21st November 2015
After dipping on the Lesser Scaup on the 15th I decided to give it another go on the 21st.
First stop with Tommy was the Loch of Benston where the bird had moved to after being found on its original site of the Loch of Houlland.
After scanning through the duck flocks I couldn't spot anything bar Tufties and Wigeon, most birds where a good piece off, so if the Scaup was there I certainly couldn't ID it.
Pig at the Loch of Benston
Next came the Loch of Houlland and a car was already pulled up looking at the Tufties and what we hoped was the Lesser Scaup too.
We rolled up to see Jim Nicolson watching the Scaup and he pointed it out to us before I rattled off a few photos, at the distance they weren't the best but at least they were identifiable.
Sadly we didn't have time to stick around so we thanked Jim and headed off to Lerwick, very much a tick and dash.
Lesser Scaup (Centre) at Loch of Houlland, no.247 in Shetland
22nd November 2015
Today I headed down the South Mainland with Dave & Pete to see if we could locate any migrants.
First stop was Sandwick and the only bird of note was a Carrion Crow feeding with the pigs.
Next along came Clumlie, a flock of 4 Mipits was odd for this time of year and were presumed to be wintering, a Greylag with a neck collar 'DTC' was another bird of note, originally being ringed in Clumlie.
Greylag 'DTC' at Clumlie, ringed this year as one of the four birds that were ringed as part of the yearly round up
There wasn't many birds between Grutness and Virkie bar a Shalder, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Robin and 5 Sanderling.
Scatness was a bit more exciting with 3 Shelduck and so was Hillwell with a Coot, a female Common Scoter, 2 Robin and 17 Whooper Swans.
Surprisingly all the reeds were frozen underwater, yet there wasn't any Little Grebes.
Good numbers of geese were around Quendale with a couple of hundred Greylags and at least 45 Pink-feet, no sign of the rather elusive Lesser White-fronted Goose though.
Spiggie was next, hundreds of geese surronded the west side of the loch and I'm pretty sure we saw over 1000 over the course of the day.
There was a few wildfowl of note, a flock of 151 Wigeon, 34 Whoopers, 9 Mutes, 4 Barnacle Geese and 17 Pink-feet.
That was pretty much the only birds of note we saw for the day before we headed back north.
Looking across the Pool of Virkie to Sumburgh Head
On Wednesday the 25th, a Oriental Turtle Dove was photographed in Scalloway by Liz & Jim Watt, I saw the photo before the bird was properly identified and I was actually too scared to comment, as I feared it would be the rarer of our two Turtle Doves.
This was an Oriental (or Rufous, depends which one you choose), bird of the year for Shetland, the last bird having been seen in Fair Isle in 1974.
November is generally a time when any Turtle should be well scrutinized, as it could be from very far east.
As the news was only put out on Wednesday night, no birders could make it so many were there for first light the next day, all having ticked it and getting some amazing photos.
Now I couldn't actually go til at least Saturday which meant I had three agonizing days of waiting for the bird to either stay or depart.
Having been seen the day before I headed on Saturday the 28th and I prayed it was still there, I arrived on the scene of Ladysmith Rd, Scalloway to see to photographers pointing their rather large cameras at what was obviously the bird feeding on the deck, we crouched closer and there it was feeding away!
I got a few record shots and we inched closer, the light wasn't the best as it was only 9 but it was good enough for views, sadly we had to get going but I was happy with my views, maybe not as much with the photos.
The best shot I had, really but not a bad 248th addition to my list
Silhoutted against the morning sky