Sunday, 27 June 2010

Summertime Rolls

As the summer rolls on, walks around the patch are more from habit rather than expectation, Swift added to the year-list today and the only noteworthy thing from yesterday was 2 first summer 'portlandica' type Arctic Terns on the rocks near Ness of Burgi.

Black Guillemot.


2 'portlandica' type Arctic Terns.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Happy House.

Another futile walk around the patch, on the strength of a Red-backed Shrike at Virkie and a Marsh Warbler on Whalsay, there was maybe a chance of getting something half decent - no way Pedro - 2 House Martins and 5 Sanderling was about it ! Seems that Wrens are having a good year, with at least 3 broods now wandering around Scatness (though numbers may decline rapidly if they discover my moth trap !)

House Martins.



Wednesday, 23 June 2010


Having got adequate views of the Velvet Scoter in West Voe yesterday (but in Gary's side of the bay, not the Scatness side), another attempt to get it on the patch year-list was in order. Arriving at West Voe car park, the bird was in the same place as yesterday, just off Jarlsof and so nowhere near being on the Scatness side. As the bird was fairly close inshore, I decided to walk around and try to get some 'smudges', however by the time I'd walked to the south side of the bay, the bird took flight and landed in the patch just off Scatness - good for the year-list but crap for photos - another mad dash around to Scatness and the bird had swam back to where it was originally !

Velvet Scoter.

Ringed Plover.
2G, 2B.
Too Good - The commentators on the BBC's coverage of England v Slovenia, having a bit of a jibe at John Terry - "Terry knows how to concentrate on the job in hand" and "Terry standing firm, a trait that he's become known for" ! And then Mark Lawrenson's off the cuff comment "for the fans, watching England play is a good cure for constipation !"
Too Bad - Someone finds a Bridled Tern in Northumberland and the gets page after page of shit thrown at them on Nerdforum for not putting news out instantly and not knowing who to tell about it ! see here

Monday, 21 June 2010

Something Good

After checking every pool, beach and all the wettish bits at Scatness, searching for yesterday's White-rumped Sandpiper, came up with a just few Dunlin and some Sanderling, and amazingly, some migrants - a Swallow over Moast Beach and a Willow Warbler in the garden - although not much, it is an improvement on the past few days.
Then the 'something good' happened - a Paddyfield Warbler at Grutness, the bird showed reasonably well (far too many leaves on the trees at this time of year !) on and off in the Grutness garden, spending much of its time in the small patch of willows.

Paddyfield Warbler.



Sunday, 20 June 2010

Day Tripper

Out on all day trip on a chartered ferry around Yell and Fetlar, starting at Toft, then heading north-west to the Ramna Stacks, the back down the west side of Yell, through Yell Sound and out around Fetlar and the east side of Yell, before finally returning to Toft some eight hours later.
A pretty good day all in all, with views of places that you can't normally see (especially west Yell) and some damned fine views of Minke Whale.

Ramna Stacks.


Black Guillemot.

Minke Whale.

Returning to Toft.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Early Winter.

Winter seemed to return today with 40mph northerly winds, bringing the temperature down (inc windchill) to just 4 degrees ! The only bird of note seen all day was a Barnacle Goose in front of the house - again, continuing the wintry theme.

Barnacle Goose.
Too Good, Too Bad.
Just Too Bad - England 0 - Algeria 0 ! Does a team that plays that bad deserve any support ?!!

The England line-up.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Little fluffy clouds.

No surprise that there's sod all about, though a full summer Black-throated Diver was in front of the house at tea time. The bird was just off shore, about 30 yards out, so with this in mind went down to the beach with the camera - good plan - apart from the arsehole dog walker, who decided to throw rocks into the sea for his dog to chase, not surprisingly the Diver bogged off out to sea and landed somewhere near Lady's Holm. A nice display of clouds/sunset etc at about 11pm (hippy shite).

Too Good, Too Bad
Too Good One - Le Justice - France 0 - Mexico 2 - a bit of justice for the ' cheese eating surrender monkeys' after the dodgy way they qualified ! Maybe Ireland should be twinned with Mexico now !

A Mexico fan celebrates in Dublin.
Too Good Two - Message on Birdguides today - 14:22 - 17/06/10
'Further to the earlier report of Great White Egret in Suffolk, birders should note that the large egret viewable on a small pool from the Needham Market-Stowmarket train is in fact plastic.'
Since when has a bird being 'plastic' stopped anyone !?
Too Bad One - South Korea 1 - Argentina 4, although it's a relief that a team is actually playing football now, instead of a 90 minute kickabout and a draw, we could do without the Argies hitting any kind of form.

'Manager' Maradona celebrates his teams 4-1 win as only he can !
Too Bad Two - Dog walkers - sod off from Scatness ! Go somewhere else, like Grutness Beach or the Pool of Virkie !

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

What's going on ?

Not sure what's going on now, after a few days of north-westerly winds and no birds, woke up this morning to find Lesser Whitethroat and Chiffchaff in the garden ! The rest of the patch remained true to form though with about 40 Dunlin and 12 Sanderling on Moast Beach and a Silver Y by the Loch being the best I could manage.

Dunlins and Sanderling.
House Sparrow chicklets.

Silver Y.
2G, 2B
A wry look at some events over the weekend.
Too Good One -
Apparently, Shetland has had a good spring after all ! A discussion on Birdforum suggests that lots of rare birds have turned up, but we've kept them all quiet ! Here's a few 'well informed' quotes -
“After a number of incidents last year involving mis-identification of Ring Ouzel as rare thrush sp and the ignominy of having a Lancy found and identified using an Iphone and an Internet forum by some rich twitchers there was a meeting up there and they decided on a news management strategy.So now only a small percentage of the birds on Shetland get released so all the masses start to think it isn’t worth the flight cost.Not only that they created a great smokescreen by getting the Shetland council to apply for loads of grants to promote nature tourism. Instead of spending this on advertising (have you seen any buses near you carrying Shetland Ads?) they've pushed out a few press releases and spent the rest on new camera equipment.So when you're sat late at night wondering why the Shetland Wildlife site is the last one to be updated with the days news its because they're all in the pub deciding what to put out and laughing themselves silly at the quality images they're getting of all the rare from their new 7D's.I bet you thought I'd just made a mistake didn't you?”

“one still wonders if more iberian stuff might have been found if people had put more graft in. Amazing that those two have found 2 Ibe Chiffs this spring.... whose was the Great Reed? Does anyone go birding on Unst when they're not there?”
The full discussion can be seen here

You can't suppress what's not there !
Too Good Two -
Congrats to all the guys who went over to Lundy for the Little Shearwater - an awesome sight indeed in British waters !

Little Shearwater showing well (I know this wasn't the view a few people got, and I am open to bribes to keep that quiet or to reveal the whole story - whichever bid is highest !)
Too Bad One -
That goal - English goalies - stop cleaning your gloves with butter !

Too Bad Two -
Obama rattling on about the oil leak in the gulf of Mexico and how a British company has "polluted all our beaches", agreed it needs sorting out as soon as possible and it is indeed a mega disaster, but maybe America should start cleaning some of it's own mess up as well (see here), before it starts criticizing other nations - stones and glass houses and all that.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Looking back.

This spring really is one of the worst on Shetland, and time seems to be running out for a late bird turning up, though looking back at the last few years June still turns the odd goodie up - Fat Toni's Warbler and Lesser Grey Shrike last year, Red-footed Falcon, Arctic Redpoll and Black-headed Bunting in 2008, Great Reed Warbler, Pec Sand (on the patch) and summering Killdeer in 2007 and Laughing Gull, Red-footed Falcon, Bee-eater and Paddyfield Warbler in 2006. But now that Shetland is back into the northerly winds for the foreseeable future,it doesn't look like that sort of thing will happen this year !
Looking back at previous June's on my old patch (Moore NR and Arpley Tip in Cheshire), June wasn't such a bad month for a local patch (or so weather dependent), with Marsh Harrier, Black-necked Grebe, 3 Little Gulls, Iceland Gull and Common Tern all seen in June 2001. (the following photos are all scanned from prints)

Black-necked Grebe - Pumphouse Pool, Moore NR, June 2001.

Common Tern - Halfway House, June 2001.

Iceland Gull - Arpley Tip, June 2001.

One of the 3 Little Gulls at Halfway House, June 2001.
Meanwhile back in the present, the only thing of note on the patch was a count of about 65 Black-headed Gulls, where as normally there are only a handful at best.

Black-headed and Common Gulls.

Things must be desperate when photos of cruise liners are being included ! This one was moving strongly north-west past the patch. Ironically, the name of the ship is 'Costa Magica' (Magic Coast) - not this year it isn't !

Juv Starling (and Meercats !) in the garden.