Monday 29 September 2014

Shetland 2014 - day 2

Another exciting* day on Shetland! We started close to home, in our own garden and our own plantation. One Siskin, and one Song Thrush! Yay! Things picked up with a Yellow-browed Warbler at the end of the road, and then we decided to twitch the village of Veensgarth, as the previous day it had held no fewer that three Red-breasted Flycatchers. Howard, being Howard, walked in a straight line and found all three. I did a lot of wiggling and following Howard, and saw only two, as well as a Barred Warbler. Found by Howard. Ho-hum. My moment of glory was imminent however.

Heading north now, we birded a selection of sites all the way up to Isbister. At Busta House there was a Yellow-browed Warbler and probably a Barred Warbler. Howard and I are calling it a Barred Warbler. Bradders, made of sterner stuff*, is calling it nothing. Basically I walked up the lane and heard a massively loud "Tchack tchack tchack tchack", louder than a Lancaster Bomber. Admittedly it wasn't quite right for Barred, but DB saw the bird in question and said he was 99% confident it was one. So H and I added the extra percent. Awesome.

Sullom Plantation once again tried to break my ankles, and held another two Yellow-browed Warblers and a very rare Woodpigeon. Isbister held a really grumpy man who told us there were too many tourists in Isbister. This is the Isbister that is at the most northerly part of mainland Shetland. The Isbister where the road ends. It turned out he was concerned that we were dog-walking sheep-rustling maniacs, and he got into his van to monitor our progress down the Iris Bed. Once he discovered that we had no dogs and had no interest in Sheep (apart from me, but I held it together) he became friendliness itself, but his initial reaction was so un-Shetland-like it was shameful. There were no birds other than Snipe. We left.

Back past the garden of Grosbeak Happiness, we checked a random garden at South Heog. This, naturally, had a Yellow-browed Warber in it. In fact most gardens we checked had a Yellow-browed Warbler in them, and it was generally a disappointment when we couldn't find one as it was pretty much expected that we would. Such is birding Shetland in September and October - I ended up with 23 in four days. And then came my moment of glory near Ronas Voe.....

I, J Lethbridge, found my own Red-breasted Flycatcher. Howard must have been looking the other way or something, and Bradders was unsighted by a row of bushes. Mine, all mine. My precious. It was not a hard ID, but I surprised myself by only calling it once as a Redstart before settling on what it actually was. Hurrah! Naturally my camera was in the car, but it looked approximately*** like this, which I actually took on Whalsay two days later.

* if you are a weirdo-freak
** party-pooper
*** very much

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