Saturday 29 April 2023

29th April 2023 Unst NW4 Overcast

I walked to Skaw and then walked a circuit around Norwick.

Skaw: Sparrowhawk, Mistle Thrush, Robin & 2 Chiffchaff.

Norwick: 2 Great Northern Divers, Night Heron, Collared Dove, Song Thrush, Robin, 2 Blackcap, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Chaffinch & female Hawfinch.

Sparrowhawk and Starlings over Skaw

Friday 28 April 2023

28th April 2023 Unst SE4 Light rain

With the switch to a southeasterly airflow combined with light rain that eventually cleared for an hour or so mid-afternoon, today proved a little disappointing with very little new seen in the way of passerine migrants.

Norwick: 2 Great Northern Divers, Night Heron, Grey Heron, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Chaffinch & female Hawfinch.

Night Heron at Norwick

Thursday 27 April 2023

27th April 2023 Unst NW2 Clear

A far more pleasant day weather-wise than of late with some welcome warm sunshine. 

Norwick: Night Heron, Grey Heron, Merlin, Robin, Brambling & 2 Hawfinch (m&f).

Haroldswick: 3 Barnacle Geese, Pied Wagtail, White Wagtail, Robin, Chiffchaff & Fieldfare.

Grey Heron at Norwick

Merlin at Norwick

Fieldfare at Haroldswick

26th April 2023 Unst NW3 Wintry showers

Norwick: Night Heron, Merlin, 2 Ring Ouzel & 2 Hawfinch (m&f).

Tuesday 25 April 2023

25th April 2023 Unst NW4 Wintry showers

Less windy and fewer wintry showers than in recent days is hopefully a sign of better weather to come. Brenda ensured the day got off to a good start on noticing a male Hawfinch in our garden. A walk around Norwick produced 3 Great Northern Divers, the Night Heron, a Ring Ouzel, a Chiffchaff, a Brambling and 2 Hawfinch (presumably the same male that had visited our garden and a female).

Male Hawfinch in our garden

Night Heron at Norwick
Attracting some unwelcome attention from a GBbG today.

Female Hawfinch at Norwick

Friday 21 April 2023

21st April 2023 Unst N1 Clear

Out surveying it felt more like mid-summer in Sussex than April in Shetland with attempting not to get sunburn posing the greatest challenge! The highlight was seeing a Short-eared Owl. Roger R had scored 3 White-billed Divers on mainland so I was pleased to get home to Norwick and see the number offshore had increased to 3. A quick evening circuit around Norwick produced the Night Heron circling the mires before heading high south and my first Blackcap of the year.

Norwick: 3 White-billed Divers, 3 Great Northern Divers, Night Heron, 3 Whooper Swans, 5 Robin, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, Song Thrush & 8 Brambling.

Short-eared Owl

White-billed Divers off Norwick

Thursday 20 April 2023

20th April 2023 Unst NE4 Clear

With the shift of the wind into the northeast I decided to walk out to Flubersgerdie in the hope of seeing a few large Divers on the move... but during 2 hours I'd only seen a single Great Northern Diver and 3 Common Scoter. I returned home and spent the nice afternoon gardening, but on scanning the wick this evening, virtually the first birds seen were 2 White-billed Divers sat together - adults in transitional plumage.

Great Northern Diver passing Flubersgerdie

White-billed Divers off Norwick

Tuesday 18 April 2023

18th April 2023 Unst SSE3 Clear

After a brief view of the Night Heron shortly after dawn I walked to Skaw seeing both my first Whimbrel and Jackdaw of the year. On my return in the early afternoon I obtained another flight view of the Night Heron.

Norwick: Night Heron, Sparrowhawk, Pied Wagtail, 4 Wheatear, Dunnock, 3 Chiffchaff, Goldcrest & 6 Brambling

Skaw: 8 Barnacle Geese, Merlin, Whimbrel, Pied Wagtail, 6 Wheatear, Dunnock, 3 Redwing, Fieldfare & Jackdaw.

Night Heron at Norwick

Sparrowhawk at Norwick

Barnacle Geese at Skaw

Jackdaw at Skaw

Monday 17 April 2023

17th April 2023 Toft & Unst S3 Clear

The highlight of a day spent working near Toft was the continued presence of a ringtail Hen Harrier. On returning home to Unst I saw my first Reed Bunting of the year - a male at Buness. There were 4 Great Northern Divers off Norwick and a Dunnock and 5 Brambling in our garden.

ringtail Hen Harrier at Toft

16th April 2023 Unst

Enroute to catch the first ferry off Unst there were 3 Barnacle Geese in the fields south of the Heritage Centre.

Barnacle Geese at the Heritage Centre

Saturday 15 April 2023

15th April 2023 Unst SE3 Overcast clearing

I walked to Skaw and then took a look around Norwick that produced my first Willow Warbler of the year.

Skaw: Great Northern Diver, 3 Great Skua, 2 Pied Wagtail, 6 Wheatear, 2 Robin, Chiffchaff, 3 Song Thrush, Redwing, Fieldfare, Carrion Crow, 6 Snow Bunting

Norwick: 3 Great Northern Diver, Long-eared Owl, 2 Pied Wagtail, 2 Robin, Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 4 Goldcrest, Ring Ouzel, 2 Hawfinch, 2 Brambing & 3 Chaffinch.

Snow Bunting over Skaw
We don't get to see too much diurnal migration on Unst so 3 single and then a flock of 3 Snow Buntings all heading north were nice to see this morning.

Ring Ouzel at Norwick

Hawfinches at Norwick

Long-eared Owl at Norwick

Willow Warbler at Norwick
My earliest Willow Warbler by a day since living on Unst.

Friday 14 April 2023

14th April 2023 Unst SSE3 Overcast

An evening drive produced our first Rook of the year.

Norwick: 3 Great Northern Diver, 3 Whooper Swans, Sparrowhawk, Long-eared Owl, Collared Dove, 3 Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, 6 Robin, 3 Wheatear, 3 Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Song Thrush, 3 Redwing, 3 Chaffinch

NorthDale: 6 Woodpigeon, 2 Pied Wagtail, 4 Robin, 3 Wheatear, Dunnock, 3 Chiffchaff, 3 Song Thrush, 5 Redwing, 17 Fieldfare & Rook.

Whooper Swans at Norwick

Sparrowhawk at Norwick

Rook at NorthDale

Thursday 13 April 2023

13th April 2023 Unst E3 Overcast clearing

A walk around Norwick produced nice views of the Night Heron and my first Ring Ouzel and White Wagtail for the year. 

Norwick: Night Heron, Sparrowhawk, Collared Dove, Pied Wagtail, White Wagtail, Dunnock, 2 Robin, 2 Wheatear, Song Thrush, 2 Redwing, Ring Ouzel, White Wagtail, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, Brambling & 6 Chaffinch

Skaw: Great Skua, Woodcock, 2 Dunnock, Robin & 4 Wheatear.

Night Heron at Norwick
Being the first on Unst since the 1980's Robbie was very pleased that it awaited his return from the Faeroe's being the 299th species that he has seen on Unst. The previous three Unst records are as follows:
Second summer/Adult Haroldswick 15 May to at least 30 May 1987 M. Sinclair, E. Thomason et al. & Baltasound 30 May-15 Jun 1987 M.O. Carroll, C. Corrigan, J.N. Dymond, P.V. Harvey, Miss C.E. Vawdry et al.
Adult Norwick, Unst on 25th, & 27-28 Apr 1983 I. Spence, G. Gray et al.
Adult Burrafirth, Unst 8-9 May 1981 R. Balharry, J.N. Dymond

Brambling at Norwick

Ring Ouzel at Norwick
The earliest that I've seen since living on Shetland by a day!

White Wagtail at Norwick

Tuesday 11 April 2023

11th April 2023 Unst NW3 Overcast with some light rain

The overnight switch from a southeasterly to northwesterly airflow failed to deliver too much although I did see my first two Bonxies of the year. It was good to see Kevin Kelly but despite our best efforts we failed to find any sign of the Night Heron today.

Norwick: Great Northern Diver, Woodcock, Great Skua, Long-eared Owl, Collared Dove, 3 Woodpigeon, 3 Pied Wagtail, 3 Robin, Dunnock, 2 Wheatear, 5 Chiffchaff, 10 Goldcrest, 4 Song Thrush, 30 Redwing, 42 Fieldfare, 2 Brambling, 15 Chaffinch & Hawfinch.

Skaw: Great Skua, 2 Robin, 2 Wheatear, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Song Thrush, 3 Redwing, 4 Fieldfare & Siskin.

Great Skua over Norwick
My latest return date in the 7 years that I've lived on Shetland perhaps due to the devastating impact of last year's outbreak of bird flu.

Siskin at Skaw

Monday 10 April 2023

10th April 2023 Unst Sunny evening

After what felt like a long day working on mainland where a party of 6 Whooper Swans was the highlight it was nice to return to Unst and see the Kumlien's/Thayer's Gull in a roadside field at Uyeasound. The Hawfinch was still in our garden and we enjoyed watching the Night Heron for 45 minutes stealthily feeding along the burn running through Norwick mires this evening.

first-cycle Kumlien's/Thayer's Gull at Uyeasound

Night Heron at Norwick