Wednesday, 11 October 2017

11th October 2017 Unst SW3 Rain clearing

A wet dawn at Skaw produced the lingering Whinchat and Lesser Whitethroat. Swiftly moving onto Norwick produced a Blackcap, a Willow Warbler, a Chiffchaff, 6 Brambling and more prolonged views of the Coue's Arctic Redpoll among a flock of 10 Mealy Redpolls. The evening produced a nice showing of both an aurora and the milky way.

Coue's Arctic Redpoll at Norwick (lowest image JFC)

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

10th October 2017 Unst SW4 Rain clearing

It was raining on our way to Skaw but 4 Redwings seen along the Holsen's road and another 2 as we arrived at Skaw gave us some encouragement. The Lesser Whitethroat was still present at Skaw and a flock of 6 Brambling overflew. A Snow Bunting was seen along Holson's road on our return and there was a Siberian Chiffchaff in our garden. Walking around Haroldswick added another 12 Brambling flying over and a Chiffchaff. A few more Brambling were seen around Baltasound before the rain set in. After the rain cleared we tried Norwick seeing 70 Redwing, a Yellow-browed Warbler, 30 Brambling, 5 Mealy Redpolls and a Common Rosefinch.

Snow Bunting along the road to Skaw

Siberian Chiffchaff at Millfield

Common Rosefinch at Norwick

Monday, 9 October 2017

9th October 2017 Unst S2 Rain clearing

It was raining whilst we were at Skaw with a selection of sodden migrants seen including the Whinchat, theTree Pipit, the Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff and a Mealy Redpoll. Norwick added an overflying Grey Wagtail, 4 Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff, a Yellow-browed Warbler and the Coue's Arctic Redpoll and Mealy Redpoll. The School produced a surprise in the form of a Blue Tit and as we were driving through Haroldswick Al flagged us down to see a Bluethroat performing along the tide line. A Bat sp. flying around Millfield at dusk was the first we've seen since living on Shetland.

Mealy Redpoll at Skaw

Lesser Whitethroat at Skaw

Mealy (left) and Coue's Arctic Redpoll at Norwick

 Bluethroat at Haroldswick (JFC)

Sunday, 8 October 2017

8th October 2017 Unst Calm Overcast

A nice calm overcast dawn so we headed to Norwick where it proved incredibly quiet with us seeing just 2 Blackcaps and a Reed Bunting until an Arctic Redpoll briefly popped-up into view alongside a Mealy Redpoll. We then tried Skaw where the Red-throated Pipit, Tree Pipit, Blackcap and Chiffchaff were all still present. Burrafirth failed to produce any migrants but at Houlland we found our first Siberian Chiffchaff of the Autumn and a Brambling. Lund added a single drake Long-tailed Duck, a Chiffchaff and 4 or 5 Harbour Porpoises in the bay. North Dale added a Blackcap, a Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler.

Arctic Redpoll at Norwick
The pager reported a Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll present at Norwick yesterday but based on brief views of the above bird seen alongside a Mealy Redpoll and then Twite it appeared to lack the size, bulk, shape and jizz of that form. Based on our brief views and the number of Hornemann's being seen after the northwesterly winds we were reticent to consider it a Coue's. However, Brydon, Micky and Mike found a Coue's in Baltasound and Brydon kindly took a look at the above images and pointing to its size and clean face considered it a Coue's. A quick internet search reveals a rather similar-looking Coue's here:

Coue's Arctic Redpoll at Kelling, Norfolk February 2012 (Kevin Elsby)

Siberian Chiffchaff at Houlland

Saturday, 7 October 2017

7th October 2017 Unst E3 Overcast

An early morning visit to Skaw produced the Whinchat, Tree Pipit, Lesser Whitethroat and flight views of 3 Redpolls flying high east that included the Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll. Northdale added a Dunnock and Yellow-browed Warbler. As we drove through Haroldswick a large female Peregrine was seen hunting. Halligarth produced a Spotted Flycatcher, a Yellow-browed Warbler, 3 Chiffchaffs and flight views of 6 Redpolls flying to Setters Hill. A single Yellow-browed Warbler was seen at Setters Hill and a Redwing was seen at the School. On leaving Millfield we noticed an Iceland Gull feeding with Common Gulls. News of an Olive-backed Pipit at Uyeasound saw us heading there late afternoon where nice views were obtained at the exact location of one seen last Autumn!

Spotted Flycatcher at Halligarth

Iceland Gull at Norwick

Olive-backed Pipit at Uyeasound School

Friday, 6 October 2017

6th October 2017 Unst NW4 Overcast

At Skaw we saw a Tree Pipit, the Red-throated Pipit, the Whinchat, the Lesser Whitethroat, the Chiffchaff and the Blackcap and Dennis, George P and Paul found a Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll. A single female Parrot Crossbill was still flying around Setters Hill. At Easter Loch we saw 7 Whooper Swans and the Ring-necked Duck.

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll at Skaw

Ring-necked Duck at Easter Loch

Thursday, 5 October 2017

5th October 2017 Unst NW8 Overcast

A howling gale made life incredibly difficult with just 3 Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap seen at Skaw. After seeing just a Whinchat and Chiffchaff at Lund we concentrated on checking flocks of Golden Plover seeing a few Ruff. A look at Easter Loch proved more worthwhile as we saw 6 Whooper Swans, a Pinkfoot over and 3 Goldeneye and among a flock of Tufted Duck we found a juvenile / female Ring-necked Duck in very difficult conditions - a gale and no scope! We had to head north to find a signal to let everyone know and returned with our scopes although it then proved difficult to stop the tripod from blowing over! We then had a quick look at Norwick seeing a Little Bunting.

Female / juvenile Ring-necked Duck at Easter Loch