Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Unst, Shetland Isles

Trip Report continued

Day 18 26 May, 2015.

Our early morning visit to the Skaw, Lamba Ness and North Dale was very unproductive with the highlight being a nice display by 2 Snipe drumming at North Dale. After breakfast we visited the Haroldswick and Baltasound sites but wind very strong and cold, made watching very difficult. Another search for yesterday’s Subalpine was unsuccessful and we also visited Burrafirth but no sign of yesterday’s Bluethroat.
During the afternoon, we visited Norwick area but no migrants seen and we moved onto Haroldswick pool where the male Blue-headed Wagtail showed well and to our surprise a small type Canada Goose was found feeding and resting on the beach.

Canada Goose 1 parvipes type (Haroldswick beach)
Whooper Swan 4 (Haroldswick pool)
Pintail 1 drake
Gadwall 4
Iceland Gull 1
White Wagtail 1
1st S male Blue headed Wagtail  (Haroldswick pool)
Chiffchaff 3
Twite 5
Tree Sparrow 7 (Skaw)

 Common Snipe drumming at North Dale

Drake Eider at Haroldswick

1stS. male Blue-headed Wagtail at Haroldswick pool. This
individual was first considered by one observer to be a
Grey-headed Wagtail. After several attempts, we at long
last obtained some good pics and were able to compare this
with photos and consider it to be a 1st S.Blue-headed.

Size comparison with a Rock Dove


Parvipes type Canada Goose at Haroldswick 
We found this Lesser Canada Goose on the beach at Haroldswick pool
resting and feeding on sea-weed. 

Four Gadwall at Haroldswick

Day 19 27th May, 2015.

Strong westerly wind with frequent showers. We first visited Skaw, Lamba Ness including a half an hour watch for the Otter without success and we paid a brief visit to North Dale.
After breakfast, we visited Haroldswick pool but no sign of the small Canada Goose, then the Airport pool, we then birded the scrub behind the post office and the pine clump. Just the odd mirgrants seen.
During the afternoon we found a fine 1stS male Rustic Bunting in the Pine copse. A second vagrant Canada Goose was reported from Baltasound and we made our way to see this individual and we also saw the parvipes type Canada Goose at Haroldswick.

Pintail 1
Gadwall 4
Todd’s type Canada Goose 1 (Baltasound)
Parvipes type Canada Goose 1 ( Haroldswick )
Pink-footed Goose 1 (Pale bird) (Baltasound)
Sanderling 1
Redwing 1 again heard singing
Blackcap 1
Garden Warbler 1
Chiffchaff 1
Rustic Bunting 1 1stS male (Pine Clump)
Mealy Redpoll 1
Twite 5



1st S.male Rustic Bunting in the Pine Clump, Baltasound
We were delighted to find this fine first summer male Rustic Bunting
which proved to be very shy and elusive and which went missing for
long periods and was without doubt bird of the trip.

Pink-footed Goose at Baltasound


We were surprised that a second North American Canada Goose
had been seen today in fields at Baltasound. It was considered to
be the Interior form (Todd's Canada Goose) and was considerably 
larger (nearer Grey-lag Goose) than yesterday's  Parvipes and 
much browner on the breast, as the above picture shows.


Todd's Canada Goose with Pink-foot

Day 20 28th May, 2015.

Woke to a calm morning with light drizzle. We made our usual early morning visit to Skaw, Lamba Ness and also Burrafirth but not a single new migrant seen.
We then headed to Haroldswick pool and heard that the female Subalpine Warbler had been seen earlier at Halligarth so we quickly made our way there. We spent 2 hours and although had 4 brief views it proved to be very skulking and we were unable to photograph it.

Todd’s Canada Goose 1
Pintail 2 (pair on Haroldswick pool)
Wigeon 7
Iceland Gull 1
Redwing 2 singing
Subalpine Warbler 1 female (Halligarth)
Blackcap 1
Chiffchaff 5

Looking down Lamba Ness

Views taken on Lamba Ness


Grey Seals at Haroldswick

Adult summer plumage Common Gull

Pair of Pintail at Haroldswick Pool

(taken by Allan Conlin)
Female Subalpine Warbler near Hallagarth

Day 21 29th May, 2015.

.Woke to a fine calm morning, so instead of our usual early morning visits, we decided to try to get some pics of the female Subalpine Warbler at Halligarth which has now been i/d by others as a Western. We met up with Rob who had already visited Skaw and Lamba Ness, but he hadn’t seen a single migrant. Although we spent some time trying to see the Subalpine, we had no success so we then went and checked the Pine Clump, but no new migrants were seen.
As this is our last full day on Unst and our last chance to visit Fetlar and as Doreen and myself haven’t visited Fetlar since 1978, we decided to catch the 10.30 am ferry in the hope of seeing Red-necked Pharalopes even thou there has been no sightings so far this year. Had an enjoyable time and did manage poor views of 2 Phalaropes on the RSPB Reserve but little else of note.
Late afternoon back on Unst and covered the School Clump, Haroldswick pool and Vaylie but again no sign of any migrants.

Great Northern Diver 2 (Ferry crossing)
Red-throated Diver 5 (1 on a nest)
Red-necked Phalarope 2 (Fetlar)
Garden Warbler 1
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Blackcap 2
Chiffchaff 2

Halligarth House and copse

Approaching Fetlar on the ferry

Doreen on the ferry, looking forward to visiting Fetlar which she last
visited in 1978 when we saw a Snowy Owl and a Saker Falcon

Puffins and Razorbills passing the ferry


Red-throated Divers on Loch Funzie

Views taken on Eastern Fetlar

A close encounter with a Red-throated Diver which flew right past us.

The RSPB Reserve at Funzie

The croft where we stayed in 1978

Views taken at Triesta, Fetlar

The beach at Triesta, Fetlar

View taken on Fetlar, with Out Skerries just visible at the back.

Oystercatcher on Fetlar

Shag close to the ferry


Arctic Tern at Baltasound

Day 22 30th May, 2015.

Our leaving day, we made our usual early morning visit to Skaw and Lamba Ness but no new migrants and no sign of the Otter at Lamba Ness. Back to the croft for breakfast and packing before heading for the ferry to Yell, with a couple of quick stops at Haroldswick pool and Uyeasound.
The usual fast drive across Yell for the ferry to Mainland and we then headed for Lerwick to drop Doreen and Brenda off, for them to look around Lerwich, whilst David and  myself headed towards Sumburgh. We quickly saw the drake Ring-necked Duck on Loch of Hillwell also a drake Garganey, and then nearby to try to see the Corncrake. We soon located it calling and after some time it walked out of the thick grass and gave some superb views.
It was now time to drive back to Lerwick, pick up Doreen and Brenda, have a nice fish and chips meal and catch the Ferry to Aberdeen and then the 12 hour drive home tomorrow.

Whooper Swan 17
Garganey 1 drake (Loch of Hillwell)
Ring-necked Duck 1 drake (Loch of Hillwell)
Corncrake 1



Corncrake on Southern Mainland