Thursday, 23 October 2008

World Tour of Shetland, Part II

Wednesday 15th October.

A bit of a bump down to earth today. It threw it down the whole morning. There’s only so long you can sit in the car reading newspapers! It’s also quite a trek to Isbister from Lerwick, about an hour. Four Whooper Swans were at North Roe.

A few other birders were at Isbister on arrival. When the rain cleared, giving way to a lovely sunny afternoon, a walk around surrounding fields produced a Whinchat and a Blackcap, but alas no Pechora Pipit. Perhaps to find this bird again was always going to be an impossible task.

Knowing it was going to be a long trek back to Lerwick, a stop to have a look around Voe produced 9 Whooper Swans, 12 Redwing and a Woodpigeon.

Thursday 16th October.

Really tough conditions for birding today. Really strong winds and frequent showers. A bit of a write-off for finding passerine migrants, but I was hopeful the afternoon might improve. Which in the end it didn’t!

In the morning at Loch of Spiggie were 25 Whooper Swans. Then a bit of a seawatch at Bigton, near St. Ninians Isle, produced 4 Red-Throated Divers.

As there was not much out at sea despite the strong wings, I decided to return to Toab. A walk along the gardens eventually produced a brief view of a Barred Warbler. It then made a couple of brief jumps deep into other bushes in the garden. Very typical Barred Warbler behaviour from my experience!

A walk around Exnaboe produced a Brambling and Chaffinch, unfortunately not the Great Grey Shrike. Not very much seen after that, hopefully the wind will die down a bit for the next couple of days. In fact, at Pool of Virkie, this was the best thing I saw!

As I’ve previously mentioned Bod, there’ll be no references to Geoffrey, Zippy, George and Bungle.

Friday 17th October.

Nowhere near as windy today, thank goodness. However, it appears it has produced a clear out of migrants. Days of westerly winds has finally taken its toll. No sign of the Bluethroat at Channerwick after two visits, but there was a Woodpigeon.

I did finally manage to get the Great Grey Shrike at Exnaboe, plus a Yellow-Browed Warbler and Chiffchaff at Toab. Not a lot else though. This view of Fair Isle however:

Saturday 18th October.

Just going through the motions now, in anticipation for the ferry back home. Another visit to Channerwick still didn’t reveal the Bluethroat, although a pair of Fieldfare flew over, my first for the trip and taking the total for the week to 82. There’s a patch of Japanese Knotweed there, the Bluethroat could stay in there for days and still not be seen!

Another visit round Trondra, Burra and Scalloway, for flocks of Eider still didn’t produce a King Eider. Almost giving up, just one last visit to Kergord. A birder told me that the White’s Thrush was still around, and sure enough I managed to find it. I can’t believe I would be able to view this species on my own on the mainland. Also a Yellow-Browed Warbler, Chiffchaff and loads of Goldcrest.

This is Scalloway by the way:

So that was about it, apart from buying tourist tat in Lerwick and a very civilised pot of tea and slice of cake (too early for beer). Checking in on the ferry, they seemed much more understandable about not having any photo id. Just goes to prove that people are nicer up north. Speaking of which, I bought this DVD a couple of months ago:

It’s a documentary starring top singer/songwriter John Shuttleworth, and the people of Shetland. It’s well worth buying if you’ve ever been, or are thinking of going.

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