Wednesday 30 August 2023

30th August 2023 Unst N2 Overcast clearing

Skaw: Merlin, 3 Snipe, Pied Wagtail, 2 Wheatear, Grasshopper Warbler, Barred Warbler & Garden Warbler.

Norwick: Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat & 2 Willow Warbler.

Burrafirth: Snipe & 8 Pied Wagtail.

Barred Warbler at Skaw

Tuesday 29 August 2023

29th August 2023 Unst W3 Showers clearing

A day spent gardening seeing an overflying Common Swift and a Common Crossbill that landed in our garden but soon continued on its way.

Monday 28 August 2023

28th August 2023 Unst W3 Drizzle

A walk around Norwick where I managed to sound-record the Common Crossbills with the resulting sonogram revealing they were 'Glip' Common Crossbills being the only call-type I've ever managed to record on Shetland.

Norwick: Knot, 2 Snipe, Swift, Pied Wagtail, 3 Wheatear, Common Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Red-backed Shrike & 5 Common Crossbill.

Sound-recording of type N4/C/Glip Common Crossbills at Norwick

Sunday 27 August 2023

27th August 2023 Unst NW3 Overcast with occasional light rain

We completed the SOTEAG beached bird surveys but otherwise it proved quiet for passerine migrants. 

Skaw: Bar-tailed Godwit, 19 Knot, 13 Sanderling, 2 Snipe, 2 Wheatear, Whinchat & Garden Warbler.

Haroldswick: Swallow, 3 Wheatear

Burrafirth: Moorhen, 4 Wheatear, 2 Willow Warbler

Norwick: Merlin, 8 Sanderling, 2 Swallow, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler, Red-backed Shrike & 3 Common Crossbill.

Bar-tailed Godwit at Skaw

Common Crossbills at Norwick

Lesser Whitethroat at Norwick
The subspecific identity of autumn Lesser Whitethroats on the Northern Isles always proves an interesting talking point. In addition to DNA-proven curruca there have been plenty of DNA-proven blythi and a few halimodendri. Today's individual appeared quite interesting in showing ear-coverts rather uniform in appearance to its forecrown (as viewed side-on), a sandy-coloured nape and hindcrown blending in to a greyer forecrown and what appeared a complete white outer web to t6. However, there is the difficulty of properly assessing the subtle colour tones both in the field and from images (not helped in viewing/photographing a 'pale' bird against the 'dark' background) and there is variation across the large range of curruca, with some DNA-proven curruca showing all of the above features. This individual today was heard repeatedly calling a typical-sounding 'teck'. However, yesterday, when sharing the tiny plantation of pines with a Red-backed Shrike, whilst it was continually 'teck'ing away it was also regularly giving wren-like alarm calls that sounded not too dissimilar to the oft-quoted Tit-like calls of halimodendri although there was a slight variation in the gaps between each note and in each note sounding less 'slurred'. The Wren-like alarm calls sounded near identical to those recorded by Craig Robson in Norfolk in June 2020 here.

Saturday 26 August 2023

26th August 2023 Unst NE3 Overcast

The day started well with another new Barred Warbler but thereafter it proved rather difficult to find many migrant passerines. 

Skaw: 3 Whinchat & Barred Warbler.

Haroldswick: Willow Warbler.

Burrafirth: Merlin, Snipe, 2 Swallow & 3 Willow Warbler.

Norwick: Tree Pipit, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Pied Flycatcher, Red-backed Shrike & Common Crossbill.

Barred Warbler at Skaw

Garden Warbler at Norwick

Friday 25 August 2023

25th August 2023 Unst NE5 Overcast with occasional light rain

The birding remained virtually the same as in recent days and was eclipsed by Magnus finding a Convolvulus Hawk-Moth at Valyie.

Skaw: Whinchat & Garden Warbler.

Burrafirth: Wryneck, 6 Wheatear, 2 Willow Warbler & 2 Common Crossbill.

Haroldswick: 6 Swallow, Whinchat, 3 Willow Warbler & Spotted Flycatcher.

NorthDale: Merlin & Pied Flycatcher.

Norwick: 11 Sanderling, Knot, Tree Pipit, 3 Garden Warbler, 2 Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Pied Flycatcher, Red-backed Shrike, Song Thrush & 2 Common Crossbill. Convolvulus Hawk-Moth. 

Wryneck at Burrafirth

Convolvulus Hawk-Moth

Thursday 24 August 2023

24th August 2023 Unst ESE2 Overcast occasional rain

Skaw: 30 Knot, 3 Wheatear, Whinchat, Common Redstart, Lesser Whitethroat & 2 Willow Warbler.

Burrafirth: blue Fulmar, Snipe, Swallow, Wryneck, 3 Wheatear & Willow Warbler.

Haroldswick: 4 Swallow, 3 Pied Wagtail & Pied Flycatcher.

NorthDale: Kestrel, 2 Merlin, Barred Warbler, Pied Flycatcher & Redpoll.

Norwick: Kestrel, Snipe, 15 Swift, 2 Wheatear, 2 Pied Wagtail, Tree Pipit, Reed Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler & 3 Red-backed Shrike.

Wheatear and Wryneck at Burrafirth

Wryneck at Burrafirth

Merlin at NorthDale

Kestrel and 2 Merlin at Northdale
just when I thought it unlikely I'd be seeing any passerine migrants here...
... a Barred Warbler commenced alarming...

Barred Warbler at NorthDale

1cy Common Swifts over Norwick

Red-backed Shrikes at Norwick

Tree Pipit at Norwick

Wednesday 23 August 2023

23rd August 2023 Unst SW5 Overcast

Millfield: 2 Swift, Wheatear & 2 Garden Warbler.

Skaw: c.45 Knot, 8 Sanderling, 2 Snipe, Short-eared Owl, 2 Swift, Pied Wagtail, 2 Whinchat, Common Redstart, Reed Warbler, Whitethroat, 5 Willow Warbler & Pied Flycatcher.

Westing: 2 Willow Warbler.

Baltasound: 6 Knot.

Short-eared Owl at Skaw

Tuesday 22 August 2023

22nd August 2023 Unst S3 Overcast

Most of the migrants and scarcities remain in situ but at least 15 Swifts, a Reed Warbler and a male Common Crossbill felt like the only 'new' migrants seen.

Norwick: 2 Sanderling, 15+ Swift, Reed Warbler, Barred Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Wood Warbler, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Red-backed Shrikes & Common Crossbill.

Haroldswick: 8 Snipe, 8 Wheatear, Garden Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff & a Pied Flycatcher.

Burrafirth: 3 Garden Warbler & 10 Willow Warbler.

Pied Flycatcher at Norwick

Common Crossbill at Norwick

Monday 21 August 2023

21st August 2023 Unst S2 Overcast

Another very enjoyable day with plenty of migrants still on the island including my first Wood Warbler of the year that was soon eclipsed when we found a Greenish Warbler a few moments later.

Burrafirth: Common Sandpiper, Snipe, Moorhen, 2 Wheatear, 3 Garden Warbler & 10 Willow Warbler.

Haroldswick: 3 Willow Warbler.

Norwick: Kestrel, 2 Snipe, Swift, 3 Pied Wagtail, 2 Wheatear, 2 Whinchat, Barred Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Wood Warbler, 2 Willow Warbler, 4 Pied Flycatcher, 1cy Red-backed Shrike & Redpoll.

Skaw: 25 Knot, 3 Whinchat, 2 Reed Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, 4 Willow Warbler, Pied Flycatcher & Spotted Flycatcher.

Wood Warbler at Norwick

Greenish Warbler at Norwick

1cy Reed Warbler at Skaw

A really worn adult Acro