On 12 hour nights from now on, so patching is restricted to the little time that I'm awake at home. A few new birds added to the year-list this week - Brambling, Willow Warbler, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Common Redpoll.
At long last, finally got a Wheatear on the patch, after searching almost daily for the last three weeks ! On the loch, the Duck flock consisted of 22 Wigeon, 14 Tufted Duck, 2 Goldeneye, 6 Teal, 2 Pintail and a year-tick - Gadwall.
Great Spotted Woodpecker in the bag already ! It did take a while though, first seen by JW in his garden at about 9 am, it then led me a merry dance around Scatness in the pissing rain for nearly two hours, until I finally relocated it on some fence posts.
Came across a small group of Eiders yesterday in West Voe of Sumburgh, although the flock contained just 5 birds (2 females, 3 males), two birds proved to be very interesting indeed. Bird One - I'm pretty happy was a Borealis, based on current criteria - strongly yellowish bill and rounded lobes, plus the remnants of sails (mostly worn away over the winter). It must be stressed that anyone looking around the internet for definite identification criteria on this subspecies - it's an absolute minefield, the conclusion that I've come to is that borealis probably doesn't exist, and that borealis/mollissima are all just one North Atlantic cline ! Bird Two - This bird had massive rounded lobes that suggest Dresseri, however, the bill colour was again strongly yellowish and the black area bordering the bill was a long, thin triangle (as with borealis/mollissima), this bird did not appear to have any sails. Conclusion - this bird could possibly be a Dresseri x borealis/mollissima hybrid.
And today's exciting year-tick..... Wood Pigeon, yes, the patch really is that bad ! 2 hours around the patch for the Wood Pigeon, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Pintails, 4 Chaffinch and 2 Robins. A small bonus was that one of the Great Northern Divers is now in summer plumage and was quite close in.
Got up at about 6:30 this morning to be greeted by a male Ring Ouzel in the garden - totally unexpected this early in the month. Also today - 4 Chaffinch still at the feeders, 5 Pintail on the Loch and another year-tick - Song Thrush.
Fine weather for the last few days of March and the beginning of April - but still missing Wheatear, Dunnock and Pied Wagtail for the year-list. The male Siskin remained in the garden until the 2nd replaced by 4 Chaffinches on the 3rd and 2 Pintail remained on the Loch throughout. A sunset, through the gloom one night, showed a small sunspot.