Thursday, 30 April 2015

Spring is here... well almost

Well its been a while!
I haven't been very up to speed these past two months with my blog posts, it hasn't really been quiet but that that busy either though I've been out and about a bit and I've already surpassed 100 species for the year! over 20 ahead of last years pace.
But anyways here's one from the 18th of April when I went down Da Ness.

Saturday the 18th April 2015

I came down from Yell in the morning to meet up with Paul Harvey at 1130 in Sumburgh, we tried once before to organise a bit of birding but a few things got in our way so we ended up doing it today.

After I accidentally missed my stop at the Hotel, Paul picked me up just outside of Grutness and we headed round there for our first part of the morning.
Paul took me round his usual Sumburgh patch, going over quarries, parks and farms to see what species we could muster as well as speaking to several locals who Paul knew well.
After Sumburgh/Grutness was complete we ended on a total of 2 Bonxies, 15 Wheatear (year ticks), 4 Pied+1 White Wagtail, Goldcrest (calling), 3 Redwings and also another bird of note was a Collard Dove at Toab.
Next came a stop for denner at Paul (and a look at his stunning collection of books) before we left for Spiggie in hope of Green-winged Teal and a few other bits and pieces.

On arrival at Spiggie we didn't much, a piece further along the road we came to the turn to Noss where two cars were parked up looking for the Green-winged Teal which had been present.
Richard Ashbee was one of the car owners (we also saw him at Grutness as well) and he said that he'd briefly seen the bird in the ditch running into the Loch but it was out of sight.
We drove on further and we caught a glimpse of it in the ditch before it lifted and landed on the Loch, luckily I managed a horrendous record shot which you can see below and I spotted an Iceland Gull while we were enjoying this American vagrant.

Drake Green-winged Teal, also my fourth one and all I've seen on the Shetland Mainland

After our slightly distant views of the Teal we drove off and headed north to Geosetter, doing the trees there we managed some Chiffchaffs before coming south again.
Going along the western side of Spiggie, just north of Littleness, this bird flew in front of the car, I watched it for a moment and it was a Swallow! both me and Paul's first for the year!

Hillwell/Quendale was next but both were kinda poor bar from a Iceland Gull, 46 Lesser Black-backs (!!!) and some Redwings so along came Virkie.
We scanned the Pool and among the Black-headed Gulls, Paul picked out a Sandwich Tern! I haven't seen one for two years but this was no.98, a piece further along and no,99 popped up, a Bar-tailed Godwit!! pretty close to 100.

Fourth from the right (in the centre) is the Sandwich Tern, had my first one here two years ago as well!

Bar-tailed Godwit, extreme record shot, like most of my photos from today.

Scatness came next, I was hoping for a few ducks and I got that, right on the far side of the Loch, Paul picked out a pair of both Shoveler and Pintail! two year ticks bringing my total up to 101! well ahead of last years pace.
A few more ducks were on the Loch, Wigeon, Tufted Ducks and the odd Goldeneye along with Kittiwakes.
Sumburgh came again and we took a quick venture up the head and then Grutness again, but both brought nothing.

But of course time was drawing to a close and my bus was soon to arrive so we called it a day just afore 5.

It was an excellent day for me, I managed a good boost to the year list and I got to have some fantastic company for the day, who was full of stories and generally made it a great trip.
So onto the next blog post! I've got a Fair Isle one from the Easter holidays to finish and one from last weekend to start so stay tuned!