The start of this saga began on Tuesday 19th February 2019, when news broke across the British Twitching Scene, that a Tengmalm’s Owl had been discovered in a garden at Bixter on Mainland Shetland.
The news was immense and by the end of the day the bird was still being watched. It was the first Tengmalm’s Owl to be found on Shetland in over 100 years. Apart from the suppressed bird at Spurn in 1983 and various other records since, this was the first modern day twitchable one.
I couldn’t get for one reason or another in the first instance and I had a holiday booked for the weekend of 25th – 27th February. By the 28th February I made a decision to go and managed to get offered a lift with a crew from Cheshire. A massive thanks to Malc for the lift and all the driving and accompanied by Mark and Austin. We bordered the Shetland bound Ferry on the evening of 1st March and by 9am on 2nd I had my first glimpses of a Tengmalm’s Owl, I was over the moon..
The above image shows my first view of the Tengmalms Owl. Not what I was expecting. After initial views to take the pressure off, we decided to head off and do some birding and revisit later in the afternoon.
Our decision paid off and we were rewarded with some fantastic views of the owl during the late afternoon. A very special time indeed.
Whilst travelling around various sites on mainland we saw Pied-billed Grebe and Slavonian Grebe at Loch of Spiggie, Tundra Bean Geese at Sandwick, Iceland Gull, Tystie and Long-tailed Duck at Lerwick Fish Quay.
We finally arrived back at the Tengmalm’s Owl site around 3pm, with time enough to spend the last hour or so with this fantastic bird. We were soon heading back to Lerwick to catch the ferry home.