Thursday, 30 September 2010

Mum's the word !

After the idiots wall climbing escapades earlier this week, keeping quiet about a Short-toed Lark on the patch was an easy decision to make, especially as the 2 fields it was frequenting were divided by a dry stone wall ! First had brief views of the bird yesterday with the Skylarks, but today showed relatively well (for a STL), hanging in the strong breeze and calling occasionally.

Here they come.

Here they come at last - a decent amount of birds kicking around the patch, pity that the weather was so shite, with force 5 winds and lots of rain ! After 2 changes of clothes and minus a baseball cap (blew off over the cliff), today's thrash resulted in -1 Lesser Whitethroat, 20 Song Thrushes, 4 Goldcrest, 3 Brambling, 4 Common Redpoll, 3 Wheatear (including the re-appearance of the albino), 23 Lapland Buntings, 1 Dunnock, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Whinchat, 2 Blackcap, 1 Robin, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Siskin and the star of the show - a Red-breasted Flycatcher - not only a patch tick, but bird number 200 on my Scatness list !

Red-breasted Flycatcher. (crap photo in crap weather).



Song Thrushes.

Albino Wheatear.

In light of recent incedents of a tour group climbing over walls and cutting through gardens, a new neighbourhood watch scheme has been set up at Scatness -

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Black & White.

Another day spent thrashing around the patch in a force 6-7 south easterly, I'm sure there were lots of birds turning up, and then being blasted to buggery by the wind and hiding somewhere else ! Totals for the day were - 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 7 Song Thrush, 3 Goldcrests, 13 Barnacle Geese, 11 Lapland Buntings, 1 Robin, 2 Wheatear, 1 Redwing, 1 Redstart and 3 Whinchat.

Barnacle Geese.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Ain't it Strange.

After a night of south-easterlies, confidence for something interesting on the patch was high, and the were a few new birds around - a Black-tailed Godwit in one of the fields with the Redshank, a Wood Pigeon in Stinky Geo (of all places !), a Song Thrush in the thistles and a new Bluethroat in the garden (an 8 year wait, then 2 within a week or so), the perennial Lapland Bunting flock was still present, but down to 29 birds and 3 Wheatears are still lingering. I did manage to find something interesting during the day, but it was far from what I was expecting (see below).

Black-tailed Godwit.

Lapland Bunting.
And now the strange bit - this Sparrow spent most of the day in the garden, a mighty odd beast indeed, I find hard to believe that this is just a wacky looking House Sparrow, or has a Spanish Sparrow been having his wicked way on Shetland at some time ? (coming over here, shagging our Sparrows, eating our bird seed etc, etc).

Monday, 27 September 2010

Damage Inc.

A few new birds coming into the patch after the light south easterlies last night, the first being a Brambling (year ticked at last !) and a Lesser Whitethroat in the garden. Of 3 Wheatears that were out on the headland, at least one was definitely a new bird, as it was an albino ! At least 33 Lapland Buntings remain in the thistle field (the cause of much controversy today - see below).

Lesser Whitethroat.

Albino Wheatear.

Lapland Bunting (showing well to all).
Believe it or not, the group below are an organized tour visiting Shetland ! Presumably on their way back from seeing Lapland Buntings, you would think that a tour leader would be more responsible than to take a group of people over somebodies garden wall !!! Unfortunately I was too far away to say anything to them (probably just as well !), but the householder is far from happy with events like this, and as a straight talking Yorkshireman, if he witnesses something similar I can see a certain amount of spleen venting occurring ! Previous birds in Brian's' garden have been 2 Bluetails and several Subalpine Warblers and he has always been most helpful to both visiting birders and locals alike and has always shown a great interest in what all the fuss is about. Incidents like this give a bad name to all birders and will lead to access being refused or restricted, I think most locals at the moment think that we're all just a bit daft and harmless, but with things like this happening, most folk (quite rightly) will be worried about us causing damage (remember Scillies in the mid eighties ?!).

For those wishing to see the Laps - here's a map - as you can see there is no need to climb on anybodies wall, or go through anybodies garden.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Record Breaker.

Record breaking numbers of Lapland Buntings on the patch, with 36 in all ! The only other notable thing was a Goldcrest (the first of the autumn) on the cliffs.

Lapland Buntings.


Saturday, 25 September 2010


A bit of a struggle on the patch - 17 Lapland Buntings and a Song Thrush ! A bit better in the garden with the fourth Barred Warbler of the autumn and a Yellow-browed Warbler.

Barred Warbler.
Lapland Bunting.

Thursday, 23 September 2010


A pretty quiet day on the patch with just 5 Pink-footed Geese, a Garden Warbler and 6 Lapland Buntings.

Pink-footed Geese.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010


After 8 years of waiting, it finally happened - Bluethroat in the garden ! and with another one still showing in the end garden - 2 on the patch in the same day. Elsewhere a Reed Bunting in the docks (the plant, not the boat parking area !) was a welcome year tick, 27 Pink-footed Geese headed south and a Garden Warbler was in the garden (where else !).


Tuesday, 21 September 2010

No Apologies.

A bit of a clear out around the patch, but the few things that I did come across showed very well, so no apologies for the amount of photos. A new technique for getting good views of warblers in the garden seems to be - empty the moth trap of moths and loads of crane flies into the roses in front of the living room window, half hour later, Barred Warbler shows very well ! (the third one in the garden this autumn).The Lapland Buntings were showing very today too and were up to 26 birds, before 20 of them flew off high towards Compass Head with a load of Skylarks. The surprise of the day goes to an Otter, which came bounding towards me on the cliff tops whilst I was going through the Larks and Pipits (not sure who was most surprised, me or the otter), eventually it noticed me and headed off down a Geo and promptly went to sleep ! A bit of new migration going on with 9 Swallows heading south, and Black-tailed Godwit and Ruff around the Loch.

Lapland Buntings.

Barred Warbler.