Nov 182021
 

A Hoopoe recently took up residence on the grass lawns in front of the main IBM Offices in Warwick city. An extremely unusual location, but it stayed very faithful to the area for around 9 days. I managed to see it on the 30th October 2021 and it was very settled and confiding, until a large crowd had assembled when it moved more distantly and closer to the end of the grassy area. It was feeding on Cockchafer grubs and regularly raised its crest when it appeared to be alarmed or excited.

A species from southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, the Hoopoe often gets displaced on migration during periods of high pressure, usually in spring and autumn, overshooting farther north than normal. So this bird was well out of its normal migration route to Africa for the winter.

Nov 162021
 

On the 16th October 2021 a Two-barred Greenish Warbler was discovered in the Canal Hedge at Spurn, Yorkshire. I had previously seen this phyllosc species in October 2017 at St Aldhelm’s Head area in Dorset, so wasn’t really too bothered to drive across to Spurn.

I soon changed my mind when I saw the views that this bird was giving and so decided to go for it on 20th October. I arrived on site in pouring rain but as the rain eased I soon had excellent views of this little leaf warbler. After taking a series of photographs, I decided to head for the nearby cafe to dry off and have a bacon butte and a cuppa.

Later the sun came out and so I decide to try for the warbler again. The bird appeared to have moved location as there was nobody about at the earlier site. I decide to walk to the Canal hide, to try my luck for a Jack Snipe and as I made my way towards the track to the hide, I noticed a small bird flitting in the hedge. Good grief, it was the Two-barred Greenish Warbler right in front of me. I watched it all on my own for several minutes before it flicked over the hedge and disappeared. Later it had returned to the original location. 

On my way home I stopped off at Kilnsea Wetlands Reserve and had a fly-over Lapland Bunting, a fitting end to my day at Spurn.

The Two-barred Greenish Warbler in the Hedge down the track towards Canal Scrape Hide.
Nov 162021
 

Whilst I was on Shetland, news came out that a Long-toed Stint had been discovered at the RSPB reserve at St.Aidan’s, near Leeds in Yorkshire, on the afternoon of Friday the 8th October. It was originally identified as a Temminck’s Stint, then a Least Sandpiper, before finally being nailed as a Long-toed Stint. A mega rare wader that breeds in Siberia and winters mainly in southeast Asia, with smaller numbers in India and Australia. There have only been two previously accepted records in Britain, the first in Cornwall in 1970. Needless to say there was a huge crowd of birders on site on Saturday 9th October.

Fortunately, the bird did the right thing and stayed faithful to St.Aidan’s long enough for Dave N, Dave S and myself to see it on our return journey from Shetland, on the 13th October. A long awaited wader for many British listers. I had previously seen Long-toed Stint in Mongolia during a trip I made in 2019, but to see one in Britain was a dream come true.

A difficult bird to photograph properly as it was never really that close enough for the cameras.

Long-toed Stint – St.Aidan’s, Yorkshire – note the short tail-end appearance and quiet dumpy body.
Long-toed Stint – St.Aidan’s, Yorkshire – note streaked flanks and dark centres to upper body feathers
Long-toed Stint – St.Aidan’s, Yorkshire – note pale yellow long legs and long toes. Size difference with Dunlin
Nov 162021
 

I made my annual visit to Shetland for the first time since 2019 and Lockdown. It was good to get back to these magical isles. We stayed on Unst, at our normal croft at Northdale, from 6th October to 12th October.

A fairly quiet trip in terms of rare birds, but we did manage to see the following as highlights:-

Greater Yellowlegs and Lesser Yellowlegs at Loch of Strathbeg, Aberdeenshire on 5th October; King Eider at Girlsta, White-billed Diver at Brettabister, N.Nesting Bay, Woodchat Shrike at Aith – all on Shetland Mainland, Great White Egret at Mid Yell, Barred Warbler at Blatersound, Unst, Siberian Chiffchaff at Skaw, Unst, Bluethroat at Quoy Quarry, Unst, up to 3 Long-tailed Duck at Norwick, Unst, 11 Snow Bunting at Lamba Ness, Unst, Yellow-browed Warbler at Halligarth, Unst, Glaucous Gull at Baltersound, Unst, 2 Sooty Shearwater at Lamba Ness, Unst and Slavonian Grebe at Baltersound Unst.

Some good numbers of Brambling had arrived and a scattering of Chiffchaff and Blackcap. Several Wheatear and Redstart and single Whinchat, Pied Flycatcher, Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler were the only common migrants of note. We tallied 84 species during the week. In addition we had several excellent encounters with Otter and managed to see the northern lights twice.

The Aurora with the plough – Northdale, Unst 11th October – taken with Mobile phone handheld
Aurora with the Plough – Northdale, Unst 11th October – Taken with mobile phone handheld.
Otter – Haroldswick, Unst
Woodchat Shrike – Juvenile – Aith Shetland Mainland
Woodchat Shrike – Aith
Bluethroat – 1st winter male – Quoy Quarry, Unst
Eider – female – Skaw, Unst
Eider – female – Skaw, Unst
Glaucous Gull – 1st winter – Baltersound, Unst
Glaucous Gull – 1st winter Baltersound, Unst
Great White Egret – Mid-Yell, Yell
Greater Yellowlegs – Loch of Strathbeg, Aberdeenshire
Brambling – Northdale, Unst
Brambling – Valyie, Unst
Chiffchaff – Valide, Unst
Long-tailed Duck – drake – Norwick, Unst
Long-tailed Duck – drake – Norwick, Unst
Long-tailed Duck – drake – Norwick, Unst
Long-tailed Duck – drake – Norwick, Unst
Long-tailed Duck – drake – Norwick, Unst
Long-tailed Duck – 2 drakes – Norwick, Unst
White Wagtail – Norwick, Unst
White Wagtail – Norwick, Unst
Whooper Swan – Easter Loch, Uyeasound, Unst
Northern Wheatear – Greenland type – Norwick, Unst
Black Guillemot ( Tystie) – Lerwick, Shetland
Black Guillemot (Tystie) – Lerwick, Shetland
Turnstone – Skaw, Unst
Snow Bunting – Lamba Ness, Unst
Snow Bunting – Lamba Ness, Unst
Sanderling – Norwick, Unst
Sanderling – Norwick, Unst
Sanderling – Norwick, Unst
Sanderling – Norwick, Unst
Ringed Plover – Norwick, Unst
Ringed Plover – Norwick, Unst
Ringed Plover – Norwick, Unst
Kittiwake – Toft Ferry Terminal, Shetland
Dunlin – Norwick, Unst
Dunlin – Norwick, Unst
Dunlin – Norwick, Unst
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