Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Unst, Shetland Islands

Trip Report continued

Day 13 21st May, 2015.

Woke to a wet and windy morning with rain on and off all day.  A late start visiting Skaw, and North Dale. After breakfast we visited Haroldswick Pool, Airport pool, School clump, Pine Clump and Helligarth. A fine drake Garganey on Haroldswick Pool but the highlight was a 1stS Golden Oriole which we found in the Pine Clump.

Garganey 1 drake (Haroldswick Pool)
Iceland Gull 1
Flava Wagtail (Haroldswick Pool)
Swallow 15
House Martin 1
Golden Oriole 1 1st S male (Pine Clump, Baltasound)
Sedge Warbler 1
Blackcap 1
Willow Warbler 2
Chiffchaff 3

Iceland Gull right next to the road at Norwick

Fine drake Garganey was resting by the side of Haroldswick pool.

(Pictures taken by Brenda Kay)
1stS male Golden Oriole showed briefly in the Pine Clump at Baltasound

Day 14 22nd May, 2015.

Woke to an almost gale force cold westerly wind with very heavy showers but otherwise very sunny. Early morning visit to Skaw, Lamba Ness and Haroldswick pool, but virtually no migrants seen. Heavy rain after breakfast, but then cleared so we drove to Norwick area including Valyie, and then to Haroldswick covering all the usual sites, including the Airport pool which was now very flooded after the rains. No sign of the Golden Oriole at Helligarth or the Pine clump although the strong wind didn’t help.
We then moved onto Burrafirth and our first Sand Martin of the trip was seen.

Iceland Gull 1
Grey Wagtail 1
White Wagtail 2
Sand Martin 1
Blackcap 1
Willow Warbler 1
Chiffchaff 1
Twite 1

Norwick beach with Lamba Ness in the background

Haroldswick Pool

Burrafirth looking towards the Hermaness Visitors Centre

Burrafirth beach

Patch junior sheltering in a water trough from the strong wind

David birding at Valyie

Twite at Valyie

Day 15 23rd May, 2015

Our usual early morning visit to Skaw and Lamba Ness but just the odd migrant seen, so we moved onto Haroldswick pool and bay. No sign of the Flava Wagtail which has been identified as a Grey-headed, but about 30 Dunlin and 20+ Ringed Plovers were on the beach when they suddenly started to call a lot and then they all virtually departed NW and were lost to view.
After breakfast we visited Norwick area including Valyie where a Redwing was singing. Moved back to Haroldswick pool where we managed brief views of the Flava Wagtail. We covered all the other sites here including the Airport pool but only the odd migrants were seen other than good numbers of both Ringed Plovers and Dunlin.

Pintail 1 drake
Sanderling 4
Dunlin c100
Ringed Plover c100
Flava Wagtail (Blue headed/Grey headed female)
Grey Wagtail 2
White Wagtail 1
Redwing 1 singing Valyie
Sedge Warbler 1 singing still at Haroldswick
Blackcap 3
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Willow Warbler 3
Chiffchaff 2
Mealy Redpoll 3
Twite 3

Ringed Plover on the beach at  Norwick. A good influx of around 100
birds were seen today often feeding in grassy fields. These birds probably
relate to the larger Arctic race.

Arctic Tern sat on the beach at Norwick

The migrant ditch at Valyie

The copse at Valyie

Chiffchaff at Haroldswick

Day 16 24 May, 2015.

Still a cold west wind blowing. Made our usual vistit to Skaw and Lamba Ness also North Dale, but very few birds seen, although the Iceland Gull was back at Norwick.
After breakfast, we visited Haroldswick pool and then drove to Uyeasound although the near gale force wind made birding very difficult. Did see 3 Whooper Swans and the Glaucous Gull was seen at the salmon farm. 
We called in to Westing but no sign of any Otters athough a Great Northern Diver still in winter plumage was present. Finally a quick visit to the School clump.

Great Northern Diver 1 (Westing)
Whooper Swan 3 (Uyeasound)
Shelduck 1
Sanderling 1
Iceland Gull 1 (Norwick)
Glaucous Gull 1 x 2ndW (Uyeasound)
Redwing 1
Chiffchaff 1
Twite 5
Mealy Redpoll 2

The road leading up to Lamba Ness and the Skaw.

Looking South from Lamba Ness

The Otter run and pool on Lamba Ness

Norwick Bay in the early morning sunlight

Looking over Norwick Meadows from the Lamba Ness road

Arctic Terns at Uyeasound

Three Whooper Swans at Uyeasound

Rock Dove at Uyeasound

Record shot of the 2ndW Glaucous Gull at the Salmon farm at Uyeasound

Mother and daughter at  Uyeasound

Day 17 25th May, 2015.

Early morning visit to Skaw, Lamba Ness and Haroldswick bay and pool. Highlight was a ring-tailed Hen Harrier over Lamba Ness moving high N at 06.45-06.55. 
Weather was now very good  and we decided to cover as many areas as we could. News of a Subalpine Warbler near Halligarth soon tempted us to try to see this but without any luck. We covered all the usual sites and a few migrants were seen. During the evening we visited Clibberswick but no sign of any Otters.

Great Northern Diver 5 (4 in full s/p (Haroldswick)
Hen Harrier 1 ring-tailed high N 06.45-06.55 (Lamba Ness)
Iceland Gull 1st/2nd S (Norwick)
Collared Dove 6
Sanderling 3
Redwing 2
Garden Warbler 1
Blackcap 3
Chiffchaff 8
Tree Sparrow 6 (Valyie)
Chaffinch 1
Siskin 1
Mealy Redpoll 2
Twite 4


Record shots of the Ring-tailed Hen Harrier leaving high E
over Lamba Ness.


All the Chiffchaffs seen recently have appeared very grey. This one was 
taken by Haroldswick pool. It appeared very tired and had probably 
had just arrived.

Hooded Crow a common resident.

Three stunning s/p Great Northern Divers in Haroldswick Bay.

Collared Dove at Valyie, a total of six were seen today, a small
influx as there is usually just a single bird on Unst.

A couple of scare-crows at Norwick

Mealy Redpoll at Baltasound

The School clump at Baltasound

View of Plantiecrubs at Clibberswick (the Hoopoe feeding site)

The Otter cove at Clibberswick


Black Guillemot in the evening sunlight at  Clibberswick

Black Bunny at Lamba Ness

Shetland Ponies at Clibberswick