Tuesday 26 October 2021

Shetland 2021 - Day 6

Another weather day.....  The morning was spent indoors mooching and drinking tea. This was OK, I mean it is still a holiday so why not just chill out, it's not like we had to work on spreadsheets or write essays is it? And it beat the alternative hands down, which was being soaked to the skin by an incessant wind-blasted rain that did not let up until lunchtime. 

After lunch we skipped down south to St Ninian's and then Spiggie in order to bolster our trip list. This was a great success with Goldeneye, Slavonian Grebe, and both Coot and Moorhen. A Black-tailed Godwit was an unusual sight in a stubble field otherwise populated by Rock Doves.

At Papil we greedily ticked Gadwall, a rare bird in these parts, and then in an effort to get rid of the peat from my trouser and boots after yesterday's incident I decided to fall into a harbour. This was almost a huge disaster - walking down a slipway to try and get lower and closer to a Black Guillemot I lost my grip and started sliding upright gracefully towards the water. There was nothing I could do, but I had the presence of mind to gently lay my camera on the slipway above me before I slid in. Luckily that stayed put, but I collapsed in a partially submerged heap and got a partial soaking whilst ripping a few shreds in my waterproof trousers and coat. Life buoys were not required thankfully, and I was able to pick my way back to safety, retrieve my camera, and go and clean up again in a nearby public toilet. Eau de bog was replaced by Eau de seaweed, and we returned home via a Common Rosefinch at Hamnavoe (NB there are thousands of Hamnavoes on Shetland but this is the one just beyond Trondra on the west side of the Mainland).

And that was the day, very limited birding for all of us, and for me a bit of a flirt with disaster. To soothe my shattered nerves we splashed out some hot smoked salmon and other nibbles washed down with Bourgogne chardonnay.

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