Monday 31 July 2023

31st July 2023 Unst E2 Overcast clearing

Norwick: Great Northern Diver, 4 Sanderling,  Knot & 2 Cuckoos.

Haroldswick: Fieldfare & 27's pod of Orcas plus a mixed pod of White-beaked and Risso's Dolphins.

Gruney: Barnacle Goose.

Westing: Minke Whale.

Juvenile Cuckoo at Norwick

Orcas off Haroldswick

Muckle Flugga

Sunday 30 July 2023

30th July 2023 Unst SE3 rain clearing

Rain persisted until mid-morning but then cleared into a warm day. Norwick proved quiet but Burrafirth again produced the surprise of the day when a juvenile Little Egret was seen flying north over Loch of Cliff before landing on the beach.

Norwick: 3 Sanderling, Cuckoo & Chiffchaff.

Burrafirth: juvenile Little Egret.

Juvenile Little Egret at Burrafirth

Saturday 29 July 2023

29th July 2023 Unst SE4 Overcast

A circuit around Norwick produced most of the same birds as yesterday but completing the SOTEAG beached bird survey produced a surprise blue Fulmar flying back and forth over Burrafirth beach before eventually settling on the cliffs there.

Norwick: Sanderling, Knot, Cuckoo & Black Redstart.

Haroldswick: 7 Sanderling.

Burrafirth: blue Fulmar.

blue Fulmar at Burrafirth

Friday 28 July 2023

28th July 2023 Unst SE3 Overcast clearing

Skaw: 2 Sanderling.

Norwick: 2 Great Northern Diver, Knot, House Martin, Cuckoo, Chiffchaff & Black Redstart.


Knot at Norwick

Cuckoo at Norwick

1cy Black Redstart at Norwick

Adult Chiffchaff at Norwick

26th July 2023 Unst NNW4 Overcast

A Siskin present at the School.

24th July 2023 Unst NNW4 Overcast

The 2cy Common Cuckoo made another brief visit to our garden this evening.

Monday 24 July 2023

21st July 2023 Unst W3 Overcast

Brenda found a 2cy Common Cuckoo in our garden that showed a number of interesting features.

2cy Common Cuckoo at Millfield
Its small size, brownish iris, pale-headed appearance contrasting with its rather dark upperparts and dark-blue rump (almost reminiscent of that of an Oriental Turtle Dove) are all oft-quoted 'soft' features of Oriental Cuckoo... but could they equally all be age-related, as the retained brown juvenile secondaries and upperwing-coverts are a sure sign of it being a 2cy individual. Could its age also be responsible for the sum of the number of white bars to the underside of p8-p10 being only 18, as (Lehikoinen & Vaisanen 2020) only found a single specimen of an adult grey morph Common Cuckoo (obtained in Brighton) showing a sum of only 18 white spots. Of course, the combination of the white ground colour and the barring to its lesser underwing-coverts and the appearance of a 'blackish shadow' on the bases of its secondaries failing to extend onto its primaries count strongly in favour of it being a Common Cuckoo.

Sunday 16 July 2023

16th July 2023 Unst

An early morning walk around Norwick before work produced a juvenile Common Cuckoo that feels like my first autumn migrant. A quick look at NorthDale added a metal-ringed Redpoll.

Juvenile Common Cuckoo at Norwick

Redpoll at NorthDale

Thursday 13 July 2023

14th July 2023 Orka Voe, mainland Shetland NE3 Overcast

Whilst surveying on mainland, I saw a loose flock of 7 Great Northern Divers in Orka Voe.

Great Northern Divers in Orka Voe
All in non-breeding plumage, (at least) the right hand individual is in its second-calendar year as it is moulting its remiges, whereas older age classes moult them in early Spring.

Tuesday 11 July 2023

12th July 2023 Unst & mainland

On my commute to work I enjoyed a nice roadside encounter with a Short-eared Owl and on my commute home from work I saw a drake Greater Scaup consorting with Eider in Baltasound that Robbie had found during the morning.

Short-eared Owl in the rain!

Eclipse drake Greater Scaup in Baltasound

Saturday 8 July 2023

9th July 2023 Unst SE3 Clear

A walk around Norwick produced a surprise juvenile Song Thrush. I subsequently saw the juvenile alongside an adult.

Adult Song Thrush at Norwick

Juvenile Song Thrush at Norwick
Mike tells me that this is likely to represent the first breeding record for Unst since the 1940's!

Tuesday 4 July 2023

5th July 2023 Unst SW2 Overcast

A quick roadside stop at some pines at Baltasound to look for Crossbills on my way home from working on mainland produced a pair of Lesser Whitethroats. I saw one of the pair carrying food.

Pair of Lesser Whitethroats at Baltasound
Mike kindly tells me that a pair bred in Baltasound in 2004 and another pair summered in 2010 so today's represents only the second breeding record for Unst!

Saturday 1 July 2023

2nd July 2023 Unst NNW4 Overcast

Jim's cat brought in a dead female Common Crossbill at Haroldswick.

dead female Common Crossbill at Haroldswick