Sep 292012

We arrived at Blackdog, Aberdeen at around 2pm on Friday 21st September 2012.

A vast flock of Scoter and Eider duck were on the sea and after some careful searching, I eventually located the eclipse drake Surf Scoter amongst Common & Velvet Scoter. There were also numerous Red-throated Diver, 2 Arctic Skua, 7 Whooper Swan at sea, several skeins of Pink-footed Geese flying south and a fly-by Turtle Dove of all things. The trip had got off to a great start.
We were ready for another week, birding on the island of Unst, Shetland. The island of Unst is locally named as     “The Island Above All Others”, a very apt name for this remote and stunningly beautiful place.
Highlights of 22nd September 2012. We arrived off the Aberdeen – Lerwick Ferry at 7.30pm, having seen, at extremely close quarters, a Storm Petrel roosting on the ferry during the crossing.
Uyeasound, Unst.
The weather predictions for the week ahead appeared to be good for drift migration and we were keen to get to our Croft at Northdale. As there was very little in the way of rare birds on Shetland Mainland to wet our appetite, we decided to stock up on provisions at the local Tesco in Lerwick and then head North. We eventually arrived at Northdale around mid morning. As soon as we arrived I noticed a Pied Flycatcher in the garden, a migrant, wonder what else is around. The car was quickly unloaded and the next three birds that I found were Yellow-browed Warbler, Common Rosefinch and a Barred Warbler, one after the other, WOW – what is going on here….
Common Rosefinch – Northdale, Unst.
Within the next hour, we walked straight on to a Great Reed Warbler at Valyie, also here 10 Common Redpolls, 3 Lesser Whitethroat. During the rest of the day we had a Common Whitethroat and 2 Common Redpolls at Skaw, a Wood Warbler at Haroldswick and another Pied Flycatcher here. Not a bad first day.
Great Reed Warbler – Valyie, Unst (Record Shot)
Common Redpoll – Valyie, Unst
Common Redpoll – Valyie, Unst
Common Redpoll – Skaw, Unst.
Highlights of the 23rd September included – Peregrine, Barred Warbler & 5 Common Redpolls at Skaw; a Greenish Warbler and 2 Barred Warbler at Valyie; 4 Yellow-browed Warbler, 2 Common Rosefinch; 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Common Redpoll at Baltasound.
Yellow-browed Warbler – Valyie, Unst.
Yellow-browed Warbler – Valyie, Unst.
Greenish Warbler – Valyie, Unst
Greenish Warbler – Valyie, Unst.
Highlights of the 24th September included – 1 Yellow-browed Warbler (new bird) & Greenish Warbler, 2 Barred Warbler at Valyie. 2 Whooper Swan and 1 Barred Warbler at Uyeasound. A Snow Bunting at Haroldswick. 2 Wood Warbler, a Brambling & a Snow Bunting at Northdale.
Wood Warbler – Northdale, Unst.
Highlights of the 25th September included – Still 1 Wood Warbler and Brambling at Northdale; 5 Common Redpoll Skaw, plus a Purple Sandpiper & Knot on the beach here. At Norwick a Swallow, 3 Barred Warbler and a Garden Warbler, also 1 Otter at sea. Baltersound 1 Barred Warbler and a Redstart and 8 Lapland Bunting at Hermaness.
Lapland Bunting – Hermaness, Unst.
Highlights of the 26th September included – 1 Lapland Bunting, 1 Tree Pipit, 3 Swallow, 3 Redwing, 2 Reed Bunting at Norwick. Haligarth, 1 Blyth’s Reed Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler. Northdale a new Yellow-browed Warbler. 1 Lapland Bunting at Norwick.
Blyth's Reed Warbler – Halligarth, Unst
Lapland Bunting – Norwick, Unst. (Note the Long Spur on the hind claw)
Highlights of our final day 27th September included – Haligarth, good views of Blyth’s Reed Warbler, Rough-legged Buzzard. Baltersound, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Otter. Saxa Voord 6 Common Redpoll. Cliberswick – Booted Warbler, re-located the Little Bunting and Yellow-browed Warbler and 56 fly-over Snow Bunting.
Our final species count for the week 89 species – My year list moves on to 234.
Rough-legged Buzzard – Halligarth, Unst – (record shot) This bird had an unusually marked underwing, showing dark underwing coverts and no obvious isolated carpel patch.
Booted Warbler – Clibberswick, Unst
Booted Warbler – Clibberswick, Unst.
Goldcrest – Uyeasound, Unst.
Goldcrest – Uyeasound, Unst.
Goldcrest – Uyeasound, Unst.
Shetland Starling (zetlandica) – Northdale, Unst
Shetland Starling – (zetlandica) – Skaw, Unst.
Blackcap, male – Valyie, Unst.
Hooded Crow – Valyie, Unst.
Ringed Plover, juvenile – Uyeasound, Unst.
Common Seal – Uyeasound, Unst.
Haroldswick, Unst.

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