Shetland 1-10th October 2019

I was fortunate enough to get some time off from work during the peak migration season and was looking forward to another visit to Shetland with friends to ‘bird’ all day, every day. Paul M kindly picked us up (Nige W, Rich H and myself) and then drove every mile to Aberdeen, a stay near to the airport gave us time for a beer and burger before bed and we flew to Sumburgh the next day. We departed and arrived with no bother, it was a tad chillier than we were used to so far this autumn. We headed to Grutness beach to have a look at the confiding Semi-palmated Sandpiper and other waders, Jeremy S who was already on Shetland arrived by bus and joined us for the trip.

We were to be based on the most Northerly island of Unst for seven days, our intention was to have at least a day on Fetlar but otherwise not leave Unst until we returned to mainland Shetland for the last two nights. Despite various scarce birds being present on mainland Shetland we stuck to this plan. Notes and images follow.

M.J.McGill

Brambling, female, Tresta, Fetlar MJMcGill
Yellow-browed Warbler, Tresta, Fetlar MJMcGill
Short-toed Lark, Tresta, Fetlar
Looking through a metal seven bar gate!
Dusky Warbler, Haroldswick, Unst
Twite, Norwick, Unst, Shetland MJMcGill
Goldcrest, Sumburgh Quarry.
We watched this bedraggled migrant desperately looking for food after crossing the sea, it managed to find a harvestman type spider which was a little too big for it to handle, after sorting the legs out it swallowed it whole and settled down to preen seemingly oblivious to our presence.
Juvenile Waxwing, Camb, Yell
We searched for this bird and was struggling to find it when JS spotted at the base of a bonfire pile, it was feeding on the dried berries of a cut Rowan.
Red-breasted Flycatcher, Mainland Shetland
Our second of the week.

Highlights of this trip were as follows..

Flocks of Pink-footed Geese as we headed into Cumbria and as we travelled through Scotland to Aberdeen. On Shetland our highlights were…

1 October

Semi-palmated Sandpiper at Grutness, Mainland, Red-breasted Flycatcher at West Yell, Yell Whinchat, 2 Brambling and Mealy Redpoll at Norwick, Unst.

2 October

Wheatear, Redwing, Merlin and Willow Warbler at Haroldswick.
2 Lesser Whitethroat, Fieldfare, 3 Brambling, 2 Tree Sparrow, 3 Mealy Redpoll, Red-flanked Bluetail, Siskin, 5 Redwing, Redstart and Blackcap at Norwick.
12 Redwing, Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Swallow, Pied Flycatcher, Yellow-browed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Merlin at Baltasound.

3 October

Wheatear, Whinchat and Merlin. Lapland Bunting, 4 Snow Bunting and Purple Sandpiper at Lamba Ness.
Dusky Warbler and Song Thrush at Haroldswick.
Willow Warbler, Whinchat and Swallow at Westing.
Scaup, 2 Goldeneye, Blackcap and Tree Pipit at Uyeasound.
Song Thrush, Slavonian Grebe and Knot at Baltasound.
2 Song Thrush and 2 Fieldfare at Burrafirth. 13 Mealy Redpoll at Norwick.

4 October

Glaucous Gull and 2 Fieldfare at Burrafirth.
Jack Snipe, 3 Mealy Redpoll, 2 Fieldfare and Redwing at Northdale.
3 Redwing, Yellow-browed Warbler and 10+ Mealy Redpoll at Baliasta.
4 Blackcap, 4 Yellow-browed Warbler, 4 Robin, 6 Goldcrest, 15 Brambling, 2 Chiffchaff, Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, 2 Pied Flycatcher, Whinchat and Redstart at Baltasound.

5 October

Otter at Baltasound. 25+ Long-tailed Duck, 5 Black Guillemot, and 3 Otter at Belmont.
Fetlar- 7 Whooper Swan, Brambling, 2 Yellow-browed Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, 15 Redwing, 2 Fieldfare, Short-toed Lark.
Lamba Ness, Unst- Barred Warbler and 6 Snow Bunting.

6 October

Wheatear, 4 Mealy Redpoll, c20 Redwing at Burrafirth.
2 Lapland Bunting, 10 Snow Bunting and 12 Mealy Redpoll at Lamba Ness.
2 Wheatear, 2 Mealy Redpoll, Blackcap, Redstart and Whinchat at Norwick.
Wheatear, Tree Pipit, Brambling, Chiffchaff and Blackcap at Sandwick.

Spotted Flycatcher, Lesser Whitethroat and Merlin at Muness.
2 Yellow-browed Warbler, Merlin, Siberian Chiffchaff, Brambling and 10 Redwing at Baltasound.

8 October

3 Snow Bunting, 20 Mealy Redpoll, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Yellow-browed Warbler, Siskin, Robin, c20 Redwing at Burrafirth.
Ring Ouzel and Stejneger’s Stonechat at Westing.

Willow Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat at Uyeasound.
Waxwing and Linnet at Camb, Yell.
Yellow-browed Warbler, Red-breasted Flycatcher and Blackcap at Burn of Valayre, Brae.
Waxwing at Ollaberry.

9 October

Reed Bunting at Brake.
Siberian Chiffchaff, 2 Mealy Redpoll, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Grey Wagtail at Quendale.
Lapland Bunting at Sumburgh.
Siberian Chiffchaff, Jack Snipe and Yellow-browed Warbler at Swinster Burn, Hoswick.
Siskin at Sandwick.

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