Started the day at Channerwick Burn to look for the Lesser Grey Shrike. Other birders had already searched hard and it was nowhere to be found sadly.
Went to Hoswick and parked the car up to walk towards beach and the gardens right of here, when I got a kind phone call from Dave and Jacquie, who had found the juv. Red-backed Shrike that I dipped out on yesterday. Unbelievably I was already on site, when I spotted Dave and Jacquie by the large garden with the pines etc, next to the beach – excellent timing! The Red-backed Shrike was not showy at all though and I had to wait a good 20 minutes before it put in the briefest appearance ever and then flicked off again out of view. I didn't even get a chance to get a photo. Dave and Jacquie left and I waited for it to return – 4 other birders joined me and it didn't show again whilst I was there. Other birds seen here were 2 Bramblings, 6 Common Redpolls feeding at the tops of the pines, a Robin and a Blackbird. I left and headed to Swinister.
Parked up by the fire station and walked down to the Swinister burn. Two dogs in a garden next to the gate I had to undo, were extremely unhappy at my presence and jumped as high as they could to get over their garden fence and were barking aggressively – they were very intimidating and I found a different route back through the village to my car. However, when I escaped and started walking along the burn, it was a really lovely meander with stepping stones, fuscia plants, irises, willows and scrub and potentially exciting for migrants. Birds seen: at least 2 Chiffchaffs, a very bright possible Willow Warbler – the briefest of views and it annoyingly disappeared and I couldn't refind it! Blackbirds, Redwings, Robins and Starlings also seen along the burn. I crossed the road and continued to follow the burn to the beach and not too far right of here was the spot where I had seen the Red-backed Shrike earlier. I found it intriguing that there were no birders watching the garden as I stood there – if it had been Norfolk there would have been loads of people standing there! I returned to my car via a smaller burn alongside a path to the village where I saw both male and female Blackcaps.
Had lunch at the fire station and then fell asleep! I hadn't even realised I had fallen asleep until I opened my eyes and wondered where I was!!! I noticed a birder with bins and camera leaving his house close by and walked past me to open the gate to walk down to the Swinister Burn, so I opened the car door to listen out for the barking dogs and I didn't hear a thing as he opened the gate! They obviously know who is local and who isn't!
Headed north and stopped at the Cunningsburgh Farm shop, where I bought some eggs, coffee biscuits, oak cakes and lentil crisps. There is a wonderful cafe here with tempting cakes, but I didn't succumb. I then went to Fladdabister to search for migrants around the derelict buildings on the edge of the cliff. Only saw Blackbirds and Robins here and some amusing sheep and Shetland ponies.
Sheep and Ram at Fladdabister
Shetland Ponies at Fladdabister
Wester Quarff – Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Robins, Starlings, Blackbirds and Redwings seen along the road down to the voe. A spectacular drive along here and very picturesque. In a garden at the end I found a Blackcap and a Goldcrest and 6 Goldcrests together feeding in the grass of a sheep pen opposite the garden. Hundreds of Eiders, 2 Black Guillemots and a Heron were seen here through my scope, whilst I had a cup of tea from the flask. Headed back south.
Goldcrest feeding at Wester Quarff
Ended the day at Levenwick around the gardens near the beach. The garden that once held a Siberian Rubythroat was very busy with lots of Starlings starting to roost, a female Blackcap, Blackbirds and Robins. Left here and returned home to Voortrekker.
The winds have switched to SW now and Tuesday looks atrocious with 98% rain all day and high winds – so I will use that day to catch up on pictures and may pop in Lerwick to find another present for Vivien's birthday. Wednesday looks much the same and the rest of the week looks very wet and windy!