Thursday 14 October 2010

Shetland: Day 8: Mainland

Saturday October 9th

Refound the Pallas's Warbler first thing in company with yet another Yellow-browed Warbler at Sumburgh Farm. Pallas's Warblers are living, breathing gems. Yellow-broweds are pretty smart, but a Pallas's has that little bit of extra pizazz. They're both tiny, yet to get here they have travelled thousands of miles - some of the longest distance vagrants that we get, and YBW in particular is way commoner in the autumn than many birds that live considerably closer. Why that should be I have no idea, but I'll take every one that comes, super little birds.

Yellow-browed Warbler was once a dream bird for me, almost mythical in status. I finally got to see one in Norfolk a couple of years ago, and that kind of broke the mystique. Since then I've seen loads - this holiday alone I think I saw eleven, of which I found three. And if I can find one, that means there is definitely no mystique!

I called the others over to see the Pallas's, and we all enjoyed some great views. Last year, in my quest to get to 300, I never came close to getting a Pallas's Warbler. I guess some years are bad, and some are good.

The rest of the day was spent birding various sites around South Mainland. We got stonking views of a 1w Bluethroat at Noss of Spiggie, and then Vince did us proud by finding another Pallas's Warbler near Geosetter in a tiny fragment of habitat. This bird showed amazingly well, but it was incredibly gloomy in the geo making for high ISO and grainy pics. We ended the day at Channerwick where I finally caught up with a Red-breasted Flycatcher, a bird which had managed to elude me all trip, though saying that there was one on Skerries I couldn't be bothered to go and see which I now regret seeing as it had one wing and could be stroked.

Running Bird count: Buff-breasted Sandpiper x 2, Glaucous Gull, Short-toed Lark, Buff-bellied Pipit, Citrine Wagtail, Red-flanked Bluetail, Bluethroat, Swainson's Thrush, Radde's Warbler, Booted Warbler Sykes Warbler, Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler, Lanceolated Warbler, Barred Warbler, Pallas's Warbler x 2, Yellow-browed Warbler x 11, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll, Little Bunting, Black-headed Bunting.

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