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Sunday 31 December 2023


Today was the first time I have left my house since Thursday 21st December and the first time I've made contact with another human being in person in over ten days! I don't feel 100% yet, but don't feel I'm putting anyone else at risk by going out now. Not that you can call going to Tesco "going out"!!! 😂

It felt strange and almost overwhelming being amongst people again. I have been trapped indoors for far too long. Not being with other people and not being well enough to even go for a walk or a drive somewhere, has tested my brain to the max!

Another day of gales and heavy rain. I still feel exhausted from Covid and have not done anything to prepare for my move in January yet – well that's if it happens, as the buyer's solicitor has still not confirmed everything yet, which they were asked to do before close of business on 22nd December.

Fell asleep on the sofa again this afternoon. Watched a romantic comedy called "Marry Me" starring Jennifer Lopaz and Owen Wilson, which I quite enjoyed and then later watched "An Audience with Kylie", which you can't really go wrong with...


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 

Very strong winds and heavy rain all day.

Saturday 30 December 2023


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Fin Whale at sea off Uyeasound, Unst.


Friday 29th December
Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Glaucous Gull (for 2nd day) at Ham, Foula. Glaucous Gulls x 2 at Westing, Unst.

Thursday 28 December 2023


Rare  Bird  Alert  News
Hen Harrier at Dalsetter, Boddam. Glaucous Gull, Iceland Gull at Skaw, Whalsey.

No power cuts at my house, but limited mobile phone signal last night. Feeling very fed up now, not left my house since I was at work last Thursday, but starting to feel a bit better now and my sense of smell has slightly improved. Still feeling very fatigued though.

Wednesday 27 December 2023

Tuesday 26 December 2023


I didn't even wake up until lunch time and still felt exhausted – this is how Covid affected me last time. No other news. Weather looked good from the window. Lots of Starlings and House Sparrows on the feeders and the odd Blackbird. 


Rare  Bird  Alert  News
Iceland Gull at Cullivoe, Yell.

Monday 25 December 2023


As I was convalescing on the sofa, a Robin flew into the leafless large honeysuckle, looked through the window at me briefly and then flew off "When Robins appear, loved ones are near" Thinking about my parents today 💕 This is the first Robin I have seen in the garden, since being here, must have been a sign!

Enjoyed a ZOOM call with my sisters and Ray, although it seemed to take forever for us all to connect up, we got there in the end! Not much else to report. Watched TV, cooked food, but it all tasted of nothing! I might as well, have cooked one item! 😞

I really thought we might have a White Christmas, but its been a stunning day anyway, with blue skies and fluffy white clouds, such a pity I didn't feel up to going out anywhere, oh well! My ribs are hurting from coughing, I'm a rubbish patient.

Sunday 24 December 2023


I hope you all have a lovely time with your families. It can be a difficult time of year for many, but remember whoever is not with you, is with you in spirit. 💞 Always. Try and remember those many happy Christmases with your loved ones over the years. I fondly recall my father making my sisters and I bespoke Christmas hats and they were brilliantly made, from coloured card and tinsel tassels etc! Cycling up to watch the Christmas Swim in Hunstanton, whilst my dear mother cooked our scrumptious Christmas lunch and in the afternoon walking around the village with our new hats and gloves etc! How different it was in those days. We always had an orange wrapped up in our Santa Sacks, I wonder what children would make of that today!

For those of you on your own, make sure you cook something nice and get some fresh air if you can and watch the birds in your garden, maybe do a Christmas Day Bird List?! One of the advantages of being on your own, is you haven't got the huge stress of cooking for goodness knows how many people! I know some people like doing this, but many don't!

Lucy, Vivien, Ray and I are doing a Christmas ZOOM at 11am!

I want to say a special thank you to all the Shetland birders here, who have made me so welcome since I moved here in May and to all the lovely staff at the Gilbert Bain Hospital, who also have been so kind and welcoming. Also a huge thank you to many friends who have supported me since moving here with all kinds of sensible advice!

If any of my patients are reading this, both past and present, a special message to you all, look after yourselves, stay safe, don't rush and a Happy Christmas to you all 💖

🎄 ⛄ 🎄


Well, with still feeling pretty rough, its not been the best Christmas Eve I've had. Nothing much to report today really. The snow has melted outside now, well at least outside my front window and street it has, don't know about elsewhere in Shetland. Jill and Rob phoned up to ask if I wanted anything and very kindly put some Olbas Oil through my letter box! So I had an exciting steaming session over a bowl this afternoon!

Don't know if I will feel like cooking Christmas lunch tomorrow – will have to see how I feel.



Rare  Bird  Alert  News
Glaucous Full at South Light, Fair Isle. Hen Harrier ringtail at Noness. Snow Bunting at Gutcher, Yell.

Saturday 23 December 2023


Rare  Bird  Alert  News
Snow Bunting at Gutcher, Yell. White-billed Diver, Little Auks x 2 at Vaila, SW of Walls.
Still feeling rough today. Lost my sense of smell and taste. Every tiny thing I attempt to do is exhausting.

Friday 22 December 2023


Rare  Bird  Alert  News
Sleet/snow here for most of the day.

I have had a high temperature 39°C and my face was burning up. I felt so ill today, it must be Covid, but I have no test kits. Good night.

Thursday 21 December 2023


Rare  Bird  Alert  News
Glaucous Gull at Loch of Spiggie. Iceland Gull at Westing, Unst.
The coldest and most severe weather since I have been here. 76mph winds recorded on Unst this morning. Sleet being whipped around in severe, icy and howling winds.

Started to feel ill with a tickly cough and by the end of the day, a temperature started, making me feel totally rubbish. Have the next five days off and back to work on Wednesday 27th December. I need to spend that time packing, but have no idea how I'm going to feel tomorrow.

British Gas Saga FINALLY Resolved!

Some of you may remember my very long, stressful and ongoing saga with British Gas since I left King's Lynn. A very, very long story short – I have been waiting for my final and CORRECT bill for gas and electricity since my house sale in King's Lynn, Norfolk completed on 16th June. The service has been utterly atrocious and that's putting it very mildly! After loads of phone calls, miscommunications on their part, threatening letters from them, incorrect and made-up bills, including one bill stating that I apparently reading the metres in May – funny that, yep I really did return to Norfolk to read the metres from Shetland! 😂😂😂 I put up with it far longer then Vivien said she would have done.

Anyway, I finally gave them an ultimatum by email and posted a letter to their headquarters, so they had a MASSIVE long rant TWICE from me, which included me very sarcastically telling them what the readings were and how simple it was to work out and at the end of my rant, I said if they did not reply by a certain date OR and send me the correct final bill, that I would contact Ombudsman.

As I expected, they didn't reply, so for the first time in my life, I contacted Ombudsman – its been going on with Ombudsman since I reported my complaint to them on 22nd August. So its taken over FIVE months to rectify in all, with continued stress. Recently I had an email saying my final bill was ready for viewing on my on-line account (after I requested a paper bill to be sent) which I couldn't view as they have blocked the account in some way and it asks you to ring them – you couldn't make it up! So I sent a stinking email back stating this and sent another message to Ombudsman.

I had a twirl round in the office at work today, when I could see an email on my phone from British Gas saying I now owed NOTHING – see below!!! I couldn't believe what I was reading! Also note, that the email said they were unable to reach me by phone – I had no missed calls on my mobile and I never gave them my landline number here – they had probably rung my landline in Norfolk!!! 😆

Hi Miss Clarke, 

I am sorry I was unable to reach you by phone this afternoon.

Unfortunately your original case handler has been unwell and has been unable to reply to the Energy Ombudsman case handler with a copy of your final bill. 

I have attached a copy of the final bill to this email for you to review.

However when the £75 Gesture of Goodwill credit was processed it hadn't been sent off to be authorised this means it hadn't come off the final balance.

I have authorised this today after reviewing the case implementations and this took the final balance to £78.71 however as this has been ongoing and your final bill hadn't been received I have applied a further £78.71 Gesture of Goodwill credit to energy account Axxxxxxx and this has cleared your final bill resulting in a closing balance of £0.00. I have sent the evidence of this to the Energy Ombudsman.

Kind Regards 

I will NEVER have to deal with British Gas again! I can't wait to shred everything! Made my Christmas!!!

🎉 🥳 👊 👍 😊 🙌


Wednesday 20th December
Rare  Bird  Alert  News
Russian White-fronted Goose at Sumburgh. Iceland Gull at Westing, Unst.

Schools and nurseries closed tomorrow. Buses not running in first few hours and ferries disrupted due to high winds.

Tuesday 19 December 2023


Rare  Bird  Alert  News
No rare bird news from Shetland either yesterday or today.
However, there have been sightings of Orca yesterday in Scalloway and Wester Quarff and today off Burrastow, Walls.
Rainy weather and strong winds here. Sleet showers forecast overnight and then rain again tomorrow. Light snow forecast for Friday. The forecast does not predict a white Christmas here though.
Ferry disruption may mean some islanders will be fighting over the Christmas sprouts in Tescos, amongst other food items!

RBA Weekly Round-Up 12th to 18th December!

By Jon Dunn

Sunday 17 December 2023


Rare  Bird  Alert  News
Snow Bunting at Voe of Sound, Lerwick.

Its been a rainy and dismal weekend. I've been getting stressed about my house purchase, because of the slowness of the seller's solicitor – I feel I'm constantly chasing things. At the same time I have been looking at flights and accommodation and was planning to visit my sisters in early February – I wanted to be back for Lucy's birthday on the 10th. I have not seen my sisters since late April, its been too long. I've realised its far too risky to book flights and accommodation, as my completion and move date (currently new dates of 18th and 19th January) might change and also it will only be a couple of weeks after I move – its too much to deal with, I've decided. So my new plan is to visit my sisters in early/mid March, Zoom meetings are ok, but you can't hug over Zoom – I will have to be sensible and deal with it. Once I'm in my forever home, I can plan my life better!

The frustrating thing about returning to Norfolk is that I can't stay with my sisters, not allowed to stay with Lucy and can't really stay on Vivien and Ray's narrowboat for a long week! Accommodation is expensive and I have decided I'm not going to hire a car, as that will add another £400+ to the cost of the trip. For a short trip, its financially cheaper to fly (rather than take the ferry) to Norwich, then I will get a train to Ely, then King's Lynn. In good weather and a longer trip, I would get the ferry, but no point in spending a fortune on petrol on a 8-9 hour drive and contending with dodgy roads in the Winter weather. The main point of my trip is to see my sisters, anyone else I want to visit, I will be taking the coastliner bus! This way, I will be able to afford to come back a couple of times a year at least, well, that's the plan anyway.
This afternoon I cruised over to Watsness to see Jill and Rob. Its only the second time I have visited them, since I have been here. I was looking forward to seeing all the work done on renovating their house and also to see the lovely cats! 'Pepper' sat very contentedly on my lap, which was lovely. My favourite cat is Morgan, he is a gorgeous boldly marked tabby.

The house looks much better painted white, much more cheerful. Its amazing what's been done inside the house, I especially loved the wrought iron ceiling lights upstairs and all the decor looks very stylish. The staircase looks completely different and their Christmas lights gave everything a festive feel. Jill and Rob have the most stunning views of loch and sea from their house!

Friday 15 December 2023


Rare  Bird  Alert  News
Waxwings x 4 at Lerwick. Glaucous Gull, Iceland Gulls x 3 at Breckon, Yell.


Thursday 14th December
Rare  Bird  Alert  News
Blue Fulmar, Glaucous Gull at Loch of Spiggie. Russian White-fronted Goose at Skaw, Whalsay.

Wednesday 13 December 2023


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Mealy Redpolls x 5 at Uyeasound, Unst.
Finished and posted all my Christmas cards and just a handful to hand deliver here! Christmas parcel posted to my sisters. Sorted out my Christmas Day lunch – its in the freezer 😆😋! Strong winds and rain currently and forecast for the next few days. 
Amazing footage of Orcas breaching off Sumburgh Head this afternoon!


Tuesday 12th December

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
White-billed Divers x 2 off Gloup Head, Yell. Iceland Gull at Gutcher, Yell. Hen Harrier at Dalsetter, Boddam. Waxwings x 4 at Lerwick.

RBA Round-Up 5th to 11th December!

By Jon Dunn

Monday 11 December 2023


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Glaucous Gull at Kirk Loch, Yell. Russian White-fronted Geese x 3 at Loch of Hillwell.


Sunday 10th December

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Snow Buntings x 2 at Dale of Walls. Waxwings x 5 in Lerwick. Iceland Gull at Gutcher, Yell. Glaucous Gull at Loch of Spiggie.

Near Sandsayre Pier, Sandwick

Went for a walk this afternoon around Sandsayre Pier, where I saw lots of Starlings, House Sparrows, 1 Blackbird, Turnstones, Redshanks, Curlews, Rock Pipits, Grey Heron and 2 Hooded Crows. At Noness I watched 4 Ringed Plovers sheltering by a rock on the beach, Turnstones, Oystercatchers and Starlings going to roost.

Spent the rest of the day writing Christmas cards out and wrapping presents for my sisters.

Sunday 10 December 2023


Saturday 9th December

No rare bird news, but someone found a Water Rail at Meal Beach.

As forecast it rained all day. Got my tyres out of the car and into the house – I don't have a shed, so no choice and now all I can smell is rubber, not good. Went Christmas shopping again and did a food shop. Started writing my Christmas cards out.

Christmas will be rather strange this year, as I will be on my own. I'll be busy packing to move anyway!

Friday 8 December 2023


No bird news today, but yesterday there were four Waxwings in Lerwick, one in Sandwick and a Little Auk in Scalloway Harbour.

When I first moved here, I decided to link to the "Nature In Shetland" website, where the bird sightings were posted daily in great detail and with the addition of cetacean and insect sightings too. For some reason unknown to me, this stopped on 12th October. I continued to link to their website, thinking they had just got behind and would update it at some point, but this has not happened and here we are, nearly two months later with no further updates. So there is really no point in continuing to link to their website.

Therefore, I will post the daily bird news myself, but it will be a brief summary in one paragraph, as I don't want to return to the comprehensively written posts I did for the Norfolk bird news.

It has been extremely icy here all week and I have not dared to move my car at all. There have been a number of accidents throughout Shetland in these treacherous conditions. I have never been so relieved to wake up to gale force winds and rain on Thursday morning! I could see my car again and there was no ice.

Today was a very busy day – at 7.15am in total darkness and pouring rain, I emptied my car completely, put down all the back seats and covered them in old blankets and then drove to Jim's Tyre Garage in Lerwick. I left my car there all day to get the tracking done and swop my 'Summer' tyres for four new "Michelin Alpin 6" Winter tyres. My old tyres still have a lot of tread left and these were put in the back of my car to swop over next Spring.

Walked for half an hour into town, had a hairdressing appointment at 9.30am and then searched the shops for Christmas presents for Vivien, Ray and Lucy. I then had a rare treat out of lunch by myself at No.88 Kitchen and Bar and had a lovely Asian Salad with Quinoa & Roasted Halloumi, followed by a Mince Pie & Ice-cream and a Hot Chocolate. Continued searching shops for presents and then walked all the way back to Jim's Garage to lighten my bank account! The new tyres cost a bomb, but you get what you pay for at the end of the day – one of the safest tyres, if not the safest I can possibly have over the next few months.

When I returned home, there were no parking spaces near my house and I didn't fancy rolling tyres down the street and then down 10 steep steps in the dark and rain, so have left them in the car until tomorrow. Had a lazy evening. More rain tomorrow, slightly dryer on Sunday!

RBA Weekly Round-Up 28th November to 4th December!

By Jon Dunn

Monday 4 December 2023


Shetland Bird News, Latest Sightings:

Beautiful light and sunny days combined with severe frosts and ice.

Today is the first day of my permanent post here! 😊

Looks like I will be moving to my forever home in mid January now.

Tuesday – extremely icy here and everyone walking at a snail pace on the ungritted pavements.

Saturday 2 December 2023

Christmas Parade and Light Switch on – Lerwick, Shetland!

Christmas Parade, Lerwick

Best Christmas parade I have ever seen, they certainly didn't do anything like this in Norfolk. A fabulous turn out by hundreds of people and lots of excited children! Santa arrived on the RNLI Lifeboat at Victoria Pier and then led the festive procession along Commerical Road (main street) lined by lots of families.

Festive floats, Christmas characters including the Living Lerwick mascot, Olaf from Frozen and The Bigton Samba band marched along to a lively drumbeat, while the Lerwick Brass Band played some classic Christmas carols at the back of the parade, with the Lerwick Jarl Squad singing along. There was a snow machine on one of the floats, but it did actually snow too! Note the handsome Husky dog with lit up collar and two Shetland ponies in the parade!

Bigton Samba Band at Market Cross, Lerwick

Bigton Samba Band & Parade at Market Cross, Lerwick


Shetland Bird News, Latest Sightings:

It took a good half an hour to scrape the ice off my car this afternoon! I don't get my Winter tyres until next Friday, so with very icy conditions, I won't be doing any unnecessary travelling until then.

Put some apples out in the garden yesterday and today, they are disappearing very quickly, mostly by Blackbirds.