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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

MEGA! Possible, WHITE-WINGED SCOTER!

We appear to have possibly seen a White-winged Scoter (fem.), not the Velvet Scoter we first thought! See Ashley's post on: https://www.oriolebirding.com/birding-diary-news-4.html 

Here are some pictures I took – I have more if required, but none of them are sharp! To assist with ID, I have only slightly sharpened and obviously cropped, as distant.

WHITE-WINGED SCOTER
fem/drake juv. – possible
Seen from ferry in the harbour at Belmont, Unst
(on our return to Unst from Fetlar)
Monday 16th October

SHETLAND HOLIDAY, Day Eleven!

TOUR WITH ORIOLE BIRDING

RARITY HUNTING!

With east winds overnight and continuing through the day, we were up early and met for breakfast at 6.45am and left at 7.30am before sunrise. We didn't take the mini-bus, but instead walked from the hotel and searched the surrounding area. We had high hopes for some good birds. In the hotel garden itself, we had House Sparrows, a Blackcap and a Robin was seen. We checked gardens and quarries and noted there was an increase in Wheatears sightings today. Other birds seen besides Wheatears were: Redwings, Blackcaps, Bramblings, Blackbirds, Fulmars and the usual House Sparrows, Starlings and Ravens. On the sea we had Long-tailed Ducks, Slavonian Grebe, 6 Great Northern Divers and best of all several Porpoise were in the harbour, also Jason noted there was an adult with calf amongst the other adults. We walked through muddy fields, over stiles, throughout a farmyard and returned to the Sumburgh Hotel.

We then left in the mini-bus and parked up in the official car park at the base of the Sumburgh Lighthouse and walked up to the headland searching for wind blown migrants. It was fabulous being up here, I have fond memories of spending time sitting by the lighthouse, looking for orcas on my last trip to Fair Isle. We spent a fair amount of time scanning the Geo's for passerines, but only found 3 Goldcrests on the cliff face. There were of course tons of Fulmars sailing past close by – always fabulous to watch. In the lighthouse garden scrub we found a very pale Chiffchaff, a Wren, Blackbird and a Robin.

At 10.45am we arrived at Toab, where John found an Eastern Lesser Whitethroat, which as Ashley said, was the brownest one we have seen so far (see pictures) this trip. There was also a Wheatear here posing nicely on a dry stone wall. Purchased our lunch at a small shop – we were lucky as they had only eight rolls for sale – all purchased! I also found some honey & peanut slices topped with chocolate – yummy! After leaving this area and driving to our next destination, Ashley stopped the mini-bus as he thought he had seen a Stonechat – we all piled out, and within a few minutes we were all watching a Stonechat!

We stopped in an area by a bay close to Quendale and saw a Jack Snipe that Nick had found and Ashley found a single Goldcrest, resting in a patch of nettles. At a the farm at Quendale we bumped into Will Miles and his wife Jenny again! We discussed the lack of rares so far today! Will sounded quite positive though and said the departure of the thrushes must mean there is a 'big one' to be found somewhere! We walked a long way along the track up hill and down dale (as they say) to search for birds. We had quick views of two Jack Snipe amongst the irises and also a Common/Mealy type Redpoll was seen distantly, both on a fence and in flight. In a quarry, Redwings and 2 Song Thrushes errupted. but nothing else of note. We trudged back to the mini-bus.

At Hillwell Loch we saw 2 Gadwall, a Long-tailed Duck, Merlin and lots of gulls. We then drove to the Virkie Pool and watched 10+ Red-breasted Mergansers, a Pale-bellied Brent Goose, a Shelduck, Knot, several Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ringed Plovers, Redshanks and several gulls.

At Scatness we had 5 Whooper Swans, 11 Bramblings, 100 Teal and a huge flock of 300+ Twite were swirling overhead. It was extremely cold now and we were all very tired, so returned earlier than usual to the hotel. We arranged to meet in the bar for dinner at 7pm.

In my room, I had a 5 minute snooze on my bed and set the alarm for 6.10pm. I opened my eyes to a text that was being sent at 7.30pm!!! Fortunately, because the group had been in deep discussion about our recent 'Velvet Scoter' that could well be the possible White-winged Scoter – I wasn't really missed! Obviously I apologised when I eventually arrived in the restaurant – nobody had ordered any food yet, so I hadn't held anyone up thank goodness|! We enjoyed our last meal together – Jason departs from us tomorrow afternoon and the rest of us will be on the Lerwick to Aberdeen ferry in the evening.

Internet is pretty good at this hotel, but loading pictures and videos up is slow. My Surf Scoter video that I uploaded onto Youtube this morning, took 2 hours and 40 minutes! This is one of the reasons you haven't seen many pictures added to my posts yet. Also I am furious with Adobe – they told me that I could use my new Adobe package (photoshop etc) without the internet – they lied, you can not use it without the internet – on Unst I tried to open photoshop to edit some pictures and it informed me that I required a WiFi connection! This makes me pretty cross, as when you had a DVD for Photoshop, you could open it any time, anywhere. Technology! Our last day birding tomorrow!

PICTURES & VIDEOS TO BE ADDED WHEN I RETURN TO NORFOLK

SEE TOUR ACCOUNT OF THE DAY HERE:
https://www.oriolebirding.com/birding-diary-news-4.html

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Balearic Shearwater flew past Winterton
Yellow-browed Warbler, Ring Ouzel at Beeston Bump, Sheringham
Yellow-browed Warbler, Little Stints x 3 at Titchwell RSPB
Yellow-browed Warblers x 2, Scaup at Holme NOA
Ring Ouzel at Holme Dunes NWT
Red-breasted Flycatcher, Yellow-browed Warbler, Hen Harrier at Wells Woods
Black Brant on estuary at Wells
Yellow-browed Warbler at East Hills, Wells
Cattle Egret east of, Hen Harrier at Stiffkey
Snow Buntings x 2 at Caister-on-Sea
Black Redstart, Caspian Gull at Cley NWT
Caspian Gulls x 2 at Cromer

MEGA NEWS
TWO-BARRED GREENISH WARBLER
St Aldhelm's, Dorset
ROCK THRUSH 1w
Blorenge, Gwent
WILSON'S SNIPE
probable still, St Mary's, Isles of Scilly
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER fem./drake juv
possible, south of Gutcher, Shetland
FEA'S/DESERTAS OR ZINO'S PETREL
flew past North Ronaldsay, Shetland

RBA Weekly Round-Up 11th to 17th October!

By Andy Stoddart
https://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/v2/Content/WeeklyRoundup2017-42.aspx?s_id=919083735
Thanks to the RBA Team for using some of my Shetland photos this week, including: Ring-necked Duck, Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll, Olive-backed Pipit and Red-spotted Bluethroat! Never thought I would be getting Shetland bird pictures on the RBA Weekly Review!

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

SHETLAND HOLIDAY, Day Ten!

TOUR WITH ORIOLE BIRDING

LAST DAY ON UNST!

The bar with free WiFi we found on the Saxa Vord complex, was closed last night we discovered, so not able to access the internet at all. Storm Ophelia hit us with massive winds and rain all night – it was so loud, I was woken up by the intensity of the rain. I have had the dormer window open each night, but I didn't dare do this last night! I have really enjoyed being on Unst and really don't want to leave – the accommodation here is really nice and I didn't want to pack my things up! The peace here, the lack of street lights – so nice to sleep with no lights shining in the window, unlike my street where I live, which has two big street lamps and a neighbour who leaves their big outside light on opposite my house every night!

Our morning was dominated by arranging to get off Unst and back to mainland Shetland. There were ferries to Yell, but not to Unst until further updates later this morning, because of the storm. Ashley and Nick had to go off to get a phone signal to get information on our ferries, so we had plenty of time to get our gear together. Ashley booked a ferry for 1.45pm that would take us to Yell, but we may have to wait a while before we continue to Unst, because of a back-log of vehicles/passengers that couldn't go this morning.

With the mini-bus packed up, we set off birding. We parked up by the Health Centre (with kind permission) and had a look in the garden at the back of the centre and surrounding area. Ashley found a Long-eared Owl perched in a sycamore tree – this stunning bird posed beautiful for pictures and videos. An excellent start to the day! A local lady from the health centre said she had 11 Short-eared Owls in the this garden last winter! There were also Redwings, Robin and a Blackcap here. In the Clingera area we found a Chiffchaff, Robin and checked other gardens close by here.

At 1.45pm we caught the ferry to Yell. Luckily we didn't have to wait too long at all for the Yell to Unst ferry. I had taken Stugeron tablets this morning as I presumed the crossing would be rough, but the wind had died down considerably and it all felt fairly smooth! Black Guillemots and Shags were seen on route.

Arriving back on mainland, we searched the Lower Voe area for migrants. We saw Pied Wagtails and 3 Grey Wagtails (feeding on someone's lawn!), a Blackcap, Bramblings, House Sparrows. After leaving here, we were lucky enough to see a Red Grouse catapault from the roadside verge, which was an unexpected bonus!

At Kergord, we had fabulous views of lots of Hooded Crows, 2 Merlins – one was relentlessly chasing a Hooded Crow, Ravens, 2 Rooks, a Sparrowhawk, Goldcrest, Blackcaps and Bramblings. We spent a long time here, checking a large copse with snowberry bushes in the midst and also a burn opposite on the other side of the road, but no megas hiding there! We chatted briefly with a nice local farmer and also a lady who lived in a large house by the copse.

The sickness tablets I had taken earlier, had made me feel totally drugged up – I couldn't keep awake at all for the rest of the journey to Sumburgh. We arrived back at the Sumburgh Hotel and enjoyed a lovely meal. We heard that there had been a big arrival of thrushes this evening, so we felt quite excited about tomorrow's birding!

PICTURES & VIDEOS TO BE ADDED WHEN I RETURN TO NORFOLK

SEE TOUR ACCOUNT OF THE DAY HERE:
https://www.oriolebirding.com/birding-diary-news-4.html

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Hawfinch at Whitlingham Country Park
Cattle Egret east of Stiffkey
Yellow-browed Warbler at Holme NOA
Little Stints x 2, Russian White-fronted Geese x 8 at Buckenham Marshes RSPB
Tundra Bean Goose, Curlew Sandpipers x 2, Little Stints x 7 at Cley NWT
Snow Buntings x 2 at Caister-on-Sea
Yellow-browed Warbler at Wells Woods
Bittern at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Curlew Sandpipers x 3, Jack Snipes x 2, Spotted Redshanks x 2, Curlew Sandpiper at Kelling Water Meadows
Little Stints x 2, Common Cranes x 12 at Potter Heigham Marshes
Osprey, Firecrest, Yellow-browed Warbler at Holkham
Hawfinches x 3 at Lynford Aboretum
Taiga Bean Goose at Burnham Overy Staithe
Snow Buntings x 2 at Caister-on-Sea
Yellow-browed Warbler at the UEA Campus, Norwich
Yellow-browed Warbler at Holme Bird Observatory NOA
Lapland  Bunting flew over Weybourne Camp
Black Guillemot, Little Gullds x 3 at Happisburgh

MEGA NEWS
TWO-BARRED GREENISH WARBLER
St Aldhelm's, Dorset
ROCK THRUSH 1w
Blorenge, Gwent
WESTERN ORPHEAN WARBLER
St Agnes, Isles of Scilly
FORSTER'S TERN
Soldier's Point, County Louth, Ireland
WILSON'S SNIPE
probable still, St Mary's, Isles of Scilly

SHETLAND HOLIDAY, Day Nine!

TOUR WITH ORIOLE BIRDING

MONDAY 16TH OCTOBER

FETLAR TRIP & AN OBP ON UNST!

FETLAR
We met for breakfast at 7am and then left at 8am to catch the 8.55am ferry to Fetlar from the Belmont Ferry Terminal. There was almost no wind this morning and it was a gloriously sunny day – we had to strip layers off later – in fact it was almost too hot! Jason went OTT and just wore a  tea-shirt on Fetlar! The calm before the big forecast storm tomorrow! The winds were light south westerlies, veering south east later today, with big easterly winds for the rest of the week! But, with 50 mph winds and heavy rain, even hardcore birders won’t be seeing anything tomorrow! These will be the first easterly winds since we have been on Shetland and it will be very frustrating if a big bird turns up on Unst when we return to mainland tomorrow! That’s the way it goes I suppose!

On route to the ferry a couple of people saw a Swallow! At Easter Loch by the ferry terminal we had the usual Whooper Swans, but noted there were more families and a larger number than we had seen before. The ferry left on time and we had a lovely trip over to Fetlar and enjoyed views of a Great Northern Diver, several Black Guillemots and 28 Long-tailed Ducks flew past. One of the crew operating the ferry, whistled loudly too us and pointed, but none of us were able to get to on to, what we later found out was a Minke Whale, that had only surfaced twice – which was a pity, that would have been a cool trip tick!

Ashley decided to drive to the extreme south of the island and work our way back up to the ferry terminal for our departure at 1pm. There are limited ferries on a Monday we discovered, with a choice of 1pm or 4.40pm return and we didn’t want to arrive back late on Unst, in case something big was found. We wanted to find something humongous on Fetlar, that was the plan anyway! It was a glorious day and we were extremely lucky to see this stunning island for the first time in such beautiful weather.

On route south we had tons of Redwings scattering over the fields, including some Icelandic ones, which were much darker than the typical Redwings we normally see. The Greylag Geese also looked darker than you usually see back in Norfolk. There was a real excitement of birds on route south and the light was perfect. This island felt clearly different to Unst and the mainland. Lots of Snipe were scattering, we had 250+ Golden Plovers, along with Lapwings and a Wheatear was seen, along with the usual Hooded Crows, Starlings, House Sparrows and some Whooper Swans flew over. A Merlin also flew over, giving everyone good views. We sadly passed a Juv. Gannet sitting on a field, who had a blood stained breast, we presumed it had collided with power lines – it looked okish though, no idea if it will survive or not, obviously depending on the severity of its injuries.

At Funzie Bay (south), there is a single house overlooking the bay, where we met the owner who is a local birder. Here there were tons of House Sparrows, Starlings, a Leucistic Blackbird feeding, 2 Tree Sparrows, Rock Pipits on the seaweed covered rocks and lots of sheep!

At a derelict cottage on a road signposted to Everland, we had a real flurry of birds – for a few minutes I was on my own, when I found an Eastern Whitethroat in the garden and a Goldcrest and a Blackcap appeared. I flushed approximately 15 Snipe from the front garden – incredible! Snipe seemed to be everywhere – I have never seen so many snipe in one day! There was also a Wheatear here. We stopped at another potentially good scrub area on route north and I wandered off along a track with a house/garden and a single sheep. This sheep ran down the hill of the garden to the fence to greet me (or so it seemed) and enjoyed some fuss – it really seemed to enjoyed being stroked. I grilled an LBJ which dived over the drystone wall, and it eventually turned out to be a Wren. More Snipe here and stunning scenery. As I left, the sheep charged down the hill again to the fence for some more fuss – so sweet!

Further north in the island we parked near the Visitor Centre (closed on 30th Sep) and walked to ‘Hubie’, a stunning burn, with a series of cascades tumbling over rocks. Here we had at least 5 Blackcaps, 1 Chiffchaff, 6 Bramblings, Chaffinch, Robin and a Wren. We returned to the Visitor Centre to sit on the picnic tables for a tea break (Ashley had brought flasks with him for us all) and sat overlooking the stunning bay. Here we saw a Great Northern Diver and a Wren. We then popped into the local shop where I bought a beautiful silver and glass ring, which was made in Fetlar by ‘Bea’ and some more oatcakes. We also met Angus the Sheep in the field opposite who had his own plaquard on the gate! I took a picture of the owner outside her shop.

On route to catching the 1pm ferry, Ashley and Jason walked around an iris bed to find a mega and nearly got stuck in the mud! Tons of Snipe here! Caught the ferry back from Belmont Ferry Terminal to Unst at 1pm. Jason pointed out some Porpoise to us, but it took me ages to see just one, both John and I managed to get a glimpse of one just before they disappeared. Tons of Shags both on the sea and also on a beach by a derelict building. There were also Black Guillemots, a Great Northern Diver and Ashley spotted a Velvet Scoter (new bird for the trip).

UPDATE: We appear to have possibly seen a White-winged Scoter (fem.), not the Velvet Scoter we first thought! See Ashley's post on: https://www.oriolebirding.com/birding-diary-news-4.html

UNST
Back on Unst we went to Loch Watlee to have our lunch and kept an eye out for the White-tailed Eagle that we saw on the 14th. We saw the Wheatear again (same one maybe?). There were lots of Salmon jumping out of the water here, which was fun to watch. The light on the loch was like a mirror, so beautiful. Lots of sheep in the valley, but no sign of the eagle.

We then set off to find the Olive-backed Pipit that had been found today in the Spring Park Road area at Baltasound. We parked the car up in this road and I asked a very friendly couple, who lived in the house at the end, if they knew where the OBP was – they told me that several birders were around the back of their house this morning, in the rough fields, paths and derelict house, so that was very helpful indeed. We all started to work this area and whilst doing so, found 20+ Bramblings. Luckily I managed to flush (tickle-up… long story) the OBP from the grass at 2.55pm!!! This was the most flighty OBP I have ever seen and no one had any close views, but we had decent scope views for a few seconds each. No one got anything decent on the camera – my three shots were pretty rubbish. John got the best shots, well done to him! We were so pleased to have seen this bird – pretty lucky really. The last time we saw the OBP, it had flown to a grassy field (no access) next to the garden of ‘Ernsdale’. Ashley and Jason found a Redstart for us here and also a Chiffchaff was seen and a ginger and white cat was sitting on a wall – this cat flushed the Redstart later, which was quite annoying.

Second helpings of the Surf Scoter were had, in much calmer conditions, so better views were enjoyed by all. I managed to get a slightly better phone-scoped video through Ashley’s scope. We then went to a new spot, ‘Halligarth’ which is a wooded copse, surrounded by a large dry stone wall. We looked around the outskirts first before going in through the gate and found a Lesser Whitethroat, at least 2 Chiffchaffs, several Bramblings and Redwings and Snipe were in the surrounding fields. In the wood, the only new birds we found were a Robin and a Blackbird. Potentially though, that wood look very exciting! Just before we left, Ashley found a stonking Hawfinch, which we watched in flight and briefly in a tree – unfortunately it did not want to be photographed, but Jason managed to get shot of it in the tree obscured by branches. We thought it had landed in a garden and we all spent ages, creeping up to where we thought it was – but it had sneaked out somewhere!

We ended the day in the Valey Garden as the light faded. It felt colder now and the skies looked black and it was slightly spitting with rain – the beginning of the big storm. We saw a couple of Chiffchaffs, 4 Blackcaps, Common Redpolls x 2 perched on a fence wire, a Blackbird and 6 Bramblings. Again, no sign of the Rosefinch.

This evening we had a three course meal cooked by Ashley – he really is a brilliant chef and huge thanks to him for cooking for us all whilst on Unst and after driving all day too, I don’t know where he gets all his energy from! We return on the ferry to mainland tomorrow, staying again in the Sumburgh Hotel until Thursday, when we pack up to catch the ferry at Lerwick to Aberdeen on Thursday evening. I’m not looking forward to that at all, as the sea is going to be rough! Hopefully with fingers crossed, a big bird might turn up before we leave – or the Oriole Birding group might be finding it!

PICTURES TO BE ADDED WHEN I RETURN TO NORFOLK

SEE TOUR ACCOUNT OF THE DAY HERE:
https://www.oriolebirding.com/birding-diary-news-4.html

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
MONDAY 16th OCTOBER
Great White Egrets x 3 flew over Sheringham
Grey-bellied Brant? at Choseley
Lapland Bunting flew over Burnham Overy Staithe
Yellow-browed Warbler, Hawfinch, Common Cranes x 9 flew over, Ring Ouzel, Hen Harrier, Little Stints x 2, Spotted Redshanks x 2, Bittern at Titchwell RSPB
Great White Egrets x 11, Osprey at Holkham
Barred Warbler still at Trimingham
Hen Harrier, Great White Egrets x 5, Common Cranes x 9 flew over, Yellow-browed Warbler at Holme
Hen Harrier flew over Hunstanton
Hooded Crow at Horsey
Great Northern Diver flew past, Great White Egret, Little Stints x 10, Curlew Sandpiper at Cley NWT
Common Cranes x 7 flew over West Lynn
Common Cranes x 9 flew over Snettisham
Cattle Egret, Little Egrets x 200, Great White Egret at Stiffkey
Yellow-browed Warbler, Little Gulls x 15 flew past at Weybourne Camp
Great Grey Shrike at Happisburgh
Firecrest by The Broad, UEA, u
Yellow-browed Warbler, Hawfinch at East Hills, Wells
Great White Egret flew over Morston
Curlew Sandpipers x 3, Spotted Redshanks x 2, Dotterel flew over at Kelling Water Meadows
Richard's Pipit flew over Waxham
Little Gulls x 2,219 flew past Hemsby
Hen Harriers x 2 at Warham Greens
Greenland White-fronted Goose x 2 (unconfirmed report) at Buckenham Marshes RSPB
Firecrest at Beeston Common, Sheringham
Great White Egret flew over Beeston Bump, Sheringham
Snow Bunting at Caister-on-Sea

MEGA NEWS
ROCK THRUSH 1w
Blorenge, Gwent
WILSON'S SNIPE
probable still, St Mary's, Isles of Scilly

Sunday, 15 October 2017

SHETLAND HOLIDAY, Day Eight!

TOUR WITH ORIOLE BIRDING

RAINING HEAVILY & A SNOWBALL!

When someone found out the forecast for today, it was decided that we would have a lie-in and met up at 8am for breakfast. When I looked out of the window first thing, it was steady rain, wind and gloomy conditions. After breakfast we all had just over an hour before we headed out at 10am – still raining. I used that time to write yesterday’s blog post in my pages programme until I could get onto the internet. We discovered that there is now a new bar in the complex that has free WiFi!!!

We started the day at Baltasound to look for the redpoll flock in hope of seeing the recent Hornemanni Redpolls – we stopped at the house with the mustard crop, just past the post office. We saw a Yellow-browed Warbler flit into the crop and that was all here, aside from House Sparrows.

Next stop was Easter Loch at Uyia Sound. No sign of the Ring-necked Duck, but as yesterday a good selection including Whooper Swans with juv.’s (no juvs yesterday), Tufted Ducks, Goldeneyes.

At Muness we watched tons of waders again (as last night), a huge 500+ flock of Golden Plover, which we carefully scanned, Turnstone, Ringed Plovers, Redshanks, Ruff x 10.

At Nikkavord Lea, Balta Sound we were very lucky enough to find FOUR Hornemanni Arctic Redpolls and along with a large Common Redpoll and 1 Lesser Redpoll! We have been searching for these since our arrival and had almost given up! A really kind local man beckoned us to join us in his garden so that we could get a closer look. We ended up in a field adjacent to the garden and in rain, we watched these cracking snowball redpolls. We all managed to get some half decent shots in horrible weather conditions. We then returned to our accommodation to have lunch and spent a good while drying our camera gear out and cleaning steamed up binoculars.

After lunch we went to Skaw and a Brambling was seen and 4 Redwings. The beach didn’t look as scenic as it did yesterday in the sunshine, there was no birds here on offer really. Even the Shags on the cliffs had decreased dramatically. There was a local birdwatcher here, an older man and he speed walked past us with a stick in his hand to way over the cliff top – I have never seen anyone move so fast!

We returned to Northdale in search of the Barred Warbler again, but no luck. There was a massive ram in the field who intrigued us all – he had such a killer expression on his face, a real character! Birds seen here: 4 Bramblings, a Blackcap and 4 Redwings.

Jason then had news of the WhatsApp group that there was a Surf Scoter at Balta Sound, so off we went! Ashley picked the scoter pretty quickly in his scope and we all enjoyed, distant and windy views of a fem./1s w Surf Scoter! I managed to get some very wobbly phone-scoped video too. We bumped into Will Miles, Magnus Robb (Sound Approach Team) and another local birder here and we were pleased to hear that they had not only seen the Hornemanni Arctic Redpolls, Magnus had recorded them too. The Surf Scoter was with 2 Long-tailed Ducks and a Common Scoter.

We checked another local patch of pines and scrub, which produced a Blackbird and Song Thrush, we expected more as this area was very sheltered, but it wasn’t to be.

At Valyie, the Long-eared Owl had departed, but we did have male and female Peregrine overhead, along with approximately 10+ Bramblings and a Pink-footed Goose flew over. We couldn’t see the Rose Finch either.

Back at our accommodation, Nick, Jason and I took our laptops to the new bar and logged into the free WiFi to catch up and for me, I needed to write three days of Norfolk news and copy and paste my blogs posts in. I will sort all my pictures out on Tuesday evening. I don’t have the time to go through them now.

PICTURES TO BE ADDED TUESDAY EVENING WHEN WE RETURN TO SUMBURGH HOTEL

SEE TOUR ACCOUNT OF THE DAY HERE:
https://www.oriolebirding.com/birding-diary-news-4.html

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Bittern at West Earlham
Hawfinch x 3 at Titchwell RSPB
Short-eared Owl at Weybourne
Great Grey Shrike at Happisburgh
Sabine's Gull at Eccles-on-Sea
Dartford Warbler at North Dunes, Winterton
Red-necked Grebe at Winterton
Greenland White-fronted Goose, Taiga Bean Goose by A149, Hen Harrier, Great White Egrets x 5, Hen Harrier at Burnham Overy Staithe
Little Stints x 12, Curlew Sandpiper at Cley NWT
Barred Warbler, Hawfinch at Trimingham
Hawfinches x 6, Little Stints x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Cattle Egret east of Stiffkey
Osprey at Holkham Park
Yellow-browed Warbler at Holkham
Grey-bellied Brant? at Choseley
Great White Egret at Welney WWT
Dotterel flew over Kelling
Short-eared Owls x 3 over Holme
Curlew Sandpiper Breydon Water
Hawfinch at Thorpe Marshes, Haddiscoe
Hen Harrier at Brancaster
Yellow-browed Warbler at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse

MEGA NEWS
ROCK THRUSH 1w
Blorenge, Gwent
WESTERN ORPHEAN WARBLER
St Agnes, Isles of Scilly
BLACKPOLL WARBLER
still, Blacksod, County Mayo, Ireland
SHORT-TOED TREECREEPER
Samphire Hoe Country Park, Kent
FORSTER'S TERN
Soldier's Point, County Louth, Ireland
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER
Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland

SHETLAND HOLIDAY, Day Seven!

SATURDAY 14th OCTOBER

TOUR WITH ORIOLE BIRDING

A STUPENDOUS DAY!

The day commenced with a scrumptious breakfast provided by Ashley in our conservatory. We have a small garden surrounded by a dry stone wall, where yesterday we sprinkled some bird seed on top of the wall for the Starlings – they quickly found it!

The accommodation is stunning – I have a sea view and its so beautiful here. The beds are really comfortable and the bathroom is large. The water is very soft and you have to spend longer than normal in the shower as you don’t know if the soap is off or not! The shower doesn’t have much kick to it though, so anyone with long hair will spend a long time washing it.

After breakfast we headed out into the field. Our first stop was at Valyie – a house on a hill with a crop field in front of and a burn running up the opposite side. The garden is backed by a copse with a mix of sycamores and fir trees. This is certainly a hotspot for birding! In here we found the ROSEFINCH sitting on a fence and spending time with Bramblings in the crop. We saw Blackcaps, Chiffchaf, a Woodpigeon and Mallards were in the very water logged fields. Finding nothing in the actual garden, we headed to the small copse, where we had stupendous views of a COUE’S ARTIC REDPOLL along with 2 Common Redpolls sitting in a tree – the Coue’s was a huge big plump fluffy white bird and was simply stunning. They spend around 10 minutes in the tree and then flew off and we didn’t see them again. Ashley and Nick ventured through the thick muddy path deeper into the copse and called us to say they had found a Long-eared Owl sitting motionless a few feet up the trunk of a fir tree. We all trudged through the extremely muddy path as quickly and silently as we could to have fabulous views of this gorgeous owl with his orange eyes. It was incredibly difficult to photograph though through the branches and leaves, but you obtained a half decent shot – Wow, three cracking birds before we have even left the first garden!

We then visited Norwick to look for a Barred Warbler but only found a Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcaps and a Robin. Next stop was to Skaw, a stunning location, a house by a rocky beach with pebbles and a burn running over rocks onto the beach – it was dramatic and stunning. 250+ Shags were sitting on the clifftop along with a single Great Black-backed Gull!!! Here we also had cracking views of an Eastern Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Redwings flew over. John, Lyn and I walked down to the shore and we had close views of a Gannet in flight, which we managed to get some photos of and several Turnstone were feeding amongst the seaweed and surf.

We then went to North Dale (incorrect info as to BW earlier) to look for the Barred Warbler. We saw Blackcap and Skylarks, but little else. Met a very nice man who lived in the pretty white house at the end of the lane. Lots of good habitat here, but no sign of the Barred Warbler – I didn’t expect to see this, it was extremely windy today and I expect it was chilling out in the middle of bush somewhere. At Balasound we saw 1 Mealy Redpoll, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Blackcaps and 3 Bonxies flew over the harbour.

We then travelled south to Uyeasound to see the Ring-necked Duck, which we had cracking views of. Also on the loch were Tufted Ducks, Whooper Swans, 5 Goldeneyes and 7 Ruff flew over. We then climbed high into the hills and had unprecedented views of tons of waders on bright green grassy fields and with the sun out, I have not witnessed such a spectacle – there were huge numbers of Ringed Plovers, Dunlins (with extra long bills!) Redshanks, Lapwings and Golden Plovers.

We then found ourselves at Muness, we Jason saw a Redstart from the mini-bus. There was a castle ruin here with a notice on the gate saying ‘keys not required’!!! The beach at the end of the road could have been anywhere in the world – why do people go abroad?! Turquoise and blue sea in a curved cove with black rocks, pebbly beach, old ruins and house and iris beds for Jason and Ashley to kick up a mega! It was a steep descent down to the beach. There was a female Long-tailed Duck sitting on the sea close in which later flew off. 15 Red-breasted Mergansers took off from the sea as we neared the beach in stunning light. We didn’t find any megas, but did find 2 Wrens and a Blackbird sheltering in the furthermost ruined building. The walk back to the mini-bus up the hill in the rain and wind was hell and most of struggled apart from the youngsters!

Our last stop of the day was to look over Loch Watlee for the recent White-tailed Eagle. We descended along a very narrow, rough track and saw a Wheatear on route. At the bottom of the road was a massive loch – the sun was now out and the views were stunning. Within a couple of minutes Ashley had spotted with his bins the White-tailed Eagle on the side of a hill at 4.45pm. He is as sharp as they come – we could not believe he had picked it up that quickly. We all enjoyed a very distant, but lucky view of the White-tailed Sea Eagle.

We ended the day with another look by the post office for the Redpoll flock. Jason had a Yellow-browed Warbler and we had a single Mealy Redpoll. Another cracking meal cooked by a chef Ashley Saunders!

PICTURES TO BE ADDED TUESDAY EVENING WHEN WE RETURN TO SUMBURGH HOTEL

SEE TOUR ACCOUNT OF THE DAY HERE:
https://www.oriolebirding.com/birding-diary-news-4.html

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
SATURDAY 14th OCTOBER
Short-eared Owl, Snow Buntings x 2 at North Beach, Great Yarmouth
Yellow-browed Warbler at Thorpe Marshes, Haddiscoe
Taiga Bean Goose, Greenland White-fronted Goose in stubble field off A149 at Burnham Overy Staithe
Yellow-browed Warbler in village at Salthouse
Hawfinch, Yellow-browed Warbler, Dotterel at Titchwell RSPB
Yellow-browed Warbler at Low Road, Winterton
WHITE-BILLED DIVER flew south past Hemsby
Red-necked Pharalope, Curlew Sandpipers x 3, Spotted Redshanks x 2, Little Gulls x 32 (flew past) at Kelling Water Meadows
Hawfinches x 2 at Holkham
Snow Bunting flew over Caister-on-Sea
Osprey, Yellow-browed Warbler at Holkham Park
Sabine's Gull juv. offshore at Eccles-on-Sea
Great Grey Shrike at Happisburgh
Barred Warbler at Trimingham
Olive-backed Pipit (probable) on freshmarsh briefly at Titchwell RSPB
Little Gulls x 80 at Caister-on-Sea
Yellow-browed Warbler at Beeston Common, Sheringham
Cattle Egret east of Stiffkey
Yellow-browed Warbler in garden at Kelling
Little Stints x 2, Russian White-fronted Geese x 5 at Buckenham Marshes RSPB
Osprey, Great White Egret at Holkham Park
Caspian Gull at Cley NWT

MEGA NEWS
SWAINSON'S THRUSH
Cape Clear Island, County Cork, Ireland
NORTHERN HARRIER
Settiscarth, Orkney
ROCK THRUSH 1w
Blorenge, Gwent
WESTERN ORPHEAN WARBLER
St Agnes, Isles of Scilly
WILSON'S SNIPE
probable still at St Agnes, Isles of Scilly
FORSTER'S TERN
Soldier's Point, County Louth, Ireland

Friday, 13 October 2017

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Little Stints x 18, Curlew Sandpipers x 3, Caspian Gulls x 2 at Cley NWT
Grey Phalarope, Hawfinch, Yellow-browed Warblers x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Richard's Pipit flew over Burnham Overy Staithe
Bean Goose in field by A149 at Burnham Overy
Yellow-browed Warbler at Wells Woods
Osprey at Holkham Park
Red-necked Pharalope, Curlew Sandpipers x 3, Spotted Redshank, Jack Snipe at Kelling Water Meadows
Black Redstart at Happisburgh
Pomarine Skua, Little Gulls x 5,000, Yellow-browed Warbler at Winterton
Snow Bunting at South Denes, Great Yarmouth
Yellow-browed Warbler, Tree Pipit in Great Yarmouth Cemetery
Serin flew over Hunstanton Cliffs
Little Gulls x 3,631 flew past, Balearic Shearwater at Hemsby
Demoiselle Crane (esc) flew SE over Docking
Lapland Bunting, Tree Pipit flew over Weybourne
Ring Ouzel, Curlew Sandpipers x 2 at Breydon Water
Cattle Egret east of Stiffkey
Hen Harrier at Stiffkey
Water Pipit at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB

MEGA NEWS
BLACKPOLL WARBLER
Blacksod, County Mayo, Ireland
ORPHEAN WARBLER sp
St Agnes, Isles of Scilly
ROCK THRUSH 1w
Blorenge, Gwent

SHETLAND HOLIDAY, Day Six!

TOUR WITH ORIOLE BIRDING

TRAVELLING TO UNST!

The weather was dire this morning, gloomy, wet and dark. We met up for breakfast and then packed all our gear up and loaded it into the minibus. Today we left the Sumburgh Hotel to head to Gutcher, to catch two ferries to stay in Unst for the next four days. We stopped at the Virkie Pool and saw 5 Red-breasted Mergansers and 2 Eiders.

We then moved on to the Loch of Spiggie, which is an RSPB reserve. This was a stunning place with the road running between the loch and a track leading down to to Scousburgh Sands (known as Spiggie beach). There were lots of Whooper Swans in the loch along Mute Swans, a couple of Goldeneye’s, Tufted Duck, Teal, Wigeon and a Red-thoated Diver flew past. The beach was beautiful with almost white sands and clear blue sea – from here we saw four cracking Great Northern Divers, 5 Long-tailed Ducks, 1 Merlin flew over the dunes, Ringed Plover 14+, Turnstones, Eider and a Black Guillemot. There was tons of ribben seaweed amongst the stones and white sands – a beautiful place indeed.

At Brow Loch we had distant views of two Cranes in the drizzle and poor light which have been a round for a while. Next stop Lerwick!

At Tescos, Lerwick, Ashley picked up his pre-ordered on-line shop, whilst we shopped shopped for our lunch and other goodies! We then went to the Fjara Cafe on the harbour side and had coffee and cake – fabulous views of the sea here! Bumped into Jacquie and Dave Bridges again We then left to drive to Gutcher.
 
At 12.50 (ish) we caught the ferry from Gutcher to Yell. We had a while to wait for the ferry to Unst when we reached Yell, so managed to squeeze in some birding. We walked up the very steep hill and peered into some gardens, finding a Yellow-browed Warbler, Bramblings x 2 and there were Highland Cattle lounging around in a field. We had to speed walk back our vehicle and only just made it in time for the next ferry to Unst. Both these ferries were brilliant fun and exhilarating to say the least. I managed to get some shots of a Black Guillemot swimming whilst on the second ferry. We arrived on Unst at 1.50pm

We drove to the Sax Vord complex and Ashley picked the keys up for our accommodation. We had three houses between us all. I stayed in a house with Ashley and Nick, Lyn and John in another and John and Ian in the last house. All the main cooking would be done in the house I stayed in as Ashley would be doing all the cooking! After putting our luggage into the house, we all met up again and went off birding to Haroldswick and onto the shoreline to hunt for a Bluethroat. It didn’t take long for us to find this cracking little bird and it was lovely to see John and Lyn enjoying their very first Bluethroat – it momentarily perched on a small boulder for pictures!

Next stop was to Baltasound to look for a redpoll flock, but no luck at all this evening. We were very rudely shouted out by a local man, who told us to F off and to move our mini bus away from his house and ‘didn’t we know where the f……g car park was?! He was very aggressive and obviously had problems with anyone else in the human race!

We sat by Hunter’s Wood, watching birds coming into roost and after a few Blackbirds bombed in there, I decided to keep a Blackbird count – this created lots of entertainment for us with Blackbirds flying and Blackbirds then deciding to depart, which totally messed up my figures!

Ashley cooked us a fantastic meal in the evening – awesome birder and chef too!

PICTURES TO BE ADDED TUESDAY EVENING WHEN WE RETURN TO SUMBURGH HOTEL

SEE TOUR ACCOUNT OF THE DAY HERE:
https://www.oriolebirding.com/birding-diary-news-4.html

Thursday, 12 October 2017

UNST TOMORROW!

There is almost no Wifi on Unst where we are staying and therefore it is unlikely I will be able to post Norfolk bird news for the next four days or my daily posts. Full service will resume on Tuesday evening when we return to Shetland mainland again for the remainder of the holiday. I will then update all the Norfolk news and my posts on Unst, Fetlar and Yell.

SHETLAND HOLIDAY, Day Five!

TOUR WITH ORIOLE BIRDING

As yesterday morning it was raining at first light, so we commenced the day with a hearty breakfast and then headed out. In the car park by the hotel we watched Gannets in the North West winds, cruising over choppy seas. We drove to Boddam to look for Otters – they are often seen here and we were not disappointed! Whilst parked on the north side of the voe, we were lucky enough to have stupendous views of five different Otters! We spent a good while here watching the otters playing together, both on the rocks and in the water and catching fish! I vaguely recall seeing otters by the Skye bridge many moons ago, but this was most certainly the best views I have ever had of these wonderful creatures – it was very special to watch indeed. I took no end of pictures, but having a quick look, I don't have any that are stupendous with my 300mm lens – they were a bit too far out for me. We also saw a Snipe here, Turnstone feeding on the rocky shore and the usual House Sparrows and Starlings were abundant and a Black Guillemot was seen at fairly close range. Silage bales by a farm building close by, had been given Emoji faces: 😀😟😜 etc (see picture!)

We then headed to Levenwick to search for migrants. Ashley listed lots of exciting rare birds that had been found here in the past, including a Siberian Rubythroat – in fact we stood looking into that garden whilst here! In the driveway of this garden a strikingly beautiful tabby cat appeared – best pictures so far on my holiday! It was also lovely to bump into Will Miles whom I first met on Fair Isle many years ago, he was here with his wife (congratulations Will) and someone from the Sound Approach team! I found a Lesser Whitethroat in a small sycamore, which then bounded across a driveway and disappeared until Jason then picked it up a short distance away in a sycamore (presumably the same bird). Whilst watching the Lesser Whitethroat we also saw a Willow Warbler and a Blackcap here. I missed out on seeing a Redstart with the rest of the group whilst I was taking funky pictures of the stunning beach here – note to self, stay with the others! We then had a lovely tea break by the shore along with mid morning snack: ginger cake! I gave a piece of my ginger cake to Ashley, he certainly deserved it – he is a wonderful tour leader and ensures everyone is ok and sees as many birds as possible. We saw several Black Guillemots here along with some close in Kittiwakes just before we headed up to the top of the settlement.

We saw a Chiffchaff in the one of the gardens before walking along an overgrown burn which descended down towards a house on the edge of the cliff. A Yellow-browed Warbler was seen here – our best views of one so far and a couple of Blackcaps were also seen! This little spot was very pretty and had a good selection of plants and several toadstools on show. We also had cracking views of a seal basking on a rock just below the cliff edge and another in the water.

We then went to Swinister at the edge of Hoswick to search for migrants. Jason flushed a Jack Snipe out of the long grass just yards from where we parked the mini bus! A garden with a female statue in produced another Yellow-browed Warbler for our list. We then walked down to the burn – this was a particularly beautiful and exciting spot – it potentially looked awesome and I imagined all sorts of megas along here! Whilst paying a visit to the ladies bathroom (bush) I missed out on seeing a Reed Warbler – could have been worse I suppose! A Chiffchaff put in an appearance, but disappointingly nothing else of particular note here. Back at the mini bus we had a surprise of a couple of Lesser Redpolls in a tree, which I could hear calling, but took me for ever to actually see them – I didn't get any pictures either, before they flew off – Jason did though, see his pictures along with others on the link at the bottom of this post. We sat here and enjoyed our lunch and then ambled around Hoswick village where we found two confiding Siskins and in the large garden at Bay View Ashley and others saw a Garden Warbler and a Brambling. We had cracking views of at least a dozen brightly coloured Bramblings feeding on the stony beach before they headed off high up the hill towards some fir treees. At the Orca Inn garden we saw two Yellow-browed Warblers, two Chiffchaffs and more Bramblings. I saw a LBJ flick up from a muddy patch in a garden and flipped over the roof of a house, not be found again!

Our next destination was to the settlement of Fladdabister (what a name!) which looked very exciting, but only found a Goldcrest, a few Redwings and three Twite. Ashley watched a sheep flush four Snipe! We saw three long-haired (presumably feral) chunky cats chilling on a derilict house's doorstep – they looked real characters and the big ginger tom cat looked pretty hard core and a look that said 'don't mess with me'. We searched through long grass for any skulking birds and then returned to the tarmac road. The walk from the mini bus was all downhill and a few of us looked back up the hill and mused how we would have to walk back up this hill, but Ashley headed off and very kindly returned with the mini bus – how kind was that! It had been a beautifully warm day and several of had a wind tan, but the weather turned and now felt quite cold.

News of the Little Bunting came through, so we ended the day at Virkie to search for this bird along with a group of other visiting birders. The Little Bunting had also been seen in a crop field, so we followed the path alongside the nearest (presumed) field to search, but failed. However, whilst on my own I saw what could have possibly the bunting, dive over a garden wall into a hedge and then off over a field. The light was disppearing fast and it started to rain – we headed back to the Sumburgh Hotel. We had worked hard to find something rare today, but this was not to be – will Friday 13th be our lucky day as we head north to Unst for the next four days?


PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE ADDED

SEE TOUR ACCOUNT OF THE DAY HERE:
https://www.oriolebirding.com/birding-diary-news-4.html

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Yellow-browed Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Firecrest, Common Cranes x 4 flew over at Wells Woods
Yellow-browed Warbler at Wiveton
Red-necked Phalarope, Curlew Sandpipers x 4, Spotted Redshanks x 3 at Kelling Water Meadows
Short-eared Owl at Kelling
Dotterel reported yesterday at Titchwell
Grey Phalarope, Dotterel, Snow Bunting, Common Cranes x 4 flew over at Titchwell RSPB
Yellow-browed Warbler, Ring Ouzel, Little Gulls x 24 at Horsey
Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl at Burnham Overy Dunes
Lapland Buntings x 3, Common Cranes x 4 flew over, Caspian Gull Cley NWT
Common Cranes x 4 flew over, Cattle Egret east of Stiffkey
Common Cranes x 4 flew over East Hills, Wells
Yellow-browed Warbler, Great White Egret, Common Cranes x 4 flew over Holkham Pines
Osprey at Holkham Park
Common Cranes x 4 flew over Thornham
White Stork (presumed esc.) east of Long Stratton
Common Cranes x 32 at Welney WWT
Yellow-browed Warblers x 3 along coast path at Wells
Yellow-browed Warbler at South Dunes, Little Gulls x 5 off Winterton
Yellow-browed Warbler in garden at Melton Constable
Yellow-browed Warbler at Great Yarmouth Cemetery
Common Cranes x 4 flew over Holme
Caspian Gull at Sheringham
Little Gulls x 300 flew past Hemsby

MEGA NEWS
ORPHEAN WARBLER sp
probable in area with no general access at St Agnes, Isles of Scilly
ROCK THRUSH 1w
Blorenge, Gwent
WILSON'S SNIPE
Probable, St Mary's, Isles of Scilly

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

SHETLAND HOLIDAY, Day Four!

TOUR WITH ORIOLE BIRDING

Blyth's Reed Warbler
Sandwick, Shetland


Everyone met up at 7.15am to go birding, but Ashley suggested we have breakfast first as it was raining so heavily. So off with the wellies etc and we all had an early breakfast. We then left at 8.30am for a day of finding, migrants, rares and more!

Overall it was a much better day than yesterday, there were a few downpours in the morning, but this soon cleared and a sunny afternoon was enjoyed by all. At Grutness we were treated to distant but magical views of a dog Otter,  but too far away for pictures – a Wheatear was also seen and a big flock of Twite were seen along a fenceline. We also saw Dunlin, Sanderling, Ringed Plover and Turnstone. We also explored a quarry close by for migrants and saw a Merlin, Blackbirds, Robin and nearby a Woodcock flew over.

At the Virkie Pool we had a Lesser Black-backed Gull, Sanderling, Ringed Plovers, Wheatears, Dunlin, Fieldfare, Blackbirds, Rock Doves, House Sparrows, Starlings, Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits, Ruff x 4, Knot x 2  – however, there was no sign of the recent Little Bunting in the willows.



We then stopped at Cunningsburgh to see the recent Rustic Bunting, but no sign of. The bird has been favouring an overgrown garden and house which is for sale – there was a wonderful array of plants in this garden, including Artichokes. Two Siskins were watched close by along with House Sparrows, Starlings and a Raven.

We then went to Wester Quarff and searched for migrants in scrub in a large garden, where we saw a Lesser Whitethroat and a Common Chiffchaff. In the voe at the end of the road we had spectacular views of at least 500 Eiders in a raft – the contrast of the black and white Eiders against a deep, dark blue sea was stunning to say the least. A Black Guillemot and a few Shags were also seen here. We visited a new farm shop north of Cunningsburgh, which had a good and exciting range of supplies including ginger cake and organic lentil crisps! We had our lunch by the Mousa slipway at Sandwick in the sunshine – a beautiful spot with almost white sandy beach, rocks, seaweed and the deepest blue sea. We also saw a Purple Sandpiper, Turnstones and a Black Guillemot here.
Blyth's Reed Warbler
Sandwick, Shetland


After lunch we headed to 'Sand Lodge' and stood overlooking a dry stone wall, waiting and hoping for a Blyth's Reed Warbler to appear in the fuschia bush. Here I met the incredible photographer Hugh Harrop! It was nice to put a face to a name at last. Steve Arlow, another well known local photographer was also here. We waited for over an hour to see this bird and was just about to give up, when it appeared in a small bush and then into the fuschia bush and gave us amazing views – in fact the best views I've had of a Blyth's Reed Warbler! It was more obliging than the two Yellow-browed Warblers which we also saw here amongst the sycamore leaves. We also saw a female Blackcap who was the warm up act before the main event! A Redpoll and a Merlin were also seen from this idyllic spot.

We then returned to Quarff to relocate a Bluethroat that a group of birders had seen this afternoon, but after much searching failed to find this bird. Nothing else here was seen of note. Just before sunset we ended the day at Quendale. We walked for a approximately half a mile along the burn to find a reported Marsh Warbler, but no sign of. A good number of vocal Ravens were watched overhead and a Redwing was seen in the irises. As we departed here (a short distance along the road) some new birds for the day were found including Willow Warbler, Slavonian Grebe on Hilwell Loch along with some Wigeon, Gadwall and two more Fieldfares.

Back at the hotel we all enjoyed a lovely meal and did the bird log for the day.


MORE PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE ADDED

SEE TOUR ACCOUNT OF THE DAY HERE:
https://www.oriolebirding.com/birding-diary-news-4.html

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Yellow-browed Warbler yesterday at Burgh Castle
Demoiselle Crane yesterday, wing-clipped at Burnham Deepdale
Little Stints x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Yellow-browed Warbler at Wells Woods
Great White Egret, Hen Harrier, Osprey at Holkham
Caspian Gull, Snow Bunting at Cromer
Glaucous Gull, Little Stint at Cley NWT
Hen Harrier at Burnham Overy Dunes
Lapland Bunting flew over Sheringham
Yellow-browed Warbler at Winterton

MEGA NEWS
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW
Isle of Foula, North Ronaldsay, Shetland
WILSON'S SNIPE
Probable, St Mary's, Isles of Scilly

RBA Weekly Round-Up 4th to 10th October!

By Jon Dunn
http://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/v2/Content/weeklyRoundup2017-41.aspx?s_id=754175653
Thanks to the RBA team for including my Thrush Nightingale and Red-flanked Bluetail photos on Shetland this week – still can't believe I'm here! I'm having a wonderful time and with some fabulous other birders – so exciting, I might not come back to Norfolk!!!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

SHETLAND HOLIDAY, Day Three!

TOUR WITH ORIOLE BIRDING

The sleeping pod on the ferry was abandoned at 12.45am in favour of a sofa in the lounge area! It was a beautiful looking chair which reclined to a certain degree, but I just had to lay flat! I noticed several other people had to do the same. It was a very smooth crossing, which I didn't expect in October – very lucky indeed!

We all met for breakfast at 6.30am and the ferry arrived in early as light broke. We met up with Jason Moss in the car park who now joined our tour for the rest of the Shetland holiday.

A Raven greeted us at the ferry terminal before we made our way to the west mainland in search of migrants. Birds seen on route: Hooded Crows, large numbers of Lapwings, Redshanks, Golden Plovers, Turnstones. The weather was atrocious, with strong winds and heavy rain downpours and it looked set for the day. But, we were very lucky indeed and surprisingly the weather improved dramatically to a lovely sunny afternoon!

We searched scrub and plantations in the Dale of Walls area in the rain, where we found a Spotted Flycatcher, Snipe, Chiffchaff, Robin, Goldcrest, Wren, Hooded Crow and a Raven. Several areas of scrub we searched looked potentially exciting. After picking up lunch supplies we headed on a long journey north to 'North Roe' to look for the Red-flanked Bluetail that has been around for the last few days. This is when the weather changed for the better! We had almost given up on the RFB, when Jason found the bluetail skulking around in a small area of honeysuckle, much to our delight. We spend quite a bit of time here with this cracking little bird and later it showed so close, we couldn't focus on it with our cameras! The closest views of a Red-flanked Bluetail I have ever seen and all in beautiful sunshine! There was also a Brambling feeding + two more flew over and a Blackcap was also seen.

RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL
North Roe, Shetland

Returning south, we found a Twite, Brambling and Redwings on route to our hotel. We then arrived at Sandgarth to look for the Thrush Nightingale and I bumped into Jacquie and Dave Bridges (Norfolk bird recorders) – it was lovely to see them and Jacquie told us the exact spot to see the Thrush Nightingale. We could not believe our luck, when arriving at the viewing point, the bird appeared within seconds on a grassy path for us all to enjoy. I have never seen a Thrush Nightingale behave this way! They are normally incredibly elusive – this was absolute magic!

We searched a large area of scrub/garden close by and produced a Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest – another exciting area with huge potential and the imagination ran riot with Hermit Thrushes, Black-and-White Warblers, Subalpine Warblers and so on!

THRUSH NIGHTINGALE
Sandgarth, Shetland

Our last stop of the day was to see the Parrot Crossbills at Helendale in Lerwick. We had lovely views of these gregarious birds, but the stunning male did not want to pose for photos and tended to be in the darkest areas of the pine tree. Fascinating to watch these cracking birds.
 
PARROT CROSSBILL
Helendale, Shetland

We continued south to Sumburgh. At the gates of the Sumburgh House Hotel where we are staying for the next few days, Ashley pointed out a cracking male Redstart perched on the fence wire. A superb first day! A wonderful evening meal was enjoyed by all. Early start in the morning!

I have just discovered this evening, that I can not send any emails again – give up!!!

SEE TOUR ACCOUNT OF THE DAY HERE:
https://www.oriolebirding.com/birding-diary-news-4.html

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Red-necked Phalarope, Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank at Kelling Water Meadows
Little Stints x 3 at Titchwell RSPB
Great White Egret, Osprey at Holkham
Yellow-browed Warblers x 3 at Happisburgh
OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT, RADDE'S WARBLER, Yellow-browed Warbler, Firecrests x 2 at Wells Woods
Black-necked Grebe at Snettisham RSPB
Demoiselle Crane flew over Burnham Deepdale
Yellow-browed Warbler at South Valley, Winterton
Yellow-browed Warbler, Short-eared Owl at Blakeney Point
Lapland Bunting flew over Weybourne Camp
Yellow-browed Warbler, Jack Snipe at Waxham
Yellow-browed Warblers x 2 at Great Yarmouth Cemetery
Caspian Gull at Cley NWT

MEGA NEWS
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW
Isle of Foula, North Ronaldsay, Shetland
WILSON'S SNIPE
Probable, St Mary's, Isles of Scilly
SIBERIAN RUBYTHROAT Male
Yesterday, North Roe, Shetland