This summer has been a pretty amazing experience, I've met a few interesting people along the way, the birds have been good when I've actually been birding and life in general has been pretty fab.
In Augsut/September I have managed around 4 Lifers- Booted Warbler (Sumburgh), Melodious Warbler (Unst), Long-billed Dowitcher (Yell) and Curlew Sandpiper (Grutness).
This brings my total additions to my Shetland List, this year anyways, up to 15 and one bird away from winning my bet with Tommy Hyndman.
The year list stands at 157 and has been quite slow in rising as I haven't really spent that much time birding in August, most weekends now are spent with my friends so the birds have been pushed to the side a bit.
2nd-12th of July 2015
The start of the holidays resulted in some of the school going down to Italy for an adventure holiday in the Alps.
Generally birding was to what I could manage inbetween activities but there was some goodies involved.
Species seen on this trip were- Serin, Black Redstart, Common Redstart, 'Italian' Sparrow, Blackbird, Blackcap, Buzzard, Great Tit, Swift, Raven, House Martin, Sand Martin, Black Kite, Alpine Swift (Lifer), Dipper, Comorant, Mallard, Grey Heron, White Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, acro sp & Little Bittern (Lifer).
Bats of an unknown specie were seen nightly over the camp and a Toad put in an appearance one night.
The first morning was spent getting used to the camp and its surroundings, located in the Aosta Valley, high up in north-west Italy.
Serin, Black & Common Redstart, 'Italian' Sparrow & Blackbird were the few birds seen on the first day.
Most of the days just showed the similiar stuff but Blackcap, Buzzard, Great Tit, Swift, Raven, House Martin, Sand MArtin and Black Kite were seen around the compound in the coming days.
Bats were seen nightly, going over very briefly, also a Toad made an appearance one night, Lifer!!
A day spent in the mountains doing rock climbling, gorge scrambling & 'squeezing' manged a few bits and peices, breeding Black Redstarts, my first Alpine Swift, Swallow, Swift, Sand Martin and several imposiible to see birds which were singing around.
Insects and flowers were really varying, quite a few reminded me of Shetland ones.
14th July 2015
A trip to Mousa to see Storm Petrels was quite good, we got to see Mark Bolton ringing them, also I had a look at the islands Flora, where I could find it at least, there was only one or two sites with Spear Thistle on the entire island.
18th-23rd of July 2015
This was spent on the usual visit to Fair Isle but I only stayed on for five days.
There was no big rarities but a acro sp in the Walli burn could of been if it was re-found, some of my time was done ringing with Bonxie, Arctic Skua, Gannet (!!), Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher all birds done while I was in.
I met a young Spanish boy who'd come on the JHMF and had been staying at the Obs for a while and the both of us went birding occasionally, best thing was we'd found a pair of Oystercatchers (with chicks) and another two pairs of Ringed Plovers (with chicks).
22nd August 2015
The Booted Warbler was at Sumburgh Farm on the 22nd of August and it was put out as a 'probable' by Russ Haywood, I headed down for it with Dave and we got onto it within ten minutes of being there, I saw the bird on and off for around and hour and then we left, now I didn't know that I was the only one to actually photograph it, so when I stuck the photos online the next day saying I'd photographed a few people were surprised, though I'm quite chuffed to of confirmed it!
Booted Warbler at Sumburgh Farm
23rd September 2015
Dave and I had a run around the Central Mainland totaling up no fewer than 15 Goosander (an impressive count for August), 2 Pied Flys, a Whinchat and a Grey Wagtail (as seen below).
Grey Wagtail at Kergord
Also on my way back north I picked up a Marsh Harrier at Toft which showed breifly before going south, I beleive this to be the bird which was seen in Vidlin earlier this week and at Graven two weeks after my sighting.
Marsh Harrier at Toft
26th August 2015
A Melodious Warbler popped up at Norwick, Unst on the 25th and I went with Rob Brookes the next day, getting almost immediate views before we checked the rest of the Vaylie garden and then headed back to the Ferry.
Melodious Warbler at Norwick, Unst
Pied Flycatcher at Norwick, also Red-backed Shrike was present but wouldn't pose for photos
That was the Summer, an exciting one and certainly one I'll remember for a while, with some great birds and memories.