As part of the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, RSPB Shetland decided to host a ID course/hide making at Helendale House, Westerloch on Sunday the 25th.
I was asked to help out so I came along at 1035 and a few of the volunteers were already there.
Though, due to the weather, it was a poor turnout.
After about 30 minutes I went birding to the Loch with Louis, there was a few birds around, 4 Gadwall, a Teal and a Fieldfare.
We headed to the Broch and I saw this thing start running along the wire mese fence, I had a pretty good idea what it was, it appeared and ran straight in my eyesight, a Water Rail!! Louis was a bit taken back when I lifted him up and started pointing wildly but he understood why after he saw the bird.
It was my first one the patch so it was pretty big for me.
From here we went back to Helendale to join the rest of the group and to tell them of our finds.
Time was pressing on, not many birds were seen but a male Chaffinch occasionally called the familiar "Plink" which everyone soon understood.
By 1230 we were starting to clear up, the temporary hide was put away and as I was loading stuff into the Van, 3 or 4 Whoopers flew over calling!
I was carrying the last of my gear over to the Van when I heard this familiar hoarse call erupt from a bush, Blue Tit!! some stopped to look and Freya was scared half to death.
Though seconds later this silhouetted shape flew out from a bush and disappeared which was our bird, within the next 30 minutes both a Blue & a Great Tit showed up before everyone headed off.
Fieldfare in the parks at Clickimin
After a short break at the house I was off again to do the Seafield part of my patch.
Seafield was ok for this time of year, bringing up the usually seabirds and also a Purple Sandpiper, 2-4 Gadwall (some flew in but I wasn't sure if the originals had flown out) and a flock of 42 Shalders (Oystercatchers) which managed to land on Pullar's Loch without me noticing!
This juvenile Mute Swan was one of three that were on Clickimin but this is the only one that has stuck with the parents, though they aren't afraid of me so some excellent shots are guarantied! (Unless your in strong winds like I was)
One of the parents
I preferred to photograph this guy as he had a bit more difference in colour to him as the parents have only white, black and orange
Mammy & Daddy
Finally to round the day off I took a quick trip to Helendale to try and photograph the Blue Tit.
By this time it was 1450 and the camera completely disagreed with the lighting so there was no photos but some close views of a Blue Tit on a feeder.
A pretty good day on the patch, it helped as I have started in the Patchwork Challenge, which is a challenge to bird your patch as much as possible throughout the year and compete with other birders across the country.