Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Scouring Scalloway (21st of December 2013)

So this is probably my last blog post up to Christmas and until then I wish everybody a Happy Christmas.

This weekend I went with my Dad to Scalloway, while I was there I had a look round the streets (most of them!) for birds.

I started off at 11.55 and I headed to Ladysmith road, I had a look for some Goldfinches which had been seen in a garden a few weeks ago, but alas there was no Goldfinches and instead I got to watch a young Blackbird with a worm.

The young Blackbird was happily eating while I took some photos of it a mere three or four metres away

I watched the Blackbird, a few Starlings and twenty House Sparrows feeding in the garden for five minutes before a walker-by scared them all off, it was time for me to head off anyway so I went to have a look round the next street.

In the next street I found a garden with some feeders that were covered in Starlings some of them were feeding on the ground.

This individuals colours seemed so bright, in this picture you can see a kind of lilac collar on the bird.

And on this one the Starling has a kind of greeny yellow collar

I left the Starlings and I explored several streets before coming to one called "The Creek" I went down it and then I turned back around to head into another street when I saw a Hooded Crow alight itself into a large tree to my right, the Crow had got itself a piece of bread which had been chucked out, I got out my camera and got a few photos of the bird.

 The crows are disliked by some people, I like them because they are a bit of a challenge to get close to

From "The Creek" I followed the streets north until I came to a place called "Sycamore Avenue" I followed the street and I came to the edge of a park (field) and I saw a few Blackbirds feeding, I got my "bins" on the closest one and watched it for a while, I noticed something fly across the road from where I was standing and this bird was black and white, a Woodpecker!! I immediately got my camera out and I tried to get a photo of the Great-spotted Woodpecker but it was always behind a branch (Scotland's first Lesser-spotted Woodpecker was found (by Rob Fray) in Sycamore Avenue/the Scalloway Health Centre last year, I sadly missed the bird by three days as I was in Fair Isle, the day I left the isle I missed a Siberian Rubythroat! but had luckily seen one the year before).

This is probably my best shot of the "pecker" (which was a juvenile or a female) but for me it was a great find, only my 4th ever sighting of the species, my first was this year in Brae which was found by my grandad Tommy!

I "woody" stayed around for a few minutes, calling most of the time too! but all birds go and this one flew over a house and disappeared, I had a look around for it but there was no sign so I moved off in search of the avian-flyers.
I found myself looking over a park (field) next to the Scalloway Health Centre and I managed to see at least twenty Curlews or Whaps as we call them, I had a better look at the flock and I counted sixty bird! I can't believe I'd missed that many! the Whaps in the park flew up onto a hill and joined ten or twenty more.
I decided to have a closer look and I was able to count 74 Whaps they blended in very well with the hillside so there was probably 80 birds.
I started heading south towards the shop because I was starting to feel hungry and after I got a bag of crisps I went and had a quick look round some large trees (by Shetland Standards anyway), surprisingly I didn't see any birds but I didn't check the entire place.
The area round the Leisure Centre was my next destination and it was a good one! I saw 7 Greylag Geese, 28 Lapwings and 40+ Starlings!
I doubled back and went along the road to the Scalloway Castle and in the parks below were Twenty Herring Gulls, four Great Black-Backed Gulls and two Rooks.

I managed to get a picture of one of the Rooks in flight

I walked down the road to the pier and I sat myself down, I had a quick scan of the sea and I saw three Dunters and two very nice Red-breasted Mergansers.
A few minutes later I got a call from Dad saying that he was ready to pick me up.
By this time it was three o'clock so I had spent three hours checking through most of the streets in Scalloway!

Here is a picture of the Scalloway Castle, taken from my sitting spot beside a lamp post

Dad then came to pick me up and we headed home, on the way I tallied up all the birds I had seen during my three hour period of birdwatching.

Starling 200+

Blackbird 14

Herring Gull 53+

Hooded Crow (Cra) 13

House Sparrow 54

Collard Dove
(a very, very low count compared to what I normally see in Scalloway)

Great-spotted Woodpecker 1

Curlew (Whap) 80+

Rock Dove 2

Greylag Goose 7

Raven (Corbie) 1 or 2

Lapwing 28

Great Black-backed Gull (Swaabie) 7

Rook 2 possibly 3

Eider (Dunter) 3

Red-breasted Merganser (Herald Deuk) 2

Common Gull (Peerie Maa) 1

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