then Skaw itself proved disappointing with just the lingering Willow Warbler present. A long walk checking headlands and geos failed to add any migrants, but on arriving back at Skaw, there was a juvenile Shelduck flying around and 3 Willow Warblers were now present. A walk around Norwick added 3 Willow Warblers, a Garden Warbler, a Barred Warbler and a Pied Flycatcher.

Pied Flycatcher along Holsens road

Juvenile Shelduck at Skaw
The first I've seen this year and presumably the same individual seen by Dante & Lauren at Haroldswick in recent days.

Barred Warbler at Norwick

Monday, 22 August 2022

22nd August 2022 Unst SE2 Clear

The wind had only just switched to the southeast just prior to dawn but there were a few more migrants present this morning. I saw a Collared Dove and a Willow Warbler at Skaw. A walk around Norwick added a Redwing, a Blackcap, a Willow Warbler and the Pied Flycatcher. NorthDale produced my first Barred Warbler of the year and 2 Willow Warblers.

Willow Warbler at Skaw

Collared Dove at Skaw

Juvenile Arctic Skua at Skaw

White Wagtail at Norwick

Redwing at Norwick

20th August 2022 Unst S4 Overcast

A walk around Skaw produced a single Willow Warbler and a Basking Shark offshore. Norwick proved only marginally better with just a Kestrel, a Willow Warbler and a Red Admiral being seen.

Basking Shark

Friday, 19 August 2022

19th August 2022 Unst SW5 Overcast

I spent most of the day working but an evening visit to Skaw produced a Willow Warbler and a look at Norwick added a Pied Flycatcher.

Pied Flycatcher at Norwick