SHETLAND BIRD NEWS, PHOTOS, BIRDING, LIFE AND MORE! MY 14th YEAR ANNIVERSARY 2024!


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Sunday 21 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Saturday 20th April
 
Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Hen Harrier at Loch of Hillwell. Quail in garden at Weisdale. Hawfinch in garden at Ladysmith Road, Scalloway. Hawfinch at Burravoe, Yell. Green-winged Teal on Isle of Foula. Blue Fulmar, Snow Buntings x 2 on Fair Isle.
 
 
Beautiful, sunny and warm Spring day here. The female Hawfinch visited the garden again this morning. Usual birds in the garden including Bramblings x 4, Siskins x 5, Chaffinches, House Sparrows, Robin, Blackbirds x 2, Rock Doves, Collared Doves and Starlings. I was busy doing jobs around the house and garden for most of the day. Put up a double washing line between the two sheds on hooks already there – it was warm enough to dry sheets and towls! Picked some rhubarb from the garden. Alex (builder) came over at 12.30pm to assess the office floor situation.
 
Drove to Plantiecrub Garden Centre at Tingwall and bought a new pedestal bird bath, two really cool big ceramic garden birds, which look like quail, some Saxifrage, Thyme, Sage plants and some compost. The two birds are sitting on two brick pillars either side of my patio area and steps – they look really brilliant.
 
Tree pictures, leaves and buds for ID added to this post.

Saturday 20 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Friday 19th April
 
Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Hawfinch at Stendaal, South Nesting. Blue Fulmars x 3, Snow Bunting on Fair Isle. Hawfinch at Hillend, Yell.
 
 
Good selection of birds in the garden again, including Bramblings, Siskins, Chaffinches, Starlings, House Sparrows, Robin, Blackbird, Rock Dove. Used my new Flymo cylinder lawnmower today for the first time and it was absolutely brilliant – cuts really well and didn't take very long at all.

Met my new neighbour who moved in on Wednesday, a very nice young local man called Murray, who went to school with my colleague Catherine he told me and his mum lives in the village too. We ended up chatting with Jimmy (my neighbour the other side) who said he had seen the female Hawfinch several times in his garden today, so its still around! Lit the fire this evening, bitter north west winds.

SKODA Fabia 1.0 TSI Monte Carlo (95PS) Estate!

Friday 19th April

Today my new (2020 model) car was delivered to the freight terminal at Lerwick – very easy to spot as its Rallye Green, the same as my last car. I picked the car up mid morning in very cold north west winds and returned home. So nice to have a car again, but my accident in January has made me feel nervous.

Several issues with the car, which I have had to email Trust Ford about – should get some answers tomorrow. Ford only just found out yesterday that the car was exempt from tax, as it was registered to a disabled person and they realised they had to sort this out, rather than me. You have to pay £25.00 to change it back to a taxable car, which they are paying for. The valet wasn't a valet and the bodyshop work on the scratches looked like it had been penned in with a green felt pen and didn't look much different from when I saw it. I was told it had Sat Nav, it hasn't. I paid for £50 of fuel to put in, it hasn't, probably half that at a guess. Both key fobs said the battery needed changing. On the new MOT it was flagged up as an advisory that the back window wiper blade needed changing, which Ford said they would pay for when I ordered it – they sent me the link to the Skoda shop website, which I ordered and paid for last night and then 5 minutes afterwards, I had an email from Skoda saying they would have to reimburse me, as they don't deliver to Shetland!

I spent two hours cleaning inside the car as it was hailing around me! My rubber mats from old hatchback car all fitted nicely, but I had to buy a new rubber boot mat (ordered from Skoda whilst in Aberdeen and delivered to Ford for me). Replaced the key fob batteries. Loaded the car up with the usual stuff and all looking good for a trip out at last! The seats are far more comfortable than my last SE L version and there is handy pull down draw to put your sunglasses in above the central console. No armrest though with storage area underneath as I had in my last car. Fabulous to have a bigger boot!

Thursday 18 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Hawfinch fem. in garden (mine) at Scalloway. Quail in garden at Weisdale. Hen Harrier at Loch of Spiggie. Black Redstart on Fair Isle.
 

I couldn't believe my eyes when I checked my front garden and feeders this morning before work. In the first few seconds I peered out of the front door, there was nothing, seconds later several birds flew down from the trees opposite, including a chunky Hawfinch! A female this time, landing on the ground to feed for seconds only and then flew back to the tall trees opposite my house. Again, no time for a photo, plus I needed to get to work. My feeding station is paying off big time. I have a good quality bird seed I purchased from Copdock Mill via Amazon, sunflower hearts, niger seed, meal worms, dried sultanas, fat balls from 'Peckish', berry flavour and mealworm suet blocks and RSPB peanuts.

This evening I put together my Flymo H400 Push Powered Cylinder Lawn Mower – it wasn't easy at all, but I got there in the end – itching to use this and the grass needs its first cut, but its too wet at the moment!

Wednesday 17 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Arctic Redpoll at Baltasound, Unst. Green-winged Teal on Isle of Foula. Snow Buntings x 3, Blue Fulmar on Fair Isle. Quail in garden at Weisdale. Little Gull off Mair's Quay, Lerwick.
 

Spent this evening sorting and filling my bird feeders up, including putting up my second (arrived today) Roamwild bird feeder, but this time without the cage, so I can see if the Starlings can use this or not, I expect they are not heavier enough to close the entry point for the seed. Cleaned the bird baths out and all looking fabulous again. I couldn't resist buying a smiling gnome swinging on a rope swing, which I purchased off Amazon, he looks so good in the tree! 😆 This will add some fun to the front garden for any children walking past... maybe! He will get plenty of swinging in the winds here! No, I haven't lost the plot, if you're asking, not quite anyway.

Had a lovely chat with Gwen this evening (who lives two doors away) as she passed my front garden and she told me that one of my trees in the front garden is a Rowan tree, which I'm hugely excited about – Gwen said that it had had a big chop at some point, but its all looking good again now, it won't get chopped again whilst I'm here – she also said that its mean't to be lucky to have a Rowan tree in your garden. There is an elder next to it and rhubarb growing below. Both these trees will be brilliant for their berries later on for any migrant birds. I'm not sure what the biggest tree is in my front garden and I have another large tree next to the shed and drive. Can't wait to get my new car in the driveway on Friday, so exciting!

 
 Tree in driveway
 
Second tree in front garden

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Tuesday 16th April

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Hawfinches x 2 at Stendaal, South Nesting. Hawfinch at Mulla, Voe. Snow Bunting x 3, Blue Fulmar on Fair Isle.
 

2 Red-breasted Mergansers on East Voe, Scalloway viewed from the bus on the way home. 6 Bramblings, 5 Siskins, 2 Chaffinches, 1 Goldfinch and 1 Robin in my garden this evening.

Monday 15 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Iceland Gull at Loch of Hillwell. Tundra Bean Goose, Little Gull on Isle of Bressay. Hawfinch at South Nesting. Hen Harrier between Aywick & Gossabrough, Yell. Ring Ouzel, Black Redstart, Snow Bunting, Blue Fulmar on Fair Isle.

2 Goldfinches, 5 Siskins in my garden this evening.

Sunday 14 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Green-winged Teal on Isle of Foula. Great White Egret at Baltasound, Unst. Tundra Bean Goose on Isle of Bressay. White-tailed Eagle, Snow Buntings x 2 on Fair Isle. Hawfinch at South Nesting. Hen Harrier at Bakkasetter. Little Gull at Shetland Catch, Gremista.
 

The Roamwild PestOff Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder is going to save me a fortune! House Sparrows, Siskins, Chaffinches and Goldfinches took a while to venture through the caged area, but they are now in and very happy! Its mostly been used by the Siskins and Goldfinches. The Starlings are extremely disgruntled indeed and trying to find a hole above the green metal area and obviously failing. The sunflower hearts have hardly gone down in the tube since I filled it up a few days ago! In the garden today: 2 Goldfinches, 5 Siskins, 6 Chaffinches, 1 robin, 1 blackbird, 4 Collared Doves, Starlings and good numbers of House Sparrows. I still haven't recovered from my trip to Aberdeen and didn't get anything much done today.

Saturday 13 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
None.
 

My Phenergan travel sickness tablets prevented me from being sick last night. The ferry was rocking in the early hours of the morning and even though I was laying on the floor, I had to hold onto the floor a few times to stop myself being rolled over! Later on I heard a huge crashing noise – which sounded like loads of crockery smashing to the floor! Eventually it calmed enough for me to get up. I didn't bother with breakfast this morning. The ferry arrived at 7.30am and I walked to the bus stop and caught the 7.50am bus back to Scalloway. A beautiful sunny and crisp morning, cooler than Aberdeen and much more tolerable.

When I reached home, I put my bags indoors and immediately fell asleep. I have been extremely sleepy all day and done nothing at all. The Phenergan tablets always do this too me, you can't drive after taking these or do anything to be honest. Two Goldfinches and a Great Spotted Woodpecker on my feeders this morning.

Friday 12 April 2024

New Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo Estate!

Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI Monte Carlo Estate

 

Woke up at 5am after a night of tossing and turning, wasn't ill, so all good. Had a full breakfast. Arrived in Aberdeen at 7am. Stayed on the ferry for a while until 7.45am. Caught a bus to Trust Ford.

At last I have found a new car and an estate, which is what I wanted for several reasons including being able to sleep in it if I wanted to and getting wood for the fire etc etc. I nearly didn't buy this, as I thought it would remind me of my written off car, but changed my mind, as its the best car I've seen for the money I had to spend. Can't afford to buy new again, this car is a 2020 model, one previous owner, 16,338 miles. Salesman Donnelly Wilson at Trust Ford in Aberdeen has been extremely helpful indeed. Service being done and 12 months MOT (was 6 months). Three months warranty and covered by any Ford Garage, so this includes the Ford garage in Shetland. Car being delivered to Lerwick next week!

I had no idea what a huge city Aberdeen was until I had a walk round later! Also 19 degrees here and I am boiling hot, roll on Shetland to cool down! Had lunch in Pizza Express.

Aberdeen

Celebrated in Pizza Express!
 

Now on the ferry waiting to leave at 7pm to return to Lerwick. I have been given a warning card that its going to be rough tonight – so exciting, not!  Managed to get my favourite place mid ship with camp bed and sleeping bag.

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Hawfinch at South Nesting. Orcas x 2 at Isle of Mousa. Snow Bunting, Blue Fulmar on Fair Isle.
 

Thursday 11 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Little Gull at Lerwick. Ring Ouzel, Blue Fulmar on Fair Isle.
 

After work I walked to the ferry terminal and caught the 7pm ferry to Aberdeen. No cabins, but I didn't want one anyway, as simply going over to look at a new car. Brought my roll up camp bed, pillow and sleeping bag and slept mid ship.

Wednesday 10 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 

Hawfinch at Sandwick. Rough-legged Buzzard flew over Lerwick. Tundra Bean Goose on Isle of Bressay. Blue Fulmar, 2 Snow Buntings on Fair Isle. Snow Buntings x 4 at Ordaal, Unst.
 
 
My new bird feeder looks untouched at the moment, maybe they need to get used to the cage around the bottom or it may be due to the fact the rest of the general bird seed in other feeder and on bird table has not run out yet. I might try it without the cage at the weekend to see if the Starlings are able to balance on the weighted perch. 2 Chaffinches in the garden before work. Raining all day.

Tuesday 9 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 

Hawfinch at North Staney Hill, Lerwick. Hawfinch at Sandwick. 2 Snow Buntings on Fair Isle. Glaucous Gull at Norwick, Unst.
 
 
Goldfinch in my garden before and after work along with 2 fem and 1 male Chaffinch.
 
Today I received a new bird feeder I sent off from the company Roamwild. I have put it together and will report back another day. I also bought the add on cage which is supposed to stop Starlings (won't believe it until I see it) and other bigger birds from accessing the seed. Its a very large feeder and I have filled this with sunflower hearts. On first impressions it looks far superior to my RSPB feeders. See the product video here. The test will be on how empty it is after work tomorrow! There are no squirrels in Shetland, so that won't be an issue for me!
 

RBA Weekly Round-Up 2nd to 8th April!

By Jon Dunn

Monday 8 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Ring Ouzel, Snow Buntings x 2 on Fair Isle.
 
 
A lovely sunny day here. This evening I had 2 male and 2 fem Chaffinches, 2 Bramblings, Starlings, a good number of House Sparrows, 1 Blackbird and one Robin in the garden. Several Swallows and House Martins were skimming over my house! There is only one issue with all these birds in the garden – its nearly impossible to photograph anything, as the only window that opens wide enough (living room) is far too close to the birds and so its a case of trying to photograph through the glass stable door. This door is divided up into 6 panes of glass – I have tried to open the top half section, but the birds are very wary of me standing there and most will fly off. I tried to photograph birds outside by sitting at the extreme opposite end of the front garden, but the birds were not happy with that, however still I sat. This will be insanely frustating WHEN I get a mega in the garden!!! 😉

Sunday 7 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Glaucous Gull on Isle of Foula. Bittern still at Loch of Hillwell. Glaucous Gull at Mair's Quay, Lerwick. Arctic Terns x 2 or "Tirriks" (earliest record ever, last earliest record was 18th April) at Grutness. Ring Ouzel, Twite x 4 on Fair Isle. Snow Buntings x 2 at Baltasound, Hawfinch at Valyie, Norwick, Unst.
 
 
Very strong winds but fabulous sunshine and blue skies. The Hawfinch has not returned, but I had a fabulous selection of birds in the garden today! 2 male and 2 fem Chaffinches, 1 male Goldfinch, 4 Bramblings, 3 Siskins, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, Robin, Blackbirds, 35+ House Sparrows, Starlings+++. Then later in the afternoon I had my first hirundines of the Spring – such a welcome and magical sight to watch 4 Swallows and 3 House Martins skimming and twisting low over my garden! What a day!

After doing lots of housekeeping with paperwork and filing etc, I finally got out and walked around Scalloway to find some birds. More Swallows and House Martins skimming over my road as I headed down to the harbour. Other than that, very little found, they were all in my garden! Found a Curlew and the usual Hooded Crows were around. Took some nice pictures of houses and gardens with Spring flowers and Daffodils on show. The wind was still very strong and it was raining lightly. On returning to my house, I walked part way up Gallows Hill to see my house from a different aspect – Scalloway looks amazing from even half way up the hill. Sheep and Shetland ponies on the hill make an idyllic scene.

I completely changed my mind about the car I put a deposit on yesterday and emailed Skoda to say I'm not interested. Instead I put a deposit on another car, which I am very happy about – just need to clarify a few things, which I have emailed to the sale room where its for sale in Aberdeen. Hopefully will have another car soon and before May with fingers crossed!

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Saturday 6th April
Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Hawfinch on Isle of Foula. Ring Ouzel male on Fair Isle.
 
 
Very strong winds and rain for most of the day. 4 Bramblings in my garden again with the usual birds and 7 Collared Doves at one time. 2 Siskins in next door's garden. No sign of yesterday's Hawfinch. Spent most of the day looking for another car on-line, which I'm getting very fed up with, as I don't trust any garage I phone up, especially when you are told different things about a car from two different members of staff within the same company! My insurance is now going to be tons more too after my accident, which I expected. I put a deposit on a car, but the very cheap make of tyre, which would not have been put on when it was new and the low mileage, don't add up – waiting for answer by email. Wish I could afford to buy a new Skoda on finance, but I can't, so will have to accept that. Mixed weather tomorrow!

Friday 5 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Bittern at Loch of Hillwell. Hawfinch at Scalloway. Waxwing at South Nesting. Hawfinch at Out Skerries. Long-eared Owl, Snow Buntings x 3 on Fair Isle.
 
 
Something very strange occured this morning, when I first got up and looked out into the front garden, two of my feeders were on the ground – there has been very little wind and they are heavy feeders. Seeking advice from Hugh H., he said it may have been Hooded Crows who work in the night! Cleaned all the now empty feeders properly and scrubbed down the hanging bird table and bird baths. Topped everything up again and it didn't take too long for all my usual birds to return.
 
New garden bird today – a Male HAWFINCH at 3pm!!! Its very handy that I can view all of my neighbour's Jimmy's long standing bird feeders and bird baths in his garden from my living room, without even leaving the house! I was scanning with bins and was suddenly aware of a large chunky bird that had flown to drink from a pedestal bird bath and was very excited to see it was a stonking male Hawfinch! It then flew up to perch in the tallest trees. I grabbed my camera and went outside and of course it had vanished! I went back indoors and walked to my front door to view my feeders and there it was sitting in my tree, peering down at the bird feeders and the boisterous Starlings scrabbling over the fat balls! WOW! By the time I had got my camera, it had disappeared again, so sadly no pictures at all, but what a bird to have in my garden!
 
Supporting cast of Bramblings x 4, Siskins x 2, House Sparrows, Starlings, Blackbirds, Robin, Collared Doves and Rock Doves. A sunny day here, but light rain and cloud later on. Heavy rain and strong south, south easterlies all day tomorrow. A mixture of strong and light south west winds on Sunday, with rain and sunshine!

Searching on line for a second hand Skoda Fabia Estate SE L or Monte Carlo in blue!!! I dithered about one the other day and regretted it – the next day someone reserved it and beat me to it and now sold – this was on Cinch who deliver free to Shetland. I have changed my mind about buying another rallyee green Skoda, it would bring back too many bad memories of my accident.