Friday, October 07, 2022

πŸ“– Shetland 2022 ~ Part 2

 πŸŒ¦πŸ’¨ 13C Thursday 6th October 2022 ~ Today was probably the quietest day of the week with few new sightings appearing on the airwaves, likely down to today's galeforce winds and heavy showers.

Twite at Gulberwick 

My first stop was at nearby Gulberwick where a small flock of Mealy Redpoll had been reported, along with yet another Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll. After a heavy prolonged shower, I watched from the roadside and almost dropped my flask when a Twite suddenly appeared on the fence just feet away. It stayed just long enough for me to slowly grab the camera and take a snap before disappearing as quickly as it came. 

The view from Eashaness Lighthouse

With not much happening I decided to head north and ended up having my packed lunch at Eashaness Lighthouse, which provided some spectacular sea views. I did spend a little time looking for a reported Wood Warbler at nearby Murrion but the conditions were horrendous and I gave up pretty quickly. 

One of the five Brent Geese at Pool of Vikrie.

With Dazza arriving for the weekend on the evening flight, I spent an hour or so opposite the airport at Vikrie before picking her up. The highlight here was a group of five Brent Geese feeding close in along the shoreline.

πŸŒ¦πŸ’¨13C Friday 7th October 2022 ~ More wind and rain today and the amazing news that a second Myrtle Warbler had been found just a short distance from the Ellister bird at Bigton. Even more remarkable was the fact that the bird had been found by the same observer! We spent most of the day visiting various sites and enjoying the amazing scenery Shetland has to offer and at one point stopped to look for a reported Ring Ouzel at Cunningsburgh. Once again the conditions were challenging and after searching through flocks of Redwing and Blackbirds without luck decided to head off for lunch. 

The Least Bittern ~ Completely exhausted the bird was eventually taken into care.

It was late afternoon when the remarkable news came through that a Least Bittern (a first for the UK) had been found at Scousburgh. When we arrived a half hour later you can imagine the scenes! Twitching is a phenomenon I find difficult to perceive but there's no point in coming to Shetland as a birder and not getting involved, there are some terrific species to be found and this was 'A' list. When at home I'd be lying if I said I didn't partake in the occasional frenzy, but a twitch in Aberdeenshire can contain less than a half dozen birders. Today was mayhem and the stress factor (to get the 'tick') in some of the individuals I encountered was off the scale. The main issue was that the bird was deep in cover and only a few people at a time were able to observe. A queuing system had been put into place but the problem was that the people at the front were selfishly not moving on! I watched and waited and did catch a glimpse of the bird in cover but over a period of time, it was quite obvious that the bird was completely exhausted and a decision was made quite rightly in my view to take the bird into care. To be frank, it was quite likely stressed out and I'm pretty sure would never have survived the night.  At least everyone got to see this incredible little bird whose journey here to our shores you can only imagine! Once again we headed off pretty smartish!