Saturday 28 October 2023

Thursday 26 October 2023

Veery revisited

Being such a rare visitor to our shores and such an obliging individual, you can't blame me for taking lots of  photos of the Shetland Veery, earlier in the month. I was treated to views down to a few metres at times, as it preened and fed, completed unperturbed by my presence. 

One of the highlights of the trip and my fourth American thrush this side of the Atlantic. 

Monday 23 October 2023

To the point...

Walked to the Spurn Point with Hugh Wright on Thursday. In the morning, there was plenty of Thurshes and Brambling piling in off the sea and we had a Black Redstart Ring Ouzel among other common migrants on the 'mainland'. 

On the walk down it was clear there were more Thrushes, Goldcrests and Robins down towards the Point and we had a cracking male Black Redstart as well as another female/1st winter type. A Short-eared Owl fresh in and a Merlin ploughing a migrant Song Thrush into a wire fence (and to it's death!) kept things interesting until we found this Yellow-browed Warbler. 

It was a very obliging, fearless bird and even stopped and preened in front of me at one point. Although perhaps not the rarest bird, it felt like a great reward among the mass of common migrants which included other scarcer migrants such as Barred Warbler and Mealy Redpoll. 

Wednesday 18 October 2023

Glossy Ibis find

Yesterday morning, a pre-work visit to the patch was rewarded with a fly over Rock Pipit, the obliging Bittern and this Glossy Ibis flying out of roost with six Little Egrets. Yesterday evening, Mike Weedon watch the Ibis return to Deeping Lakes and this morning a group of us watch it leave once again, heading north along the Welland. 

Josh Jones relocated it near Crowland Water tower and it attracted a steady stream of admirers. Just the third record for Deeping Lakes (fly through in December 2020 and the first, a long stayer, in December 2013/January 2014).

Sunday 15 October 2023

Orcas from Sumburgh head

After watching the Orcas in the Mousa Sound, we watched them heading directly towards Sumburgh head so that's where we headed. I quickly picked up the pod in the scope, miles away. They were still heading our way but entered each bay, presumably looking for Seals. 

Quite a crowd gathered by the time they got to us. We were afforded wonderful views as they approached. They then suddenly all dived and appeared beyond the point we were all gathered on. We left them to continue round the headland, completely thrilled with experiencing such a fantastic encounter with one of my favourite animals. 

Thursday 12 October 2023

Tree Pipit

It wasn't all about rare birds and Orcas in Shetland. We enjoyed many more common migrant warblers this autumn, than in previous visits. This Tree Pipit grounded in Brae community garden got the heart pumping, when I first picked it up in my thermal imager. Although not the hoped for OBP, it's been a while since I have seen a Tree Pipit so well.

Wester Quarff Barred

On our last day in Shetland, on Saturday, we spent a long time with the Eastern Subalp at Wester Quarff. Whilst watching the Subalp, this Barred appeared in the same tree a couple of times. Flying between the crowd, it landed by a stream and was very obliging, hopping on the deck and even preening on the ground in the unseasonably warm sun. 

Wednesday 11 October 2023

Confiding Citrine Wagtail

I have never known such a confiding Wagtail. It might be just grey, white and black but this Citrine Wagtail is a real beauty. It was completely fearless and would approach down to a few feet in a Lerwick garden last week. What a stunner! 

Monday 9 October 2023

More ORCA!

On Saturday 30th September, Dad and I were fortunate to have arrived in Shetland for when the 27's pod of Orca swam along the south east coast of the mainland. These photos were taken in the morning, whilst the pod were in the Sandwick area. 

The views given to the sizable crowd, were in a word, exceptional. They sailed right past the jetty for the Mousa ferry, ridiculously close to the assembled crowd. Moving to the cliffs, they looked for seals at the cliff base. 

The thrill of seeing wild Orcas in Britain, up close and personal is undescribable and addictive. This is my tenth visit to these magical islands and the third and best encounter with these incredible mammals. 

Friday 6 October 2023

More Veery

Another visit on Monday for the Veery was even better in terms of how few people there were. However the bird stuck to the undergrowth but in a way, that was a nicer habitat to take photos in. I will post more later of course....

Thursday 5 October 2023

Arctic Warbler find

We resisted heading to Bressay for the White's Thrush this morning. Instead we headed to Levenwick. There were plenty of Blackcaps, more than in the past few days and Redwings were in; it felt like birds had arrived on the light winds. 

Walking up to Willal, a warbler up in the Sycamores of the first garden was distant but looked like a Greenish type warbler. I approached closer and after 10 minutes it revealed it was indeed a Greenish type but we hadn't seen the legs and the views were brief. Worse, I watched it fly up hill to a distant garden! We decided Greenish was mostly likely and put it out as such just in case anyone was passing.

Unsatisfied with the outcome, we continued to search and thankfully it was re-found up the hill, next to Midway Stores (where we had conveniently parked!) and eventually it gave itself up for good enough views to confirm it was in fact an Arctic!

Wednesday 4 October 2023


Day one of my tenth visit to Shetland was a blinder. Dad and I enjoyed around five hours of ORCA action! It ranged from views of around 4 miles away to 10 feet away. Simply one of the best wildlife experiences of my life. This is the second time I have encountered 27's pod and the third time I've seen Orcas in Shetland (and the world!) and three really is the charm/. 

Monday 2 October 2023

Sibe Stonechat


Shetland continues to deliver with this superb male Siberian Stonechat. 

Sunday 1 October 2023

A Veery good start


My tenth visit to Shetland, this time with my father, got off to a great start yesterday. A north American Veery was found the day before we arrived and expectations were high as our ferry neared Lerwick. We raced to the scene and eventually got great views of this diminutive thrush. The weather was unsettled and the crowd large and news of Orcas elsewhere, pulled us away until the late afternoon, where we enjoyed views down to 6 feet, with just three or four others!