Wednesday, 16 March 2016

A day in Unst; the first migrants

On the 12th of March I got up early and left Lerwick on the 0740 bus to head to Unst for a bit of birding with Robbie Brookes, arriving in Unst at 0945 we headed to Easting to try and spot the wintering male Surf Scoter that had been found on Unst last year.

First though we stopped in Uyeasound, getting my first 2 Red-throated Divers of the year on Easter Loch, I was pretty glad to have finally seen them as I've spent the last month hunting for them!!
On to Easting, we grabbed bins, cameras and scopes and headed out the car to go look for the Scoter down by the shore, on the way down Rob told me that the bird liked to sit in the middle of the bay before he raised his bins and pointed it out, right in the middle! I got my bins up and saw it in among 3 Shag, year tick!

With our brief sighting we walked further down towards an old ruin by the sea where we decided to get better views with Rob's scope.
It took a few minutes to get the scope set up but we were soon enjoying good views of the bird diving with the group of Shags (Scarfs).

A distant record shot but the bird is in the middle of the shot trust me

Soon we decided it was time to go and headed off to go find other birds, a quick stop in Uyeasound produced 5 Goosander on two different lochs, a pretty good count.
Next came Baltasound which was quiet apart from a single European White-fronted goose in among some Greylags.
Haroldswick was better with two European White-fronted Geese and a Comorant so we headed north to Skaw.
Skaw was dead really, but the walk was good, Lamba Ness then showed obvious signs of migration with at least 15 Skylarks around the roads that weren't there the day before and I then managed to self-find my first Lesser Black-backed Gull of the year flying over the road!! number 90 for the year, two birds from beating my previous March best, seems like I'm on a roll this year.

Now we headed back south to Norwick, another Lesser Black-backed Gull was in a Herring Gull flock but besides that it was quiet.
Things defeitnly picked up when we were waved down by a local who told us he'd had an immature Sea Eagle on Saxa Vord for the past two days, and the first time it was only 20 metres away!!! he was serious and he knew what he'd seen, many Shetlanders know a strange bird when they see one, they know whats the norm so when a Sea Eagle is only a few metres from you, you know it.
We thanked him and shot up to Saxa Vord and searched the hills, but to no avail, 2 Snow Buntings were the only birds we could find in the mist.

The bird though was seen the next day, flying over Saxa Vord and some amazing views were had, though I was two hours too late when I twitched it from Mainland.

Back to the present blog, anyways we just drove about hunting for birds and soon it was time for me to go, Rob ran me to the ferry after having me on an excellent day out and I thank him very much for that.

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