Wednesday, 30 June 2010

More, More, More

A glorious summers day with blue skies and warmth! Spent the morning and early afternoon playing catch-up to John Laurie on the golf course, though i did win 1 hole (just). The Crossbills were still showing in the plantation, though (believe it or not) were no way as accommodating as yesterday. I don't apologise for the amount of images here. I could post a lot more.

For anybody with any passing interest in calls and sonograms below is a sonogram taken from the juvenile and very kindly constructed by Dougie. I have no idea what it means but you may!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Move Closer

Another attempt with the Red-throated Divers failed again today, but 2 very accommodating Crossbills in the plantation at Skaw more than made up for it.

Long Way From Home

This nest and lone egg was found on-board one of the Pelagic fishing boats that had been away for work in Denmark. My egg id skills are not up to much so any ideas?

Monday, 28 June 2010

Here Comes The Sun

The doom and gloom of yesterday was banished today with relatively warm sunshine and blue skies, at last. With the conditions i decided to try  the Red-throated Divers again, unfortunately they decided to keep their distance only coming within 10 metres of the shore. The Dunlin were around again shepherding their brood of 6 chicks around, and this Arctic Skua seemed content with my presence drinking from the loch.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Strange Brew

 Laughing or in shock?

Well 'they think its all over' were the immortal words back in '66'. Well it is all over now, with probably the worst England display i have ever seen. Even if Lampard's goal was allowed we never deserved to win and quite frankly i am glad. A probable match-up in the quarter's with Argentina would have been, well i would like to say embarrassing but i have just witnessed that. All these so called 'great players', the Premier League's cream? I don't think so. A quick squad analysis.
  • David James (Portsmouth (who were relegated)) - England's best player but too old.
  • Ashley Cole (Chelsea) - Probably one of the best left backs in the world, but he cant do it alone.
  • John Terry (Chelsea) - Doesn't look the same player since the captains armband was taken away.
  • Matthew Upson (West Ham(nearly relegated)) - Scored a goal, conceded 1-2-3-4? Slow and crap.
  • Glen Johnson (Liverpool) - For me the worst player for England this world cup.
  • James Milner (Aston Villa) - No crosses? Poor. Will be a good England player, one day.
  • Frank Lampard (Chelsea) - Awesome for club, but cant perform on the top stage.
  • Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) - As above and not an England captain.
  • Gareth Barry (Man City) - Looked laboured. Lost position too much and was at fault for 4th goal.
  • Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) - Awesome for club overrated for England. Awful.
  • Jermain Defoe (Spurs) - Looked bright(ish) about in the 18 yard box, other than that did nothing.
       The rest.
  • Robert Green (West Ham(nearly relegated)) - Made a calamitous mistake and paid for it.
  • Emile Heskey (Wigan) - A striker that doesn't score goals? He wouldn't make a Scotland squad. Joke.
  • Ledley King (Spurs) - A good half season but plagued with back problems, we got no fit defenders?
  • Shaun Wright-Phillips (Man City) - He cant cross a ball for City, why would it be any different?
  • Aaron Lennon (Spurs) - A good season but like above he cant cross. Headless chicken springs to mind.
  • Joe Cole (Chelsea) - Given no time.
  • Jamie Carragher (Liverpool) - Should have stayed retired.
  • Peter Crouch (Spurs) - England's best striker. FACT. No game time.
      Who we didnt see.
  • Michael Carrick (Man Utd) - Thank god we didnt see him on the pitch.
  • Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa) - Had a good season, shame he's a left back.
  • Joe Hart (Man City) - England's no1 in waiting and easily the best english keeper in the Premier League.
  • Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd) - Injured most of the season but still gets picked, what a waste.
  • Michael Dawson (Spurs) - Brought in for Ferdinand and for me ahead of King and Upson.
With the likes of Adam Johnson who had a stunning baptism in the Premier League, Theo Walcott just had to go and Roger Johnson having a eye catching season for Birmingham surely its time to completely change it. Stop this group of elite players picking themselves and lets use the best players in the League. Fabio will walk, so lets hope we can get an Englishman back in charge. Ah well heres to the Euro's in 2012.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Late In The Day

A slight distraction this evening whilst watching Spain dismantle Chile, was a text from Dr Marshall of a probable Marsh Warbler singing in the plantation up at Skaw. A quick call to ask if it was worthy of putting up the mist net  and i was up there. Fortunately (for me) John Laurie was there so helped set up, once ready the acro didn't need much persuasion flying into the net almost instantly. I passed comment that the last day of SW'rly winds we had Red-backed Shrike, maybe they are the way forward this year? I also tried for a sneaky patch year tick but it was released at Skaw.

I Don't Like Cricket

What with the World Cup, Wimbledon and England vs Australia in the Cricket there isn't much time for anything else, especially birding! Managed to drag myself out today in an attempt to photograph Red-throated Divers, the light was awful but i am fairly happy with the results. Hopefully next time it will be clear and sunny.

Also in residence were 2 pairs of Dunlin, with this individual that showed ridiculously close.

Last but by no means least was this attentive Meadow Pipit feeding young, 5 in total that Dr Marshall rung a couple of days ago.

Monday, 21 June 2010


Unfortunately Portugal were in complete control over North Korea when i left the house for a trip up to Skaw? A colour ringed Rock Pipit has eluded close enough views over the past few months but with young it was obviously less wary. A blue ring over black on its right leg and a metal ring over yellow on its left. Couldn't see any obvious markings on the metal ring but hopefully some kind of recovery can be made.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

It's All Gone

The lures of the seemingly long staying Marmora's Warbler in South Wales eventually took there toll, with a impromptu visit arranged for Wednesday with Douglas! Unfortunately the bird had other ideas and pissed off Tuesday evening it seems. So plan B was put into operation with the Broad-billed Sandpiper at Saltholme being used as backup. But yet again we were foiled as that pissed off with the Warbler also. So Wednesday's tally was zero. Thursday morning meant a meeting in Manchester so dropped Douglas at Moore NR for a few hours, hopefully to score Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. It was always an outside chance, anyway he never saw one. From Moore we tried Pennington Flash for Black Tern, again that had gone. And from there we headed north in preparation for the ferry on Friday. We called in on the Common Rosefinch that was singing at Glendeven, even that wasn't on show. So Thursadys tally was also zero. Friday morning and an early start to Speyside via the Rosefinch site, again no sign (why i am twitching a Rosefinch god only knows) even though it is still there. Upon reaching Speyside our fortunes changed, even though that wasn't hard. 3 Crossbills in Curr Wood were sound recorded to assign to to race. 2 Crested Tits in Poorhouse Wood were a year tick whilst plenty of Tree Pipits sung around. With time running short we made our way to Aberdeen via the King Eider at the Ythan, fortunately this time showing a lot closer. Back home now to the wind and cold, at least here nothing ever came.

Monday, 14 June 2010

No News

I wish i could update you with news of, not just rare birds but any birds. Take a look at the Nature in Shetland Website that will give you all the lack of bird info you could ever want. Northerly winds are dominating the weather now so not much chance of any southern migrants making it here. Because of the lack of news and photo opportunities, unless you want Starling and House Sparrow fledglings i messed around with some Tern photos. Common and Arctic from the Houb and Little and Sandwich from the Ythan estuary last month. I think they have an artistic water colour feel to them, so much so i may get the Little Tern mounted.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Ray of Light

A quick check round at lunch time in grey damp conditions failed to produce a single migrant. So whilst reaching for the remote control to switch on the sound for the opening ceremony of the World Cup i glanced out of the window. A quick double take and then muttered to myself  "that's big for a Kestrel", i grabbed the bins and looked over to the Houb, an Osprey was hovering whilst getting mobbed by a dozen or so gulls. Not wanting to take my eyes off it i shouted the wife to grab my camera, but in the panic she couldn't find it. I rushed around grabbed my camera ran outside whilst shouting "phone John Laurie" then took some random photos of nothing as the gulls flew in the direction of Challister. A call to John Laurie and we were mobile but unfortunately we couldn't relocate it. So in all the doom and gloom of this Spring, today was alighted with a decent patch tick at least.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Season's End

Not a great deal of enthusiasm to get out birding with the prospect of there being bugger all about. How do i know? Well, the lack of news around Shetland doesn't help coupled with the efforts of trying to find something then the realisation there actually isn't anything! Well after digging out the dockens from around the house and planting the Red Hot Pokers a neighbour gave us i decided to see what there wasn't. Zero around Brough so onto Skaw, a Chiffchaff with a rather pronounced supercillium and a Red Admiral that showed well. 8 weeks till Autumn.At least the World Cup (which kicks off tomorrow if you didn't know) will entertain for the next 4 weeks.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

No Show

Decided on another attempt with Dougie to photograph the Red-necked Phalaropes on Fetlar, again they failed to put in an appearance. Fortunately a Marsh Warbler at Everland made the journey slightly worth while, although it eluded any chance of a photo through its mobility. With no Phalaropes we moved onto Unst, productivity here was very slow with the totals being 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Whitethroats, Chaffinch, Blackcap and Willow Warbler. Spring is at an end!