Friday 30 September 2022

30th September 2022 Unst SSE8 Overcast

A windy start to the day that became wet as the day went on. I'd walked a circuit around Norwick with RJF but the strong wind was hampering our efforts. Whilst getting ready to leave for our Covid booster Brenda noticed a pale Bunting in our garden - an Ortolan! With the nurse on the phone offering us an earlier appointment due to cancellations, we hurriedly threw down some seed and hoped the Bunting would perform to the birders currently on the island but it wasn't to be - hopefully it will resurface tomorrow as the weather improves...

Norwick: Long-tailed Duck, Yellow-browed Warbler, Goldcrest, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling & Ortolan Bunting.


Ortolan at Millfield
all images obtained through windows so I've had to tweak the colours

Thursday 29 September 2022

29th September 2022 Unst N1 Overcast

Norwick: Long-tailed Duck, 25 Lapwing, Common Redstart, 2 Song Thrush, 12 Redwing, Fieldfare, Blackcap, 5 Yellow-browed Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 4 Goldcrest, 8 Common Redpolls, 2 Siskin, 2 Chaffinch, 3 Brambling, 

Skaw: Yellow-browed Warbler.

Common Redpoll at Norwick

28th September 2022 Unst NE4 Overcast

Norwick: 3 Redwing, Common Redstart, Barred Warbler, 2 Yellow-browed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Brambling, Chaffinch & 3 Common Rosefinch.

Common Rosefinch at Valyie

27th September 2022 Unst NE3 Clear

Norwick: Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Barred Warbler, 3 Yellow-browed Warblers, Chiffchaff, 2 Chaffinches, 3 Brambling & Common Rosefinch.

Burrafirth: Lesser Whitethroat & Willow Warbler.

Common Rosefinch at Valyie

Barred Warbler at Norwick

Lesser Whitethroat at Burrafirth
of an eastern form

26th September 2022 Unst NW5 Rain

Norwick: Redwing, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, Yellow-browed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Greenland Redpoll & 3 Common Rosefinch.

Greenland Redpoll at Valyie

25th September 2022 Unst SW6 Overcast

 Norwick: Garden Warbler, Chaffinch & Brambling heard.

Saturday 24 September 2022

24th September 2022 Unst NW2 Clear

The weather was nice again this morning being almost calm and clear. 

Skaw: Blackcap.

Norwick: 2 Ruff, 2 Song Thrush, Barred Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff & 3 Common Rosefinch.

East Hill: 28 Snow Buntings.

Barred Warbler at Norwick

Snow Bunting on East Hill

Friday 23 September 2022

23rd September 2022 Unst WSW2 Overcast

A nice calm day that soon brightened to warm autumnal sunshine. It was immediately apparent there were more Meadow Pipits on the ground and a few Skylarks overflying heading south.

Skaw: c.25 Skylarks & Snow Bunting.

Norwick: Slavonian Grebe, Merlin, 2 Kestrel, 5 Ruff, Water Rail, c.20 Skylarks, 2 Blackcap, 3 Yellow-browed Warblers, Chiffchaff, Pied Flycatcher, Chaffinch, Redpoll sp. heard & 3 Common Rosefinches (one bearing a ring).

NorthDale: ringtail Hen Harrier, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap & Reed Bunting.

Common Rosefinch at Valyie
bearing a ring

Common Rosefinches at Valyie

Juvenile Hen Harrier over NorthDale

Thursday 22 September 2022

22nd September 2022 Unst SW5 Overcast

A dull start to a breezy day that soon brightened with the highlight being a walk around Norwick producing c.5 Yellow-browed Warblers.

Norwick: 2 Ruff, Whinchat, Song Thrush, Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Blackcaps, Garden Warbler, c.5 Yellow-browed Warblers, Chiffchaff & Pied Flycatcher.

Skaw: Whinchat & Blackcap.

Lesser Whitethroat at Norwick

Wednesday 21 September 2022

21st September 2022 Unst S3 Overcast

I didn't have much time to spend birding today and even that was curtailed by the promised rain arriving earlier than forecast.

Skaw: Whinchat.

Holsen's road: Whinchat.

Norwick: 3 Ruff, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap & 3 Yellow-browed Warblers.

Yellow-browed Warbler at Millfield

Tuesday 20 September 2022

20th September 2022 Unst S3 Fog

Fog, low cloud and drizzle hampered birding all morning but the weather improved early afternoon.

Skaw: Whinchat, Song Thrush & 3 Common Redpoll.

Norwick: Kestrel, 3 Ruff, Song Thrush, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff & 2 Chaffinches

Burrafirth: 3 Yellow-browed Warblers & acredula-type Willow Warbler.

Yellow-browed Warbler at Norwick
Easier to hear than see through the gloom!

Yellow-browed Warbler at Burrafirth

acredula-type Willow Warbler at Burrafirth
It's surprising how long some of the migrants associated with the early September fall have remained in situ - I first saw this acredula-type Willow Warbler whilst alongside Dante and he left Unst over a week ago! 

Monday 19 September 2022

19th September 2022 Unst NNW2 Overcast

It was really nice that the wind had dropped away overnight and once the cloud cleared it became sunny and pleasantly warm. Unfortunately it remained disappointingly quiet.

Skaw: Whinchat, Blackcap and 2 Lapland/Snow Buntings heard only flying very high overhead.

Norwick: 3 Ruff, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, Yellow-browed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch and 2 Lapland/Snow Buntings heard only flying very high overhead .

Sunday 18 September 2022

18th September 2022 Unst N4 Overcast

As the first 10 days of the month all had birding potential I failed to make it to work at all but I've then worked 5 of the following 7 that rather speaks for itself! Today I didn't work - mistake! The land proved really quiet - I saw more birders than birds! A flog through endless fields in the hope of flushing a Great Snipe resulted in nothing more than wet feet - again! With no sea-watching opportunities here this Autumn, Dante's images of Great Shearwaters passing North Ronaldsay seemed all the more gripping!  

Norwick: Song Thrush, Blackcap, Yellow-browed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Pied Flycatcher & 2 Chaffinch.

Friday 16 September 2022

16th September 2022 Unst NNW5 Overcast

What a difference a week makes... with strong cold northwesterly winds now dominating it's feeling increasingly wintry, so no surprise that passerine migration seems to have ground to a complete standstill. Having spent two consecutive days working on mainland I arrived home in time to visit Valyie seeing just a few lingering migrants.

Norwick: 2 Blackcap, Wood Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Pied Flycatcher & a Chaffinch heard.

Wood Warbler at Valyie

Wednesday 14 September 2022

14th September 2022 Unst NW3 Squally showers

With the wind in the northwest a few more Redpoll were evident but the highlight was a Black-throated Diver off Norwick beach.

Skaw: 3 Whinchat, 2 Common Redpoll.

Norwick: Black-throated Diver, 2 Ruff, Tree Pipit, Redstart, Barred Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, Yellow-browed Warbler, Wood Warbler, 3 Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Pied Flycatcher, Chaffinch, 5 Siskin, Redpoll sp. heard & Common Rosefinch.

Burrafirth: Kestrel, Merlin, 2 Stonechats, 2 Whinchat, Common Whitethroat, 5 Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher & 13 Siskin.

Common Redpoll at Skaw

Wood Warbler at Norwick

Black-throated Diver off Norwick
Whilst roll-preening the gleaming white rear-flank patch was obvious on the right side of the bird but completely submerged on the left side.

Tuesday 13 September 2022

13th September 2022 Mainland & Unst NW5 Overcast

With the forecast wind making for a not so promising day, or so I thought, I headed to work on mainland for the day. Of course, no sooner than I arrived and Brydon found an Arctic Warbler in Halligarth! A flock of 7 Red Grouse were nice and whilst I only had time to glance at three gardens, all in the Toft area, I saw a single passerine migrant in each... a Willow Warbler, a Spotted Flycatcher and a Pied Flycatcher. On returning home I only had time for a quick walk to Valyie seeing my first Chaffinches of the Autumn.

Norwick: 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Blackcaps, Yellow-browed Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher & 2 Chaffinches.

Monday 12 September 2022

12th September 2022 Unst WNW4 Rain clearing

We bid a fond farewell to Dante & Lauren who today deserted us in favour of North Ronaldsay but who can blame them! Some heavy rain at dawn cleared early morning although a westerly wind freshened and drizzle set in during the afternoon. 

Skaw: Kestrel, Grey Wagtail, 2 Whinchat, Redstart, Blackcap, Pied Flycatcher & 6 Siskin.

Norwick: 2 Tree Pipits, Redstart, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Garden Warblers, Barred Warbler, 2 Yellow-browed Warblers, 2 Willow Warblers, Chiffchaff, Pied Flycatcher, Common Rosefinch & 40 Siskin.

Gannets off Skaw

Pied Flycatcher at Skaw

Tree Pipit at Norwick

Yellow-browed Warbler at Norwick

Sunday 11 September 2022

11th September 2022 Unst S2 Clear

After a calm, clear and cold night it was almost a surprise that there were any migrants remaining on the island but it seemed obvious that there had been something of a clear-out.

Skaw: Whinchat, Redstart, 3 Willow Warbler & 4 Siskins.

Norwick: Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Pied Flycatchers & a Spotted Flycatcher.

Spotted Flycatcher at Norwick

Saturday 10 September 2022

10th September 2022 Unst

Another calm morning with an early morning flock of 31 Ravens moving southeast and plenty of common migrants still on the island. My highlight was seeing my first 2 Yellow-browed Warblers of the year.

NorthDale: Whinchat, Redstart, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warbler, 4 Willow Warbler, 20 Siskin, Reed Bunting & 31 Ravens (flock flying southeast).

Skaw (with Chris Redgard): Kestrel, Grey Wagtail, 4 Whinchat, 2 Redstart, Yellow-browed Warbler, 6 Willow Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Red-backed Shrike & 15 Siskin.

Norwick: Merlin, 5 Ruff, Stonechat, Tree Pipit, Song Thrush, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, 6 Blackcap, Yellow-browed Warbler, 10 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, 4 Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher & 28 Siskin.

Yellow-browed Warbler at Skaw

Red-backed Shrike at Skaw

Ruff at Norwick

Tree Pipit at Norwick

Yellow-browed Warbler at Norwick

Friday 9 September 2022

9th September 2022 Unst NE4 Overcast

It was windier than expected with a colder edge to the wind than in recent days. There seemed generally fewer common migrants in evidence today although the numbers of Siskins continues to increase and there were a couple of Common Redpoll among the flocks. My recent run of good fortune continued in the form of finding a second for Unst along the burn at Skaw - a Common Kingfisher! As it evaded my camera I was delighted that Robbie tracked it down in the same stretch of the burn an hour or so later being a Birthday Unst tick for him - Happy Birthday Robbie!

Burrafirth (with Dante): Merlin, 4 Whinchat, Redstart, 3 Blackcap, 3 Common Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, 15 Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, 32 Siskin & Common Redpoll.

Norwick: 2 Redstart, Tree Pipit, 2 Blackcap, Garden Warbler, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Spotted Flycatcher & 4 Pied Flycatcher.

Skaw: Common Kingfisher, Whinchat, 3 Redstart, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, 4 Siskins & Common Redpoll.

Twite, Siskins & Common Redpoll at Skaw