Saturday 23 February 2013
There isn't a huge amount of variety up on Shetland in winter, but what is there is good, and if you're weird enough to like Gulls, you're in for a good time. Gulls dominated the rest of the day, post Grosbeak. We had a scout around Nesting Bay for Divers, of which there were many, and gained a heard-only Shetland tick when a Red Grouse bec-becced from behind us somewhere, but really we all wanted to go and chuck bread at a juvenile Ring-billed Gull at Scalloway. When we got there the Gull was sat on the other side of the water looking ill. Bloated, some might say. Every crew of Grosbeak twitchers had already been to see it already, and to say the Gull was loafing would be very accurate indeed. It was 90% loaf.....
This didn't stop it attempting to top up when we chucked out yet more, but you could see its heart wasn't in it, and so we left it quietly vomiting in a field. Next stop Lerwick Catch for a white-winger session, and it didn't disappoint, with three blazing-white first year Glaucs and an Iceland. They didn't do much it has to be said, but the light was pretty nice and there were Eiders and Long-tailed Ducks and so on. A good end to the day's birding - we had been on Shetland for less than twelve hours, but mission accomplished.
And then it was time to get on board the ferry and celebrate John's 921st UK tick with a round of beers. Several rounds of beers. If the boat was rocking, we didn't notice.