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Wednesday 28 February 2024


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Iceland Gull flew north past Dalsetter, Boddam. Northern Bullfinches x 2 at Burn of Sound, Lerwick. Black-throated Diver at Brough Lodge, Fetlar.

Monday 26 February 2024


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Glaucous Gull at Gutcher, Yell.

By the time I left for work this morning, the new bird table had been totally cleared of food – let me guess? Starlings? 100%. On a positive note there will never been uneaten bird seed stuck to the table, whilst Starlings are around! Another beautiful day with sunshine and no wind, but a weird short spell of snow fell, as I was typing up an assessment on the computer at work!

After work I speed walked to Harper Macleod (they close at 5pm) to finally be told I could pick up the Title Deeds and fascinating papers and irreplaceable history of my house. When I was shown these by the previous owners, there was a big brief case full of lots of paperwork. I was in total shock when the receptionist passed me a thin A4 envelope of papers – I questioned this and she said that's all there was. When I got home I popped in to have a chat with Margaret, who said there were not only papers missing, but where was the fire proof brief case she had given to her solicitor? She will ring them tomorrow and I have emailed my solicitor.

Cancelled my carpet fitting on Friday and my builder will hopefully aim to come out on Saturday to assess the mouldy floor. I felt exhausted this evening and did very little.

Sunday 25 February 2024


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Iceland Gulls x 2 at Quendale.

Put up my new hanging bird table in the tree today, purchased off Amazon and very good quality with a slate roof and very strong rope.

Pulled up the old carpet in what is going to be my office/craft room and then started to pull up the underlay in preparation for the new carpet being laid this Friday. To my dismay, I discovered the floor underneath which is some type of hardboard flooring is extremely mouldy and its obvious it will need to be replaced before any carpet is put down! Contacted my builder to come out and investigate and give me a quote, hopefully he will get back to me soon.

It has been a gloriously sunny weekend and with little wind if any at all – this must be unusual at this time of the year?! Late this afternoon, two ladies were walking up the hill towards my house and I realised that one of them was Gwen, who I had met last year and it was she who told me that the house I am living in was a self-catering property – it was really lovely to chat to her again and the other lady was her sister Evelyn and they both live next door to each and only a couple of houses away from me. They are going to be such lovely neighbours – we were chatting for ages. Gwen wondered why there was no car outside, the entire car accident story was then told. On that note, my car has still not been assessed yet!

Hannah & Josh's Wedding!

I was very kindly invited to Josh and Hannah's Evening Wedding Reception at Cunningsburgh Hall, which was this evening. Josh is a lovely Physiotherapist at the Gilbert Bain Hospital who is adored by everyone he works with and all the patients, such a lovely, funny, kind and hardworking young man and although I have seen Hannah before, had not properly met her until this evening. Hannah is a stunning girl and together they make a very handsome couple.

Catherine, my OT colleague very kindly picked me up and took me home later on, which was very kind of her. I have driven past Cunningsburgh Hall several times before, but never been in until this evening. The hall looked totally magical and was decorated beautifully for Josh and Hannah's wedding reception. Swathes of fabric/net and fairy lights hung from the high ceiling and the entire scene of so many people and so beautifully dressed in their best attire was a beautiful scene. The live band were set up on the stage and lots of folk were stitting all along the edge of the stage and all the tables were full. The Wedding march proceeded with the Bride and Groom, who walked around the edge of the dance floor and then followed by their bridesmaids, page boys and their families. Josh was dressed in his family tartan and Hannah looked stunning in her white dress and sparkly tiara in her dark hair, such a beautiful couple. This was my first Shetland Wedding and I was extremly honoured to have been invited.

The entire evening was a real insight into the Shetland way of life. Catherine explained that children are taught all the dances at school from a young age and many if not all social events throughout people's lives involves these dances. I was so taken back and impressed, that all ages from tiny tots and teenagers to elderly folk were all dancing together and at great speed around the floor. I was also very impressed by the beautiful outfits worn by the ladies and of course kilts by the men. A big highlight of the evening was watching Hannah sitting on the stage in her beautiful dress, playing the fiddle to the "Boston Two Step"!!!

At 10pm the dance floor was filled with tressle tables and "Supper" was served. I can't even begin to describe the quality and taste of the food that was arranged so beautifully on the tables. Everything you could possibly wish for or dream up! Everything tasted delicous. Catherine explained that soup is normally served at a wedding supper and it was, Lentil soup and bannocks etc – so tasty! The cakes were to die for, short bread etc etc. I particularly loved a mint truffle someone had made! Large cups of tea were also available, the list goes on. The floor was cleared an hour later and the dancing continued to midnight at which point we all formed two large circles (within each other), sang Auld Lang Syne, with Josh and Hannah in the centre of the circles. Then two guests picked up Hannah and sat her on their shoulders and another two picked up Josh and did the same, which must have been tricky as he's 6ft 4" (I think he told me once)! The evening ended very happily indeed and I was seriously impressed by the entire evening, just wow! I know this sounds weird, but I seriously wish I had been born here. The spirit and joy of watching all ages dancing together is something I will never forget.

After Catherine dropped me back home I was having a quick look through my photos and videos I had taken and I spotted someone I knew – standing on the stage talking to a member of the band was birder and photographer Jim Nicholson all suited and booted! I had no idea that he had been there!

Friday 23 February 2024


Saturday 24th February
Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Hen Harrier at Loch of Brow. Iceland Gull at Loch of Spiggie. Tundra Bean Goose at Exnaboe.
Found my Converse 52 glasses frame on Ebay, ordered and it had arrived yesterday for me to pick up today. Then took to Specsavers and my glasses has been mended!

In Memory of My Dear Father


26th July 2008
 Fond memories of our trip to Dersingham Bog to photograph Green Tiger Beetles
2nd November 1926 — 23rd February 2017

My Dearest Father
I can't believe its seven years ago since we lost you
 Lost in body, but not in spirit
Always with us
Time is irrelevant
I still miss you so much. 
You are in my thoughts today and every day
Until we meet again
Forever in my heart
x x x
The Lark Ascending
(Romance for Violin and Orchestra)
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Played at my father's funeral – such beautiful music

Thursday 22 February 2024


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Hen Harrier at Hoswick. Iceland Gull at Loch of Spiggie. Iceland Gulls x 2 at Cullivoe, Yell. Kumlien's Gull at Uyeasound, Unst.


Wednesday 21st February

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 

Tuesday 20 February 2024


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Tundra Bean Goose at Sumburgh Farm.
A very angry phone call with COPART yesterday, who are actually worse than British Gas I've decided and that's saying something! They still insisted my car hasn't left the island. So I phoned Streamline, who confirmed my car left Shetland on the 11th February and arrived in Aberdeen on the 12th February. Long story short, I think its going to take a long time before I even get an offer for my car, never mind actually buying another car!
On Saturday I couldn't find my reading glasses and then discovered I had been sitting on them – they were only bent, but as I tried to slowly straighten them the frame snapped, so that's that! Boxes fallen down from the stack in my dining room when I returned home from work yesterday and this morning I woke up to my large clock smashed into smithereens on the kitchen floor – shards of fine glass everywhere.
My multi fuel stove is leaking black sooty water and that's because I have not lit it I was told. The reason I have not lit it is, because I wanted to get all my photography and computer gear out of the room into the office and I can't do that until the carpet is laid in the office etc.
Speed walked to Specsavers after work and of course my lovely Converse 52 frames are not available any more. Looked at other styles in the shop and didn't find a single pair that I liked and only had 12 minutes before they closed at 5pm anyway and just caught the bus home in time. Will try and Google to see if I can buy them elsewhere. A smooth week so far!!! 😒😐😉

RBA Weekly Round-Up 13th to 20th February!

By Jon Dunn

Monday 19 February 2024


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Kumlien's Gull, Glaucous Gull, Little Gull at Shetland Catch, Gremista. Hen Harrier ringtail at Loch of Spiggie. King Eider 1w drk at Bluemull Sound. White-billed Diver on sea at Sound Gruney, 2 miles SSW of Uyeasound, Unst. Tundra Bean Goose at Sumburgh Farm. Hen Harrier east of Yell Kirk, Otterswick, Yell.

Sunday 18 February 2024


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Common Crane at Loch of Hillwell. Russian White-fronted Goose at Quendale Farm. Tundra Bean Goose at Sumburgh Farm. Kumlien's Gull, Glaucous Gull, Little Gull at Shetland Catch, Gremista. Hen Harrier at Mid Yell. Hen Harrier at Burn of Lunklett at East Burrafirth, NE of Aith.

Great Spotted Woodpecker
First visit to my garden in Scalloway

I was over the moon today, whilst watching my bird feeders from the stable front door, a female Great Spotted Woodpecker appeared on my tree and then flew to the nut feeder and happily fed away, along with 3 Collared Doves, 5 Blackbirds, around 8 House Sparrows, a Robin and a ton of Starlings. To be fair though, the GSW was only a mere guest, as she normally resides in my neighbour Jimmy's garden, so I feel quite privileged she made a visit. Never in the all the 22 years I lived in King's Lynn did I have a Great Spotted Woodpecker visit my town garden – of course they were seen regularly in our family garden at Holme though.

The new bathroom cabinet and glass/chrome shelves were put up on Friday, so I arranged the bathroom properly today, did some washing and general jobs around the house. No wind of note today and no rain either, both unusual here.


Saturday 17th February
Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Common Crane at Quendale. Tundra Bean Goose at Sumburgh Farm. Snow Buntings x 30 at Ronas Hill.

Jamie from Islesat came out to my house this morning to look at my TV signal situation – he explained that even though my Satellite dish looked like it had seen better days, it was working perfectly well and I simply needed a new up-to-date Freesat box. He said that if I got fed up with looking at my very rusty dish, then I could change it to a galvanised one at a later date if I wished, so that's what I decided to do. Jamie sold me and set up a Manhattan Freesat Satellite TV Box and I now have a TV that works!

Walked to the post office, which is within the pharmacy shop in Scalloway with my heavy duty carrying trolley and large parcel to return to Amazon – unfortunately the QR code wouldn't scan as it was an Evri return, so had to walk all the way back to my house and drag the trolley and parcel back up the hill to my house! Will sort that out next week.

Went back to the Main Street and went to The Cornerstone Cafe for the first time. It was totally full, but luckily two people left just as I was going out of the door, so I quickly returned and sat at the window table overlooking the harbour. I had a Basil Pesto, Tomato and Mozzarella Cheese Panini with Coleslaw and Chips and a pot of tea, followed by a banana & chocolate muffin. The food was delicious and I felt like I was on holiday! Its so lovely to know that the second I walk from my house, there are beautiful views of the harbour, trees and a homely cafe 5 minutes away! Who needs a car?!

Had a short walk around the main streets and then went to "Scalloway Meat Company Ltd" (it really shouldn't be called that) and bought some groceries, some cards for people, a door mat, two long bungees for my new wheelie bins and a paint brush. As I walked back home, I was aware of a large number of Collared Doves in a large garden of sycamore trees behind a stone wall – I counted 27 perched up in the bare branches, I don't think I have ever seen that many together before! Back at home I attached the new and longer bungees around my wheelie bins to the expanding eye bolts (that the builder had put in for me yesterday) in the wall – there is no way these are going to fly down the hill into the harbour now!

My insurance company still haven't rung me to say how much they are going to offer me for my written off car. I got pretty cross with them last week, when the week previously I was told on the 9th February that the car was currently been assessed, which takes 5 working days and this would mean the assessment would be finished last Monday at which point they would ring or email me with an offer. I heard nothing by Thursday and when I phoned up in my lunchbreak, I was told they still didn't have the car yet, so basically I had been lied to! I was fuming to say the least. I was told to ring my underwriters and ask for the status to be changed to deskstop assessment (to speed it up), which basically means they would assess by the pictures of the car. So I phoned the underwriters and emailed them 12 pictures in four emails. I then receive an email asking for all the pictures to be sent in one email as they "couldn't save them to send to COPART"?! I emailed back to explain that it isn't possible to send 12 large size pictures in one email and that was why I sent it in four lots. I have heard nothing since.

Caught up with Vivien & Ray, Lucy and also phoned Eddie to wish him happy birthday. Watched some TV for the first time since I moved in on the 23rd January, which was good. Couldn't find my reading glasses anywhere and then I found them. I was mortified. I had been sitting on them! More expense. Currently taped up with sellotape and can only half see out of one lens as I type!

Happy Birthday Eddie!

🎉  🥳 😊 🎊

Saturday 17 February 2024


Friday 16th February
Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Common Crane at Quendale. White-fronted Goose at Quendale Farm. Tundra Bean Goose at Hoswick Burn. Little Gull at Shetland Catch, Gremista. Hen Harrier ringtail, Iceland Gull at Loch of Spiggie.

Very busy day, early morning bus to Lerwick to buy bathroom cabinet and glass shelves. Had eggs, toast and tea in the Viking Bus Station Cafe, which I was very impressed by and cheaper than some other places in Lerwick. Then returned home to meet tradesmen to do several more jobs for me, including putting up coat racks, mending stable door etc etc. The office was measured up for a new carpet, late afternoon. Spent ages putting coats on hooks, cleaning up from the drilling mess. Used Briwax to put some new life into my two pine stools. Topped all the bird feeders up. Cleared out some old broken window boxes in the garden. Its been a fairly sunny day here and no wind at all, which is unusual. Busy 🐝!

I introduced myself to my lovely neighbour Jimmy this morning, who is a birdwatcher and has an amazing long standing selection of bird feeders and ponds. Jimmy discovered the Rufous Turtle Dove in his garden in 2015 and showed me a picture that Hugh H. gave him in his living room. It was very sad to hear that Jimmy's wife had passed away unexpectedly on the 22nd January, the day before I moved here. Such a shame that I didn't get to meet her. Hopefully birds and nature will help to lift Jimmy's spirits a little as time goes on. 🕊

Thursday 15 February 2024


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Holboll's Red-necked Grebe (form holbolii) male found dead on beach at Quendale. Common Crane at Quendale. Iceland Gull at Pool of Virkie. Iceland Gulls x 2 at Mid Yell.

Wednesday 14 February 2024


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Snowy Owl adult male on Ronas Hill. Common Crane at Quendale. Velvet Scoter in Yell Sound. Iceland Gull at Mid Yell. Velvet Scoters x 2 at Sullom Voe. Hen Harrier male at North Nesting. Iceland Gull at Leebitten, north of Sandwick.

RBA Weekly Round-Up 6th to 12th February!

By Jon Dunn


Tuesday 13th February

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Glaucous Gull, Iceland Gull, Little Gull at Shetland Catch, Gremista. Kumlien's Gull at Uyeasound Beach, Unst. Common Crane flew over Shirva, Fair Isle.

Monday 12 February 2024


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Common Crane, Tundra Bean Goose on Fair Isle. Little Gull at Shetland Catch, Gremista.

Sunday 11 February 2024


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Iceland Gull, Little Gull at Shetland Catch, Gremista.

Had a lovely video catch up with our family friend Malcolm from Heacham, so he could see my house and a catch up with John F. Apart from that I didn't do any of my intended jobs, as felt too cold – the warmest room is my bedroom. 14°C 🥶 in my house, which I'm not used to 🤣, but I have to focus on the fact that it won't be like that next Winter, once I have put in storage heaters where there should be some, replaced the old ones and I have unpacked everything. Replaced the soaked towel at the bottom of the leaking stable door for a dry one – hopefully this will be fixed on Friday. Raining all day. ⛆ 😊 Lots of bulbs appearing under the tree in my driveway! 😊

2024 is the year of the Wood Dragon!

I've only just found it that its the "Year of the Wood Dragon" – that's me! After my car accident, this must mean things are going to improve!

Saturday 10 February 2024


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Red-necked Grebe at Bay of Quendale. Black-throated Diver at South Nesting Bay. Iceland Gull in harbour, Iceland Gull at marina, Lerwick. Glaucous Gull at Shetland Catch, Gremista. Hybrid Green-winged Teal/Teal at Boddam.

Nearly all the bird food has gone in one day and that was a full selection of goodies. Saw a Robin in the garden again, along with a huge flock of Starlings. Got the bus to Lerwick in the afternoon to do some jobs, collection prescription etc. Had a "Fish Supper" in The Fort Cafe, caught the bus home and then started to hang up all my clothes. I will be cleaning out musty smelling pine furniture tomorrow morning. Another day of sleet and wind.

Happy Birthday Lucy!

Happy Birthday To My Dear Sister Lucy!

Lucy didn't have the best of birthdays as she had a tooth extraction a few days ago and is still in pain. Vivien had booked a birthday lunch for them both, but had to cancel it as Lucy didn't want to go. I sent Lucy her birthday presents via Amazon. Vivien went over to see her anyway, which was far more than I could do! Not long to go before I return to Norfolk to see my sisters in March.

💐 🎂 🎁 🎉 🎊 🎶 🎻 🎹 🎵

Friday 9 February 2024


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Red-necked Grebe at Bay of Quendale.

I've become a flat-pack queen! I hate putting flat pack stuff together with a passion, but have had no choice but do this with several of my Amazon buys lately. When you buy a 5-draw plastic storage chest, you don't expect to have to put this together, but it all came in bits – actually it was very simple in comparison to a tall chrome shelving unit I have been putting together this evening and still putting together, but nearly there!

Everywhere is still white and looking pretty, but icy cold. There are Shetland ponies and sheep on the hill behind my house, which is so lovely to see. My house is much colder than I want it to be, but I'm sure it will be better by next Winter, when I have unpacked everything and the dining room and living room are seperated and with a new heating system on the way and additional storage heaters.

I put all my bird feeders out late this afternoon – the birds will have a fantastic selection in the morning, including a coconut to feed on. I'm just missing peanuts, but I've just ordered some from Amazon. Its very difficult to get heavy bird food with no car. Also sent off for a cool slate roofed hanging bird table to hang from my tree. No point in buying a normal bird table, as I wouldn't be able to stabilise it enough in the winds.

Birthday Memories

Margaret Clarke
From my father's slide collection – no idea of location
My dearest mother – you would have been 84 today
Always in my thoughts
 I hear your voice, I see you and remember you
Days, weeks, months and years tick by,
 But you remain in the forefront of my mind
 I miss you so much, nothing changes
Time is irrelevant
Always with me in spirit and soul

Until we meet again

x x x

Thursday 8 February 2024


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Glaucous Gull at Sumburgh Head. Red-necked Grebe at Bay of Quendale. Black-bellied Dipper at Burn of Lunklet, NE of Aith. Iceland Gull at Cullivoe, Yell.

Its still an icy white scene from Narnia here. Buses still running though and I was able to get to work this week.

Wednesday 7 February 2024


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 

Red-necked Grebe at Bay of Quendale. Iceland Gull flew over Boddam. Northern Bullfinches x 2 at The Sletts, Lerwick. Iceland Gull at Scatness. Scaup at Brow Marsh, Loch of Brow.

Tuesday 6 February 2024


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Red-necked Grebe at Bay of Quendale. Iceland Gull flew over at Trondra.

Snow again!

RBA Weekly Round-Up 30th to 5th January!

By Jon Dunn


Monday 5th February

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Red-necked Grebe at Bay of Quendale. White-billed Diver at South Nesting Bay. Iceland Gull at Burrafirth. Iceland Gull, Glaucous Gull at mid Yell.

Sleet this morning as I walked to the bus stop. Very chilly day and we had to have the heaters on higher than usual at work. More snow forecast this week! As another NHS member of staff said to me this morning as we got off the bus "I've had enough of that now" I agree, its all very pretty, but not practical when you need to go to work and get things done. I noted how much lighter it was now, it was light when I left work today! Looking forward to Spring here – I noticed some bulbs already shooting up in my driveway! 🌷

Oh bother, just discovered water coming in the front door at a steady pace. After investigating, the seal has gone in two places where the top section of the stable door joins the bottom half. Another little job for my builder! Took an hour to temporarily solve it (with duck tape) and three wet towels. Good job I noticed this, before I went to bed, so many of my boxes of books and more could have been ruined! One of the disadvantages of living on one level, you can't move stuff upstairs in a water emergency!

Sunday 4 February 2024


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Glaucous Gull a Quendale. Tundra Bean Goose at Sumburgh Farm. Hen Harrier ringtail at Loch of Spiggie.

7 Collared Doves, loads of Starlings, Robin, Blackbird male and female and a few House Sparrows in the garden today, whilst I continue to plan and do house stuff. My front door is a stable door design, so I will be able to swing open the top half of the door to photograph my first garden mega! A mixture of hail showers and sunshine here.

Saturday 3 February 2024

Bird Feeders & Bird Baths Set Up In My Shetland Garden!

My front garden overlooks Scalloway Castle and Harbour
 The Lodgepole Pine tree you can see, is in the garden of the lovely people who sold me this house


Its been another very busy day. The builders turned up at 8.30am again and finished the second coat of paint in my office and put up some white cast iron brackets in my patio area to hang bird feeders from – they had gone by 9.30am! They will come back again when my coat hook racks arrive, bathroom cabinet etc, so these can be put up.

I was going to put my bird feeding station up tomorrow, as I needed to go on the bus into Lerwick today to make my final decision on the carpet for the office, but I couldn't resist doing this now. The RSPB Feeding Station that I purchased before I moved to Shetland, in preparation for when I bought my own place, is brilliantly designed. I was putting this together and trying to read the instruction sheet in a hail storm! I decided not to put the clear plastic bowl in the metal loop as it would have blown away in seconds. The long prongs at the base of the pole were tough to push into the ground, but it got easier when I lumped each of the four prongs with a big lump of rock. Margaret popped round (previous owner) to collect a bin in the shed that I didn't want and she seemed surprised at how much I had unpacked and how lovely the kitchen looked now, it does indeed!

It didn't take long at all for 50+ Starlings to empty all feeders! I was overjoyed to watch a Robin having a little bathe in one of my bird baths and also a Blackbird later on. Had a quick lunch and then headed off to the bus stop to go to Lerwick and headed straight to one of the three carpet shops and then to the second one, which is a long walk away. Its probably 30 years ago that I have ordered and purchased carpet for a room, but still, I was very shocked at the huge cost increase.

I have whittled it down to:

This is my favourite as it represents the colour of sand I was looking for and the colour is called "Shetland"!!! I didn't order either today as was so shocked by the price.


Got some food items from the Co-op and stood in an open bus stop shelter with others, as it lashed down with rain. The bus driver kindly dropped me off at the bottom of my road, which helped enormously with carrying shopping up the hill. With no car now (I noticed it is still in the garage grounds and still not picked up yet) its difficult to get certain things done, oh well.


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Iceland Gull, Little Gull at Shetland Catch, Iceland Gull in harbour at Lerwick. Tundra Bean Goose at Sumburgh Farm. Glaucous Gulls x 2 at Pool of Virkie. Iceland Gull, Glaucous Gull at Westing, Unst.

Friday 2 February 2024


Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Tundra Bean Goose, Glaucous Gull at Sumburgh Farm. Kumlien's Gull at Uyeasound, Unst.
The builders were here again today doing some odd jobs for me and will be here again tomorrow. I've unpacked more boxes and been having a big Amazon shop for house items, including coat racks (there are none here), bathroom cabinet, extra storage for the kitchen etc. A very windy day here again with some rain. Several Collared Doves in the trees opposite my house.


Friday 1st February
Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
White-billed Diver, Glaucous Gull, Blue Fulmars x 2 at Skaw, Unst. Iceland Gulls x 2, Black-throated Diver on sea at Gutcher, Yell. Glaucous Gull at Pool of Virkie.