Thursday, 30 July 2009

One more Knot...

I arrived at Virkie just as the tide was at its highest. This superb adult Knot plus a good reflection was exactly what I was after!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009


A nice session in the early evening with waders at Virkie. The highlight was a group of moulting adult Knots. Earlier in the day, I was back at Graven for the Lesser Grey Shrike at 0600, but a couple of hours of searching proved fruitless. A shame, as the early morning light was fantastic! A Merlin hunting in the area was the only bird of note.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Lesser Grey Shrike

Having missed a Lesser Grey Shrike on Bressay a few weeks ago I was delighted to receive a text from Shetland county recorder Mark Chapman saying he'd found one up in the North Mainland. The bird performed well for observation, but the noon sun was very high and the light was extremely harsh for quality photographs. At one stage the bird started singing!

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Meet the Family...

An evening trip to photograph what was going to be a pretty good sunset got scrapped when we discovered this pair of Whooper Swans with three cygnets!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Update: Finland and Norway Winter Pho-tour 2010 - only ONE space remaining!

All the arrangements for the annual winter pho-tour to Finland and Arctic Norway are now in place and the trip will run from Saturday 13 - Saturday 20 March 2010. We have just ONE space left as of today, so if you are interested in joining this unique trip, please e mail Shetland Wildlife and include a daytime contact telephone number and postal address so we can contact you.

Once the last space is sold on the 13 - 20 March departure, it is likely that we will also run an additional week from 20 - 27 March 2010. Here is a brief resume of our 2009 trip and if you scroll down the page, you'll see how good the photo opportunities are!

"Our now legendary photography trip to Lapland and Arctic Norway proved to be another huge success. Our guest house feeding station in Lapland provided us with outstanding opportunities once again with the normally secretive Pine Grosbeak - at least a dozen birds were coming to the station along with Siberian Jays, Siberian Tits, Willow Tits, Common and Arctic Redpolls. Continuing into northern Norway and basing ourselves in the Varanger region we concentrated primarily on seabirds and sea duck, with an emphasis on capturing the two 'rarer' Eiders. In fact, we found something even rarer in the shape of an adult Kumlien's Gull - only the 16th-ever record for Norway! Excellent weather allowed us to take full advantage of the sea conditions and we managed no less than four boat trips to get in amongst the birds. Opportunities from land were also outstanding and the group pretty much all secured stunning shots of King, Steller's and Common Eiders, Long-tailed Ducks, Black, Common and Brunnich's Guillemots, Shags, Cormorant, Kittiwakes, Purple Sandpipers and both Iceland and Glaucous Gull. As in previous years, lady-luck was certainly on our side and during our quest to find a flock of several thousand King Eiders, we encountered a stunning pod of 6 - 8 Killer Whales! One of the animals was a calf estimated to be just a few feet in length and thus probably only around a month old! Four of the group took our extension to photograph Golden Eagles in Kuusamo region but despite two long days in the hides, the birds just didn't cooperate as well as we'd have wished. This was probably due to roaming birds being present in the territory of the 'usual' pair - that's wildlife photography for you! On the flip-side we had truly awesome opportunities to photograph a hunting Great Grey Owl near Tornio. To witness this giant owl of the North was a real treat and a memory that we will all savour for a very long time!"

Sunday, 19 July 2009

More Sounds

With some lovely calm weather once again, a few more sounds recorded during the week:

Arctic Skua

Arctic Tern

Puffin #1

Puffin #2

Guillemot & Chicks


The Shetland Wildlife group had another amazing encounter with Killer Whales - for some awesome pix from the encounter and to read how it all happened, check out the Shetland Wildlife News Page here & also have a look at Shetland Wildlife guide Jon Dunn's blog here...

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Crossbill & Seabird Colony Sounds

David and the Shetland Wildlife group found a superb flock of 80+ Common Crossbills at the Ness of Burgi this afternoon and what a sight they proved to be. It was impossible to get decent sound recordings due the local Oystercatchers piping away constantly. However, here are some more 'Glip' Common Crossbill recordings from Maywick this evening:

Sumburgh Head was quiet this morning, so it made for some nice, noise pollution-free recording potential:





Saturday, 11 July 2009

Polish Sounds

Its been an awful week of weather (but tomorrow looks like being flat calm...) so I finally got to work on editing the many gigs of images taken over the last few weeks. I also started to archive recordings made earlier in the year, including the Polish bird and amphibian recordings from May - a small selection are below. Thanks to Fred Bridges for his help on technical matters (and for allowing me to borrow a 20db booster), thus allowing me to achieve these recordings.

Aquatic Warbler

Barred Warbler

Icterine Warbler



River Warbler

Fire-bellied Toad

Grasshopper Warbler

Great Reed Warbler

Great Snipe

Common Snipe

Collared Flycatcher

Thrush Nightingale

White-winged Black Tern

Whiskered Tern


Wood Warbler

Friday, 10 July 2009

Focus on Shetland 2010

The 2010 Focus on Shetland pho-tour dates have now been finalised and are available for booking with Shetland Wildlife. Click here, here, here and here to see what awesome opportunities these trips offer!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

We're Lox in Music...

A flock of Common Crossbills sound recorded on Sumburgh Head today. Informed opinion welcome, but surely these are 'Glip' or '4E' birds. For an interesting piece on the 2009 invasion of Crossbills, click here


Spent yesterday evening sound recording this very vocal male Corncrake 'singing' in the South Mainland.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Unst: the friendly isle

Just back from two days of photography and sound recording on Unst. The calm conditions made recording an absolute joy and the moorland sounds by day and marsh sounds at night (if there is such a thing at this time of year) were awesome. Highlight was a male Spotted Crake which 'sang' is 'whipping' song for an hour around midnight.

Spotted Crake by Hugh Harrop:

Shetland Moorland Bird Sounds by Hugh Harrop:

Shetland Marsh Bird Sounds by Hugh Harrop:

A few pix including a crab-eating Otter and some very confiding Common Crossbills which currently seem to be invading in good numbers.