Thursday, 30 April 2009

More Redpolls

Well, the wind was to forecast blowing from the SE and blue skies all day, with a little rain tonight we could be in for some new birds. Just a few new birds would be nice with a little variation, as you can probably guess on patch it was pretty much the same. The 4 Mealy redpolls increased to 5, be nice if an Arctic joined them. The Willow warbler also remained and a Lesser Whitethroat was new.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

It made it ?

Another early morning text about the Black Kite on south mainland was my cue to get out on patch. The singing Chiffchaff remains and the Collared Dove which has been touring finally made it onto patch. 2 Dunlins and 20+ Purple Sandpipers were at the Houb, the Willow Warbler and 4 Mealy Redpolls remained also around the small conifer plantation. Forecast for the next couple of days strong SE winds, fingers crossed.

General consensus regarding yesterdays probable Kumliens Gull is that it is one, and a classic individual at that. Thanks for all your comments.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Kumliens Gull ?

The probable Kumliens Gull from a couple of weeks ago returned and was coming to bread. Comments welcome.

No wind = no birds

Another fine day with blue skies and sunshine, unfortunately this was accompanied by absolutely no wind. A singing Chiffchaff and a newly fledged Blackbird was the best on offer around Brough so decided to check out the north of the isle. A lingering Collared Dove flew from near Challister towards Brough and if it makes it would be a welcome patch tick. 2 Chiffchaffs at Skaw and a Willow Warbler at Vats-houll made up the north count. Forecast for the next few days looks promising so hopefully the winds will produce the goods ?

Another walk round patch this afternoon hoping for the Collared Dove, it was in vain. All the action was again in the small conifer plantation, the 2 Mealy Redpolls of yesterday was increased to 4 and the Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff remain.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Sun, Sea & Sex

After the murk of the last couple of days it was nice to wake to clear blue skies and brilliant sunshine. An easterly wind raised hopes of new migrants, but for the best part of 90 minutes there wasn't a migrant in sight. It wasn't until i got to the small conifer plantation things livened up, a Chiffchaff and a singing Willow Warbler was followed by 2 Mealy Redpolls all very flighty and showing only briefly.

A message of an unidentified locustella at Skaw plantation raised hopes but apart from 3 Chiffchaffs, a male Blackcap and a female Brambling we could not find the mystery warbler.
10 House Sparrows in the garden this afternoon constituted the highest count, and with the actions of a few randy pairs that number will soon be increasing.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

A close shave

A good walk round Brough this morning in grey murky weather. A tailless and rather tatty Hawfinch showed well briefly and was a welcome patch tick, a Fieldfare was below the house and 2 Twite in the garden was about as good as it got. Another Hawfinch was up at Vaivoe, but is lucky to still be alive as it nearly became lunch to the local cat.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

It does exist ?

A few flight delays later and my southern work excursion was over for a few weeks. No news on the Subalpine Warbler at Scatness meant i drove straight past, only for it to be present but i did manage to see the Ring-necked Duck that has eluded me on Tingwall Loch. A quick walk around the patch with the dogs produced nothing other than an Otter. Roll on tomorrow !

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Bloody work !

Unfortunately i had to go back to Cheshire today for work commitments, but not before a trundle around the patch with the dogs. Much the same as yesterday with no migrants about. Managed to jam in on the Hawfinch with has been eluding me as it flew past me on its way to Hamister. Had a look for the non existent Ring-necked Duck on Tingwall loch, it wasn't there. An Iceland Gull was in a ploughed field near Scalloway and the drake Wood Duck was still present.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Pre-season clearout

As the title suggests it seems a clearout took place overnight with every garden migrant free zones. A Whimbrel was the highlight this morning at the Houb so turned my attentions to the sea which produced 4 GN Divers, 4 RT Divers and 5 Bonxies. A quick look for the possible Kumliens Gull at Hamister drew a blank so will have another look for it tomorrow. Another Whimbrel this afternoon at the back of the house.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Horse shit ?

Another day with the cold NE'rly wind blowing and a day of plant protection. Firstly collecting bags and buckets of horse manure to fertilise the trees then to the local garage to collect 37 tyres ? These are used to protect them from the rabbits and my bloody dogs. Whilst collecting the manure flushed a female Blackcap from a ditch, then preceded to see it again a bit further up the road. The Goldcrest was still present and 2 Chiffchaffs in the small conifer plantation, a fly by Bonxie and Gannets very close to the shore made up the quota for the day.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Tree's and Wood

A day in the garden was planned, planting yesterdays purchases so only a quick check around Brough this morning. Glad it was quick because it was bloody freezing but i did get a Goldcrest in the small conifer plantation, but that was it. The walk back up to the house was rewarded with stunning views of a Hooded Crow ! Unfortunately it was lay down dead.

No sooner had i planted the last 'spruce' that i received a text "male Wood Duck of unknown origin on Loch of Brow, Spiggie". Then a call from Dougie Preston had me heading for the ferry. On arrival at the loch we were met by Shetlands 'finest' Messrs Fray, Harvey, Minton, Bell and Nicholson and after good but distant scope views we decided to head down to the loch. As soon as we were in a comfortable viewing distance the Wood Duck went on the offensive firstly swimming away then flying into the middle of the loch to join the Tufted flock. In flight all primaries were visible and seemed to be in tip top condition, possibly even new. With wildfowl migration in full flow who is to say this isn't a genuinely wild bird ? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Imminent departures and arrivals

After a quiet day on patch yesterday, today seemed a good day to visit the mainland and buy some plants. After taking advice as to what and where to buy i paid a visit to Lea Gardens, Tresta and bought trees, shrubs and roses in the hope that it will encourage more birds to visit. The day started with a singing Chiffchaff outside my sons school then a juv Iceland Gull, which has been present since November loafing around Hamister.

On the mainland 3 juv Iceland Gull were present at Laxo Voe and another 4 at Gremista.

When i eventually got back had a look round patch and logged 5 Chiffchaff and 1 Willow Warbler, better than yesterday and hopefully new arrivals.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

And then there was 1

It seemed the mini exodus of yesterday set a precedent as there was nothing but a lone Willow Warbler present today. This was probably due to the wind switching to a brisk NE'rly, the only effect this had was to bring the likes of Fulmars and Gannets very close to the shore.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Mini exodus

With shopping duty on the agenda (Tesco) had a quick walk around patch this afternoon. The winds had changed overnight to a mild SE'rly and seemed to have cleared a few things out. A Chiffchaff was maybe new in a different garden ? the phyllosc count in the small conifer plantation was down to maybe half a dozen and there was no sign of the Hoopoe. Only thing that has increased overnight is the Wheatear count with plenty now all over the patch.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Top garden tick

I thought this deserved a new posting ? As i was writing the last post a flash went by the office window and landed on the lawn, obscurred by the nets i had put up only 2 hours earlier i jumped out of my seat because only a few feet away was the Hoopoe, in my garden. I managed a few shots before it vanished but was surprised it was still about after last nights clear skies and no sign earlier.

Wotter place !

Another fine day started well with 3 Wheatears from the house, with 2 males in full display mode to a rather bemused female. 3 Willow Warblers and a Lesser Whitethroat were new with the later showing very well, and a Redwing through.

According to Birds of Shetland the earliest recorded date for Lesser Whitethroat was 20th April 1968 on Fair Isle.Another 5 Willow Warblers and a lone Chiffchaff made up the phyllosc count in the small conifer plantation and a grand total of 2 Robins also on patch.

Pride of place went to an Otter that i watched yesterday and today managed to get close enough for some decent shots.