This was my second visit to Shetland, with Dazza joining me for the weekend. Both visits took place in the first week of October 2021/22 and the contrast in the birding and for that matter weather, could not have been more vivid.
|Red-breasted Flycatcher ~ One of several seen during my 2021 visit.|
Not a sign during my stay this year of Red-breasted Flycatchers, Little Buntings, Shorelarks, Common Rosefinch and Western Bonelli's Warblers but instead Myrtle Warblers, Hornemann's Arctic Redpolls, a Pechora Pipit, an amazing Lanceolated Warbler and of course the incredible Least Bittern, a UK first. For me an amazing five UK lifers during my seven days!
|Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle Warbler) One of two birds discovered during this year's visit.|
It's all down to the winds of course and during our whole visit this year we were bombarded with persistent westerlies and a succession of fast-moving transatlantic weather systems. Hence the influx of birds from North America and Greenland. This is why for me, a relative newbie to Shetland, this will be the place to come and join the 'twitching' fraternity for at least a week in the early autumn.
|A more sedate 'twitch' for Myrtle Warbler a few days after the find|
I've seen the best and the worst of 'twitching' during this latest visit. With a minority whose only focus is to obtain that all-important tick or photograph with complete disregard for the bird's welfare. I witnessed birds being pushed from pillar to post using the unethical procedure of organised flushes, where an exhausted bird is physically dislodged time and again only to be pursued by marauding photographers. Fortunately, by way of the majority are those who are just happy to enjoy the banter among fellow birders, enjoy the wildlife and just simply watch how things unfold naturally, I'd like to think that I'm one of the latter.
Shetland 22 List
Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Pink-footed Goose, Greylag Good, Barnacle Goose, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Tufted Duck, Greater Scaup, Common Eider, King Eider, Goosander, Red Grouse, Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Gannet, Cormorant, Shag, Grey Heron, *Least Bittern, Sparrowhawk, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Ruff, Sanderling, Knot, Turnstone, Dunlin, Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Snipe, Jack Snipe, Black-headed Gull, Glaucous Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Black Guillemot, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Skylark, Swallow, Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, *Pechora Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Wren, Robin, Redwing, Fieldfare, Blackbird, *White's Thrush, Wheatear, *Lanceolated Warbler, *Myrtle Warbler, Siberian Chiffchaff, Common Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Great Grey Shrike, Hooded Crow, Raven, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Brambling, Twite, Common Redpoll, Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll, Siskin, Reed Bunting, Snow Bunting *Depicts LIFER