Sunday, 12 January 2014

Glossy a Go Go, the hunt for a Glossy Ibis

So throughout this week I have been planning with Tommy and Henry to go up to Unst to see Shetland's fourth Glossy Ibis which was found by Mike Pennington on Monday, surprisingly five Glossy Ibises arrived on the Faroes the same day.
The Glossy Ibis was the fourth record for Shetland followings single birds in South Nesting in 2002 and Unst in 1920 and 1862.

Saturday the 11th of January 2014

On the Friday that Tommy and Henry were coming up, I checked online and I found out that a Glossy Ibis was at Spiggie and the one from Unst hadn't been seen today, NO! the most likely thing was that the Unst bird had moved to Spiggie.
When Tommy and Henry came up that evening we planned our trip to the other side of Shetland to chase this dastardly Ibis.

The next morning we headed down to the Mainland on the 9.15 ferry and while on the crossing I saw my first Common Guillemot of the year.
On our way south we took a detour to Brae, one of the places we checked along the way was the Loch of Trondavoe and there we saw two Whooper Swans and forty-eight Wigeon.
After Brae we headed south.

A very late Northlink ferry heading north at ten forty

We headed straight to the Spiggie Loch after getting a quick picture of the Northlink and on arrival we met Paul, we asked him if the Glossy Ibis had been seen and he said that no-one had seen it this morning (no!) so we kept speaking and then we headed off to relocate the Ibis.
On our way we had a quick look at the loch and we managed to count thirty Whooper Swans, about one-hundred and twenty Greylag Geese, twenty-three Curlew, fourteen Ravens, fifty plus Wigeon, lots Tufted Ducks and Goldeneye.
We moved further along the road and in a park right on the turn to Littleness (at 11.12), I spotted the GLOSSY IBIS!!!!! Henry quickly spotted it about a split-second afterwards and we started shouting/mumbling to Tommy to stop the car and he nearly kept going!! we got the cameras out straight away and started click, click, clicking like mad.
I quickly got on the phone to a few birders but none of them would answer so we left a voicemail, just after I'd finished phoning, a birder who I didn't know showed up and started taking pictures of the bird.
Within the next ten minutes Russ Haywood showed up and then I phoned Paul who was just on the north end of the loch and on his way.

My first ever picture of a Glossy Ibis and my first-ever in Shetland, I saw my first one back in Spain in 2012.

A more clearer picture of this Glossy backed beauty

The bird was feeding very happily but it did seem a bit "jumpy"

The Ibis then took off and flew into the park across the road, it then landed a piece away and it was a bit far away for photos.

The Ibis in flight, from a distance it really looks like a black Curlew

I decided to try out black and white on my new camera and it showed quite well.

Since the bird didn't seem to be coming any closer I went and spoke to Paul, while we were speaking the Ibis flew closer to the road so we both went after it, the Ibis showed for a few minutes and then it disappeared into a "dip", some other birders had showed up so I spoke to them until I headed off with Tommy and Henry and we headed to Hillwell and Quendale.

On the Hillwell Loch we saw three Whooper Swans, six Lapwngs, two-hundred plus Lapwings, some Moorhen and some Wigeon.
We then left for Quendale and we saw six Shalders, over twenty Rock Doves and Common Gulls before heading off to Virkie.

One of the many Common Gulls which was feeding in a park

Luckily for once the Pool of Virkie wasn't at full tide! on the pool we saw some Redshanks, two Ringed Plovers and a flock of seven Bar-tailed Godwits.

Three of the seven Bar-tailed Godwits

I took a black and white shot of these five domesticated Mallards which were fighting over a crab

A black and white shot of the sea and Fitful Head

At Littleness people were still looking at the Glossy Ibis and by luck the sun came out! we got out our camera's and started clicking away.

The cursed wire seems to find its way into most of my photos

You can start to see the real glossyness of the birds back

black and white Glossy Ibis

A short video I took of the Glossy Ibis (you might have to change the resolution)

The Ibis hunting for worms (photo by Tommy Tyler)

The Glossy Ibis (photo by Tommy Tyler)

The colours on this bird was just amazing (photo by Henry Hyndman)

A great photo of the Ibis by Henry Hyndman

And here is my last picture of the Glossy Ibis.

The sun had gone behind a cloud by the time I had took this photo and it didn't seem like it was coming out anytime soon so we left for north.
That was the end of a birding day and we were all very happy to of seen/ found the Glossy Ibis.


  1. Hi Logan, great photos of the Ibis. I saw my first one here on Orkney a couple of weeks ago. It was one of three possibly four that first appeared here just before Christmas.

    What camera/lens were you using for the photos?

    1. I was using a Panasonic DMC-FZ72 20-1200 if that helps.