Wednesday, 31 August 2011

All Gone

All the Little Stints from the patch seem to have bogged off, I didn't see a single one today, or any Curlew Sands, a few decent birds were kicking about though - the Spotted Redshank was around the Loch, a Bar-tailed Godwit was in the cow field and a juv Little Gull (year-tick) was in West Voe before flying over to Scord,
In the garden the Pied Flycatcher remains, joined now by a Willow Warbler and a Blackcap.
Bar-tailed Godwit

Little Gull

Pied Flycatcher

Another Cheesy Classic

Monday, 29 August 2011

Jesus H Corbett...

....what's going on ? Out on the patch today, on a mission to find Curlew Sandpiper for the year-list. Started off on Scord and Sanblister Beaches, where there were 3 Little Stints - this would normally constitute a good count at Scatness, where Little Stint is just about annual ! Carrying on around the patch and another 7 Little Stints around the Loch, in fact as the day went on, every bit of a puddle seemed to have 1 or 2 Little Stints on it - 3 hours on the patch and 25 Little Stints !!!!
More species of wader were also seen - 5 Curlew Sands, a Greenshank, 7 Sanderling, 36 Dunlin and a Spotted Redshank.
Elsewhere around the patch - a stunning Grey-headed Wagtail, a Willow Warbler, 2 Arctic Terns and a Pied Flycatcher. All this after a weekend of northerly gales !

Little Stints

Curlew Sands


Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Gale

The weekend has been filled with a northerly gale blowing like mad, so telly was the order of both days with the GP qualifying and Wigan & Saints challenge cup final on Saturday and the GP race and Man U thrashing Arsenal 8-2 today. I did keep a look out in the garden though - 1 Barred Warbler still there yesterday and a Pied Flycatcher today.

Friday, 26 August 2011

You're Barred

With the wind still south-easterly (ish) and a fine bright day, there really ought to be new birds in around the patch - and there was ! 2 Barred Warblers in the garden, 5 Tree Pipits around the Old Scatness dig, 3 Ruff in with the Oystercatchers, a Whinchat and a Redstart around the big house (not a prison, just a house that's big !), plus 2 Yellow Wagtails, 4 Willow Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, a Knot and 2 Grey Herons.

Barred Warblers

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Monster Garden Tick and More Year Ticks

Now that the rain has stopped, time to get out on the patch and give it a good kicking ! And it started of with a monster in the garden - a Convolvulus Hawk-moth in the trap - garden tick ! Out on the patch it was obvious that there were birds to be found - no rarities, but 3 year-ticks - a Little Stint on Sanblister Beach, a Yellow Wagtail behind Colonial and a Garden Warbler in the garden. Other birds included 4 Willow Warblers, a Whinchat, 2 Swifts and a Ruff.

Convolvulus Hawk-moth

Garden Warbler

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


South east winds all day and loads of rain ! A few hours around the patch in horrible conditions resulted in 2 Willow Warblers, a Garden Warbler, a Pied Flycatcher and very wet clothes !

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Back Home

The ferry crossing back from Fair Isle was pretty uneventful (a single Manxie just north of North Light), but it got a bit better just before docking at Grutness with a Minke Whale just off the Larward. Back home we were greeted with Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warbler in the Garden.

Minke Whale


Monday, 22 August 2011

Last Day

The last day on the rock and it started well with a Barred Warbler in the obs plantation (found from the bedroom window !), the rest of the day was a bit of a struggle in the strengthening south-west wind - the only things of note being 16 Swifts at the base of Malcolm's Head and Merlin & Kestrel hunting in tandem around the shop.


Sunday, 21 August 2011

Mostly Singles

Mostly singles of everything on the rock today - Rosefinch (a red one this time), Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Pied Flycatcher and Greenshank. Multiples were 3 Willow Warblers, 4 Swift and 9 Swallows.
Common Rosefinch

Pied Flycatcher


Saturday, 20 August 2011

On The Rock

Day one in the new Fair Isle Asylum, not much on the crossing over - 1 Stormie and 1 Manxie, on the island itself - a brown Common Rosefinch in bull's park and a few Painted Ladies was about it..... and then it pissed down !
South Light from hill dyke

Super pale Bonxie


Away for a while.....

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


Despite promising conditions, it's been a pretty slow week on the patch with hardly any migrants. Daily visits have produced a few Knot, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Greenshank, a few Willow Warblers and a Common Sandpiper. The best of all was on sunday, when a juvenile Hobby went through, before carrying on to Sumburgh Head. The only other things of note were a few Painted Lady.

Lesser Whitethroat

Painted Lady

Friday, 12 August 2011

A Start

With easterly winds for the last few days it should be pretty good, but all that's turned up on the patch so far is a single Willow Warbler in the garden. However 30mph south-easterlies with rain are forecast for tonight, so things should improve !

Clouds Across the Moon

Ultimate cheese !!!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

A Trickle

Despite the northerly winds, a few migrants have made it to the patch this week, 2 Willow Warblers were in the garden for a couple of days, a few Whimbrel have been heading south and a Common Sandpiper was on Moast Beach today.
On the moth front numbers have dropped dramatically with the northerlies, 300+ plus before and just 2 last night, although I did trap a Holly Tortrix (cheers Andy, for the I.D.) on the 7th.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Too Many Puppies

Too many puppies are being shot in the dark.
Too many puppies are trained not to bark.
At the sight of blood that must be spilled
so that we may maintain our oil fields.
Too many puppies(x2)
Too many puppies are taught to heel.
Too many puppies are trained to kill.
On the command of men wearing money belts
that buy mistresses sleek animal pelts.
Too many puppies.(x4)
Too many puppies with guns in their hands.
Too many puppies in foreign lands.
Are dressed up sharp in suits of green and
Placed upon the war machine.
Too many puppies are just like me.
Too many puppies are afraid to see.
The visions of the past brought to life again,
Too many puppies, too many dead men.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Garden Tick !

Not a bird, that would be asking too much ! A moth, a Burnished Brass in the trap last night - less than 10 records for Shetland.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

3 More

3 patch year-ticks today, first was a Greenshank flying about and calling in the fog while I was emptying the moth trap, followed by a Bar-tailed Godwit on Moast Beach and finally a cracking Wood Sand at the back of the Loch. There are now 4 Ruff on the patch.

Monday, 1 August 2011


With 'Birdguides' carrying the news of 10,000 Two-barred Crossbills passing through southern Scandinavia, and 24 hours of south-easterlies, the plan was to check all the areas of Thrift on the patch (and any other bit of veg that might be good for 2BCs). Needless to say, there weren't any, but 3 Ruff on the southernmost pool were year-ticks, so the plan wasn't altogether wasted.


Arctic Skua - quite a few on the patch now

Last Week

A few days about the patch last week, and it looks like Autumn is just around the corner, with a few Sanderlings, Dunlin and Turnstones moving through.

Turnstone and Dunlin


Swallows - attempted to breed this year, but failed