Wednesday, 27 February 2013

25th and 26th February, 2013 Aberdeenshire and Mainland Shetland.

With the news that the Pine Grosbeak appear to leave on the 23rd, Matt, Jake and myself still decided to visit Rattray Head on the 25th and then go over to Mainland Shetland on the 26th as the weather forecast sounded excellent. We flew from Gatwick leaving at 07.15 to Aberdeen arriving 09.00. Quickly arranged car-hire for the day and drove to Rattray Head seeing several skeins of Pink-feet en-route. Weather superb, didn't need top coat or gloves and soon located the female Desert Wheatear which performed superbly at close range from just a few yards and most of the time we had it to ourselves. We then moved onto St. Coombs but the Eiders were way out and just to far to make out the King Eider. We just had time to quickly visit two other sites before heading back to the Ferry Terminal for the over-night ferry to Lerwick.

c1,000+ Pink-feet
6 Whooper Swans
8 Long-tailed Ducks
300 Eiders
Various Goldeneyes, Red-breasted Mergansers etc.
1 female Desert Wheatear
20 Tree Sparrows.

Showing the rump and black tail.


Female Desert Wheatear at Rattray Head.

Desert Wheatear with Rattray Head lighthouse as the backdrop. (Matt Eade).

26th February, 2013.
Arrived Lerwick at 07.30 to yet another fine sunny morning and we picked up the car hire by 08.00. Before looking at any other sites we decided to check the North Collafirth area just in case the Pine Grosbeak had re-surfaced, we also met up with Hugh Harrop and Mark Golley who were also checking the area. A fine ring-tailed Hen Harrier gave excellent close views but no sign unfortunately of the Grosbeak.

View looking East from near North Collafirth.

We then drove to Scalloway and quickly located the 1st.W Ring-billed Gull and then on to Lerwick where we visited Shetland Catch area and Clickimin Broch, before returning to the Ferry Terminal for our return to   Aberdeen. Arrived back at Aberdeen by 07.00 on the 27th, caught our return flight to Gatwick at 09.00 and back in Burgess Hill by 11.40 am, thanks to David for picking us up at the airport.

1 Ring-tailed Hen Harrier
c20 Rock Doves
c40 Ravens
c20 Hooded Crows
25 Long-tailed Ducks
2 1stW/S Glaucous Gulls
1 1stW. Ring-billed Gull
10 Black Guillemots
4 Whooper Swans
10 Goldeneye
200 Grey-lags
1 Shetland Wren

1stW Ring-billed Gull at Scalloway.

Immature and adult Shags in Lerwick Harbour.



Some of the 25 Long-tailed Ducks in Lerwick harbour.

Black Guillemot in transitional plumage in Lerwick harbour.

Odd birds were in summer plumage.

1stW/S Glaucous Gull at Shetland Catch.

In case anyone is interested, I have just added trip reports on Japan (winter) and Ecuador to the following Blog: