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Saturday 30 September 2023

Birding on Fetlar & Yell!

Update tomorrow as shattered, but in brief:

Went to Fetlar with Jill and Rob to look for the Tennessee Warbler, along with several car loads of birders on the 6.40am Ferry from Toft. Male and Female Blackcaps, Goldcrests, Blackbirds, Willow Warbler, but no Tennessee Warbler sadly.

Found a Hawfinch on the road amongst some houses, which looked poorly. Stopped a cat charging it.

Took ferry back to Yell and attempted to find the Arctic Warbler, failed. Went to an amazing beach in North Yell.

Returned to mainland. Went back to Lunna, but not for the Veery again, but to look in some really interested scrub alongside a dry stone wall I saw yesterday and found a Yellow-browed Warbler, Goldcrest, Starlings, House Sparrows.

Pictures and full write up on Monday evening.


Shetland Bird News, Latest Sightings: 

Fair Isle Bird Observatory, Latest Sightings:

More Mega Birds turning up!

YELLOW WARBLER on Tiree, Argyll & Bute
BOBOLINKS  x 2 on St Mary's, Isles of Scillies

Friday 29 September 2023


Lunna, Shetland

Another new bird, another mega, another awesome day!


I had a hairdressers appointment in the morning, got out of there at 13.50. Went to Lerwick Health Centre for an appointment at 14.00. Logged into the computer to log my arrival, it accepted my name, date of birth etc and I sat in the waiting room. I waited. News of a new bird for me hit WhatsApp, a Veery!!! Always wanted to see one of these, how frustrating that I was not able to go now. When it got to 14.35, I walked to the reception desk to ask how late they were running. You couldn't make up what happened next! The receptionist said, we tried to contact you a couple of days ago, as the person who was seeing you is off sick. So long and short of it was, I sat there for 35 minutes for an appointment that had been cancelled, when I could have been driving north!!! No words!

Headed to Lunna Kirk. Passed several birder's cars and tour mini buses leaving! I don't think I have been here before, its a very beautiful area indeed. Parked my car on the grass just before the Lunna Kirk sign and then walked left through a farm gate to join others standing watching a Veery feeding in the leaf litter amongst several trees, backed by a very tall stone wall – a sheltered little spot from the wind and rain. When I first saw it, it was truly magical, this is the first rare thrush I have ever seen, just wow!


Not long after I arrived, someone said there were Orcas in the bay around the corner, several people left. What a dilema! Did I stay here to watch my new bird, or go and have my third sighting of Orcas? I decided to stay with the Veery! I can't remember how many people were here when I first arrived, maybe 35 people at a guesss. 'Veery' difficult to photograph, as there was an square fence wire all the way along!

It was magical to watch this stunning little thrush, cute is an understatement! It kicked the leaves about in an amusingly aggresive manner to find the food it so desperately needed after its long journey. It was beautiful to watch it really was. I can't quite believe all the amazing birds I'm seeing here, so very lucky! I stayed here until the very end and left one person with it, an artist sketching the Veery – I think he said he name was Howard.

Walked down to the beach to take some scenery pictures, returned to my car and headed home. Stocked up for tomorrow in the Co-op. A very early start in the morning!


Shetland Bird News, Latest Sightings: 

Fair Isle Bird Observatory, Latest Sightings:

More Mega Birds turning up!

CAPE MAY WARBLER Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland
BALTIMORE ORIOLE Dursey Island, County Cork, Ireland
VEERY Lunna Kirk, Shetland
TENNESSEE WARBLER at Feal, Fetlar, Shetland
BOBALINK St Mary's, Isles of Scilly

Wednesday 27 September 2023


Shetland Bird News, Latest Sightings: 

Fair Isle Bird Observatory, Latest Sightings:
More Mega Birds turning up!
The THIRD bird in a week!
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER at Bardsey Island, Gwynedd!

Got home from work, sat on sofa and had a quick check of birds around before going to Wester Quarff to try and see the Rustic Bunting – this didn't happen. At 8.45pm I woke up!!! 😲 I was in total shock, I could not believe I had been asleep all that time!!! My phone was still on silent from work, so had some missed calls. Good job I didn't miss anything major being found this evening!!!

Looking forward to another American Vagrant here! Never seen a Black-and-White Warbler anywhere, so that will do for starters!!! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜Š

This could potentially happen here – maybe πŸ˜‰ !!!

Tuesday 26 September 2023



The Geosetter Burn, Shetland

Massive thanks to William Carter for finding this incredible bird! πŸ‘

I was at work. At 9.56am a message came up on the WhatsApp Shetland Rare group from William Carter, a visiting birder who had found a BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER at The Geosetter Burn!!!!! OMG!!! The torture of knowing I wasn't going to see this until the evening or even not at all, was almost unbearable.

Flew home in my lunch break to load the car up with birding gear and moved the car closer than it was for a quick get away at the end of the day. Saw a picture from Dougie Preston on Twitter at lunch time – I couldn't belive what I was seeing, what a bird! Warblers are my favourite birds and this Blackburnian Warbler was on another level, striking, stunning and pristine!

I had some time in lieu, so Catherine very, very kindly let me finish at 3.45pm. I flew to the car and drove to the Geosetter Burn. Parked up to find only a handful of people here! If this had been Norfolk, there would have been 1000 plus for this mega bird! The weather was dull and later it was raining.

I crossed the Geosetter Bridge, climbed over the stile and followed the fenceline along the burn to join a few others. The panic that sets in until you see the bird, almost takes your breath away! Suddenly the Blackburnian Warbler came into view at about 4.30pm – there are no appropriate words to describe my first viewing of this striped black, green, yellow and white warbler, flicking around feeding in the willows at great speed! I became VERY emotional, which was partly because my late father also loved his warblers and I know how much he would have loved to have seen this. I COULD NOT BELIEVE WHAT I WAS SEEING! Was this better than the Yellow Warbler? difficult to answer, but right now it felt INCREDIBLE! I never thought I would see one of these!

It was freezing cold as the evening progressed, but I didn't give a hoot! This bird was insanely difficult to photograph in the fading light, but got one or two ok shots. I took 482 pictures!!! Most will be deleted. I certainly have not got any sunny shots that I have seen on the net, that others have taken earlier in the day. That's the luck of the draw, if you are at work, there is nothing you can do about it. I feel insanely privileged to have seen the Blackburnian Warbler and a MASSIVE thank you to William Carter, you have made a lot of people extremely happy indeed! 😊 πŸ‘ πŸŽ‰ 🎊
Previous records: 5th October 1961 – Skomer, Pembrokeshire. 7th October 1988 – Fair Isle, Shetland. 12th to 14th 2009 – St Kilda, Western Isles. 20th September 2023 – Skellig Islands, County Kerry, Ireland.
Yellow-browed Warbler and Blackburnian Warbler!

The Blackburnian Warbler had a circuit going on, but the best place to stand was by the willows, higher up the burn on the other side of the Geosetter bridge. It would occassionally sit on the fence line on the other side (the house side) and at one point there was a Yellow-browed Warbler sitting with it – you couldn't make this up!!! There was also a Goldcrest in there and later on I spotted a flycatcher, which had a slate grey back – it was sitting with its back to me and I couldn't see any collar at all – I was told later this was a Red-breasted Flycatcher, but it didn't look right for that. A man called Andrew and myself were the last to see the Blackburnian Warbler at 6.45pm, when we walked back to our cars. As I walked alone back past the burn at the bottom to my car, a weirdly shaped bird with a flight pattern I didn't recognise flew out of the burn and across the other side of the road! Goodness knows what that was!
Drove home in lashing rain and nowhere to park in my street again! Ironed uniforms, cooked tea, put washing machine on, all things I didn't want to do, then started the blog! If I wasn't at work, I would be back first thing in the morning, I hope its still there tomorrow. What else will be found?! Exciting days ahead in Shetland. I LOVE IT HERE!!! πŸ’–


Shetland Bird News, Latest Sightings: 

Fair Isle Bird Observatory, Latest Sightings:
More Mega Birds turning up!

BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER Geosetter Burn, Shetland

RBA Weekly Round-up 19th to 20th September!

By Jon Dunn

Thank you to the RBA Team for including my Citrine Wagtail and Red-backed Shrike photo in their weekly round up.

Twitch North to Melby for a Possible Eastern Towhee!!!

I had a single Redpoll at Clickimin Loch, a few Blackbirds, Starlings and House Sparrows. I spent ages looking for the 'showing well' Barred Warbler – not for me it didn't! πŸ˜‚ Vivien called me on WhatsApp video and it was great to see Lucy too! They had both been out to lunch. I sat on a seat along the path at Clickimin whilst we were chatting and a bit later on Catherine, my lovely work colleague walked past, as I was peering into a bush at a possible Barred Warbler movement – nothing came of it, gave up. Checked Helendale and only saw a Wren. It was so windy though and this has not helped anyone find any new birds today.

Parked up along Sea Road – the strong south westerly wind was whipping up the sea and it was spectacular to watch the waves crashing over the rocks close to the road, a beautiful sunny day here in Shetland. I walked up to West Hall for another look at the Bluethroat, where finder Lyn was with Ray and another couple who told me they read my blog and a friend of theirs said to say hello, how lovely, thank you. A while later, everyone left and I continued to watch the Bluethroat, no good for photography at this time of the day as I was looking straight into the sun. Three Swallows flew over. Scanned West Hall garden carefully for any migrants.

Suddenly a message came up on the Rare Bird WhatsApp group from Jill and Rob Wilson, saying they thought they just had an Eastern Towhee twice briefly at Melby House and if anyone was in the area, can they help look. I knew it was rare, as I had no idea what it was, I confess! I immediately rang Rob and Jill and chatted to them about their find (see their account link further down) and to ask of the exact location in Melby – Jill said she and Rob had seen Eastern Towhee's in the 'states'. I hesitated for 5 minutes, only because of the time, but then decided it would be crazy not to go. So headed north on the long and winding road to Melby House, which is at the end of the shoreline of Melby beach, a very pretty area, which I have visited a few times before. Quite a few people from out of area, approximately 20+ turned up, including Phil Harris, Paul Harvey, both with their thermal image cameras, Ann, Julie Redpath and other faces I recognised, but didn't know their names. Everyone searched very hard indeed until dusk.

When it got to the point that I decided it couldn't be in the garden and surrounding scrub, I decided to jump in the car and search the gardens in the direction that Jill and Rob had seen the bird fly. Paul H. asked if he could have a lift and we searched three gardens along the beginning of the Huxter Road. Paul saw a Goldcrest and a Wren which he was able to find with the thermal image camera. Met a lovely family here, who very kindly invited us into their garden – they seemed very amused by all our madness, but seemed quite excited when I said this bird was a possible 2nd for Britain! The first Eastern Towhee in Britain was on 7th June 1966 trapped and ringed on Lundy, Devon. This would be a potential first, for probably every birder and twitcher in the UK!

Paul walked back to his car at Melby House and I drove further along the Huxter Road and attempted to check a few gardens on route, but too dark now. It was a very LONG drive home on twisty roads to find there were no close spaces in my street at all. A long walk with heavy gear! I'm back at work tomorrow, so need to have the car packed up ready to go at 4.30pm. I really hope this bird is found again, what a spectacular find for Jill and Rob! Read their account here. I think its definately worth checking all the gardens along the Huxter Road in the morning – obviously from the outside and not tresspassing! Good luck to everyone searching tomorrow! With lots of people looking, something else will more than probably be found too!

Monday 25 September 2023


Shetland Bird News, Latest Sightings: 

Fair Isle Bird Observatory, Latest Sightings:
More Mega Birds turning up!

Northern Parula St Martin's, Isles of Scilly
Bobalink on St Agnes, Isles of Scilly
Yellow-breasted Bunting on Lundy, Devon
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper at Blacktoft Sands RSPB
Canada Warbler (last seen on Saturday) still at St Govan's Head, Pembrokeshire
Eastern Towhee (possible) found early evening at Melby, Shetland

Sunday 24 September 2023

Searching for Migrants

Apart from going to try and see a Red-breasted Flycatcher in someone's garden at Sandwick and failing, I spent the entire time trying to find my own birds and also failing. It was not a productive day at all.

I had a quick look round the craft fair in "The Mareel" (cinema and arts centre) this morning, which is all part of the "Shetland Wool Week" festivities, but nothing caught my eye enough to spend any pennies. This was the first time I had been inside this building, which also has a large cafe, it has a real wow factor and makes the cinema in King's Lynn look extremely tired and outdated!

Drove to Hoswick to look for something in particular I wanted to buy in the Hoswick Visitor Centre, but it had a "Closed" sign on the door, due to a Wool Week class taking place in there! Lost my custom! Annoyed it was closed, I then went to Sandwick to see the Red-breasted Flycatcher someone had found. Parked by the church and walked back up the road to stand and look in the garden. No sign. Then a tour birding group turned up and we saw a Willow Warbler flitting around, but still no RBFly. I walked back to my car along with another birder and we both checked out the garden at the bottom of the road, which is past the church, around a corner and next to the "Noness" road sign. After chatting birds and Shetland for a while and then this man telling me he was going to Fair Isle tomorrow, I suddenly realised and said "are you Steve Arlow?" "Yes" he said. Steve found a Blackcap in the trees, which I only saw in flight briefly. Nothing else of note in here. Steve walked back to his car and I continued walking to the beach area and left towards the house called "Seascape" with the long and lovely garden. I spent ages checking this garden and fustratingly an LBJ shot into one of the Rosa bushes and I didn't see it again. Further along the road I had a massive count of Ringed Plovers – 44 of them at least, along with Turnstones and 1 Knot in a field. On route back I had 40+ House Sparrows near the beach. Retraced my steps to the car and left.

Drove to Oracoy and Fladdibister. Had another disappearing LBJ in a sycamore and that was it for the day! Drove home and off out early tomorrow!


Shetland Bird News, Latest Sightings: 

Fair Isle Bird Observatory, Latest Sightings:
More Mega Birds turning up!
A SECOND Magnolia Warbler for Wales! At Baglan Energy Park, Briton Ferry!
Tennessee Warbler now in Barra, Western Isles!

Saturday 23 September 2023

More Hot Birding in Lerwick + Crazy Cat, Autumn Birders Arrive & Birding South!

Seafield Park, Lerwick

On the spur of the moment I decided to go to Tingwall, to view another house, no keys or appointment, just went for a look. It would have taken a builder over a year to sort it out, plus I didn't like where it was, didn't feel right, so crossed that off the list! After getting lost trying to find this property, I found some fabulous gardens and trees at Laxfirth. So many places to explore in Shetland, I feel reborn!

I returned to Lerwick and headed to Seafield Park again! It was pointed out to me today, that I had put one of my Pied Wagtail shots up on Twitter/X and on my blog as the Citrine Wagtail!!! πŸ˜‚ Oh dear, that's what happens when you are editing pictures late and on new medication!!!

Manure Heap in horse paddock by West Hall, off Sea Road, Lerwick


I had no intention of staying in Lerwick birding for most of the day, but that's what happened! Had good views of the Citrine Wagtail again. Lots of visiting birders here today and had lots of fascinating catch-ups and conversations with old and new birders. Paul H. had the Yellow Wagtail at the horse paddock I was in yesterday and Ray and Lyn went off to see it. Shortly afterwards, I also went to the Yellow Wagtail paddock, via the fabulous tree lined track, that heads to the sea, then turned right and then headed up the track to West Hall and the horse paddock. On route Ray phoned me to say that the Yellow Wagtail had flown off, but Lyn had just found a Bluethroat!!! Brilliant! Minutes later I was watching it! It was in the horse manure heaps and dock plants in the middle of the horse paddock. Initially it was very elusive and would only pop up on the manure heap now and again and mostly stayed hidden in the vegetation. But later, it spent more time on the manure heap on the right hand side, sometimes on the far left side and would sometimes disappear behind all of the manure heaps. Excellent start to the day's birding! I spent far too long here trying to get distant photos and looking into the sun, not a good recipe for crisp photos, but I was pleased I got something.

So, she wants to play?

You have made a big mistake lady!

Tabby Cat stalking his prey – me!!!

I had an intriguing and suprising incident with a cat whilst here. A gorgeously marked brown tabby cat, with hints of ginger in the stripes was sitting by the corner near West Hall and I coaxed it towards me with my usual 'come on then' etc etc! It came running down the track and greeted me with loud purring and enjoying the fuss of me tickling him under the chin etc etc. He really was a stunningly beautiful cat. 15 minutes later, I did the same again and the cat came running towards me, enjoyed the fuss again and then suddenly, with no warning, he spun his head around like lightening and nashed his teeth as if he was going to bite me – I moved far too quickly for that happen! I never expected that! I was in shock for a moment! I have never met a cat that fooled you into thinking it was the sweetest thing ever and then turn on you! A short while later whilst telling Andy J about this he said "Ahh... I should have warned you about that cat, it happened to me and it bit me"!!! Later on I got chatting to a local couple (one on a small pony) and they were also fully aware of this cat's antics! So, be warned, don't be lured in to "I'm the sweetest cat ever" game!!! 😻😼

Ambled back along Sea Road and then turned left back along the tree lined track. I spent ages here, along with other birders, as Ray had found a Barred Warbler here earlier. We thought we had it fly across from a sycamore to another one, but couldn't really count it on that view! There was also a Yellow-browed Warbler calling in here and late on I managed to pin it down and watched it briefly feeding in the top of a sycamore and pointed this out to a group being led by someone. I walked up and down this track again, but it only produced Blackbirds and a Collared Dove. The West Hall garden looks so good for birds, I imagined a Siberian Rubythroat feeding along the far narrow little stony flower border alongside the perimeter fence. That surely must have had some good birds over the years, if it hasn't, it can surely only be a matter of time!

Red-backed Shrike
Near the Spiggie Hotel in late evening light

Ambled back to my car and on route, I had more close views of the Citrine Wagtail in its favourite puddle next to the stone wall of Seafield Park. I had coffee and lunch at 4.45pm! At this point I should have sensibly gone home, but instead I headed south to the Spiggie Hotel and after kind help from a couple of people as to exact location of the Red-backed Shrike, I suddenly realised it was sat on the fence only 50 yards away from me! I was parked in the car park of the hotel. Wonderful! I got some pictures, but none sharp as light gone and camera wouldn't focus properly. Headed to Noss Farm for the Pectoral Sandpiper, but almost dark and I wasn't sure of exact location. In a stubble field there were 50+ Greylag Geese and a real surprise of three Knot just on the near edge of the field, which I hadn't expected!

Cruised home and watched the last two dances on Strictly Come Dancing. Its 80% rain tomorrow until 1pm, so might edit today's pictures in the morning. Far too tired to do them now, good night! Or I might go to one of the Shetland Wool Week craft fairs, there is one in the The Anderson High School and one in The Mareel tomorrow. I don't think there is a single room spare anywhere in Shetland with wool week and bird visitors here on mass! 



Shetland Bird News, Latest Sightings: 

Fair Isle Bird Observatory, Latest Sightings: 


More seriously mega birds turning up, including:

A SECOND Black-and-white Warbler on Bardsey Island!
Northern Parula on St Martins, Isles of Scilly
Canada Warbler at St Govan's Head, Pembrokeshire
Tyrant Flycatcher sp (Empidonax sp) at Cilan Head, SSW of Abersoch, Gwynedd
Bobolink, Nash Point, Glamorgan, South Wales
Oven Bird at Isle of Rhum
Philadelphia Vireo + 2 Red-eyed Vireos at Castlebay, Barra, Western Isles
Tennessee Warbler at Inishbofin, County Galway, Ireland
Alder Flycatcher at Skokholm Island, Pembrokeshire

Come on Shetland !!!

Friday 22 September 2023

Citrine Wagtail in The Rain & Exploring!

 Seafield Park, Lerwick


A rainy day, but a wonderful day! I had to sort some important things in the morning to do with the house I looked at the other day and this had to come first. So I didn't get out birding until lunchtime. I went straight to Seafield Road and Park area to look for the Citrine Warbler 1w. that was found yesterday afternoon. Andy J. had last seen it in a horse paddock, along with a Yellow Wagtail by West Hall, so I decided to start there first. I parked my car up on a verge along Seafield Road and bumped into a couple  of birders looking over a stone wall, we were not sure if this was the right place or not. Julie R. very kindly stopped along the road in her car to tell me exactly where the horse paddock was and she said that there was a Yellow Wagtail, but no sign of the Citrine Wagtail.

I walked up the road to West Hall and the horse paddock. No sign of any wagtails now! But, what a fantastic spot, especially the West Hall garden, which you can see most of from the road, full of shrubs, rosas, sycamores etc and a large grass lawn. Collared Dove seen here and a Blackbird. Starlings and Blackbirds in the horse paddock. Lots of bird movement here with at least 100+ Meadow Pipits, which were flying in, landing briefly and flying off again. Hugh H. joined me briefly as he hadn't seen the wagtail yet either, he then left and went to Seafield Park. Later on I felt pretty sure ish, that I had the Citrine Wagtail with Pieds at the top of the paddock, when I was standing at the bottom along the road – they all landed for a very short while, under a minute probably and I couldn't really see clear enough to be sure. Something spooked them and they all flew off over the fence, house and towards the beach. I walked up as far as you can and scanned for a while but no sign. A short while later, Hugh rang me to see had the Citrine Wagtail at Seafield Park area.

Citrine Wagtail in garden near Seafield Park, Lerwick
Pied Wagtail
Labelled incorrectly last night!


Speed walked/ran back to my car, where Jim N. was also and we both headed up to Seafield Park to join several birders watching the Citrine Wagtail on someone's lawn, opposite the the stone wall that is the right hand side, when you drive into the car park. Its the garden with two large stone pillars at the driveway. Fabulous views were had here! The light was the wrong way though and I have far too many not particularly pleasing shots. Pied Wagtails here also. Jill W. then turned up too and later on she got picture of the day! She was standing by the wall photographing the Citrine Wagtail amongst a tallish grassy area with a puddle in the playing field – when she showed me on the camera, one shot in particular, looking cracking!

Returned to my car to have late lunch. Then Chris turned up (can't remember his surname) who we met on Foula. Jill returned to her car to join Rob and I stood for ages chatting with them about the house I had looked at and general catch up! Then Ray O'Reilly and Lyn Griffiths arrived – so lovely to see them here, they had just returned from going to the Outer Skerries this morning! I looked for the Citrine Wagtail again, but it had vanished. I continued walking along the path of sycamores next to the park and found an amazing house at the end and also some beautiful flowers lining a drive to another house – they looked like massive purple crocuses – I have no idea what they were?! I then headed along a fabulously exciting sycamore lined track which leads back to Seafield Road and the sea. No birds seen here, but huge potential for tired migrants!

Autumn Crocuses by a house near Sea Road, Lerwick

Along the road, I suddenly spotted a Wheatear that landed on the rocks below the road and sat in a hunched position and for a split second, I thought I had a Desert Wheatear – it just looked different and the way it was sitting, really got me questioning what I was looking at. It looked more orangy and quite striking, plus it looked more rounded in the belly than a Wheatear. I took some pictures (it was distant) and then Ray and Lyn drove past me in their car and after showing Ray the picture, he confirmed that it was just a Wheatear – oh well!

Wheatear along Sea Road, Lerwick

Returned the same route back to my car. Drenched now. Went to Tescos with bedraggled dripping hair to do what was supposed to be a top up shop, but it came to £55! Showing my age now, I can remember the days when I first left home, when three heavy bags of shopping was around £15!!! Massive relief when I returned to my street to find that there was one parking space left!


Shetland Bird News, Latest Sightings:

Fair Isle Bird Observatory, Latest Sightings:

Thursday 21 September 2023


Shetland Bird News, Latest Sightings: 

Fair Isle Bird Observatory, Latest Sightings:


I can't recall ever seeing a day of so many seriously mega birds turning up!
This list must be unprecedented!!!

Bay-breasted Warbler at Ramsey Island, Magnolia Warbler at St Govin's Head, Pembrokeshire
Baltimore Oriole at Inishbofin, County Galway, Cliff Swallows x 2 in County Clare, Cliff Swallow in County Cork, Blackburnian Warbler (yesterday) at County Kerry, Ireland,
Bobalink and probable Alder Flycatcher at Skokholm Island
Possible Sykes's Warbler and possible Eastern Olivaceous Warbler at Mizen Head, Cornwall
Black-and-white Warbler at Bardsey Island
Tennessee Warbler on Barra, Western Isles
Black-and-white Warbler at Tresco, Isles of Scilly!!!!!!

Bird & House News!

As I'm sure some of you have noticed, I started to post the Shetland Bird News from RBA at the end of the day and have now stopped. The reason for this, is because after discussion with a friend of mine, I decided there was no point, especially as the Shetland Bird Club do an extremely thorough post of all the bird news, moth news and cetacean news each day! This also reminds me, I need to join up with them. Life is too short to be typing unnecessarily and I want to cut down time spent sitting at a desk for health reasons and life balance. I can see my ratings have already dropped, but to be honest I'm not really bothered! I originally started this blog to write up my daily sightings of birds, life etc and will continue to do so. So I will link the Shetland and Fair Isle news daily on here, which will take you to both their wonderful websites, to see a full and fascinating list of bird and nature sightings daily. Also, don't forget to link to OR for Norfolk Bird Sightings.

This evening I was the first to view a unique and stunning house, which is about to hit the market. Its within my budget, but again, just like the property at Exnaboe that I lost out to a higher bidder, its probably going to go for far more than I have. I'm not going to give anything away at the moment, but it has stupendous sea views! I feel very excited, but no point getting over excited, until an offer is accepted. Fingers crossed!

In Scotland we have a public holiday on Monday, (we don't get the August one here), so have four days off from Friday! I'm very surprised that Shetland hasn't produced a massive bird today with rain all day and east winds, maybe we will over the next few days, hopefully! 

Monday 18 September 2023

Searching For Migrants In The Rain!

A very rare bird here – Clickimin Loch, Lerwick
Clickimin Loch, Lerwick 

At last I got to see the Magpie, which was feeding on the grass verge alongside the path, opposite the Anderson High School. A dog walker then flushed it and I got a lovely picture of it sitting on a stone wall. Several Blackbirds feeding in the rain and Meadow Pipits and House Sparrows seen. Also a few LBJ's that I couldn't nail down. Bumped into Andy J. who hadn't found a mega yet!

Burn of Sound, Lerwick

Lesser Whitethroat near the playground area, was the best I could find here after much searching. Returned to the road and then checked the seaward side of the burn and found more Blackbirds. I heard a Yellow-browed Warbler calling close by the bridge, but it was lashing down with rain and I couldn't see it, even though I spent a good while trying.

Lesser Whitethroat in the rain at Wester Quarff

Wester Quarff

Just after the second house and right hand corner, there is a small copse of trees next to a burn and this can be a good spot to find birds. I found my second Lesser Whitethroat of the day here. Checked all the gardens up to the voe, but nothing else of note or at Easter Quarff either.


Parked up by the beach for late lunch and watched House Sparrows, Pied Wagtails and 30+ Turnstone and Starlings on the beach.

Leebitton, Sandwick

Stood at the south side of the garden of Sand Lodge on the roadside, to wait for the Blue-flanked Bluetail to appear that someone had found earlier on, but no hope whatsoever in this heavy rain. Had a lovely chat with a man coming to feed his sheep in the field next to where I was standing – I don't know what he shook into the trough, but the three sheep almost sprinted over to him!


I found a Willow Warbler in the garden of 'Leemor', several Turnstones on the beach and a few black rabbits on the cliff.


At the garden by the beach I found a few Blackbirds and House Sparrows. Also checked the trees by the Orca Country Inn, but nothing seen. Too heavy rain for anything to be out on show!

Sumburgh Quarry

Blackbirds and Ravens. Drove home very slowly in dense fog.

Summary: everything will be showing in the sunshine tomorrow, whilst I'm at work!

Shetland Bird News, Latest Sightings:
Fair Isle Bird Observatory, Latest Sightings:

Sunday 17 September 2023


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American Golden Plover at Skaw, Whalsey
Yellow-browed Warbler at Haroldswick, Yellow-browed Warblers x 4, Barred Warblers x 3, Common Barred Warblers x 4, Rosefinches x 2, Hawfinch at Norwick, Unst
Buff-breasted Sandpiper at South Ness, Isle of Foula
Red-flanked Bluetail, Arctic Warblers x 2, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Bluethroat, Yellow-browed Warblers x 9, Barred Warblers x 5, Common Rosefinch, Mealy Redpoll, Black Redstart, Pied Flycatchers x 5, Snow Buntings x 2 at Fair Isle
Blyth's Reed Warbler in garden at Bakkassetter
Pied Flycatcher at Hoswick
Yellow-browed Warbler at Burrafirth
St Kilda, Western Isles, Scotland
Found dead on ship at Seaforth Docks, Lancashire & North Merseyside
South Gare Breakwater, Cleveland
Hound Point & Cramond Island, Lothian, Scotland

Saturday 16 September 2023

Sun, Rainbows, Rain, A Shark, Dolphins & More!

Chatted with Malcolm on the phone this morning (see previous post) to see how he was coping and we had a long chat and reminisced about the 'old days', which probably did us both some good. Then phoned Pete Snook to wish him happy birthday – 21 again, like myself!

It was a stunning day of dramatic skies, which I so love about Shetland. Blue skies, dark clouds, white clouds, surreal rainbows and sprinkles of rain.

I could not refind the Wood Warbler at Boddam, but timed it perfectly when Hugh H. put out a message about a Basking Shark at Boddam, seen from the Croft Museum. I had fabulous scope views of not only the Basking Shark in perfect light – well, two fins being honest, but some White-beaked Dolphins leaping out of the water and also some Risso's Dolphins, WOW, spectacular to see all these and in under half an hour! Lucky me! I spotted a Lesser Whitethroat on a fence close by too and two Swallows flew over.

I left here and went for a scan over Boddam Voe, where the light was simply stunning. A Grey Heron was fishing and there were good numbers of waders here, including lots of Redshank, Ruff, Curlews, Turnstones etc.

Went to Quendale Mill and got very lucky with my first Yellow-browed Warbler of the Autumn (that someone else had found earlier) in the scyamores, but moving around far too quickly for any photos. Five Swallows around too, which was lovely to see. A tabby cat was sitting watching the ducks having a paddle in a large puddle – an amusing scene! Ravens calling, sun setting. Another wonderful day here in Shetland!





  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  

American Golden Plover at Skaw, Whalsey
Buff-breasted Sandpiper at South Ness, Yellow-browed Warbler at Ham, Isle of Foula
Yellow-browed Warbler, Blue Fulmar at Skaw, Pied Flycatcher at Uyeasound, Common Rosefinches x 4, Barred Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Hawfinch at Norwick, Unst
Yellow-browed Warbler at Burravoe, Yell
Arctic Warbler, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Common Rosefinches x 3, Barred Warbler, Yellow-browed Warblers x 2, Snow Buntings x 2, Short-eared Owl, Black Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Mealy Redpolls x 2 at Fair Isle
Little Buntings x 2, Common Rosefinches x 2, Yellow-browed Warbler, Hawfinch at Out Skerries
Barred Warbler at Grutness
Little Stint at Pool of Virkie
Little Stint at Boddam Voe
Yellow-browed Warbler at Swinister Burn, Sandwick
Yellow-browed Warbler, Common Rosefinches x 2 at Burn of Sound, Lerwick
Yellow-browed Warbler at Quendale Mill
Yellow-browed Warblers x 2 in plantation at Dale of Walls
Common Rosefinch at Burrafirth
St Kilda, Western Isles, Scotland
Eyemouth, Borders, Scotland
Flew over Spurn, Yorkshire
South Gare Breakwater, Cleveland