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Sunday, 31 October 2021

SHETLAND TRIP – DAY 31: MY LAST DAY!

 
Last time I feed the birds at Whimbrel's Cottage, Levenwick
 

I delayed packing last night, more than probably because I don't want to leave. I feel at home here, like I'm meant to be here. Woke up late due to packing late! Fed the birds for the last time – will they miss me when I depart today? no probably not, they will just return to other feeding stations in Levenwick.

Loaded the car up with 90% of my gear and then hoovered the cottage and did some washing. Had a shower, washed hair etc and then had brunch! I had completely forgotten that the clocks go back today!

Huge thanks to all the birders out here, that found some amazing birds, whilst I've been here, especially the Red-eyed Vireos and Rustic Bunting. Sadly I wasn't able to find anything good myself. Thank you also to all those that helped me with directions and advice, which was hugely appreciated – special thanks go to Norfolk birders Dave and Jacquie and to Shetland birders Paul B. and Hugh H.

Update on the ferry later, but if conditions are bad, as in rocking etc, it may get updated when I return home or tomorrow! I took my Phenergan anit-sickness tablet at 9.15am and already feeling the side effects of wanting to fall asleep.

Evening Update: the Phenergan tablets are lethal, they really are, but they do the job required! Felt doped up throughout the day and had to keeping having naps. Left the cottage neat and tidy and washed all linen I could, to help out Dale and Ash, who own the cottage. I left later than intended, as I felt so drugged up. Anyway, eventually got out of the cottage and into a very packed car. It was really sad to leave here and I felt very emotional. It had been sunny all morning and now and for the rest of the afternoon was overcast and dull conditions.

I visited and re-visited a few of my favourite places in the afternoon. I had not been to Spiggie beach this trip, so started there and it was beautiful as ever – no birds  of note seen though. Whooper Swans graced Spiggie Loch along with some Wigeon. Went to the Bigton Community Shop, which I had not expected to be open on a Sunday here and bought some more cake goodies for work and others. Just before I arrived at the shop I saw and photographed 2 Siskins feeding on the edge of the verge from my car. Headed to St Ninian's Bay car park and stood awhile enjoying the view – sadly there was not enough time to walk along the tombola, but at least I had done this the other day. Families were enjoying their Sunday afternoon walks here.

Parked up at Hoswick and walked along the cliff edge to the view into the cliff top garden – this held at least 6 Blackbirds, lots of burbling Starlings and a flock of approximately 18+ Bramblings flew out. Headed to Gulberwick and parked up by the Kirk. Started to walk along the fabulous track opposite here, but felt so drugged up, I had to return to the car. Because of the clock change, it was now almost dark. I then made my way to Lerwick and was one of the first passengers to check in. Got a lovely cabin, No. 232 which is mid ship and almost next to the reception desk. I took another Phenergan anit-sickness tablet at 5.20pm (as suggested) and as last time, I shouldn't need any more. Had fish 'n' chips and a raspberry dessert. Lets hope I feel awake in the morning as intending to drive all the way back to King's Lynn and not staying anywhere on route half way, as I did on the way here. Obviously I will be stopping lots to have a break and hope to get home mid evening maybe?!

Although I STILL haven't seen an Orca, Siberian Rubythroat or a White's Thrush, it has been a fabulous trip, I have loved it. I have loved it too much and its really made me think about moving here seriously. Again, huge thanks to all those that have help to make this trip so special. The Captain has just announced "there will be some swell tonight, in the stiff south easterly wind and to make sure you hold onto hand rails when walking around ship" A good time to retire to my cabin!

PICTURES TO BE ADDED

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 

Short-toed Lark, Caspian Gulls x 2, Snow Bunting at West Runton
Shorelarks x 4 at Holkham Gap
Snow Bunting, Little Gulls x 3, Arctic Tern, Little Stint, Hen Harrier at Titchwell RSPB
Pomarine Skua, Little Gull, Snow Buntings x 5, Red-necked Grebe, Spotted Redshanks x 2, Hen Harriers x 2, Jack Snipe, Bittern at Cley NWT
Hen Harrier at Stubb Mill, Hickling Broad NWT
Snow Buntings x 2 at Buxton Heath
Snow Buntings x 7 at Thornham Point

MEGA NEWS
VARIED THRUSH
Papa Westray, Orkney
WHITE-TAILED LAPWING
Blacktoft Sands RSPB, Yorkshire
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER
Musselburgh Lagoons, Lothian

Saturday, 30 October 2021

SHETLAND TRIP – DAY 30: Early Start For My Last Full Day!

Sunrise from Whimbrel's Cottage, Levenwick
 
 
I was up and out early. Checked out all the scrub, gardens and fields around the beach area at Levenwick – found 3 Wrens, 1 Robin, Starlings, House Sparrows, Blackbirds and Redwings. On the headland I could see a flock of Turnstones with Lapwings and a few Curlews. There were also a few Turnstones on the beach. It became increasingly windy as the morning progressed. I decided to stay south today, in case the Orcas appeared again.

Pulled up in the layby after the runway and scanned Scatness beach and to my delight found a Wheatear! Also 3 Rock Pipits and Fulmars were cruising over a wild sea. Went to Grutness Bay and saw 3 Shags and a Great black-backed Gull on the jetty and Mallards were on the pool on the other side of the stone wall. News came on the WhatsApp group of a Black Redstart at Sumburgh Farm, so being as I was a minute away, I went to try and find it. No sign of any Black Redstart, but had 2 lovely Bramblings feeding by a muck heap and a very exhausted looking and wind battered Siskin was feeding by the house. There were lots of Blackbirds and Redwings around, especially in the field just west of the cattle grid at the base of Sumburgh Head.

I checked out the two quarries, the first one only held a Blackbird, but the second one had a single Brambling feeding, a Robin and 5 Blackbirds. Continued up the headland to the lighthouse, where it was blowing a 'hoolie'. I had a job to stand up and made the unsensible decision to check out the garden along the cliff edge, which held no birds at all, unless they were hunkered low down. News came out of a mega Upland Sandpiper on Unst at 12.38pm and I knew there would not be enough time with light to get there really. Oh and guess where the Orcas turned up today? Walls and Sandness! Where I was yesterday afternoon!

Had a look round Virkie for the earlier Glaucous Gull seen, but no luck with that. There was a Red-breasted Merganser at the very furthest end, by the jetty and boats. Headed to Exnaboe to search for migrants there, nothing of note at all. I then decided to head for Lerwick to do some shopping.

Had a browse round the shops in Lerwick for the first time on this trip and unusually for me, didn't see anything I wanted to buy. Headed to the Toll Shopping Centre and went into an art shop and purchased a sketch pad, some graphite pencils and a 0.1mm fine black pen – this is not what I had intended to buy at all! I was looking for a Shetland rug but couldn't find any in colours that I loved. It was now just after 5pm and the light was almost gone. Returned home and fell asleep. Need to pack up all my stuff and leave the cottage tidy before I leave in the morning.

LOTS OF PICTURES TO BE ADDED

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 

Short-toed Lark, Caspian Gulls x 2, Snow Bunting at West Runton
Slavonian Grebe at Hunstanton
Yellow-browed Warbler at Holkham Pines
Shorelarks x 6, Snow Buntings x 12, Velvet Scoter at Holkham Bay
Tundra Bean Geese x 8 at Holkham Freshmarsh
Snow Buntings x 8 at North Dunes, Winterton
Long-tailed Duck at Salthouse
Red-necked Grebe, Snow Buntings x 254, Caspian Gull, Short-eared Owl at Cley NWT
Water Pipit at Burnham Overy Dunes
Hen Harrier at Holme Dunes
Great Grey Shrike at Waxham
Little Stint, Snow Buntings x 8, Hen Harrier at Titchwell RSPB
Ferruginous Duck at Welney WWT
Russian White-fronted Geese x 9 at Cantley Marshes RSPB
Russian White-fronted Goose at Buckenham Marshes RSPB
Caspian Gull at Cromer

MEGA NEWS
VARIED THRUSH
Papa Westray, Orkney
UPLAND SANDPIPER
Haroldswick, Unst, Shetland
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER
Crookhaven, County Cork, Ireland
WHITE-TAILED LAPWING
Blacktoft Sands RSPB, Yorkshire
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER
Musselburgh Lagoons, Lothian

Friday, 29 October 2021

SHETLAND TRIP – DAY 29: Chasing Orcas!

I was just getting myself together, when news of 6 Orcas via the WhatsApp Cetacean group, were reported off Sumburgh Head at 8.45am! Scrambled out of the door, with things not done and headed to Sumburgh! Half way up to Sumburgh Head, I got out of the car to scan the sea and a couple in a car stopped – the lady wound down the window to ask if I was ok. I must have looked stressed (I was), so I started to explain that I was looking for Orcas and she replied with a big smile "yes, we've seen those at Sumburgh Head.... they were going around the headland and coming this way" (from this I took it that she meant towards the Sumburgh Hotel). "oh" I said, "were you the ones who put the news out?" "oh no" she replied, "we just saw them". No words...... gutted!

I can't remember if I phoned Hugh H. or he phoned me, but anyway, he recommended I stand either at Scatness or West Voe – he was at Quendale Bay and several people were standing at different points along the coast trying to see them. News also came on the WhatsApp group of "Orcas also off Vaila, West Mainland" (much further north). At West Voe I saw 30+ Long-tailed Ducks in the rain and fog. I became quite cold, as I had not dressed properly and didn't have my waterproof overtrousers on, so attempted to put these on in wind and rain in the car park! A local man turned up who said he had been standing here since 'early' and not seen them and he was now going to Grutness. Desperate to see the Orcas, I decided to follow him, so ended up at Grutness and no sign of them. Returned to West Voe and stood here scanning for a good while. Nobody else stationed around the southern end had any more sightings.

I returned to Levenwick to have breakfast etc. Hugh had suggested that Sandness can be a good place to be stationed if the Orcas continue north and I was planning on going in that direction anyway. My original plans for today was birding early, then meeting up with Rebecca N. for a coffee and then head to Walls, which I have not done yet this trip. Poor Rebecca has now been cancelled twice for our coffee and catch up – its a good job she is a birder and naturalist and understands, hopefully, sorry!!!

It was so foggy outside, that I could hardly see the bus stop opposite the cottage – sensibly I should have stayed at home and chilled and on hindsight I wish so much that I had! But I really wanted to see Orcas and was NOT going to miss any chance of seeing them. So off I headed north to Sandness. The fog continued and at one point I was considering turning back. All cars had their fog lights on. I discovered where the famous Lea Gardens were and stood in the driveway to scan for the Western Bonelli's Warbler, but the weather was dire and no luck with that. Moments after I arrived at Sandness, news came through of "3 or 4 Orcas now heading out from Gulberwick bay, look to be heading S/W at 2.54pm". NOOOOOOO!!!!!! Gulberwick is only 13 miles north of Levenwick!!! Maybe there wouldn't be any more sightings?

On my last visit to Sandness (two years ago) it was sunny and scenic, not so today! Mind you, it was far less foggy here. Still a beautiful place whatever the weather though. A good number of birds here, including Starlings, Purple Sandpipers, Turnstones, Rock Pipits, Starlings and Hooded Crows, all feeding amongst the seaweed on the beach. By the pier I watched two inquisitive Seals close by, several Red-throated Divers and what was almost certainly 4 Great Northern Divers distantly, but not 100%. Also Eiders, Razorbills, Fulmars and a close flyby Kittiwake. I scanned and scoped desperately for my own Orcas. Drove to Huxter to another viewing point and scanned again. On route from here, as I headed back along the road I had a female Blackcap in some scrub, which got me excited until I could see it properly!

The next Orca message came up at 4.22pm "heading south around Helliness" My heart sank, I knew there was no way I was going to get there before dark. I headed south in atrocious and foggy conditions. Really, I should have returned south when the first 2.54pm message came out – big mistake Penelope! The next message was Hugh H. "Orcas now Mousa Sound at 4.40pm" (which is Sandwick). My heart sank further. The last message was at 5.23pm "Orcas at Noness heading south". No further messages as it was almost completely dark! The next chance of seeing them (had it been light enough), would have been Levenwick! You couldn't make it up!

I arrived at the pull in area just above the Levenwick turn off at about 5.40pm. It was raining hard and my new Swarovski NL Pure 8x42 bins allowed me to see more than I thought in the dark, but even they were not going to help me see Orcas in non-visible and dark conditions! Refusing to give up, I had headed to the beach. Parked the car and stood on the beach in pouring rain. The visibility lower down was actually better than where I had been standing in the layby, but still no Orcas. I returned home feeling very very fed up. Fell asleep and dozed on the sofa, didn't cook tea, ate chocolate to console myself (any excuse) and then woke up late evening.

Last full day tomorrow and even though I feel I've done a pretty good job of adding photos this trip (up until 21st October), I have now got behind and no more will be added until I return to Norfolk, unless of course I see something mega before I leave! Maybe I will get lucky with Orcas tomorrow?! I'm staying south, I know that much! That Siberian Rubythroat hasn't turned up yet either – fingers crossed!

PICTURES TO BE ADDED

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 flew over Norwich
White-billed Diver on sea, Long-eared Owl, Ring Ouzel, Snow Buntings x 6 at Winterton
Shorelarks x 4, Velvet Scoters x 2, Slavonian Grebe, Snow Buntings x 12 at Holkham Bay
Great Grey Shrike at Waxham
Lapland Bunting, Little Stint, Snow Buntings x 10, Little Gulls x 20, Spotted Redshanks x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Short-toed Lark at West Runton
Black Redstart in beach car park at Cley NWT
Black Redstart on Warden's House at Hickling Broad NWT
Spoonbills x 3 flew past Sheringham
Woodlark flew along cliffs at Hunstanton

MEGA NEWS
VARIED THRUSH
Papa Westray, Orkney
EYEBROWED THRUSH
In garden yesterday, no sign today, Kincraig, Highland
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER
Crookhaven, County Cork, Ireland
WHITE-TAILED LAPWING
Blacktoft Sands RSPB, Yorkshire

Thursday, 28 October 2021

SHETLAND TRIP – DAY 28: Burn of Sound, Lower Voe, Swining & Plans for Varied Thrush Twitch!

Last night a local birder suggested for anyone that was interested, to charter a plane from Tingwall to go and see the Varied Thrush on Papa Westray – I crazily said I was interested! But, we wouldn't know if this was possible until the office at the airport opened in the morning (today). So, in anticipation and excitement that this may happen, I had packed up my camera bag accordingly for the day and was totally ready to fly to Papa Westray!!! I also wanted to be fairly close to Tingwall in case this happened quickly, you can't mess about on a serious twitch and this was a serious bird!

My thumb/hand is much better now, still not back to full strength/grip at all, but ok to drive, so should be fine for my long drive back to Norfolk on Monday. Arrived at the Burn of Sound in the rain, fairly early. Had lovely views of the Redpolls and a few Siskins feeding on alder on the north side of the road and also a Chiffchaff diving into a bush, but I couldn't see any Redpolls that looked like a good candidate for the recently found (by Paul Bloomer) Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll. There were three other birders here looking also.

Sadly, the Tingwall pilots were not flying anywhere other than Fair Isle today as they were 'training'!!! It was also said that low cloud was forecast for Friday. So that option was out of the window! Another plan was suggested by someone else to charter a plane from Sumburgh (Loganair) but, cutting a very long story short, we couldn't get 8 people to go (maximum number of people), it would have been far too expensive for any less than that, for me anyway sadly. Even though it wasn't cheap, I still can't believe that we couldn't get 8 people together for a return flight, with no messing about with boats etc. I really hope that some of the local birders get to see the Varied Thrush on Papa Westray, who wanted to go on this trip and I appreciate hugely all their efforts in trying to organise this – thank you all.

I decided to head to Lower Voe to see the recent Red-flanked Bluetail, which was also seen yesterday. No sign of it today, when I stood there for well over an hour, if not longer! Had a nice view of a male Blackcap and a Chiffchaff in the rain, along with several Bramblings, Blackbirds and Redwings. Headed to Swining for bluetail number two attempt – one was found here yesterday in the gardens at the end of the road. Even though I didn't see the Red-flanked Bluetail, I'm so glad I went to Swining – what a stunning spot! Paradise at the end of the road by a huge loch. As you near the end of the very pretty houses, a burn runs either side of the road, lots of trees here and bushes, shrubs, plants etc – a perfect and idyillic spot! A very nice lady who lived in the last house was walking her dog and kindly said I could look in her garden, but I didn't feel happy doing that, but did walk a short distance along her driveway. The gardens around here, reminded me of my late mother's garden at Holme, random planting, wild, rugged and beautiful – it made me feel a little emotional to be honest, my mother would have loved this little spot. A field close by was jam packed full of Redwings and Blackbirds – I checked every Redwing very carefully! There were some Ringed Plovers on a small grassy island in the loch, which I hadn't expected here and also several Mallards. I also a saw a male Blackcap briefly. I reluctantly left this magical place and was intending to go to Lea Gardens, to see the Western Bonelli's Warbler, but sensibly I realised there would not be enough light left in the day, so headed back south via South Nesting.

The sunset tonight was spectacular and I did get a couple of pictures on route, but when the skies had climaxed to an incredible array of colours, I was unable to stop along the very busy A970 to capture any photos. Diverted to Lerwick for fish 'n' chips and returned to Levenwick.

PICTURES TO BE ADDED

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 

Snow Buntings x 15 at Burnham Overy Dunes
Snow Buntings x 20 at Cley NWT
White-billed Diver reported, flew past, Yellow-browed Warbler, Great Northern Diver, Velvet Scoter at Winterton
Shorelarks x 3, Slavonian Grebe at Holkham Bay
Red-throated Diver at Hickling Broad NWT
Velvet Scoters x 2, Great Northern Diver at Holme Dunes
Common Cranes x 3 at Horsey
Great Grey Shrike at Waxham
White-fronted Geese x 4 west of Acle
Snow Buntings x 3 on beach at Gramborough Hill
Spotted Redshank at Welney WWT
Little Auk on sea, Snow Buntings x 4, Little Stint, Jack Snipe at Titchwell RSPB
Caspian Gull at Cromer
Snow Buntings x 2 flew over Kelling
Bittern at Whitlingham County Park
Little Stints x 3 at Snettisham RSPB

MEGA NEWS
VARIED THRUSH
Papa Westray, Orkney
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER
Black Rock, County Kerry, Ireland
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER
Crookhaven, County Cork, Ireland
WHITE-TAILED LAPWING
Blacktoft Sands RSPB, Yorkshire

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

SHETLAND TRIP – DAY 27: St Ninian's Isle!

Took my hand splint off today and started moving the thumb 'normally'! Not too bad, better than I expected, still aches though. Another day of sun, rain and strong winds!

Saw some nice birds today at St Ninian's Isle, but nothing rare. Its the first time I have actually walked across the tombola, what a stunning place! I have never seen so many Purple Sandpipers before! I initially counted 4, but then the final count was 15, also had 15 Ringed Plovers, 50+ Turnstones, 5 Sanderlings, 3 Rock Pipits and all of these were in the far eastern most corner, where there was lots of seaweed. Also 3 Hooded Crows, one seal watching me and sadly another dead. I found a very striking orange Northern Wheatear, which looked newly arrived on the beach – it was gusted around in the wind and ended up flying north over the cliff, not to be seen again.

On the isle itself, I had one Snipe flushed from dead thistles and lots of Redwings, sheep and rain – I was drenched, even in my waterproof gear! On the sea (east side) I had a close in Red-throated Diver, 3 Long-tailed Ducks and Fulmars flying round the cliffs. Initially I was the only person on the beach, but later there were around six people, can you imagine that at Wells in Norfolk?!!! One person with a dog and that was on a lead the entire time! Its a different world here! Mind you, I'm sure its a bit more crowded in the Summer time.

PICTURES TO BE ADDED

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 

Lapland Buntings x 3 at North Dunes, Short-eared Owl at Winterton
Shorelarks x 6, Lapland Bunting, Short-eared Owl at Holkham Gap
Great Grey Shrike, Lapland Bunting at Waxham
Snow Buntings x 15, Caspian Gull at Cley NWT
Long-tailed Duck, Short-eared Owls x 2 flew in off sea at beach car park, Cley
Snow Buntings x 12 at Burnham Overy Dunes
White-fronted Goose at Burnham Overy Marshes
Short-eared Owl on beach at Salthouse
Snow Buntings x 6, Black-throated Diver at Titchwell RSPB
Black-throated Diver near lifeboat station at Wells
Scaup at Weybourne Camp
Snow Buntings x 2 at Brancaster
Bittern at Whitlingham Country Park

MEGA NEWS
VARIED THRUSH
Papa Westray, Orkney
TAIGA FLYCATCHER or Red-breasted Flycatcher 1w.
Westray, Orkney
WHITE-TAILED LAPWING
Blacktoft Sands RSPB, Yorkshire

STOP PRESS! VARIED THRUSH on Papa Westray!!!

2nd for Britain!

First for Orkney!

Found by David Roche, who must be on cloud 99!!! Congratulations!!! 

"reported by the house owners to have been present several days..."

I wonder what they thought it was? Or did they know what is was?! 

Update: 
the owners "assumed it was a Redwing or some variation of....."!!!
  • The first Varied Thrush was at Nanquidno, St Just, Cornwall – 14th to 23rd November 1982.
Discussion here:

Pictures: HERE and HERE! WOW!

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

SHETLAND TRIP – DAY 26: Levenwick Birding!

I had three Hooded Crows in the garden this morning! They were attracted by the commotion of Starlings eating some bread I had thrown out. It was fascinating to watch one of the Hooded Crows pick up a piece of bread and then picked up four more pieces, before escaping to presumably enjoy in peace! I bought a berry fat block which I put outside this morning, it took a while for the Starlings to find it, but when they did, it was chaos! The squabbling and fighting going on, almost made me feel guilty for giving them a treat! It cost me £1.68 from a local shop, so they won't be getting another whilst I'm here! The berry fat block has been completely consumed.

More birding in Levenwick today, produced much the same birds, but no Blackcap or Chiffchaff seen. A Goldcrest was in the garden where I saw the Chiffchaff yesterday. Still a few Redwings and Blackbirds around and Wrens searching for food in and out of the lichen covered stone walls. The usual Starlings and House Sparrows seen, Curlews, Oystercatchers and a Robin. Lit the fire in the afternoon and watched the first episode of Autumnwatch on BBC2. I will be removing the splint off my hand tomorrow – my thumb feels achy today and bruising coming out a bit more.

PICTURES TO BE ADDED

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 

Slavonian Grebe, Black-throated Diver, Velvet Scoter at Titchwell RSPB
Great Grey Shrike, Snow Bunting at Waxham
Snow Buntings x 16, Caspian Gull at Cley NWT
White-billed Diver ad. flew east past (10.10am), Great Northern Divers x 2, Little Gulls x 5 from beach car park at Cley
Black Redstart at Cley
Black-throated Diver at Holme Dunes
Cattle Egrets x 4, Great White Egret at Welney WWT
Snow Buntings x 2 at Thornham Point
Little Stints x 3, Snow Buntings x 4 at Snettisham RSPB
Long-tailed Duck on sea, Great White Egret at Salthouse
Grey Phalarope in channel at Burnham Overy Staithe
Snow Buntings x 12 at Burnham Overy Dunes
Velvet Scoters x 2 at Holkham Bay
Cattle Egrets x 2 at Holkham Freshmarsh
Little Stints x 2 at Potter Heigham Marshes
Snow Buntings x 15 at North Denes, Great Yarmouth
Caspian Gull at Cromer
Russian White-fronted Geese x 2 at Cantley Beet Factory
Bittern at Whitlingham Country Park
Red-necked Grebe, Scaup, Snow Bunting, Great Northern Diver at Weybourne Camp
Eastern Yellow Wagtail (possible) flew over Breydon Water
Red-necked Grebe, Little Gulls x 8 at Mundesley

MEGA NEWS
TAIGA FLYCATCHER or Red-breasted Flycatcher 1w.
Westray, Orkney
WHITE-TAILED LAPWING
Blacktoft Sands RSPB, Yorkshire
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER
Musselburgh Lagoons, Lothian, Scotland

RBA Weekly Round-up 19th to 25th October!

By Jon Dunn

Thank you to the RBA Team for including my Hume's Warbler photograph, taken in Paul H.'s garden at Boddam, Shetland!

SHETLAND TRIP – DAY 25: Levenwick Birding!

MONDAY 25th OCTOBER

I had a terrible and restless night's sleep – I don't really know why, but maybe because I'm thinking about too many things. I feel like I have been here so long now, that I have moved here permanently – its going to seem weird returning to Norfolk. I have got used to being here. Aside from the fact that I am not working here, nearly everything else seems like normal daily living. Living in a self-catering cottage is much the same as being in your own property, no hotel services here! Futura splint remains on my hand and its driving me mad! Bruising no worse than yesterday.

It was a beautiful sunny day here until late afternoon and then the skies darkened and rain fell. I walked through the village to the beach and saw a few nice birds, but nothing rare. There were good numbers of Redwings and continental Blackbirds feeding in the horse paddocks. Loads of House Sparrows were dust bathing near the house with the bird feeder that I saw yesterday, which was lovely to watch. The usual charismatic Starlings were everywhere on route. Saw a few Wrens, one in the quarry, one in a garden near the beach and another in the cemetery on the hill.

Best birds were female Blackcap in the Siberian Rubythroat garden, a distantly seen Chiffchaff and also a Robin in the first garden on the left hand side as you approach the beach and another female Blackcap in a tree on the way back near to Whimbrel's cottage. Also saw another Robin, which got me excited until it turned and revealed its red breast, which was in the garden just right of the burn by the beach. 4 Shags were on the sea and a seal was intrigued by my presence, as I walked to the far west end of the beach. I also saw a beautiful tortoiseshell cat sitting in the garden of a driveway – I couldn't resist taking its picture!

PICTURES TO BE ADDED

Monday, 25 October 2021

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 

Grey Phalarope, Spotted Redshank, Snow Bunting, Caspian Gulls x 2, Water Pipits x 5, Ring Ouzel at Titchwell RSPB
Great White Egrets x 2 between Honing & East Ruston
Great Grey Shrike, Ring Ouzel, Common Cranes x 6, Iceland Gull at Waxham
White-billed Diver, Snow Buntings x 6, Arctic Tern, Velvet Scoter at Winterton
Pomarine Skua, Black-throated Diver at Sheringham
White-billed Diver, Great Northern Diver, Arctic Tern flew past Horsey
Harrier sp. flew over Nunnery Lakes NR, Thetford
Little Auk, Little Gull at Blakeney Point
Black Guillemot, Pomarine Skua, Little Gulls x 9 flew past Holkham Gap
Snow Buntings x 21, Water Pipit, Long-tailed Duck at Cley NWT
Great Northern Divers x 4, Black-throated Divers x 5, Velvet Scoters x 2, Little Gulls x 5 off beach car park at Cley
Cattle Egret at Filby Broad
Cattle Egrets x 3 at Welney WWT
Ring Ouzel at Holme Dunes
Little Auk, Black-throated Diver at Holme NOA
Scaup at Weybourne Camp
White-billed Diver on sea close inshore at Great Yarmouth
Bittern at Whitlingham Country Park
Ring Ouzel, Short-eared Owl at Sidestrand
Glossy Ibis east of Scare Gap, along Acle Straight

MEGA NEWS
WHITE-TAILED LAPWING
Blacktoft Sands RSPB, Yorkshire

Sunday, 24 October 2021

SHETLAND TRIP – DAY 24: A Chilled Day!

Got up really late, was exhausted from the last couple of days. Its feels weird being here now. I was supposed to be on the 7pm ferry to Aberdeen this evening. I feel out of sink now. I've lost two day's birding because of my accident and now here I am, feeling a bit low to be honest. My hand is slightly bluer than yesterday, but the splint is keeping it safe and comfortable – to be honest, I'm not looking forward to taking it off, as I will have to be more careful then! Its already annoying, so many things you need your thumb for! Difficult to make a hotwater bottle, wash up etc etc. I have no patience with not being able to do things quickly!

Set my tripod and telescope up to look out of the living room window, just in case any Orca's happened to cruise past – they didn't. Had a male Chaffinch on the lawn for the first time, along with the House Sparrows and Starlings. Went for a short walk from the cottage at about 5pm and saw 2 Wrens in the quarry and several Redwings and Blackbirds in the field just north of Midway Stores. I noticed someone had a fabulous number of Sparrows and Starlings at their bird feeder, the excited chatterings of the Starlings and House Sparrows sounded magical. Sheep and Shetland ponies were grazing in the fields by the health centre in the fading light. A Hooded Crow flew south over the hills. So peaceful here.

PICTURES TO BE ADDED

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 

Grey Phalarope, Shorelark, Snow Buntings x 12, Little Stint, Purple Sandpiper, Slavonian Grebe, Spotted Redshank, Lapland Buntings x 2, Water Pipit at Titchwell RSPB
Great Northern Diver, Long-tailed Duck, Snow Buntings x 15, Caspian Gulls x 2 at Cley NWT
Little Auk, Black Guillemot, Velvet Scoters x 2 flew past beach car park at Cley
Cattle Egret, Great White Egret at Welney WWT
Little Auks x 3, Arctic Tern, Black-throated Diver on sea at Salthouse
Ring Ouzels x 2, Velvet Scoter, Caspian Gull at Winterton
Snow Buntings x 17 on beach at Burnham Overy Dunes
Black-throated Diver, Red-necked Grebe at Holkham Bay
Cattle Egret at Holkham Freshmarsh
Little Auk, Snow Buntings x 5 at Hunstanton Cliffs
Caspian Gull near Weeting
Purple Sandpiper at Sheringham
Jack Snipe, Little Gulls x 3 at Sidestrand
Cattle Egret, Common Cranes x 3, Bittern at Martham
Scaup, Snow Buntings x 11 at Weybourne Camp
Little Gull, Velvet Scoter flew past Mundesley
Water Pipit at North Point Pools, Wells

MEGA NEWS
WHITE-TAILED LAPWING
Blacktoft Sands RSPB, Yorkshire
FORSTER'S TERN
ENE OF Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland

SHETLAND TRIP – DAY 23: X-Rays at Hospital & Results!

SATURDAY 23rd OCTOBER

TYPING WITH ONE HAND!

BRUISING SO FAR .....

I had to get up before I wanted to this morning – I was extremely tired from yesterday's debacle and late night in A&E. All chores such as having a shower etc took far longer than normal. I had to phone my car insurer's, my travel insurers etc. Went for my X-ray at the Gilbert Bain Hospital at 12pm, which showed that apparently I didn't fracture my scaphoid in my left hand, but have soft tissue damage/bruising. I know that from when I had the exact same injury on my right hand, that I was told by a physio I work with, that not all scaphoid fractures show up on an X-ray, but either way its very painful. I was advised to wear the Futura splint that was provided last night, for three days and elevate/rest the limb – after this, to gently exercise and gradually return to gradual levels of activity. My sprained left ankle feels a bit better than it did yesterday, but still painful.

It took about three attempts to get the medical report printed out by staff at the hospital and this took far longer than the X-Ray. My surname was spelt 'Clarve' and then other things were missed off etc, but the staff were all lovely and very kind. I eventually left the hospital at around 4pm.

The result of yesterday's fall and diagnosis etc means there is no way I can drive my car for around nine hours after getting off the ferry. I then had to make contact with the travel insurer's to email them the Medical Report, Northlink to change my ferry booking, make contact with work to let them know I won't be returning to work on Wednesday, with the lady who's cottage I'm staying in to extend my stay and with my very kind neighbours to see if they can keep an eye on my house for longer than they expected. I was so tired, I didn't have the energy to do any tea this evening and promptly fell asleep.

I can't believe this has happened and its ruined the end of my fabulous trip here, but it is what it is and I do have a shocking accident record! So, I'm cottage bound in Levenwick for the next three days and then hopefully my injury will improve enough, to allow me to operate to a degree of normality and to head back south to Norfolk.

Saturday, 23 October 2021

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 

Hen Harrier, Snow Buntings x 3, Little Stints x 2 at Snettisham RSPB
Little Auk, Grey Phalarope, Black-throated Diver, Spotted Redshank, Caspian Gull, Water Pipit at Titchwell RSPB
Yellow-browed Warbler at Gypsy Lane, Titchwell
Snow Bunting at Thornham Point
Ring Ouzel, Snow Buntings x 4 at Burnham Overy Dunes
Little Auk, Velvet Scoters x 3, Snow Buntings x 6, Little Gulls x 2 at Winterton
Cattle Egrets x 5 at Welney WWT
Snow Buntings x 5 at Cley NWT
Little Auk, Black-throated Divers x 2, Great Northern Divers x 3, Velvet Scoters x 3, Little Gulls x 7 from beach car park at Cley
Yellow-browed Warbler at Holkham Pines
Red-necked Grebe, Velvet Scoters x 2 on sea, Snow Buntings x 4 on beach at Holkham
Velvet Scoters x 3, Lapland Bunting, Scaup, Slavonian Grebe, Great Northern Diver at Weybourne
Ring Ouzel, Lapland Bunting, Snow Buntings x 5, Great Northern Diver at Blakeney Point
Ring Ouzel at Thorpe-next-Haddiscoe Marshes
Little Auks x 3 at Salthouse
Little Auk at Eccles-on-Sea
Velvet Scoter at Holme Dunes
Hawfinch flew over Nunnery Lakes NR, Thetford
Caspian Gull at Cromer
 
MEGA NEWS
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Blacktoft Sands RSPB, Yorkshire
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER 
Crookhaven, County Cork, Ireland
FORSTER'S TERN
ENE OF Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland

SHETLAND TRIP – DAY 22: Eshaness & Evening in A&E!!!

FRIDAY 22nd OCTOBER

Just home at 12.45am on Saturday and extremely tired! Quick summary, as typing this with one hand and full account will be posted another day – now completed!

A glorious, sunny day. Drove north to Eshaness for the first time. Incredible scenery and initially had a fabulous time. Its like a different world in this area, lochs seem bigger, vast moorlands and awesome views. It was blowing a 'hoolie' at the lighthouse and I could hardly stand up on the wind! I headed to Stenness beach and when I parked up, I was the only person here! Walked over the stile on the hill above the stony beach and then walked down to the shore. Sheep all around me and on the beach. Took lots of pictures here in beautiful sunshine. Walked through another stile and up onto the headland, where I spent a long time enjoying breathtaking scenery of stacks and crashing waves. I sat on a large log, where I presume many a person has sat and pondered for a while. Could I live here? Its more than tempting and something to seriously think about when I return to Norfolk. Sheep were eating seaweed amongst the rocks by a bay. So much to explore on this headland. Saw Fulmars, a few Redwings, Blackbirds and a Wren, but nothing else of particular note. Took some video and far too many pictures! Returned to the main beach.

I bent down to inspect an interesting stone and in a nano second, ruined my day – with my non-slip vibram soled muckboots.... my left foot slipped on a slippery boulder and I immediately fell forwards and reached out my left hand to save myself – this resulted in instant agony in the base of my thumb/hand. Slowly getting up, I realised I had injured my left ankle too and also felt pain in my right shin bone. I was furious with myself! I couldn't have been any further away from The Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick!!! Hobbled back up the hill to my car. Rummaged about in the first aid kit and took ibuprofen. Also bandaged my hand, but this made the pain a million times worse, so removed it. Rested my injured left hand on an ice pack from my cool bag and drove to the hospital. It was a very long and painful drive to A&E – arrived at about 6.30pm.

Met and chatted to several local people in the waiting room which was nice, including a lovely lady from Unst who told me that there was always work available on Unst, which surprised me – "there's always work if you want it there" she said. The lady spoke of her love of the island from when she first moved there about 25 years ago and she described it as like being on holiday the entire time – she and her husband were obviously very happy there. Anyway, I eventually was seen at seen at just after 11.30pm!!! Apologies from the very nice doctor, who said they had had an exceptionally busy night of emergencies and he had stayed on past his 4pm shift finish to help out – he must have been exhausted, but remained very polite and professional. The doctor said he thought I had sprained my left ankle and strongly suspects I had a scaphoid and metacarpal fracture in my left hand and I need to come back tomorrow (Saturday) for an X-ray. I was given a Futura hand splint for support by a nurse, which made it feel more comfortable. Good job I took out holiday insurance – will need to ring them in morning. Supposed to be going on ferry on Sunday. Really don't know what will happen until tomorrow.

PICTURES TO BE ADDED

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  

FRIDAY 22nd OCTOBER
Grey Phalarope, Little Auk, Pomarine Skuas x 5, Little Gull, Purple Sandpiper, Water Pipit, White-fronted Goose at Titchwell RSPB
Little Auk, Pomarine Skuas x 2, Black-throated Diver, Little Gulls x 30, Scaup, Snow Buntings x 2, Velvet Scoter flew past Cley
Cattle Egret, Caspian Gull at Cley NWT
Storm Petrel from hide, Little Stints x 3 at Snettisham RSPB
White-billed Diver, Great Northern Diver (probable), Little Auk, Velvet Scoters x 2, Little Gulls x 3 at Winterton
Little Auk, Great Northern Divers x 2, Grey Phalaropes x 2, Pomarine Skua flew past Sheringham
Great Northern Diver flew past South Beach, Heacham
Little Auk flew past Holkham Gap
Cattle Egret at Welney WWT
Pomarine Skua flew past Waxham
Little Auk on Broadwater, Little Gull at Holme
Little Auk, Scaup flew past Weybourne Camp
Long-tailed Duck, Little Gulls x 22 at Mundesley
Pomarine Skua, Little Gulls x 12 at Sidestrand
 
MEGA NEWS
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Blacktoft Sands RSPB, Yorkshire
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER
Crookhaven, County Cork, Ireland

Thursday, 21 October 2021

SHETLAND TRIP – DAY 21: Mossy Hill, Gulberwick & Lerwick!

Redwing at Mossy Hill
 

Firstly, I'm completely gutted to read on RBA this evening at 6.52pm that 3+ Orcas were seen at Troswick, Boddam!!! This is just south of me and I have never seen an Orca, so sad about this. The message didn't say what time or which way they were heading. 😢 The WhatsApp Cetacean group did say that someone had ".....seen a whale from Troswick, heading north. One large dorsal fin (probably orca?) Lost sight of it in the choppy water 11.45" But there were no further messages after that.

I spent far too long editing all my photos for the last six days last night and so up late today. All pictures now added to all posts. Here are the links: 14th October, 15th October, 16th October, 17th October, 18th October, 19th October and 20th October.

Redwings feeding at Mossy Hill
Just noticed the out of focus, pale chested bird at the back?!

Quarry at Mossy Hill

Garden at Gulberwick

Cute Hens in garden opposite the Kirk at Gulberwick
 

Went to Mossy Hill again this afternoon, checked out the two quarries – the larger quarry had no birds and the smaller one had a Blackbird and a Meadow Pipit. Saw Redwings and Blackbirds again, but significantly less than yesterday. The biggest flock I saw was in fields on the left, just before Henderson's Garage and Spiggie Beach. News on the WhatsApp group of Dolphins in Gulberwick Bay, had me heading north! The messenger updated with apologies and that they were Harbour Porpoises – I was there at that point anyway and saw the Harbour Porpoises distantly from a high road. Whilst I was here, I parked up by the Kirk and returned to the fabulous garden (now raining) and with permission, walked around parts of the garden and the burn again. Saw a Sparrowhawk and a few Redwings and Blackbirds, but nothing else seen.

Went into Lerwick to buy a few things from Tescos and then bought the best fish 'n'chips ever from Fort Cafe and Takeaway – there was a queue, but it was worth it. Sat in my car by the harbour just past Fjara cafe and enjoyed my tea! In the fading light, I could see a Heron by the rocks and some gulls. Drove home at about 6.30pm. Tomorrow will be a big tour day!

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  

Grey Phalarope, Velvet Scoters x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Little Stint, Spoonbills x 5 at Snettisham RSPB
Hen Harrier at Ken Hill Marsh, Snettisham Coastal Park
Storm Petrel, Leach's Petrel, Sabine's Gull juv., Grey Phalarope, Red-necked Grebe, Velvet Scoter, Pomarine Skuas x 14, Little Gulls x 291, Puffins x 15 at Sheringham
Pomarine Skua (probable), Black Guillemot, Puffin, Little Gulls x 5, Purple Sandpiper at Overstrand
Grey Phalarope, Caspian Gull at Cley NWT
Little Auk flew past Cley
Ring Ouzel at Holkham Freshmarsh
Rough-legged Buzzard juv. at Holkham Pines
Cattle Egrets x 2, Spotted Redshank at Welney WWT
White-billed Diver flew past Winterton
Red-necked Grebe, Scaup at Weybourne Camp
Grey Phalarope, Snow Bunting at Weybourne
Sabine's Gull, Pomarine Skuas x 7, Velvet Scoters x 2, Purple Sandpipers x 2 at Holme Dunes NWT
Little Gulls x 3 at Sidestrand
Scaup, Little Gulls x 55 at Mundesley
Snow Bunting at Thornham Point
 
MEGA NEWS
WHITE-TAILED LAPWING
Blacktoft Sands RSPB, Yorkshire
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER
Crookhaven, County Cork, Ireland

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

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  

Grey Phalarope, Little Gulls x 10, Spotted Redshank, Purple Sandpiper, Great Northern Diver, Water Pipit at Titchwell RSPB
Snow Buntings x 3 at Thornham Point
Caspian Gulls x 2 at Cromer
Cattle Egrets x 2, Little Stints x 2 at Potter Heigham Marshes
Bittern x 2, Cattle Egret, Hen Harrier at Welney WWT
Velvet Scoter x 3, Little Gulls x 7 at Winterton
Yellow-browed Warbler at Walsey Hills NOA
Caspian Gulls x 2 at Cley NWT
Little Gull flew past Mundesley
Red-necked Grebe, juv. Black-throated Diver reported between Gramborough & Weybourne
 
MEGA NEWS
WHITE-TAILED LAPWING
Blacktoft Sands RSPB, Yorkshire
TWO-BARRED GREENISH WARBLER
Spurn Point, Yorkshire
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER
Crookhaven, County Cork, Ireland
GREATER YELLOWLEGS
Loch of Strathbeg RSPB, Aberdeenshire

SHETLAND TRIP – DAY 20: Thousands of Redwings & Blackbirds!

 Sheep at Mossy Hill and St Ninian's Tombola
 

It rained all day, mostly. This morning I threw out and broke up a stale cheese brown roll and a couple of vege sausage rolls onto the lawn – it attracted the usual Starlings and House Sparrows, but I got a fantastic surprise of THREE Hooded Crows on the lawn too! Wow! They were camera shy though and flew off, the second I approached the window – all food cleared in approximately 10 minutes!

Starlings, House Sparrows & 3 Hooded Crows (flew off) on the lawn
 

I lit the fire in the middle of the day and it made the cottage really cosy. I spent the majority of the day editing photos and adding to all my posts, which are now almost complete. At 4.45pm the sun unexpectedly came out! I shot outside with my camera and binoculars and drove up to Mossy Hill, above Levenwick. This was probably one of the best highlights of my trip! Seriously! As I ascended the hill on the narrow, single track road/path, Redwings and Blackbirds were flitting about all over the place. Also saw a couple of Robins and some Meadow Pipits. When I reached the top, I branched right and then left, viewing St Ninian's Tombola on the horizon – what a view! It was bitterly cold up here! Not complaining, I like cold, but my goodness it cut through you!

Redwing on Mossy Hill
 
Blackbird on Mossy Hill
 
Mossy Hill and St Ninian's Tombola
 

Spiggie Beach
 

Now on the north side of the hill, it was bouncing with Redwings, thousands of them – feeding on the verges, in the burns, in the fields, everywhere! I have no idea what the exact numbers would of been, it was an incredible sight! I have never seen this many together at any time in my life! There were also loads of Blackbirds, but I would say the majority were Redwings. I was the only person here to witness this! Took some sunset and sheep pictures and then decided to continue driving, to see where I ended up. I could see Spiggie Beach when I got to the bottom of the hill, where I turned right, followed a fabulously scenic road alongside the sea and then found myself at Geosetter! Sat here for a while in the semi-dusk watching lots of Blackbirds and a few Redwings in the field alongside the road. Drove back home and continued editing pictures! The wind and rain is increasing this evening.

The Hume's Warbler remains in the garden at Boddam and news of a Greenish Warbler found late afternoon, came up on the RBA website at 5.23pm in the same garden! Forecast for tomorrow is 55mph winds, hail and showers! Friday is also windy, but more sun than rain, so going on a big drive north that day hopefully.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

SHETLAND TRIP – DAY 19: Another BIG Day & A Hume's Warbler!

HUME'S WARBLER
Boddam
 

I decided to start south and arrived at Grutness Pier early morning. After the huge fall yesterday and fog last night, there was still a huge amount of migrants to see today. Grutness was alive with birds, mostly Redwings, Blackbirds and House Sparrows, but also found a Song Thrush on the grass amongst the boulders on the other side of the wall. Mallards were in the pool by the wall and also saw a couple of Wrens. News came up on the WhatsApp group of a Hume's Warbler at Boddam!

In the garden at the Lighthouse at Sumburgh Head, it was riddled with migrants! I spent a long time here and managed to see several Goldcrests, a male Blackcap, Robins, Wrens, a Brambling, Redwings and Blackbirds. Fulmars were sailing around the clifftop. Sadly, no sign of yesterday's Pallas's Warbler. I saw something fly into the roses (from a distance) and took some pictures – I was quite taken back when I was going through my pictures this evening! It had to be a Redwing, but it was doing a brilliant impression of a small owl!!! Returned to Grutness Pier again for a short while and watched a male and female Blackcap having a wash and brush up in a puddle!

Sumburgh Lighthouse
 
Cliffs at Sumburgh Head
 
Redwing in the garden at Sumburgh Lighthouse
 
Blackbird in the garden at Sumburgh Lighthouse
 
Redwing doing an owl impression!
In the middle of the lighthouse garden

Goldcrest in the garden at Sumburgh Lighthouse
 
Blackcap in the garden at Sumburgh Lighthouse
 
Brambling on the wall at Sumburgh Lighthouse

I then headed to Boddam to see the Hume's Warbler, which was in a local birder's garden – Paul H. had kindly allowed people in his garden to see this cracking little bird. As I stood there with Paul B., Paul H., Jim, Hugh H, Andrew H and a few others, I realised how there would be have been 50+ birders, had this been in Norfolk. Such a joy to watch something good with so few people. The Hume's Warbler flitted around like it was on fire, never resting or stopping for more than a fraction of a second and incredibly difficult to photograph – we were viewing from a lawn and looking over a stone wall into another garden full of trees, The Hume's Warbler teased and tantilised for hours and would occasionally appear just above the wall, but by the time you had lifted your camera, it had gone again! I stubbornly stayed and waited a long time to obtain a smudgy picture – my pictures improved slightly, just before I left. Also watched a Chiffchaff constantly chasing the Hume's around. A Redpoll landed in a tree briefly, behind where we were standing.

HUME'S WARBLER
Boddam
 
Redpoll in garden at Boddam
 
Chiffchaff in garden at Boddam
 

It was just after 2pm when I had finally had my lunch in the car. It had started raining and this continued for the rest of the day. I went to Hestingott to look for migrants and returned to the garden where the RFB had spent most of its time – found Starlings, Redwings, Blackbirds and House Sparrows. Had a look in the Virkie Willows for the Little Bunting found earlier, but no joy with that. News came up of a Radde's Warbler found by the Orca Country Inn at Hoswick, but I decided it was a bit late in the day and would be too dark in those trees by the time I got there and also it might not have been showing very much.

Parked up by the Sumburgh Hotel and walked north over the field to the stone wall by the sea, where I flushed a Woodcock! Lots of Redwings, Blackbirds and also a few Meadow Pipits, Robins and Bramblings seen. I returned to Sumburgh Lighthouse and checked the garden again in dense fog! Only found 1 Robin here and a Brambling feeding by the car park. The slopes around the lighthouse were covered in Blackbirds and Redwings as I drove back down the road.  I stopped by the quarry and found 6 Blackbirds and 1 Robin besides the usual Fulmars. I had a last look at Grutness Pier at just before 6pm and was fascinated to see at least 15+ Blackbirds perched on the large boulders at the far end of the pier! Returned home in the fog.

A WHITE'S THRUSH had been found by Stephen Dunston on Out Skerries today! Throughout the day, others had found some good birds on Shetland including: Long-eared Owls, Ring Ouzels, Hawfinches, Blyth's Reed Warblers x 2, Little Buntings, Black Redstarts, Great Grey Shrike, Radde's Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Siberian Chiffchaffs, to name but a few. Its going to be heavy rain and strong winds for the next couple of days, so I may stay in tomorrow morning and add all the photos to my posts! One week from today I will back at work! Can't believe I have to leave this Sunday!