Saturday, 31 December 2011


December was crap, that's probably why it's took me so long to do any kind of an update ! On the patch there was a Shelduck on the 5th and a Greenland White-front on the 18th and a single Pink-footed Goose was around for most of the month. The month was salvaged with a Shetland tick though - a 'tumble dried' Desert Wheatear in Lerwick on the 12th.

Pink-footed Goose


A few highlights from November -

Buzzard - over the patch on the 27/11, not only a year tick, but a patch tick !

The Great Tit remained in the garden until the 20/11.

Scaup, Gadwall, Pochard and Goldeneye - a nice selection for such a small Loch.

Short-eared Owl - 1-3 birds around the patch until the 19/11.

White-fronted Geese - 4 birds on the marshy bit behind the loch on 13/11 and 19/11.

A few other highlights were - Green-winged Teal on the 19/11 and a flyby Lapland Bunting on the13/11.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Thursday, 8 December 2011


There will be an update soon, when I can be bothered ! in the meantime here's some mad Arabs -

Monday, 14 November 2011

Spooners in the UK

No, really there are Spoon-billed Sandpipers in the UK -
Hmmm, now if one of these were to escape and end up on the Pool of Virkie....

Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Weekend

Friday - A quick dash around the patch in the afternoon, and a year-tick - Pochard on the Loch ! Elsewhere around Scatness 4 Short-eared Owls, 4 Robin, a Grey Plover, a Woodcock, a Greenfinch and the ever present Great Tit.


Saturday - The Great Tit and Greenfinch remain in the garden, plus flyover Peregrine and Merlin

Today - Being as there seems to be Bean Geese everywhere, out on the patch on a goose chase, the only flock at Scatness was a party of 20 Greylags plus 4 White-fronts, a single Pink-footed in front of the house and another 4 flying north, but no Beans ! There was another year-tick on the go though, a Scaup has joined the Pochard on the Loch, a few migrants were notable - 3 Wood Pigeons, 5 Robins and 5 Snow Buntings. Still plenty of Blackbirds and Fieldfare knocking about.
Pink-footed Goose

Scaup (last 2 with Pochard)

Greylags plus 4 White-fronts

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Well I Never Knew That !

It's amazing what new things there are to be learnt -

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Pom de Terror

Just as everything in the bay was getting used to not being harassed by Bonxies, a fine juv Pomarine Skua turns up, initially about 10 yards out to sea at the back of the Loch, and then kicking hell out of the Kittiwakes later on. Other than that the patch was pretty quiet with the Great Tit still in the garden along with a female Blackcap and 2 Robins, plus 4 Whooper Swans and the Little Grebe still on the Loch.

Pom Skua

Resident Great Tit

Saturday, 5 November 2011


At last, a day on the patch where it's not pissing down, it was even sunny enough not to need a coat ! Besides the lingering birds from the last few days - Great Tit, Little Gull, Short-eared Owl and 5 Whooper Swans - there were new birds in 1 Wheatear, 6 Grey Heron, 12 Robins, a Peregrine, 2 Goldeneye, 4 Dunlin, 1 Jack Snipe and a Mistle Thrush (year tick). The day ended with a tame Grey Phalarope in West Voe - at this point it was nearly dark !

Grey Palarope with the day getting darker and darker.


Friday, 4 November 2011

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Another Gull

But this time nothing unusual about it - a Little Gull around Moast Beach, and as it's one of my favourite birds, no apolologies for the amount of photos - a smart bird indeed. Also around the patch, the Great Tit is still in the garden (for it's eighth day), 2 Short-eared Owls, a Woodcock, a Little Grebe, 6 Whooper Swan, 2 Robin and 560 Fieldfare.

Little Gull


Sunday, 30 October 2011

Sodding Gulls

When most of the migrants have buggered off from the patch then what to do ? On Scilly it would probably be a seawatch from Peninnis, in England go through the returning wildfowl or check out the Gulls. On Shetland seawatching is crap, I checked all the wildfowl on the patch, which took about 2 minutes, to get 38 Barnacle Geese, a female Shoveler and 4 Wigeon, which now only left the Gulls... erm. Gull watching on Shetland is normally as bad as seawatching (apart from white-wingers), but today was a bit different, with a few odd looking beasts kicking about.
Bird A
I picked this thing up off Sanblister Beach (in front of the house), the first thing noticed was a virtually all dark tail and generally dark plumage - pointing towards a 'Smicker', however, the bird is clearly too small and on closer inspection looks sod all like a 'Smicker'. It does however superficially resemble a juv/1st year Lesser Black-backed (mega rare on Shetland in winter), but this doesn't seem to fit either, as the pale 'window' at the base of the primaries should eliminate LBBG, but if it's not a LBBG it's probably got some in it somewhere.

Bird A

Bird B
Again another dark looking bird but definitely not a 'Smicker', presumably it's a dark 'argentatus' with a lot of juvenile plumage still retained. Some photos of a similar looking bird (though a second winter) in Denmark - photos here

Bird B

Bird C
A pretty mad looking adult type Herring Gull, but the bird is in a late moult on the primaries and has an looking, parallel sided bill. the mantle shade and numerous white mirrors suggest 'Argentatus' (which it almost certainly is), but that bill, moult timing and fainter head streaking suggest maybe there's another influence in the genes of this bird - see here- a bold call, but Gulls do have a habit of interbreeding with anything that vaguely resembles themselves !

Bird C

Bird D
A bit of a doddle really - a big, monsterous, adult 'Argentatus', though it may not be a full adult as there does seem to be some brown flecking still in the wings.
Bird D