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Friday, 13 October 2017

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

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