Monday, 1 June 2015

Trip to Unst, Shetland Isles. 9th May, 2015 to 30th May, 2015

Day 1,  9th May, 2015.

After driving throughout the night, we arrived at Aberdeen and as we had a few hours to spare we decided to have a look for the Harequlin Duck which has been wintering in this area. Unfortunately, no sign of the Harequlin but 2 Otters found by Doreen were a pleasant bonus. We then drove up to the nearby Ythan Estuary and were soon watching at very close range a stunning drake King Eider which we took far to many photographs off, it was breathtaking. 300+ Grey Seals were sat out on the sands.
It was now time to catch the Aberdeen to Lerwick ferry for an overnight sailing.

Seaton Park, Aberdeen

Goosander 2
Dipper 2
Grey Wagtail 2

Otter 1 pair

Ythan Estuary

King Eider 1 drake - superb views
Common Eider 500+ (1 Leucistic female)
Yellowhammer 1 male

Grey Seal 300+


Dipper at Seaton Park, Aberdeen


Drake Goosander on the River Don, Aberdeen

(taken by DC)

(taken by DC)


Drake King Eider on the Ythan Estuary

Eiders on the Ythan Estuary

Leucistic female Eider on the Ythan Estuary

Grey Seals on the Ythan Estuary

JFC returning after photographing the King Eider

Day 2 10th May

Mainland Shetland

During our stay on the Shetlands I have omitted from the daily lists the common resident birds such as Black Guillemots, Hooded Crows, etc.

A nice calm sunny arrival at Lerwick, we had a brief look at Clickmin Loch, before driving north towards the ferry terminal to Yell. We met up with Mark Chapman (former Sussex birder and friend) who took us to his local site to enjoy the Whimbrels on their breeding grounds, and were displaying. We then caught the ferry to Yell where we made our way to the Unst ferry terminal stopping at Cullivoe on Yell to check for migrants. 
We were soon on our final ferry and arrived at Belmont on Unst where we drove to Norwick to take up our rented croft for the next 3 weeks. After just a few minutes a 2ndS. Iceland Gull flew past or kitchen window and we were soon photographing this.
During the late afternoon we covered several local sites.

1 drake Scaup (Clickmin Loch)
Whimbrel 2
Arctic Skua 2

Cullivoe, Yell, Shetland

Shetland Wren 1
Blackcap 1
Willow Warbler 3
Goldcrest 1

Unst, Shetland (Norwick, Skaw, Northdale, Haroldswick Beach)

Iceland Gull 1x2nd S.
Whooper Swan 1
Woodpigeon 7
White Wagtail 3
Shetland Wren 1
Redwing 3
Redstart 1 (DC)
Blackcap 3

Passing Sumburgh Head and lighthouse

Passing Bressay lighthouse


Coastal Viewsfrom the ferry near Lerwick

Black Guillemot taken from the ferry

Just a few migrants were seen on Yell including this Goldcrest at Cullivoe.

2ndS. Iceland Gull at Norwick - this bird was seen virtually daily
and was joined by a second bird for a couple of days.
Our first good find of the holiday.

White Wagtail on Norwick beach 1 of 3 present here today.

Up to 3 Redwings were present.

Whooper Swan was seen at North Dale.

Day 3 11th May, 2015

Early morning visit to Skaw and returned back to croft. We then visited Norwick and North Dale and onto Haroldswick and Hallagarth. During the afternoon we visited Burrafirth.

Rough-legged Buzzard 1 high NE (North Dale) 
Osprey 1 N over North Dale (DC)
Arctic Skua 7
Pintail 1 drake
Whooper Swan
Barnacle  Geese 5 (Skaw)
Golden Plover3
Dunlin 16
Iceland Gull 2
Whinchat 1
Redstart  2
Redwing 2
Blackcap 12
Common Whitethroat 3
Willow Warbler 4
Chiffchaff 3
Pied Flycatcher 2 (male and female) (Hallagarth)
Twite 8
Tree Pipit 1
White Wagtail 3
Reed Bunting 3

Skaw - a good migrant trap 

The beach at Skaw

Looking across Norwick beach to our croft


Another migrant trap - Vaylie


Pair of Arctic Skuas near Lamba Ness

Shetland Wren at Skaw.

Rock Dove - Good numbers were seen daily

A party of 5 Barnacle Geese had arrived at Skaw


Female Blackcap at Vaylie

White Wagtail still on the beach at Norwick

Male Whinchat at Haroldswick Pool


Female and Male Pied Flycatchers at Hallagarth

Chiffchaff at Hallagarth

Rough Legged Buzzard moving high NE over North Dale on passage.


Iceland Gull again

Day 4 12th May, 2015

A day of heavy showers with almost gale force winds. Early morning visit to Skaw, Lamba Ness, North Dale and Norwick. We then drove upto Uyeasound before returning to Skaw again and then a visit to Valyie. DC did a short sea-watch from Lamba Ness during the late afternoon.

Barnacle Geese 5 (Flew from Skaw and re-found at Northdale).
Whooper Swan 1(Northdale)
Sparrowhawk 2 over Valyie
Iceland Gull 2
Puffin 15 N on the sea-watch
Tree Pipit 1
Redwing 3
Blackcap 1
Willow Warbler 5

Five Barnacles leaving Skaw to North Dale

Whooper much closer to the road and flew off as we went past.

Rock Dove at North Dale

The second Iceland Gull

Bonxie near Uyeasound


Two migrant Sparrowhawks over Vaylie