Thursday, 19 October 2017


9th October, 2017 (Day 24 ) Overcast misty with drizzle becoming fine later. SW 1 to 3

Very dull wet morning but at least very calm morning. We first visited Skaw, but just the usual migrants, 1 Tree Pipit  1 Blyth’s Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whinchat, 1 very wet Mealy Redpoll, 2 Blackcaps, 1 Chiffchaff. Onto Valyie area 4 Blackcaps the Coue’s Redpoll had joined the Twite flock otherwise just the odd Chiffchaff.

After breakfast, we visited a number of sites around Baltasound but these were very quiet although a surprise find was a Blue Tit at the School clump (a Shetland tick for me). As we were passing Haroldswick we met Al. who had seen a Bluethroat on the beach and we quickly walked the beach area and soon located it.

During the afternoon with the weather turning fine we walked around Norwick and Valyie and DC had a Yellow-browed at Valyie. During the evening a Bat was flying around Millfield.
Mealy Redpoll and Coue's Arctic Redpoll in flight at Valyie.

Male Bluethroat feeding amongst the sea-weed on Haroldswick beach.

10th October, 2017 (Day 25 ) Early morning rain clearing with heavy showers SW4-6
Another wet early morning, so different to this time last year. Our usual early morning visit to Skaw but just a couple of Redwings, the Blyth’s Lesser Whitethroat and a Blackcap. On the drive back from Skaw we had a Snow Bunting close to the road. Little seen at North Dale other than a Blackcap. Back at Millfield, there was a Siberian Chiffchaff in our garden.
After breakfast we walked the Haroldswick loop but other than the odd Blackcap and Chiffchaff with 2 parties of Bramblings flying over little else was seen. The School Clump was quiet. With heavy rain,  we stopped briefly at Houlland where 2 Ruff were seen before we returned to Millfield for lunch.
After lunch, we visited Valyie in the strong wind. Around 70 Redwings flew out of the bushes, also 30 Bramblings in the fields and 1 Common Rosefinch. also 1 Yellow-browed Warbler showed nicely in the plantation.
Shags resting on the cliff top at Skaw.

Blyth's Lesser Whitethroat still present at Skaw.

Common Rosefinch found in the weedy field at Valyie

Snow Bunting along the Skaw road

Siberian Chiffchaff taken in shade at Millfield

The same Siberian Chiffchaff taken in sunlight at Millfield

Redwing along the road near Norwick

11th October,2017 (Day 27) Early rain clearing to a fine day with showers. SW 4-6.
Our last full day, early morning visit to Skaw but fairly quiet with singles of Blyths Lesser Whitethroat and Whinchat, 2 Bramblings. Onto Norwick and Valyie with 12 Mealy Redpolls, 1 Coue’s Arctic Redpoll, 6 Bramblings, 1 Blackcap, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff.
We then went looking for a Blyth’s Reed Warbler at Halligarth but no joy, although a Merlin briefly seen and the odd Chiffchaffs. After lunch we decided to twitch the Thrush Nightingale on Mainland but again no joy.
During the evening a good showing of the Northern Lights, and the Milky Way. 
Mealy Redpoll with the Coue's Arctic Redpoll at Norwick.

Coue's Arctic Redpoll at Norwick.

Undertail coverts of the Coue's just showing one black streak.

Mealy Redpoll present with the Coue's for comparison.

12th October,2017 (Day 28 our last morning) Early rain clearing to a fine day with showers. SW 4-6.
We leave this morning on the evening ferry from Lerwick. With rain during the early morning, we decided not to visit Skaw and we departed Unst on the 9.45 ferry to Yell. Before leaving a Common Snipe put on a fine display in our garden. Whilst waiting for the Yell ferry, Doreen picked out an Otter fishing, and we were able to watch this for around 10 minutes during that time it caught several fish.
After arriving at Yell, we drove across Yell to catch the ferry to Mainland, and saw 7 Whooper Swans on the journey. We stopped off a Sandgarth on Mainland in the hope of seeing the Thrush Nightingale which has been present for several days in the grounds of a private nature reserve owned by Beth and Tony. The Thrush Nightingale showed well for a couple of minutes along a muddy footpath in poor light which made photography very difficult. Also seen 1 Mealy Redpoll.
We boarded the Lerwick ferry around 5.00 pm to arrive at Aberdeen at 07.00 am the following morning.
Both Doreen and myself would like to add a huge THANK YOU to both David and Brenda for making us very welcome and comfortable at their home at Millfield and for the effort they both made in order that we should have a very restful and enjoyable holiday.
David and Brenda outside Millfield, taken by Doreen


Thrush Nightingale at Sandgarth, just about make out
the 1st primary.