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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!!! 😂 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! 


1 comment:

  1. Really enjoying following your Shetland adventures Penny. Good luck with the house hunting. Paul J (Norfolk birder).