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Sunday 22 October 2023

Northern Treecreeper, Waxwings & More!

Helendale Terrace, Lerwick, Shetland


I got out of the house fairly early and went to Helendale, next to Clickimin Loch in Lerwick. The east winds continue and it was raining all day, but I just had to try my best and find something! I had not seen the Northern Treecreeper here yesterday morning, when news of the Western Olivaceous Warbler broke, so I really wanted to try and see this today.

Parked my car up by the lochside and firstly walked up to Helendale House, nothing of note along here, apart from a few Blackbirds, Goldcrests and a Robin. Walked up Helendale Drive and scanned every tree trunk, waited, watched and then walked left at the top along Helendale Terrace. In the very far left corner, underneath the darkest firs I could hear a Treecreeper and then I saw it! It was firstly on a tall pine in someone's garden, then flew into the lower part of the trunk of a fir, right in front of me! I was SO pleased! The light was dire for photography though, but still got something. I couldn't magic any Coal Tits out though. I was the only person here. Then, whilst scanning the tops of the firs for Coal Tits, I suddenly saw 5 Waxwings! Then John Coutts arrived, I was just pointing these out to him, when we both spotted a whole flock of 23 Waxwings in a tree behind a house and then a good number of them flew towards us and in the garden next to where I had just seen the Treecreeper.

I also saw a female Blackcap, a Chiffchaff and several Goldcrests. An excellent start to the day! It was really nice chatting to John about cameras etc and then Paul B. turned up on a mission to find a Coal Tit, as he hadn't seen one yesterday. I left and walked back up to Helendale House again in case the Treecreeper had relocated to there, but couldn't find it again. Bumped into Phil H. and another birder as I left. Returned to my car and had a quick coffee and then went to Sea Road.

I parked up along Sea Road and walked to West Hall to scan their brilliant looking garden, for anything exciting. Found 3 Blackbirds, a Robin and 2 cute bunnies sitting in the middle of the lawn. The long border under the stone wall, just looks so good for a Siberian Rubythroat! Blackbirds and Redwings in the Rosa scrub by the big pillar entrance and 5 Fieldfares in the horse field just west of here. Checked the horse paddock that overlooks the Sands of Sound and found several Turnstones, a Ringed Plover, Starlings and Redwings. Returned to my car and then walked up the leafy drive track/road just south of here and along the sycamore avenued path/road alongside Seafield Park. Found more Blackbirds, Redwings, Robins, Wren, Chiffchaff and Goldcrests. Got chatting with a lovely local man, who told me he had moved up here many years ago from northern Scotland and never regretted it and loves it here. Still raining. Walked back to my car and headed south.

Searched Levenwick beach area and James S. arrived 5 minutes after I did. James found a Siskin in Leemor (the house I wanted to buy a while back), but I didn't see this. I then found a Siberian Chiffchaff in the garden with the drive and James found a Waxwing, which was feeding on Rosa berries. Checked out the house, garden and drive (that once had a Siberian Rubythroat in once), but only found Blackbirds, Starling and House Sparrows.

Great Spotted Woodpecker
Quendale, Shetland

Drove up to Mossy Hill and I was surprised to find almost nothing, one Redwing and that was it! Nothing in the two quarries either. Bumped into Hugh H. up here, just as I was descending to Scousburgh. News came through of a Glossy Ibis and a Rough-legged Buzzard at Quendale and a Blue Tit at Boddam. Saw the Blue Tit at Boddam and then went to Quendale Mill. Walked to the quarry and dam with Hugh and chatted with Jacquie & Dave and also Ray and Lynne which was nice. Lovely views of a Great Spotted Woodpecker on a post, but too late in the day for the Glossy Ibis, Great Grey Shrike or Rough-legged Buzzard. We all ambled back and saw either the same or another Great Spotted Woodpecker bound across the sycamore trees by the mill. Cruised home and spent ages sorting all my wet gear out!

A fabulous two weeks annual leave, but worried about what I will miss from tomorrow onwards. Fingers crossed that if anything mega if found, that its somewhere in Lerwick, so I have time to see it before the light goes after work. When the clocks go back next weekend, that will be it for evening birding after work, until next Spring. But will still have Friday, Saturday and Sundays!


  1. So good seeing your photos appearing in the BirdGuides news: seems to be regularly now!

  2. So good seeing your photos used in the BirdGuides weekly news: seems to be regular now!