Saturday, 29 September 2012

Back to normality

With the wind now firmly in the west, it's not that surprising that the patch has quietened down somewhat, although I have still got a Yellow-browed Warbler and a Goldcrest in the garden along with a colour ringed Starling, presumably from Fair Isle. A walk around all the sheltered bits on the patch added 2 Wheatears and 3 Song Thrush, and on the beaches were 2 each of Little Stint, Black-tailed Godwit and Sanderling.
Black-tailed Godwits
Little Stints
Colour Ringed Starling

Friday, 28 September 2012

The Magic Pool

Out today for about 10 minutes until it lashed it down, and I gave up - I did find a Wood Warbler though, albeit a dead one. So due to a lack of birds, birding or both, here's a bit about the Magic Pool. The Magic Pool of Scatness (twinned with the secret 'Magic Ditch of Virkie) is located to the south of Loch of Gards and is pretty much dried up most summers, only getting water in it from the end of August onwards, and is about 30 feet long by about 12 feet wide - tiny ! So far this year it has hosted Avocet, Little Egret (just about annual now in Shetland), Pectoral Sandpiper, 2 Little Stints and a Buff-breasted Sandpiper - so it really does now warrant the name Magic Pool.
The Magic Pool viewed from the end of the Scatness road
How small is that ?!!!
Little Egret on the 30th May.
Avocet on the 23rd May
Buff-breasted Sandpiper on 23rd September.
One of the 2 Little Stints present this month
Pectoral Sandpiper present this month

Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Big Twitch

Did most of the patch from 10 am until 12:30, fairly quiet, but still a few bits 'n' bobs - 1 Robin, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Blackcap, 5 Wheatear, 20 Song Thrush, 1 Yellow-browed Warbler, 3 Sanderlings and a Whimbrel. And then curiosity got the better of me, so it was a major twitch of 1.5 miles to Hestingott for Olive-backed Pipit and Isabelline Shrike, when I got there, there was no sign of either ! Fed up with hanging around a children's playpark, waiting, I buggered off and checked the garden's of St Ninian's Drive - bingo ! the fourth garden I checked and Olive-backed Pipit on the lawn (until it was flushed by tripod rattling goons). I gave up on the Shrike and headed to Toab to check the gardens there - good move, the Shrike showed itself on a fence leading down to the main road. Also around Toab and Hestingott were 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Short-eared Owl, a Kestrel, a Blackcap and 2 Yellow-browed Warblers.
Olive-backed Pipit
Isabelline Shrike
Yellow-browed Warbler

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

More Yellow-broweds

More Yellow-browed Warblers in on the patch, the one in my garden was still present all day with other singles opposite Colonial Place and in Brian's Garden at the end of the road. Elsewhere on the patch a total of 25 Song Thrushes, 10 Wheatear, 1 Robin, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Redwing, 3 Swallows, 2 Blackcap, 1 Snow Bunting, 2 Golden Plover, 2 Pintail and 35 Barnacle Geese (heading south).
Yellow-browed Warbler
Barnacle Geese
Snow Bunting

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Cliffs and walls

With a strong north-easterly blowing, the best places on the patch were the west cliff and sheltered walls, Whilst not spectacular there was plenty going on. 11 Song Thrush, a Dunnock and a Blackcap were along the cliffs and 5 Wheatear were sheltering around the stone walls. A single Little Stint was at the back of the Loch, this was a new bird, sporting a shiny new leg iron, a Jack Snipe was also there. The only other productive are was my garden with a Yellow-browed Warbler, male Blackap and a Pied Flycatcher.
Little Stint
Pied Flycatcher
Song Thrush

Monday, 24 September 2012

A reasonable day

With the news that the Magnolia Warbler on Fair Isle had buggered off or died or been carried away by a Fulmar or dissolved, a lot of stress completely disappeared. So it was the usual 'give the patch a good thrashing' time, and it was reasonably productive - the Pectoral Sandpiper reappeared (last seen on Wednesday), 2 Little Stints were together on the 'magic' pool along with a Knot and a Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit on the Loch shore, a Ruff in the field opposite Colonial Place, 2 Song Thrush, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Siskin and a Lapland Bunting were along the Cliffs and a Yellow-browed Warbler and a Goldcrest were in the garden - Not a bad haul for a one and a half square kilometre patch.
Yellow-browed Warbler

Sunday, 23 September 2012


 After yesterday's fall of Yellow-broweds (around 80 birds on Shetland), I was a bit fired up for this morning to get some more eastern stuff on the patch, but it wasn't to be - the place was empty, everything seemed to have cleared out last night. I persevered looking in empty bushes and birdless thistles and as a last resort, went out on the headland to check the pools to see if the Little Stint was still around (it wasn't), at this point a smallish wader came and flew north over me and I was pretty sure it was a Buff-breasted Sandpiper ! After a bit of searching, the bird settled down with a Sanderling on the small pool and allowed quite close views until it was flushed by a Merlin and buggered off high to the north. 

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Here they come...

Some migrants at last and no westerly wind (no wind at all in fact !), The first bird of the day was a Yellow-browed Warbler in the garden, quickly joined by a second bird and a Lesser Whitethroat, a Reed Warbler and another Lesser Whitethroat were in the private plantation along with a flyover Lapland Bunting, out around the Loch the Little Stint and Black-tailed Godwit remain.
Yellow-browed Warblers
Reed Warbler
Little Stint and Sanderling
Black-tailed Godwit

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Woody Wood Wood

A bit of a shock this morning to find a Wood Warbler in the garden, especially as it's been blowing a westerly for the past 2 weeks, there were also a few new birds around the patch, with 3 Ruff in the Loch-side fields and a Snow Bunting out on the headland. No sign of the Pec or Little Stint today, in fact the only wader out on the headland was a single Sanderling.
Wood Warbler


A bit of a showing of the Northern Lights last night before the cloud came in and spoiled it, it was pretty dam windy too, which meant the camera and tripod being shaken all over the place, just about managed this half decent image.

Monday, 17 September 2012


Just the short walk around the patch today, the Pec Sand was still present along with a Knot, 6 Wheatears were knocking about around the walls, sort of became a bit distracted by a tamish Little Stint, what with the sun being out an' all.
Little Stint