Sunday, 18 October 2015

Shetland 2015 highlights

Shetland 2015 was the first time I have come back tickless. However there were still good birds see and find, although it just lacked the biggie that would have made it another classic trip. Building up to the trip the weather looked perfect with strong south easterlies forecast and we were licking our lips at anticipation of all thee birds this weather system would bring. Unfortunately it didn't quite work out like that. In the end the winds were too strong, often gale force and combined with heavy rain. At times it was very hard work.

For about a week leading up to our arrival an Arctic Warbler had been reliable just north of Lerwick. This species is rapidly becoming my bogey bird with two previous dips. Yet again as in 2010 a long stayer decided to do a bunk the night before I arrived so it remains one of my most gettable and wanted birds.

In between the poor weather we did manage to catch up with some decent birds so I can't complain too much. Hopefully I'll be back next year and hopefully it'll be raining megas!  

Red Breasted Flycatcher  

Bluethroat - one of two seen and my favourite bird of the trip. I've seen a few before but this showy individual at Quendale was a joy to watch

Flycatcher sp - Hawky, Andy and I found this bird and at first dismissed it a Pied Flycatcher but upon inspecting the pics later we began to ponder if in fact we had actually found a mega, a Collared Flycatcher. Separating the two species  from photos is almost impossible as arguments can be made for each species, but plenty of top birders have been edging towards it being a Collared. We will probably never know. Unfortunately the bird was gone the following day,   

Showy Lapland Bunting that frequented the Sumburgh lighthouse lower car park regularly throughout the week 

Yellow Browed Warbler - we lost count of how many we saw and found, probably way over 30

Spotted Flycatcher

Olive Backed Pipit - my 5th seen (ever) and every one if them on Shetland, including the one our group found last year

Arctic Skua seeking refuge from the shocking weather on the runway of the airport

Reintroduced and tagged Lesser Whitefronted Goose, originally released in Sweden