Saturday 23rd January 2016
Having already finished my surveys on Yell it was time to start my surveys in the North Mainland, with me arriving in Brae the night before to do some school assignments and prep for my morning surveys.
Come the morning, Tommy and I headed quickly off to Voe to try catch the Dippers before having to do the surveys as they are preferred to be done between the tides.
Sadly there wasn't any Dippers but some bread interested Swans near the Burn of Daal made up for that with the potential to ring them in the future.
Going north to Sullom to get in a few other birds before the tides resulted in 3 Oystercatchers outside of Brae, I've seen several since the 16th and it seems they've started to come back to Shetland after wintering south.
Into Sullom and I gave the plantation there a run through incase an peerier (smaller) birds were wintering in there.
I gave it around half an hour and couldn't find anything, I'd pretty much given up until something with a greeny backside flew out of a tree just infront of me and disappeared round the same tree, I went in pursuit and waited, looking into a patch of firs.
Luckily having some patience paid off and a Goldcrest popped out and fed briefly before disappearing deeper into the trees! an unexpected year tick but I had a good feeling about this place.
Next we headed to the Sullom Quarry to see if the Rough-legged Buzzard was still around, luckily I spotted it almost instantly on a ridge not to far away and it soon flew closer, given good views.
Now time for the surveys, Tommy dropped me at the first house in the Mavis Grind area and I began walking the coast until I reached the Moorfield Hotel in Brae, now there was definetely a few interesting bits and pieces with 9-11 Grey Herons, 5 Oystercatchers, 5 Snipe, an Otter and a Slav Grebe, though I was surprised with the lack of waders, 2 Redshanks, 7 Turnstones and no Purple Sands or Ringed Plovers.
I met Tommy at the Hotel and we filled in the forms before shooting off to Mossbank and Sellaness.
Sellaness had two Oystercatchers but nothing else so we headed over to Mossbank.
I got out and did the surveys while Tommy went to the highest point he could find to fill out a few of the forms while I walked along the coast.
It was decent for the first half of the journey with many Snipe, 61 Wigeon and a couple of Common Gulls on the beach, soon I met with Mark Chapman at leg two to carry on the counts.
Mark was a great help, being able to pick out several Comorants, 2 Great-northern Divers, Tystie and also getting me Jack Snipe!! a bird that I have finally seen in binocular view!
After doing the surveys, Tommy met us outside the Mossbank pub and we all had a cuppa before sticking Mark home and then Tommy and I jetted off to Lerwick where we ended the day.
A bit more excitement came the next day when I headed out for a look onto Clickimin to see if anything could start me off good on my Patch Work Challenge, Whooper Swan 'JB4' was back on Clickimin with its mate, I've seen it for the past 3 consecutive winters with 'JB4' showing a very colourful colour ring on its right leg.