Monday, 24 July 2017

24th July 2017 Unst N4 Overcast

No sign of the Two-barred Crossbill today but the Willow Warbler was still present. An hour's seawatch from Lamba Ness this evening produced just the usual suspects.

Part of a flock of 70 Lapwings being a sure sign of Autumn!

Gannets passing Lamba Ness

Fulmar and Puffin passing Lamba Ness

Puffin with dinner passing Lamba Ness

Guillemot and 2 Puffins passing Lamba Ness


Bridled Guillemots passing Lamba Ness

Razorbill passing Lamba Ness

Black Guillemot passing Lamba Ness

Shag passing Lamba Ness

Twite at Skaw

Saturday, 22 July 2017

22nd July 2017 Unst SE2 Clear

A nice morning trying various areas that produced a presumably leucistic Fulmar sat on the cliffs at Skaw and a few Sanderling on the beach there, 2 Garden Warblers together at Norwick and the first-summer female Two-barred Crossbill still present at Setters Hill.

First-summer female Two-barred Crossbill at Setters Hill 
In BW22:8:331-332 Deryk Shaw documented a first-summer male Two-barred Crossbill on Fair Isle in July 2009 that as with the current Unst bird lacked any white tertial tips suggesting they were not replaced at the same time as its inner greater coverts. The Unst bird was very vocal today regularly switching between its so-called 'flight calls' and its (superb)  diagnostic 'trumpet calls' that I managed to record here. Its then interesting to compare the close similarity in the resulting sonograms as follows:

Unst trumpet, flight, flight, trumpet, flight

Sweden flight, trumpet

Sweden flight

Fulmar at Skaw
presumably a leucistic individual




Sanderling at Skaw


Garden Warbler at Norwick

Friday, 21 July 2017

21st July 2017 Unst SE1 Clear

A stop at Setters Hill produced a very nice find on my way home from work...






First-summer female Two-barred Crossbill at Setters Hill, Unst
I've been keeping my eyes and ears open ever since JFC told me  a couple of weeks ago that they were on the move on the Continent. Here's a recording of it's trumpet call




Willow Warbler at Setters Hill
My first of the autumn that was occasionally singing. It appears to be renewing its secondaries.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

18th July 2017 Unst W3 Overcast clearing

The forecast for today looked good so alarm clock set and off to work but I only got as far as Baltasound when heavy drizzle, very poor visibility, black clouds and windy conditions were enough to convince me to turnaround. The clearance finally came around midday and it felt it might be a good time to take a look for the adult White-tailed Sea-Eagle after three consecutive days of poor weather. I'd only just started scanning from the highest point at the telecom transmitter when I picked it out sat on a fencepost. Within a few minutes it took to the air and headed towards Baltasound so I alerted the birders there one of whom saw it from their house. It then flew south down the east coast before returning to its fencepost! It only sat there for a few minutes before it flew high to the southeast before again returning. Otherwise just a few returning Whimbrel, Turnstone and Dunlin were seen.



Adult White-tailed Sea-Eagle over Baltasound

Thursday, 13 July 2017

13th July 2017 Unst SE2 Clear

A Quail was heard at Norwick this evening where a flock of 12 Common Swifts were zooming around being the first I've seen on Unst this year (albeit I saw one on Fetlar in the Spring).

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

12th July 2017 Unst W3 Clear

A Quail is audible from our garden this evening.

Dunlin at Gutcher
More adult Dunlin are appearing with c.50 seen at coastal locations today

Monday, 10 July 2017

10th July 2017 Yell W1

Happy Birthday Dad! A day spent at work in balmy weather on Yell. On the way home a small group of Arctic Terns at Gutcher included a first-summer individual noted as 'scarce in Europe' by the Collins Guide.



First-summer Arctic Tern at Gutcher, Yell
I rarely take my camera to work so these were digi-binned images!

Sunday, 9 July 2017

9th July 2017 Unst W5 Overcast clearing

A trip down to Uyeasound looking for Waders found 2 summer-plumaged Knot and c.15 Dunlin present and an hour seawatching from Lamba Ness from 4pm produced 3 Manx Shearwaters (2S, 1N).




 Summer-plumaged Knot at Uyeasound
Whilst both sexes incubate the females depart soon after their eggs hatch leaving the males to rear their offspring alone. Had the brisk westerly airstream allowed these to make a non-stop journey from Greenland?

Saturday, 8 July 2017

8th July 2017 Unst W3 Overcast

A first-summer Great Northern Diver was present off Skaw and a seawatch from Lamba Ness from 3pm to 4pm produced my first 4 Manx Shearwaters of the year all flying north.

First-summer Great Northern Diver off Skaw


Manx Shearwater passing Lamba Ness

Millfield newly-painted

Our potatoes doing okay

It's proving slow-going with our willows

Our eastern perimeter looking more promising

7th July 2017 Unst

A single non-breeding plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit was present on the houb this evening alongside a Whimbrel, 3 Turnstone and c.15 Dunlin.

Puffin collecting nesting material

Sunday, 2 July 2017

2nd July 2017 Unst W1 Clear

This evening we received a surprise message from Brydon to say that he was watching a Honey Buzzard showing well over his house being a fine way to be celebrating his daughter's first birthday! Whilst I didn't rate our chances of arriving in time to see it, we set off anyway, and were soon enjoying superb views of an adult male Honey Buzzard - the second of the year on Unst.









 Adult male Honey Buzzard at Halligarth