SHETLAND BIRD NEWS, PHOTOS, BIRDING, LIFE AND MORE! MY 14th YEAR ANNIVERSARY 2024!


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Tuesday 30 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Ring Ouzel at Pool of Virkie. Ring Ouzels x 2 at Sumburgh Head. Ring Ouzel at Staney Hill, Lerwick. Quail at West Burrafrith, Bridge of Walls. Wryneck, Pied Flycatcher, Ring Ouzels x 6 on Out Skerries. Ring Ouzels x 2, Pied Flycatchers x 2 on Isle of Noss. Hawfinch at Skaw, Ring Ouzel at Isbister, Whalsay. Wryneck, Hawfinch, Ring Ouzels x 31, Pied Flycatchers x 2, Long-eared Owl, Mealy Redpoll on Fair Isle.
 
 
Missed Orcas in MY harbour at Scalloway this morning by approximately 10 minutes, whilst getting ready for work! 😒

Went birding straight after work around Lerwick. At West Hall, off Sea Road (Tescos) I checked out the horse paddocks, but only found one Woodpigeon, a few Blackbirds and two cute rabbits sitting in the garden amongst the Daffodils. Walked along the sycamore track that leads to Seafield Park – only birds found were Starlings, House Sparrows and Oystercatchers. Lots of Turnstones feeding amongst the rocks along the sea wall. At Pullar's Loch there was one Tufted Duck and more Turnstones feeding.

Nipped to Tescos to get some cash out and ended up buying a Bougainvillea plant in the outside stands by the cash machine. I think its highly unlikely this will survive here, but I decided to take the risk as I have always wanted one of these.

Checked out Helendale Drive and area, hoping to see this morning's male Pied Flycatcher – no chance. Saw very little, but huge number of Hooded Crows in a large mature garden with very tall pine trees. Along Clickimin Loch I had my first Spring Willow Warbler singing and seen, a female Blackcap, a female Chaffinch and a female Brambling. Its a long time since I have walked here and there were far more dogs off leads than I usually see. I was horrified to find for the first time a green bag of dog crap hanging in the one of the bushes – never seen this in Shetland, I thought I had left all that behind in Norfolk! It will be very depressing, if that trend catches on here, it surely must be somebody moved up from the south, no way can this be a 'local' person.

I was going to go to the Burn of Sound, but felt very tired and decided to go home. 3 Siskins in the garden. Placed the Bougainvillea plant in the most sheltered little spot in my patio area at the back of the house and will repot this over the next few days or at the weekend – I wonder how long it will last?!

RBA Weekly Round-Up 23rd to 29th April!

By Jon Dunn

Monday 29 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Iceland Gull on beach at Quendale. Pied Flycatcher, Hawfinch at Scousburgh. Wryneck on beach at Grutness. Pied Flycatcher at Lerwick. Ring Ouzel at Halligarth, Ring Ouzels x 2, Snow Buntings x 3 at Skaw, Unst. Black Redstart on Out Skerries. Pied Flycatcher, Long-eared Owls x 2, Ring Ouzels x 6, Mealy Redpolls x 2, Snow Buntings x 2 on Fair Isle.
 
 
The day started in glorious sunshine and almost too warm to have a coat on, but by early afternoon it switched to strong winds, heavy rain, dull skies and very cold – a very contrasting day.
 
Packed the car up to go birding for the day, but had a quick walk along to the end of my road to see if I could find any migrants. Met a lovely lady called Vera who lives in a large house at the far end – she asked if I was on holiday here. After explaining where I lived, she said "you're the person with all the bird feeders!" – we chatted for ages. No birds of note along the road, but there were some cute bunnies and lambs and lots of daffodils and bees in the warm Spring sunshine.
 
Drove south for the first time in months (apart from the time when Jill and Rob very kindly took me out not so long ago). In the cliff top garden at Hoswick, I had 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 Blackbird, 1 Robin and a Wren. Eiders and Great Northern Diver on the sea. Looked in the Orca Inn car park, but only found House Sparrows and a Blackbird. Lots of primroses, daffodils and other flowers on show throughout my drive south, such a fabulous display.

At the Geosetter Burn at Bigton (where Kevin K. had had 2 Redstarts and 2 Blackcaps earlier) I failed to see these, but did see 2 Chiffchaffs, so lovely to be back here. I won't forget the unbelieveable views of the Blackburnian Warbler I had here last Autumn. 

News of a Wryneck at Grutness came up on the WhatsApp group, so I headed to Grutness, which is where I was heading anywhere. No more detail than that, so kind of guessed it might be in the garden near the 'pool'? I found out later it had been seen on the beach briefly and no one else saw it apart from the finder. On the pool at Grutness there were 2 Shelduck and 1 Ringed Plover. Three gorgeously pretty ginger cats were in the very pretty 'garden' amongst daffodils and tulips – new bird feeders up in here, no birds!
 
On route up to Sumburgh Head I saw 1 Wheatear. Parked up in the main bottom car park. Within minutes of getting out of the car in freezing conditions, a man shouted out "Orcas"!!! I was very lucky indeed, I just caught sight of 4 Orcas as they headed south and then out of view below the new sea-watching hide. No time for any pictures and too distant anyway, but wow! My first Orcas this year.
 
Stopped at Sumburgh House Hotel to look in the garden, no birds seen here. A raft of Long-tailed Ducks, Eiders and a Great Northern Diver off West Voe Beach. 

Spiggie area, in hope of seeing reported Pied Flycatchers, failed with that. Weather deteriating further and now lashing down with rain. Diverted off down to Levenwick and had a super quick walk on the beach and in fields nearby, saw lots of newly born lambs with wobbly legs, trying to shelter against their mother's from the dire weather. No birds of note here.

Headed home and in the garden I counted 19 Siskins, Bramblings x 2 and 1 Chaffinch. Earlier this morning I also had 1 Robin, Blackbird, House Sparrows, Starlings, Rock Doves and Collared Doves. So lovely to get out for the day and great to bump into some local birders, including Ann, Hugh H., Paul H., Kevin K. and Jim N. The weather looks much the same for most of tomorrow when I'm at work. Tuesday looks much nicer.

Sunday 28 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Iceland Gull on beach at Quendale. Pied Flycatcher, Hawfinch at Scousburgh. Wryneck on beach at Grutness. Pied Flycatcher at Lerwick. Ring Ouzel at Halligarth, Ring Ouzels x 2, Snow Buntings x 3 at Skaw, Unst. Black Redstart on Out Skerries. Pied Flycatcher, Long-eared Owls x 2, Ring Ouzels x 6, Mealy Redpolls x 2, Snow Buntings x 2 on Fair Isle.
 
 
The day started in glorious sunshine and almost too warm to have a coat on, but by early afternoon it switched to strong winds, heavy rain, dull skies and very cold – a very contrasting day.
 
Packed the car up to go birding for the day, but had a quick walk along to the end of my road to see if I could find any migrants. Met a lovely lady called Vera who lives in a large house at the far end – she asked if I was on holiday here. After explaining where I lived, she said "you're the person with all the bird feeders!" – we chatted for ages. No birds of note along the road, but there were some cute bunnies and lambs and lots of daffodils and bees in the warm Spring sunshine.
 
Drove south for the first time in months (apart from the time when Jill and Rob very kindly took me out not so long ago). In the cliff top garden at Hoswick, I had 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 Blackbird, 1 Robin and a Wren. Eiders and Great Northern Diver on the sea. Looked in the Orca Inn car park, but only found House Sparrows and a Blackbird. Lots of primroses, daffodils and other flowers on show throughout my drive south, such a fabulous display.

At the Geosetter Burn at Bigton (where Kevin K. had had 2 Redstarts and 2 Blackcaps earlier) I failed to see these, but did see 2 Chiffchaffs, so lovely to be back here. I won't forget the unbelieveable views of the Blackburnian Warbler I had here last Autumn. 

News of a Wryneck at Grutness came up on the WhatsApp group, so I headed to Grutness, which is where I was heading anywhere. No more detail than that, so kind of guessed it might be in the garden near the 'pool'? I found out later it had been seen on the beach briefly and no one else saw it apart from the finder. On the pool at Grutness there were 2 Shelduck and 1 Ringed Plover. Three gorgeously pretty ginger cats were in the very pretty 'garden' amongst daffodils and tulips – new bird feeders up in here, no birds!
 
On route up to Sumburgh Head I saw 1 Wheatear. Parked up in the main bottom car park. Within minutes of getting out of the car in freezing conditions, a man shouted out "Orcas"!!! I was very lucky indeed, I just caught sight of 4 Orcas as they headed south and then out of view below the new sea-watching hide. No time for any pictures and too distant anyway, but wow! My first Orcas this year.
 
Stopped at Sumburgh House Hotel to look in the garden, no birds seen here. A raft of Long-tailed Ducks, Eiders and a Great Northern Diver off West Voe Beach.

Spiggie area, in hope of seeing reported Pied Flycatchers, failed with that. Weather deteriating further and now lashing down with rain. Diverted off down to Levenwick and had a super quick walk on the beach and in fields nearby, saw lots of newly born lambs with wobbly legs, trying to shelter against their mother's from the dire weather. No birds of note here.

Headed home and in the garden I counted 19 Siskins, Bramblings x 2 and 1 Chaffinch. Earlier this morning I also had 1 Robin, Blackbird, House Sparrows, Starlings, Rock Doves and Collared Doves. So lovely to get out for the day and great to bump into some local birders, including Ann, Hugh H., Paul H., Kevin K. and Jim N. The weather looks much the same for most of tomorrow when I'm at work. Tuesday looks much nicer.

Saturday 27 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Wryneck at Bakkasetter. Hen Harrier at Spiggie. Wryneck at Dalsetter, Boddam. Wryneck at Dalsetter, Yell. Osprey at Hermaness, Ring Ouzels x 5 at Skaw, Unst. Black Redstart on Out Skerries. Waxwing on Fair Isle.
 
 
Siskins x 17 on my feeders, on the ground and drinking from the bird baths all at the same time! Chaffinches x 2, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Rock Doves, Collared Doves, Starlings. House Sparrows, Robin and Blackbirds in my garden today.
 
A very productive day – went to Tingwall Loch to try and see the drake Mandarin Duck that a local birder had found. Bumped into Ann too which was nice. Its been months since I've seen any local birders, with no car since January. A stunning day here, but sadly the closely viewed Mandarin Duck had flown off over the far side of the loch into the sun and wasn't seen again. Redshanks, Tufted Ducks, Mallards, Oystercatchers and gulls were the best on offer. I love this loch and the golf course, its a place I need to check out more and especially since its so close to Scalloway.

Went to the Plantiecrub Garden Centre at Tingwall and bumped into my colleague Jen and her partner Luke. I spent a small fortune and filled the car to the max. Bought four bags of seaweed compost, 3 bags of pea shingle, a large green ceramic pot, bone meal, rose feed, tomato feed, a new shrub, a Hebe (Veronica), 2 long black trays, 6 large pots, 6 tomato plants and 6 green canes. It took ages to unload the car and in heavy April showers!

I was going birding after that, which didn't happen. So many birds in my garden today. Had an afternoon snooze. After tea, I organised and sorted out my tomato plants. Lined the six pots with stones and pea shingle, filled with the seaweed compost and planted all the tomato plants and lined up on my long black fold up plastic table, in front of the long window in my largest shed! I also filled my recently purchased ceramic birds with shingle, they are now seriously heavy and hopefully will be able to remain on the brick pillars either side of the steps in the patio area. Had a catch up on the phone with Vivien & Ray and Lucy.

Friday 26 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Hawfinch, Common Redpoll at Swining. Ring Ouzel, Black Redstart on Out Skerries. Blue-headed Wagtail, Ring Ouzel on Fair Isle.
 
 
Bramblings x 4, Siskins x 6, Chaffinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Rock Doves, House Sparrows, Robin, Blackbirds in my garden today.
 
 
Its been a bit stressful this week, as the brakes on my new car decided to fail whilst driving down my hill and obviously this was pretty scary, I managed to recover the situation, by steering left uphill into the Weight Training Club car park, where the car stopped and I sat there for a while in disbelief this had actually happened. The alternative would have been to continue down the hill to the T-junction and possibly into the harbour! I phoned Trust Ford in Aberdeen and then took the car to the Ford garage (under warranty) in Lerwick, where they discovered that the Brake Servo Pump wasn't mounted properly – they couldn't understand why this was like it was, as it wouldn't have been accidental they said – they have now mounted it properly. They were not sure if this could have led to the brake failure I had?! Hopefully this has solved what could have been a very serious situation. This has not helped my confidence since my accident in January. Is anything ever simple and straight forward in life?!

Trust Ford in Aberdeen admitted some of the repair work done at a bodyshop in Aberdeen "could have been done better" and are posting me a Skoda touch up pen, have paid for a window wiper to be posted to me (received today) and they are going to pay me for the petrol they didn't put in, when I paid £50.00 and they only put £25.00 in, the key fob batteries and T-cut to try and remove/polish out some of the scratches – I'm not an expert at this.
 
OVO still have not given me the bill from the 20th January to the 27th February (before Octopus took over). They obviously don't want my money. There is an issue with readings apparently – no, there isn't. I gave them the readings on the day I moved in and readings for 27th February – its quite simple, get it sorted!

Talk Talk emails were not working for around 12 hours and it took two long, long phone calls to get sorted, well it didn't get sorted by them, in fact they cut me off on the second phone call! I sorted it myself in the end – obviously my 'technician' skills are better than theirs!

Today, Margaret popped round, (who owned the house) which was lovely. We had a cup of tea and chat and she kindly named all the plants and shrubs in the garden for me, but wasn't sure of the name of one large tree or one shrub. Looks like I have an excellent selection of trees and shrubs for the birds in the next few months and Autumn! Lovely sunny day here, but chilly south east winds. Tomorrow is rain and south east winds – time to look for some Spring migrants. Margaret popped back again with some cake (Shetland Huffsie I think its called) – she really is a top draw cook!
 
 
Plants, shrubs and trees in my garden
(excluding my plants in pots I brought with me)
 
Sycamore Tree
Elder Tree
Rowan Tree
Tree, not identified yet
Crocosmias
Blue Bonnets
Rhubarb
Bluebells
Daffodils
New Zealand Flax (in pot)
Fuchsia
Shrub, not identified yet
Weigeila
Aruncus Diaicus (Goat's Beard)
Deutzia
Rosa Rugosa
Hebe (in pot)
 
Cuttings from Hugh H.
New Zealand Holly
Icelandic Willow

Thursday 25 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Orca in bay at Rerwick. White-tailed Eagle flew over Lerwick. Green-winged Teal drk at Setter Marsh, Loch of Spiggie. Waxwing at Pool of Virkie. Great Grey Shrike at Northdale, Unst. Black Redstart, Snow Buntings x 3, Hen Harrier on Fair Isle.
 
 
Bramblings and Siskins in the garden this evening.

Wednesday 24 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Green-winged Teal drk, Russian White-fronted Goose at Setter Marsh, Loch of Spiggie. Snow Buntings x 2, Ring Ouzel on Fair Isle. Great Grey Shrike at Northdale, Unst.
 

Monday 22 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Iceland Gull at Loch of Hillwell. Green-winged Teal drk at Ham, Foula. Ring Ouzels x 2, Mealy Redpoll on Fair Isle. Snow Buntings x 3 at Norwick, Unst.
 

Sunday 21 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 

White-billed Diver at Kirkabister. Green-winged Teal drk, Russian White-fronted Geese x 2 at Loch of Spiggie. Green-winged Teal drk still at Shoadals, Foula. Hawfinch in garden at Burravoe, Yell. Ring Ouzel on Fair Isle.
 
 
Today I made Rhubarb Crumble from the BBC Good Food website with Rhubarb from my garden! I added a teaspoon of Cinnamon to the crumble too and cooked it in the Ninja Air Fryer on bake for 180° for 17 minutes – in a conventional oven it would have been 30 minutes. This was scrumptious with Mackie's ice-cream!
Rhubarb Crumble
 
New bird on the block (one of two) in the garden today!
 
 
Usual birds in the garden, but I didn't see the Hawfinch today – Bramblings, Siskins, Chaffinches, 1 Goldfinch, House Sparrows, Starlings (who were particularly boisterous today), pair of Blackbirds, Robin, Collared Doves and Rock Doves.
 
Sheep with Lambs near Banna Minn Beach
 

Banna Minn Beach
 
Lambs settling down for a night's sleep
 

Its been gloomy and rainy weather today, the complete opposite of yesterday. I drove to Banna Minn Beach late this afternoon – this is one of Shetland's most beautiful beaches, set along the west side of a stunning tombolo leading out to the Kettla Ness peninsula, the southernmost part of West Burra. There was a Great Northern Diver on the sea and 33 Ringed Plovers on the beach, along with 2 Oystercatchers. Lots of cute baby lambs frolicking in the fields. Lovely weekend.

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Saturday 20th April
 
Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Hen Harrier at Loch of Hillwell. Quail in garden at Weisdale. Hawfinch in garden at Ladysmith Road, Scalloway. Hawfinch at Burravoe, Yell. Green-winged Teal on Isle of Foula. Blue Fulmar, Snow Buntings x 2 on Fair Isle.
 
 
Beautiful, sunny and warm Spring day here. The female Hawfinch visited the garden again this morning. Usual birds in the garden including Bramblings x 4, Siskins x 5, Chaffinches, House Sparrows, Robin, Blackbirds x 2, Rock Doves, Collared Doves and Starlings. I was busy doing jobs around the house and garden for most of the day. Put up a double washing line between the two sheds on hooks already there – it was warm enough to dry sheets and towls! Picked some rhubarb from the garden. Alex (builder) came over at 12.30pm to assess the office floor situation.
New bird on the block!

 
Drove to Plantiecrub Garden Centre at Tingwall and bought a new pedestal bird bath, two really cool big ceramic garden birds, which look like quail, some Saxifrage, Thyme, Sage plants and some compost. The two birds are sitting on two brick pillars either side of my patio area and steps – they look really brilliant.
 
Tree pictures, leaves and buds for ID added to this post.

Saturday 20 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Friday 19th April
 
Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Hawfinch at Stendaal, South Nesting. Blue Fulmars x 3, Snow Bunting on Fair Isle. Hawfinch at Hillend, Yell.
 
 
Good selection of birds in the garden again, including Bramblings, Siskins, Chaffinches, Starlings, House Sparrows, Robin, Blackbird, Rock Dove. Used my new Flymo cylinder lawnmower today for the first time and it was absolutely brilliant – cuts really well and didn't take very long at all.

Met my new neighbour who moved in on Wednesday, a very nice young local man called Murray, who went to school with my colleague Catherine he told me and his mum lives in the village too. We ended up chatting with Jimmy (my neighbour the other side) who said he had seen the female Hawfinch several times in his garden today, so its still around! Lit the fire this evening, bitter north west winds.

SKODA Fabia 1.0 TSI Monte Carlo (95PS) Estate!

Friday 19th April

Today my new (2020 model) car was delivered to the freight terminal at Lerwick – very easy to spot as its Rallye Green, the same as my last car. I picked the car up mid morning in very cold north west winds and returned home. So nice to have a car again, but my accident in January has made me feel nervous.

Several issues with the car, which I have had to email Trust Ford about – should get some answers tomorrow. Ford only just found out yesterday that the car was exempt from tax, as it was registered to a disabled person and they realised they had to sort this out, rather than me. You have to pay £25.00 to change it back to a taxable car, which they are paying for. The valet wasn't a valet and the bodyshop work on the scratches looked like it had been penned in with a green felt pen and didn't look much different from when I saw it. I was told it had Sat Nav, it hasn't. I paid for £50 of fuel to put in, it hasn't, probably half that at a guess. Both key fobs said the battery needed changing. On the new MOT it was flagged up as an advisory that the back window wiper blade needed changing, which Ford said they would pay for when I ordered it – they sent me the link to the Skoda shop website, which I ordered and paid for last night and then 5 minutes afterwards, I had an email from Skoda saying they would have to reimburse me, as they don't deliver to Shetland!

I spent two hours cleaning inside the car as it was hailing around me! My rubber mats from old hatchback car all fitted nicely, but I had to buy a new rubber boot mat (ordered from Skoda whilst in Aberdeen and delivered to Ford for me). Replaced the key fob batteries. Loaded the car up with the usual stuff and all looking good for a trip out at last! The seats are far more comfortable than my last SE L version and there is handy pull down draw to put your sunglasses in above the central console. No armrest though with storage area underneath as I had in my last car. Fabulous to have a bigger boot!

Thursday 18 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Hawfinch fem. in garden (mine) at Scalloway. Quail in garden at Weisdale. Hen Harrier at Loch of Spiggie. Black Redstart on Fair Isle.
 

I couldn't believe my eyes when I checked my front garden and feeders this morning before work. In the first few seconds I peered out of the front door, there was nothing, seconds later several birds flew down from the trees opposite, including a chunky Hawfinch! A female this time, landing on the ground to feed for seconds only and then flew back to the tall trees opposite my house. Again, no time for a photo, plus I needed to get to work. My feeding station is paying off big time. I have a good quality bird seed I purchased from Copdock Mill via Amazon, sunflower hearts, niger seed, meal worms, dried sultanas, fat balls from 'Peckish', berry flavour and mealworm suet blocks and RSPB peanuts.

This evening I put together my Flymo H400 Push Powered Cylinder Lawn Mower – it wasn't easy at all, but I got there in the end – itching to use this and the grass needs its first cut, but its too wet at the moment!

Wednesday 17 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Arctic Redpoll at Baltasound, Unst. Green-winged Teal on Isle of Foula. Snow Buntings x 3, Blue Fulmar on Fair Isle. Quail in garden at Weisdale. Little Gull off Mair's Quay, Lerwick.
 

Spent this evening sorting and filling my bird feeders up, including putting up my second (arrived today) Roamwild bird feeder, but this time without the cage, so I can see if the Starlings can use this or not, I expect they are not heavier enough to close the entry point for the seed. Cleaned the bird baths out and all looking fabulous again. I couldn't resist buying a smiling gnome swinging on a rope swing, which I purchased off Amazon, he looks so good in the tree! 😆 This will add some fun to the front garden for any children walking past... maybe! He will get plenty of swinging in the winds here! No, I haven't lost the plot, if you're asking, not quite anyway.

Had a lovely chat with Gwen this evening (who lives two doors away) as she passed my front garden and she told me that one of my trees in the front garden is a Rowan tree, which I'm hugely excited about – Gwen said that it had had a big chop at some point, but its all looking good again now, it won't get chopped again whilst I'm here – she also said that its mean't to be lucky to have a Rowan tree in your garden. There is an elder next to it and rhubarb growing below. Both these trees will be brilliant for their berries later on for any migrant birds. I'm not sure what the biggest tree is in my front garden and I have another large tree next to the shed and drive. Can't wait to get my new car in the driveway on Friday, so exciting!

 
 Tree in driveway
 
Second tree in front garden

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Tuesday 16th April

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Hawfinches x 2 at Stendaal, South Nesting. Hawfinch at Mulla, Voe. Snow Bunting x 3, Blue Fulmar on Fair Isle.
 

2 Red-breasted Mergansers on East Voe, Scalloway viewed from the bus on the way home. 6 Bramblings, 5 Siskins, 2 Chaffinches, 1 Goldfinch and 1 Robin in my garden this evening.

Monday 15 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Iceland Gull at Loch of Hillwell. Tundra Bean Goose, Little Gull on Isle of Bressay. Hawfinch at South Nesting. Hen Harrier between Aywick & Gossabrough, Yell. Ring Ouzel, Black Redstart, Snow Bunting, Blue Fulmar on Fair Isle.

2 Goldfinches, 5 Siskins in my garden this evening.

Sunday 14 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Green-winged Teal on Isle of Foula. Great White Egret at Baltasound, Unst. Tundra Bean Goose on Isle of Bressay. White-tailed Eagle, Snow Buntings x 2 on Fair Isle. Hawfinch at South Nesting. Hen Harrier at Bakkasetter. Little Gull at Shetland Catch, Gremista.
 

The Roamwild PestOff Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder is going to save me a fortune! House Sparrows, Siskins, Chaffinches and Goldfinches took a while to venture through the caged area, but they are now in and very happy! Its mostly been used by the Siskins and Goldfinches. The Starlings are extremely disgruntled indeed and trying to find a hole above the green metal area and obviously failing. The sunflower hearts have hardly gone down in the tube since I filled it up a few days ago! In the garden today: 2 Goldfinches, 5 Siskins, 6 Chaffinches, 1 robin, 1 blackbird, 4 Collared Doves, Starlings and good numbers of House Sparrows. I still haven't recovered from my trip to Aberdeen and didn't get anything much done today.

Saturday 13 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
None.
 

My Phenergan travel sickness tablets prevented me from being sick last night. The ferry was rocking in the early hours of the morning and even though I was laying on the floor, I had to hold onto the floor a few times to stop myself being rolled over! Later on I heard a huge crashing noise – which sounded like loads of crockery smashing to the floor! Eventually it calmed enough for me to get up. I didn't bother with breakfast this morning. The ferry arrived at 7.30am and I walked to the bus stop and caught the 7.50am bus back to Scalloway. A beautiful sunny and crisp morning, cooler than Aberdeen and much more tolerable.

When I reached home, I put my bags indoors and immediately fell asleep. I have been extremely sleepy all day and done nothing at all. The Phenergan tablets always do this too me, you can't drive after taking these or do anything to be honest. Two Goldfinches and a Great Spotted Woodpecker on my feeders this morning.

Friday 12 April 2024

New Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo Estate!

Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI Monte Carlo Estate

 

Woke up at 5am after a night of tossing and turning, wasn't ill, so all good. Had a full breakfast. Arrived in Aberdeen at 7am. Stayed on the ferry for a while until 7.45am. Caught a bus to Trust Ford.

At last I have found a new car and an estate, which is what I wanted for several reasons including being able to sleep in it if I wanted to and getting wood for the fire etc etc. I nearly didn't buy this, as I thought it would remind me of my written off car, but changed my mind, as its the best car I've seen for the money I had to spend. Can't afford to buy new again, this car is a 2020 model, one previous owner, 16,338 miles. Salesman Donnelly Wilson at Trust Ford in Aberdeen has been extremely helpful indeed. Service being done and 12 months MOT (was 6 months). Three months warranty and covered by any Ford Garage, so this includes the Ford garage in Shetland. Car being delivered to Lerwick next week!

I had no idea what a huge city Aberdeen was until I had a walk round later! Also 19 degrees here and I am boiling hot, roll on Shetland to cool down! Had lunch in Pizza Express.

Aberdeen

Celebrated in Pizza Express!
 

Now on the ferry waiting to leave at 7pm to return to Lerwick. I have been given a warning card that its going to be rough tonight – so exciting, not!  Managed to get my favourite place mid ship with camp bed and sleeping bag.

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Hawfinch at South Nesting. Orcas x 2 at Isle of Mousa. Snow Bunting, Blue Fulmar on Fair Isle.
 

Thursday 11 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Little Gull at Lerwick. Ring Ouzel, Blue Fulmar on Fair Isle.
 

After work I walked to the ferry terminal and caught the 7pm ferry to Aberdeen. No cabins, but I didn't want one anyway, as simply going over to look at a new car. Brought my roll up camp bed, pillow and sleeping bag and slept mid ship.

Wednesday 10 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 

Hawfinch at Sandwick. Rough-legged Buzzard flew over Lerwick. Tundra Bean Goose on Isle of Bressay. Blue Fulmar, 2 Snow Buntings on Fair Isle. Snow Buntings x 4 at Ordaal, Unst.
 
 
My new bird feeder looks untouched at the moment, maybe they need to get used to the cage around the bottom or it may be due to the fact the rest of the general bird seed in other feeder and on bird table has not run out yet. I might try it without the cage at the weekend to see if the Starlings are able to balance on the weighted perch. 2 Chaffinches in the garden before work. Raining all day.

Tuesday 9 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 

Hawfinch at North Staney Hill, Lerwick. Hawfinch at Sandwick. 2 Snow Buntings on Fair Isle. Glaucous Gull at Norwick, Unst.
 
 
Goldfinch in my garden before and after work along with 2 fem and 1 male Chaffinch.
 
Today I received a new bird feeder I sent off from the company Roamwild. I have put it together and will report back another day. I also bought the add on cage which is supposed to stop Starlings (won't believe it until I see it) and other bigger birds from accessing the seed. Its a very large feeder and I have filled this with sunflower hearts. On first impressions it looks far superior to my RSPB feeders. See the product video here. The test will be on how empty it is after work tomorrow! There are no squirrels in Shetland, so that won't be an issue for me!
 

RBA Weekly Round-Up 2nd to 8th April!

By Jon Dunn

Monday 8 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Ring Ouzel, Snow Buntings x 2 on Fair Isle.
 
 
A lovely sunny day here. This evening I had 2 male and 2 fem Chaffinches, 2 Bramblings, Starlings, a good number of House Sparrows, 1 Blackbird and one Robin in the garden. Several Swallows and House Martins were skimming over my house! There is only one issue with all these birds in the garden – its nearly impossible to photograph anything, as the only window that opens wide enough (living room) is far too close to the birds and so its a case of trying to photograph through the glass stable door. This door is divided up into 6 panes of glass – I have tried to open the top half section, but the birds are very wary of me standing there and most will fly off. I tried to photograph birds outside by sitting at the extreme opposite end of the front garden, but the birds were not happy with that, however still I sat. This will be insanely frustating WHEN I get a mega in the garden!!! 😉

Sunday 7 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Glaucous Gull on Isle of Foula. Bittern still at Loch of Hillwell. Glaucous Gull at Mair's Quay, Lerwick. Arctic Terns x 2 or "Tirriks" (earliest record ever, last earliest record was 18th April) at Grutness. Ring Ouzel, Twite x 4 on Fair Isle. Snow Buntings x 2 at Baltasound, Hawfinch at Valyie, Norwick, Unst.
 
 
Very strong winds but fabulous sunshine and blue skies. The Hawfinch has not returned, but I had a fabulous selection of birds in the garden today! 2 male and 2 fem Chaffinches, 1 male Goldfinch, 4 Bramblings, 3 Siskins, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, Robin, Blackbirds, 35+ House Sparrows, Starlings+++. Then later in the afternoon I had my first hirundines of the Spring – such a welcome and magical sight to watch 4 Swallows and 3 House Martins skimming and twisting low over my garden! What a day!

After doing lots of housekeeping with paperwork and filing etc, I finally got out and walked around Scalloway to find some birds. More Swallows and House Martins skimming over my road as I headed down to the harbour. Other than that, very little found, they were all in my garden! Found a Curlew and the usual Hooded Crows were around. Took some nice pictures of houses and gardens with Spring flowers and Daffodils on show. The wind was still very strong and it was raining lightly. On returning to my house, I walked part way up Gallows Hill to see my house from a different aspect – Scalloway looks amazing from even half way up the hill. Sheep and Shetland ponies on the hill make an idyllic scene.

I completely changed my mind about the car I put a deposit on yesterday and emailed Skoda to say I'm not interested. Instead I put a deposit on another car, which I am very happy about – just need to clarify a few things, which I have emailed to the sale room where its for sale in Aberdeen. Hopefully will have another car soon and before May with fingers crossed!

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Saturday 6th April
Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Hawfinch on Isle of Foula. Ring Ouzel male on Fair Isle.
 
 
Very strong winds and rain for most of the day. 4 Bramblings in my garden again with the usual birds and 7 Collared Doves at one time. 2 Siskins in next door's garden. No sign of yesterday's Hawfinch. Spent most of the day looking for another car on-line, which I'm getting very fed up with, as I don't trust any garage I phone up, especially when you are told different things about a car from two different members of staff within the same company! My insurance is now going to be tons more too after my accident, which I expected. I put a deposit on a car, but the very cheap make of tyre, which would not have been put on when it was new and the low mileage, don't add up – waiting for answer by email. Wish I could afford to buy a new Skoda on finance, but I can't, so will have to accept that. Mixed weather tomorrow!

Friday 5 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Bittern at Loch of Hillwell. Hawfinch at Scalloway. Waxwing at South Nesting. Hawfinch at Out Skerries. Long-eared Owl, Snow Buntings x 3 on Fair Isle.
 
 
Something very strange occured this morning, when I first got up and looked out into the front garden, two of my feeders were on the ground – there has been very little wind and they are heavy feeders. Seeking advice from Hugh H., he said it may have been Hooded Crows who work in the night! Cleaned all the now empty feeders properly and scrubbed down the hanging bird table and bird baths. Topped everything up again and it didn't take too long for all my usual birds to return.
 
New garden bird today – a Male HAWFINCH at 3pm!!! Its very handy that I can view all of my neighbour's Jimmy's long standing bird feeders and bird baths in his garden from my living room, without even leaving the house! I was scanning with bins and was suddenly aware of a large chunky bird that had flown to drink from a pedestal bird bath and was very excited to see it was a stonking male Hawfinch! It then flew up to perch in the tallest trees. I grabbed my camera and went outside and of course it had vanished! I went back indoors and walked to my front door to view my feeders and there it was sitting in my tree, peering down at the bird feeders and the boisterous Starlings scrabbling over the fat balls! WOW! By the time I had got my camera, it had disappeared again, so sadly no pictures at all, but what a bird to have in my garden!
 
Supporting cast of Bramblings x 4, Siskins x 2, House Sparrows, Starlings, Blackbirds, Robin, Collared Doves and Rock Doves. A sunny day here, but light rain and cloud later on. Heavy rain and strong south, south easterlies all day tomorrow. A mixture of strong and light south west winds on Sunday, with rain and sunshine!

Searching on line for a second hand Skoda Fabia Estate SE L or Monte Carlo in blue!!! I dithered about one the other day and regretted it – the next day someone reserved it and beat me to it and now sold – this was on Cinch who deliver free to Shetland. I have changed my mind about buying another rallyee green Skoda, it would bring back too many bad memories of my accident.

Thursday 4 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 
Bittern at Loch of Hillwell. Glaucous Gull, Little Gull at Lerwick. Long-eared Owl, Snow Buntings x 2 on Fair Isle.
 
 
Bramblings x 3 in my garden this evening, along with the usual birds in the garden.

Wednesday 3 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 

Bittern at Loch of Hillwell. Glaucous Gull at Mair's Quay, Lerwick. Northern Bullfinch at Kergord.
 
 
My builder came round at 6pm to check on the concrete floor of the second bedroom and said it is now dry enough to insulate and put a new floor in etc. I had decided a few days ago, that being as this room is now in a serious state, with skirting board taken up and holes in the bottom of the walls, that it would be the best and only time to get this room insulated properly, so I discussed this with 'Alex' who said he would price up the job and get a quote to me. I only need the two outside walls doing and so I am hoping it won't be insanely expensive?! When Alex explained the process to me, it sounds like a big job. The existing plasterboard has to be knocked out and removed and then 75mm insulating board placed against the inside of outside wall, wood struture around, then another 25mm of insulating board, then plaster board. This will then mean that the window frames will have be replaced and all the skirting board and then a decorator in to skim and paint the two new walls and all the skirting. It think its going to be a long time before this office gets completed and then a long time for me to finish the rest of the house. I really hope its all going to get done in the next few months.

Tuesday 2 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 

Hawfinch near Fjara Cafe, Black Redstart in garden at Lerwick. Hawfinch at Marrister, Whalsay.
 
 
The weather has switched to strong and chilly north easterlies – no rain, no sun. 4 male Bramblings, 2 Lesser Redpolls, 6 Siskins, 1 Robin, 2 Blackbirds, 7 Collared Doves, 15+ House Sparrows, Starlings+++ feeding in my garden. So lovely to have the lighter evenings now the clocks have changed. Sunrise is now 6.24am and sunset is 19.52.

RBA Weekly Round-Up 16th March to 1st April!

By Jon Dunn

Monday 1 April 2024

SHETLAND BIRD NEWS & MORE!

Rare  Bird  Alert  News 

Red-flanked Bluetail, Snow Buntings x 2 on Fair Isle. Great Grey Shrike at Scousburgh. Bittern at Loch of Hillwell.
 
 
4 male Bramblings, 1 Common Redpoll, 2 Siskins, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Robin, 2 Blackbirds, 6 Collared Doves,  15+ House Sparrows, Starlings+++ feeding in my garden on another lovely day here with south winds this morning, but the weather switched to north east, drizzle and wind later on.
 
I have spent a lot of time researching and looking for cars to buy this weekend. I hate buying second hand cars more than houses. My last two cars were bought from new, I can't afford to do that anymore. I'm thinking about buying another Skoda, but an estate model rather than hatchback, a Skoda Fabia Estate 1.0 TSI SE L 5dr. Its impossible to find one at the right price anywhere and I can't find any Rallyee Green ones! 😞

Update: I had my first Hedgehog ever seen here in my garden last night! It was probably rummaging around for any left over dried meal worms, which are not good for them (apparently), but they love them.