Oct 152018

My trip to Shetland this year (2018) took place on 21st September 2018 till 29th September 2018. It turned out to be one, if not the, worst week we have had in the last 10 years of visiting Unst. The weather conditions were very grim, with a continuous strong wind blowing from the west or north west, with heavy rain on most days. There was simply very few migrant birds about and the conditions were very difficult for migrant birding. The conditions were the same across Shetland during our stay. The weather improved from the 1st October and several good birds were discovered, but alas too late for us.

We did manage to get over to Walsay Island on the 23rd September, to see a first winter Yellow-breasted Bunting, discovered the previous day, which these days is a mega rare bird. This was definitely the bird of the trip.

Other highlights were – 2 Common Rosefinch on 22nd Sept; Common Whitethroat on 22nd and 28th; Spotted Redshank on Walsay on 23rd Sept and 3 Arctic Tern; Wood Warbler on 25th Sept; Common Rosefinch on 26th Sept; Barred Warbler on 27th Sept and 28th Sept and White-winged Scoter at Musselburgh on 30th Sept.

1st winter male Yellow-breasted Bunting – Above 3 images – Walsay Island, Shetland – 23rd September 2018 – Tony Davison©

Drake American White-winged Scoter – Musselburgh, Lothian – 30th September 2018 – Tony Davison©

1st year Barred Warbler – Norwick, Unst – Tony Davison©

1st year Black-headed Gull – Norwick, Unst – Tony Davison©

Common Seal – “Chilling Out” at Baltasound, Unst – September 2018 – Tony Davison©

Eider or Dunter as they are called on Shetland – female and 2 offspring – Norwick, Unst – Tony Davison©

Gannet – photographed in a howling gale on 29th September at Belmont on Unst – Tony Davison©

Hooded Crow – Baltasound, Unst – Tony Davison©

Redshank – Norwick, Unst – Tony Davison©

Ringed Plover – above 2 images – Norwick, Unst – Lying amongst the smelly, wet seaweed for several hours paid off with some good interaction with common waders – Tony Davison©

Sanderling – above 5 images – Norwick, Unst – Tony Davison©

Shetland Wren – Juvenile – Lund, Unst – Tony Davison©

Turnstone – above 7 images – Norwick, Unst – Tony Davison©

Black Guillemot or Tystie as it is called on Shetland – Lerwick Harbour – Tony Davison©

Storm action at Skaw, Unst – Skaw beach is one of the most dangerous beaches I’ve ever been on during a gale. It is easy to get caught out by the waves – Tony Davison©

Willow Warbler – Lund, Unst – one of only half a dozen we saw during the week – Tony Davison©


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