Thursday 14 October 2010

Shetland: Day 9: Mainland and home

Sunday October 10th
Not a great deal to say about today you'll no doubt be pleased to read. We were under pressure from the word go to be on a flight, and though we never strayed far from the airport, the looming deadline nagged.

We birded a few sites in South Mainland, found very little in increasingly poor weather, and eventually called it a day and went back to Sumburgh. The trip was over, and though the weather looked promising for a new batch of rare vagrants, we could have no complaints. What a week! Last year on Scilly I saw a Radde's Warbler, a Rosefinch, a Wryneck, an RB Fly, and a few Yellow-broweds. Though not a competition, Shetland wins comprehensively. I only get one birding holiday a year and I'd like to see as much as possible, so I lucked out this time. I hope Scilly's time comes again; it is a much nicer place to be birding, with nice weather, excellent cake and good pubs, none of which Shetland has. But on the basis of my two trips, there is clearly no comparison on the bird front.


Having said that, luck and weather systems play their part, and as I sit here typing this, Scilly is getting a nice crop of rare Wheatears, and hot off the press, a Red-eyed Vireo. The weather could have been bad up on Shetland; Northern gales and I could have seen literally nothing. So I may yet go to Scilly again, it is a lovely place, and I don't want the St Mary's Boatmen to starve.

Back to Wanstead next, bet you can't wait. I've bought a new washing basket...

Final Bird count, ticks underlined: 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, Sykes's 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.


  1. Sounds like a good trip - and an excellent write-up! Although a bit light on the pie experience I felt - I presume you did try some pies? If not, you definately missed out! Which means you must go back next year and get stuck in!

  2. Although I look like I've eaten my fair share of pies, I'm not really that much of a pie man. I think I had one all week, purchased from a small shop near Voe. I didn't really enjoy it, though heated it could have been great.

  3. A trifle unfair, Jonathan - we have some excellent pubs here in Shetland! You were clearly spending way too much time in the field, and not enough time at the bar...

    All the best,


  4. I think our trouble was being stuck right on the southern tip, and no-one really wanted to be designated driver. Thus the only pub we tried was the yes, I'm being unfair!