Thursday, 22 October 2015

Unst, Shetland Isles. May 2015

Trip to Unst, Shetland Isles.

Day 1,  9th May2015.

After driving throughout the night, we arrived at Aberdeen and as we had a few hours to spare we decided to have a look for the Harequlin Duck which has been wintering in this area. Unfortunately, no sign of the Harequlin but 2 Otters found by Doreen were a pleasant bonus. We then drove up to the nearby Ythan Estuary and were soon watching at very close range a stunning drake King Eider which we took far to many photographs off, it was breathtaking. 300+ Grey Seals were sat out on the sands.
It was now time to catch the Aberdeen to Lerwick ferry for an overnight sailing.

Seaton ParkAberdeen

Goosander 2
Dipper 2
Grey Wagtail 2

Otter 1 pair

Ythan Estuary

King Eider 1 drake - superb views
Common Eider 500+ (1 Leucistic female)
Yellowhammer 1 male

Grey Seal 300+


Dipper at Seaton Park, Aberdeen


Drake Goosander on the River Don, Aberdeen

(taken by DC)

(taken by DC)


Drake King Eider on the Ythan Estuary

Eiders on the Ythan Estuary

Leucistic female Eider on the Ythan Estuary

Grey Seals on the Ythan Estuary

JFC returning after photographing the King Eider

Day 2 10th May

Mainland Shetland

During our stay on the Shetlands I have omitted from the daily lists the common resident birds such as Black Guillemots, Hooded Crows, etc.

A nice calm sunny arrival at Lerwick, we had a brief look at Clickmin Loch, before driving north towards the ferry terminal to Yell. We met up with Mark Chapman (former Sussex birder and friend) who took us to his local site to enjoy the Whimbrels on their breeding grounds, and were displaying. We then caught the ferry to Yell where we made our way to the Unst ferry terminal stopping at Cullivoe on Yell to check for migrants. 
We were soon on our final ferry and arrived at Belmont on Unst where we drove to Norwick to take up our rented croft for the next 3 weeks. After just a few minutes a 2ndS. Iceland Gull flew past or kitchen window and we were soon photographing this.
During the late afternoon we covered several local sites.

1 drake Scaup (Clickmin Loch)
Whimbrel 2
Arctic Skua 2

Cullivoe, Yell, Shetland

Shetland Wren 1
Blackcap 1
Willow Warbler 3
Goldcrest 1

Unst, Shetland (Norwick, Skaw, Northdale, Haroldswick Beach)

Iceland Gull 1x2nd S.
Whooper Swan 1
Woodpigeon 7
White Wagtail 3
Shetland Wren 1
Redwing 3
Redstart 1 (DC)
Blackcap 3

Passing Sumburgh Head and lighthouse

Passing Bressay lighthouse


Coastal Viewsfrom the ferry near Lerwick

Black Guillemot taken from the ferry

Just a few migrants were seen on Yell including this Goldcrest at Cullivoe.

2ndS. Iceland Gull at Norwick - this bird was seen virtually daily
and was joined by a second bird for a couple of days.
Our first good find of the holiday.

White Wagtail on Norwick beach 1 of 3 present here today.

Up to 3 Redwings were present.

Whooper Swan was seen at North Dale.

Day 3 11th May, 2015

Early morning visit to Skaw and returned back to croft. We then visited Norwick and North Dale and onto Haroldswick and Hallagarth. During the afternoon we visited Burrafirth.

Rough-legged Buzzard 1 high NE (North Dale) 
Osprey 1 N over North Dale (DC)
Arctic Skua 7
Pintail 1 drake
Whooper Swan
Barnacle  Geese 5 (Skaw)
Golden Plover3
Dunlin 16
Iceland Gull 2
Whinchat 1
Redstart  2
Redwing 2
Blackcap 12
Common Whitethroat 3
Willow Warbler 4
Chiffchaff 3
Pied Flycatcher 2 (male and female) (Hallagarth)
Twite 8
Tree Pipit 1
White Wagtail 3
Reed Bunting 3

Skaw - a good migrant trap 

The beach at Skaw

Looking across Norwick beach to our croft


Another migrant trap - Vaylie


Pair of Arctic Skuas near Lamba Ness

Shetland Wren at Skaw.

Rock Dove - Good numbers were seen daily

A party of 5 Barnacle Geese had arrived at Skaw


Female Blackcap at Vaylie

White Wagtail still on the beach at Norwick

Male Whinchat at Haroldswick Pool


Female and Male Pied Flycatchers at Hallagarth

Chiffchaff at Hallagarth

Rough Legged Buzzard moving high NE over North Dale on passage.


Iceland Gull again

Day 4 12th May, 2015

A day of heavy showers with almost gale force winds. Early morning visit to Skaw, Lamba Ness, North Dale and Norwick. We then drove upto Uyeasound before returning to Skaw again and then a visit to Valyie. DC did a short sea-watch from Lamba Ness during the late afternoon.

Barnacle Geese 5 (Flew from Skaw and re-found at Northdale).
Whooper Swan 1(Northdale)
Sparrowhawk 2 over Valyie
Iceland Gull 2
Puffin 15 N on the sea-watch
Tree Pipit 1
Redwing 3
Blackcap 1
Willow Warbler 5

Five Barnacles leaving Skaw to North Dale

Whooper much closer to the road and flew off as we went past.

Rock Dove at North Dale

The second Iceland Gull

Bonxie near Uyeasound


Two migrant Sparrowhawks over Vaylie

Day 5 13th May, 2015.

Woke to a near gale force N wind so we decided to try a pre-breakfast sea-watch from Skaw, but other than lots of Gannets with 5 Puffins and plenty of Bonxies little else was seen. After breakfast, we returned to Skaw for a further sea-watch but again just large numbers of Gannets, Bonxies and about 15 Puffins.
During the afternoon we covered many of the usual sites and also visited Baltasound checking several sites in this area.

Great-northern Diver 2 (Norwick Bay) (1 in full s/p )
Barnacle Geese 5 (North Dale)
Greenshank 1
Tree Pipit 2
Blackcap 2
Common Whitethroat 1
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Willow Warbler 4
Chiffchaff 2
Pied Flycatcher 2 (pair at Helligarth)

Tree Sparrow 3 (Baltasound School clump)

Male Pied Flycatcher giving good views at Halligarth

Chiffchaff posing for the camera at the entrance to Halligarth

Tree Sparrows in the School clump

Greenshank flying over callling at Baltasound

Great Northern Diver in summer plumage in Norwick Bay
(Digi-scoped by DC)

Day 6 14th May, 2015.

Pre-breakfast walk covering Millfield, Skaw, Lamba Ness and Norwick Beach. After breakfast, as there were very few migrants around, we decided to walk Hermaness Nature Reserve and a very enjoyable walk with large numbers of Gannets, Bonxies and a few Puffins. On our way back we briefly called into Ungirsta. 
During the late afternoon we again visited Haroldswick and Baltasound sites, but the area generally appeared quiet. David and Brenda visited North Dale during the evening and saw a Grasshopper Warbler.

Great Northern Diver 2 (Norwick Bay)
Iceland Gull 1
Sparrowhawk 1 (Ungirsta)
White Wagtail 3
Grasshopper Warbler 1 (North Dale) (DC)
Blackcap 7
Common Whitethroat 1
Willow Warbler 5 (1 showing characters of the race acredula)
Chiffchaff 1


Arctic Skuas at Lamba Ness

Dunlin at Skaw

Red-throated Diver at Lamba Ness


Various Bonxies at Hermaness

View looking south over Hermaness Nature Reserve


Superb coastal views

Gannet colony


DC checking his pics.


Doreen and Brenda enjoying the spectacular views.

Bonxies everywhere on Hermaness

Male Wheatear

Time to walk back

Another view looking south over Hermaness

Doreen enjoying the walk

Still a way to go

More coastal views

Doreen on her way back

Still more great views

Doreen and David arriving back

Back at the start

Willow Warbler (showing characters of the race acredula ) at Baltasound

Day 7 15th May, 2015.

Our early morning visit to the Skaw, Lamba Ness and North Dale. Again not too many migrants seen, but an Otter showed well by a small pool at the end of Lamba Ness.
After breakfast  we visited Vaylie and then birded around Baltasound before moving onto Uyeasound but this area was very quiet and no migrants seen at all. We then stopped off at Halligarth where the male Pied Flycatcher was still in residence. During the evening we visited the Airport Pool.

Great Northern Diver 1
Wigeon 4 NE
Sparrowhawk 1 (Millfield)
Black-tailed Godwit (Airport Pool)
Golden Plover 2
Iceland Gull 1
Tree Pipit 1
Redwing 1
Swallow 20
House Martin 1
Blackcap 4
Common Whitethroat 1
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Willow Warbler 8 (several acredula types)
Chiffchaff 3
Pied Flycatcher 1 male
Carrion Crow 5
Twite 8+
Linnet 3 (including 1 male)
Siskin 5 (2 males)

Otter 1 Lamba Ness
Hedgehog 1

Another acredula type Willow Warbler this time at Norwick

Twite at Vaylie

Common Whitethroat at Vaylie

Norwick Meadows

Male Siskin in the Pine clump


Golden Plover at Baltasound

Day 8 16th May, 2015.

Woke to a fine sunny morning but with a cool Westerly wind. Drove Lamba Ness and visited Skaw but only a single Willow Warbler seen. After breakfast visited several sites around Baltasound including the Airport Pool, School Clump, Pine Clump and Helligarth. After lunch we visited Norwick area and then a short sea-watch from Lamba Ness which produced hundreds of Fulmars and 12 Puffins.

Kestrel 1
Black-tailed Godwit 1 
Iceland Gull 1
House Martin 1
Swallow 4
Redwing 1
Blackcap 8
Willow Warbler 3
Chiffchaff 4 (1 showing characters of abietinus)
Tree Sparrow 8
Twite 2

Doreen on a dawn Otter watch at Skaw




Icelandic race of Black-tailed Godwit on the Airport pool


Abietinus type Chiffchaff at the School clump

Day 9 17th May, 2015

Pre-breakfast visit to Skaw and Lamba Ness produced to trip ticks but otherwise very quiet for migrants. After breakfast we first visited Norwick and North Dale areas and then onto Haroldswick pools and the Airport pool and finally Baltasound school clump and the pine clump.
Late afternoon visit to Uyeasound and we were surprised to find a 2nd W. Glaucous Gull resting with other Gulls in a field. A final stop at the Airport pool found that the Wood Sandpiper had relocated to this pool.

Pinkfeet 1 (Lamba Ness)
Pintail 1 drake
Black-tailed Godwit 1
Common Sandpiper 1
Wood Sandpiper 1 (Haroldswick pools)
Glaucous Gull 2nd W (Uyeasound)
Iceland Gull 1 (Norwick)
Grey Wagtail 2 (Skaw)
Blackcap 3
Common Whitethroat 1
Chiffchaff 3
Willow Warbler 3
Carrion Crow 6
Reed Bunting 1
Brambling 1
Twite 5
Tree Sparrow 8 at Haroldswick and 6 at Baltasound

Our croft at Millfield

Female Grey Wagtail at Skaw


A single Pink-foot at Lamba Ness (photographed looking towards the sun)

Iceland Gull at Norwick

Brambling at Haroldswick


(last 2 dig-scoped by DC)
Wood Sandpiper on Haroldswick pool

Drake Pintail at Baltasound

(Digiscoped by DC)
Arctic Tern on the Airport pool

Red-throated Divers at Uyeasound


 2ndW Glaucous Gull at Uyeasound

Day 10 18th May, 2015.

Early morning visit to Skaw and after a look around the site and were just about to leave when a Hoopoe flew right past us about 10 yards away a landed on a fence post
where it was immediately mobbed by a pair of Meadow Pipits. After a couple of minutes it then flew along the cliff top fence landing briefly again but still being mobbed by the pipits. It then departed towards Lamba Ness and was lost to sight. We quickly made out way down Lamba Ness but no sign and then returned back to Skaw but again were unable to locate it. On our return back to the croft a Ring Ouzel was seen as we approached Norwick.
After breakfast we visited the Norwick area and then went and had another look for the Hoopoe but without success. We the drove to Haroldswick and covered the usual birding sites and then the Baltasound sites including the Airport pool. The area was generally very quiet.
During the evening, we made another visit to Skaw and then to Burrafirth.

Grey Heron 1
Sanderling 1
Iceland Gull 1
Hoopoe 1 (Skaw)
Ring Ouzel 1
Redwing 1
House Martin 1
Blackcap 5
Common Whitethroat 1
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Willow Warbler 5
Chiffchaff 3
Siskin 1 heard

Hedgehog 1


Hoopoe at Skaw being mobbed by the local Meadow Pipits

Willow Warbler at Skaw

Golden Plover at Lamba Ness

(both taken by DC)
Female Ring Ouzel above Norwick

Whimbrel on Haroldswick beach

Grey Heron high over Skaw

Hedgehog out in the evening at Skaw

Day 11 19th May, 2015

Strong winds and rain until 9.00 am so a late start. Did the usual trip to Skaw, Lamba Ness and North Dale, but virtually no migrants seen. After a late breakfast, we covered Norwick area, Burrafirth, Helligarth, Airport pool and Haroldswick beach.
A few more waders seen today, but very quiet on the migrant front.
During the afternoon we visited the Mucka Flugga viewpoint and then birded the School clump.

Black-tailed Godwit 3 in full s/p (Icelandic race)
Knot 1 in full s/p
Sanderling 5
Iceland Gull 1
Grey Wagtail 2
White Wagtail 3
Redwing 1
Blackcap 2
Common Whitethroat 1
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Chiffchaff 2
Willow Warbler 3
Tree Sparrow 15
Siskin 5

Sanderling on Norwick beach


Black-tailed Godwits of the Icelandic race on the Airport pool.

A stunning summer plumage Knot spent a short time on Haroldswick beach

Three views taken from the Mucka Flugga viewpoint 

Male Siskin in the School clump


Doreen enjoying the evening red sky over Lamba Ness

Day 12 20th May, 2015.

Woke to a fine calm sunny morning and we made an early morning visit to Skaw, Lamba Ness and North Dale. Very few migrants seen but the real highlight was fabulous views of a dog Otter at Lamba Ness. On view for about 5 minutes at very close quarters.
After breakfast we decided to try for the Hoopoe which had been seen at Clibberswick. After a good deal of searching we  located it although it had now become very flighty and was still being mobbed by pipits etc. Much to our surprise,  3 Otters (mother and two cubs) gave good views as they swam across the cove.
We then moved onto Haroldswick where we obtained excellent views of a summer plumage Great-northern Diver and then onto Airport pool, School clump and pine clump. During the evening we visited the Norwick area.
Great Northern Diver 1 s/p (Haroldswick)
Sanderling 7
Iceland Gull 1
Hoopoe 1 (Clibberswick)
Grey Wagtail 1
White Wagtail 3
Sedge Warbler 1
Blackcap 4
Willow Warbler 2
Chiffchaff 5
Siskin 2
Mealy Redpoll 2
Tree Sparrow 13

Otter 4 (1 Lamba Ness and 3 Clibberswick)



(the last five were all taken by DC)


Dog Otter at Lamba Ness

Fulmars at Clibberswick

Cliff top flowers at Clibberswick

 Mother and 2 cub Otters at Clibberswick

Black Guillemots at Clibberswick

(digi-scoped by DC)


(Digi-scoped by DC)

((Digi-scoped by DC)

Hoopoe at Clibberswick

Dunlin at Clibberswick

Summer plumage Great Northern Diver at Haroldswick

Smart breeding plumage Common Gull at Haroldswick

Common Snipe at the Airport pool

Male Blackcap at the School clump

Mealy Redpolls at the School clump

Day 13 21st May, 2015.

Woke to a wet and windy morning with rain on and off all day.  A late start visiting Skaw, and North Dale. After breakfast we visited Haroldswick Pool, Airport pool, School clump, Pine Clump and Helligarth. A fine drake Garganey on Haroldswick Pool but the highlight was a 1stS Golden Oriole which we found in the Pine Clump.

Garganey 1 drake (Haroldswick Pool)
Iceland Gull 1
Flava Wagtail (Haroldswick Pool)
Swallow 15
House Martin 1
Golden Oriole 1 1st S male (Pine Clump, Baltasound)
Sedge Warbler 1
Blackcap 1
Willow Warbler 2
Chiffchaff 3

Iceland Gull right next to the road at Norwick

Fine drake Garganey was resting by the side of Haroldswick pool.

(Pictures taken by Brenda Kay)
1stS male Golden Oriole showed briefly in the Pine Clump at Baltasound

Day 14 22nd May, 2015.

Woke to an almost gale force cold westerly wind with very heavy showers but otherwise very sunny. Early morning visit to Skaw, Lamba Ness and Haroldswick pool, but virtually no migrants seen. Heavy rain after breakfast, but then cleared so we drove to Norwick area including Valyie, and then to Haroldswick covering all the usual sites, including the Airport pool which was now very flooded after the rains. No sign of the Golden Oriole at Helligarth or the Pine clump although the strong wind didn’t help.
We then moved onto Burrafirth and our first Sand Martin of the trip was seen.

Iceland Gull 1
Grey Wagtail 1
White Wagtail 2
Sand Martin 1
Blackcap 1
Willow Warbler 1
Chiffchaff 1
Twite 1

Norwick beach with Lamba Ness in the background

Haroldswick Pool

Burrafirth looking towards the Hermaness Visitors Centre

Burrafirth beach

Patch junior sheltering in a water trough from the strong wind

David birding at Valyie

Twite at Valyie

Day 15 23rd May, 2015

Our usual early morning visit to Skaw and Lamba Ness but just the odd migrant seen, so we moved onto Haroldswick pool and bay. No sign of the Flava Wagtail which has been identified as a Grey-headed, but about 30 Dunlin and 20+ Ringed Plovers were on the beach when they suddenly started to call a lot and then they all virtually departed NW and were lost to view.
After breakfast we visited Norwick area including Valyie where a Redwing was singing. Moved back to Haroldswick pool where we managed brief views of the Flava Wagtail. We covered all the other sites here including the Airport pool but only the odd migrants were seen other than good numbers of both Ringed Plovers and Dunlin.

Pintail 1 drake
Sanderling 4
Dunlin c100
Ringed Plover c100
Flava Wagtail (Blue headed/Grey headed female)
Grey Wagtail 2
White Wagtail 1
Redwing 1 singing Valyie
Sedge Warbler 1 singing still at Haroldswick
Blackcap 3
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Willow Warbler 3
Chiffchaff 2
Mealy Redpoll 3
Twite 3

Ringed Plover on the beach at  Norwick. A good influx of around 100
birds were seen today often feeding in grassy fields. These birds probably
relate to the larger Arctic race.

Arctic Tern sat on the beach at Norwick

The migrant ditch at Valyie

The copse at Valyie

Chiffchaff at Haroldswick

Day 16 24 May, 2015.

Still a cold west wind blowing. Made our usual vistit to Skaw and Lamba Ness also North Dale, but very few birds seen, although the Iceland Gull was back at Norwick.
After breakfast, we visited Haroldswick pool and then drove to Uyeasound although the near gale force wind made birding very difficult. Did see 3 Whooper Swans and the Glaucous Gull was seen at the salmon farm. 
We called in to Westing but no sign of any Otters athough a Great Northern Diver still in winter plumage was present. Finally a quick visit to the School clump.

Great Northern Diver 1 (Westing)
Whooper Swan 3 (Uyeasound)
Shelduck 1
Sanderling 1
Iceland Gull 1 (Norwick)
Glaucous Gull 1 x 2ndW (Uyeasound)
Redwing 1
Chiffchaff 1
Twite 5
Mealy Redpoll 2

The road leading up to Lamba Ness and the Skaw.

Looking South from Lamba Ness

The Otter run and pool on Lamba Ness

Norwick Bay in the early morning sunlight

Looking over Norwick Meadows from the Lamba Ness road

Arctic Terns at Uyeasound

Three Whooper Swans at Uyeasound

Rock Dove at Uyeasound

Record shot of the 2ndW Glaucous Gull at the Salmon farm at Uyeasound

Mother and daughter at  Uyeasound

Day 17 25th May, 2015.

Early morning visit to Skaw, Lamba Ness and Haroldswick bay and pool. Highlight was a ring-tailed Hen Harrier over Lamba Ness moving high N at 06.45-06.55. 
Weather was now very good  and we decided to cover as many areas as we could. News of a Subalpine Warbler near Halligarth soon tempted us to try to see this but without any luck. We covered all the usual sites and a few migrants were seen. During the evening we visited Clibberswick but no sign of any Otters.

Great Northern Diver 5 (4 in full s/p (Haroldswick)
Hen Harrier 1 ring-tailed high N 06.45-06.55 (Lamba Ness)
Iceland Gull 1st/2nd S (Norwick)
Collared Dove 6
Sanderling 3
Redwing 2
Garden Warbler 1
Blackcap 3
Chiffchaff 8
Tree Sparrow 6 (Valyie)
Chaffinch 1
Siskin 1
Mealy Redpoll 2
Twite 4


Record shots of the Ring-tailed Hen Harrier leaving high E
over Lamba Ness.


All the Chiffchaffs seen recently have appeared very grey. This one was 
taken by Haroldswick pool. It appeared very tired and had probably 
had just arrived.

Hooded Crow a common resident.

Three stunning s/p Great Northern Divers in Haroldswick Bay.

Collared Dove at Valyie, a total of six were seen today, a small
influx as there is usually just a single bird on Unst.

A couple of scare-crows at Norwick

Mealy Redpoll at Baltasound

The School clump at Baltasound

View of Plantiecrubs at Clibberswick (the Hoopoe feeding site)

The Otter cove at Clibberswick


Black Guillemot in the evening sunlight at  Clibberswick

Black Bunny at Lamba Ness

Shetland Ponies at Clibberswick

Day 18 26 May, 2015.

Our early morning visit to the Skaw, Lamba Ness and North Dale was very unproductive with the highlight being a nice display by 2 Snipe drumming at North Dale. After breakfast we visited the Haroldswick and Baltasound sites but wind very strong and cold, made watching very difficult. Another search for yesterday’s Subalpine was unsuccessful and we also visited Burrafirth but no sign of yesterday’s Bluethroat.
During the afternoon, we visited Norwick area but no migrants seen and we moved onto Haroldswick pool where the male Blue-headed Wagtail showed well and to our surprise a small type Canada Goose was found feeding and resting on the beach.

Canada Goose 1 parvipes type (Haroldswick beach)
Whooper Swan 4 (Haroldswick pool)
Pintail 1 drake
Gadwall 4
Iceland Gull 1
White Wagtail 1
1st S male Blue headed Wagtail  (Haroldswick pool)
Chiffchaff 3
Twite 5
Tree Sparrow 7 (Skaw)

 Common Snipe drumming at North Dale

Drake Eider at Haroldswick

1stS. male Blue-headed Wagtail at Haroldswick pool. This
individual was first considered by one observer to be a
Grey-headed Wagtail. After several attempts, we at long
last obtained some good pics and were able to compare this
with photos and consider it to be a 1st S.Blue-headed.

Size comparison with a Rock Dove


Parvipes type Canada Goose at Haroldswick 
We found this Lesser Canada Goose on the beach at Haroldswick pool
resting and feeding on sea-weed. 

Four Gadwall at Haroldswick

Day 19 27th May, 2015.

Strong westerly wind with frequent showers. We first visited Skaw, Lamba Ness including a half an hour watch for the Otter without success and we paid a brief visit to North Dale.
After breakfast, we visited Haroldswick pool but no sign of the small Canada Goose, then the Airport pool, we then birded the scrub behind the post office and the pine clump. Just the odd mirgrants seen.
During the afternoon we found a fine 1stS male Rustic Bunting in the Pine copse. A second vagrant Canada Goose was reported from Baltasound and we made our way to see this individual and we also saw the parvipes type Canada Goose at Haroldswick.

Pintail 1
Gadwall 4
Todd’s type Canada Goose 1 (Baltasound)
Parvipes type Canada Goose 1 ( Haroldswick )
Pink-footed Goose 1 (Pale bird) (Baltasound)
Sanderling 1
Redwing 1 again heard singing
Blackcap 1
Garden Warbler 1
Chiffchaff 1
Rustic Bunting 1 1stS male (Pine Clump)
Mealy Redpoll 1
Twite 5



1st S.male Rustic Bunting in the Pine Clump, Baltasound
We were delighted to find this fine first summer male Rustic Bunting
which proved to be very shy and elusive and which went missing for
long periods and was without doubt bird of the trip.

Pink-footed Goose at Baltasound


We were surprised that a second North American Canada Goose
had been seen today in fields at Baltasound. It was considered to
be the Interior form (Todd's Canada Goose) and was considerably 
larger (nearer Grey-lag Goose) than yesterday's  Parvipes and 
much browner on the breast, as the above picture shows.


Todd's Canada Goose with Pink-foot

Day 20 28th May, 2015.

Woke to a calm morning with light drizzle. We made our usual early morning visit to Skaw, Lamba Ness and also Burrafirth but not a single new migrant seen.
We then headed to Haroldswick pool and heard that the female Subalpine Warbler had been seen earlier at Halligarth so we quickly made our way there. We spent 2 hours and although had 4 brief views it proved to be very skulking and we were unable to photograph it.

Todd’s Canada Goose 1
Pintail 2 (pair on Haroldswick pool)
Wigeon 7
Iceland Gull 1
Redwing 2 singing
Subalpine Warbler 1 female (Halligarth)
Blackcap 1
Chiffchaff 5

Looking down Lamba Ness

Views taken on Lamba Ness


Grey Seals at Haroldswick

Adult summer plumage Common Gull

Pair of Pintail at Haroldswick Pool

(taken by Allan Conlin)
Female Subalpine Warbler near Hallagarth

Day 21 29th May, 2015.

.Woke to a fine calm morning, so instead of our usual early morning visits, we decided to try to get some pics of the female Subalpine Warbler at Halligarth which has now been i/d by others as a Western. We met up with Rob who had already visited Skaw and Lamba Ness, but he hadn’t seen a single migrant. Although we spent some time trying to see the Subalpine, we had no success so we then went and checked the Pine Clump, but no new migrants were seen.
As this is our last full day on Unst and our last chance to visit Fetlar and as Doreen and myself haven’t visited Fetlar since 1978, we decided to catch the 10.30 am ferry in the hope of seeing Red-necked Pharalopes even thou there has been no sightings so far this year. Had an enjoyable time and did manage poor views of 2 Phalaropes on the RSPB Reserve but little else of note.
Late afternoon back on Unst and covered the School Clump, Haroldswick pool and Vaylie but again no sign of any migrants.

Great Northern Diver 2 (Ferry crossing)
Red-throated Diver 5 (1 on a nest)
Red-necked Phalarope 2 (Fetlar)
Garden Warbler 1
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Blackcap 2
Chiffchaff 2

Halligarth House and copse

Approaching Fetlar on the ferry

Doreen on the ferry, looking forward to visiting Fetlar which she last
visited in 1978 when we saw a Snowy Owl and a Saker Falcon

Puffins and Razorbills passing the ferry


Red-throated Divers on Loch Funzie

Views taken on Eastern Fetlar

A close encounter with a Red-throated Diver which flew right past us.

The RSPB Reserve at Funzie

The croft where we stayed in 1978

Views taken at Triesta, Fetlar

The beach at Triesta, Fetlar

View taken on Fetlar, with Out Skerries just visible at the back.

Oystercatcher on Fetlar

Shag close to the ferry


Arctic Tern at Baltasound

Day 22 30th May, 2015.

Our leaving day, we made our usual early morning visit to Skaw and Lamba Ness but no new migrants and no sign of the Otter at Lamba Ness. Back to the croft for breakfast and packing before heading for the ferry to Yell, with a couple of quick stops at Haroldswick pool and Uyeasound.
The usual fast drive across Yell for the ferry to Mainland and we then headed for Lerwick to drop Doreen and Brenda off, for them to look around Lerwich, whilst David and  myself headed towards Sumburgh. We quickly saw the drake Ring-necked Duck on Loch of Hillwell also a drake Garganey, and then nearby to try to see the Corncrake. We soon located it calling and after some time it walked out of the thick grass and gave some superb views.
It was now time to drive back to Lerwick, pick up Doreen and Brenda, have a nice fish and chips meal and catch the Ferry to Aberdeen and then the 12 hour drive home tomorrow.

Whooper Swan 17
Garganey 1 drake (Loch of Hillwell)
Ring-necked Duck 1 drake (Loch of Hillwell)
Corncrake 1



Corncrake on Southern Mainland

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