Tuesday, 27 October 2009


A fairly good arrival of Robins in to Shetland last week (remember they are migrants in these parts) has resulted in quite a few birds hanging on and establishing temporary territories. We have at least three birds coming to mealworms in the garden and one bird is particularly territorial.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Red-breasted Flycatcher II

Most of the day spent sound recording in the central Mainland. The Red-breasted Fly was still at Swinning and I managed to record the 'tek' call and get a few better images.

Other sounds recorded today:



Golden Plovers:


Common (Mealy) Redpoll:

Common (Mealy) Redpoll 2:

Interesting to see how the sonogram of the Mealy call compares with the Hornemman's Redpoll recorded earlier in the month:

Mealy Redpoll:

Hornemann's Redpoll:

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Red-breasted Flycatcher Calls

Huge numbers of thrushes arrived over the last few days but birding, photography and sound-recording has been difficult in the rain and south-easterly gales! Jon Dunn sent me a text to say a Red-breasted Fly was at Swinning and was very vocal, so Saturday morning was spent recording and photographing the bird. Dave Winter called on Friday to say the Little Egret has resurfaced at Spiggie and I managed a few shots in the doom and gloom of ISO 1250 land. I guess this will be standard setting for the new and improved 1D Mark IV...

Red-breasted Flycatcher Calls 1:

Red-breasted Flycatcher Calls 2:

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Migrant Sounds

A few recordings of common migrants here in the valley from the last few days:




Redwings, Brambling & Chaffinch


Saturday, 17 October 2009

Garden Birds

The light was fantastic for photography today so I stayed local and concentrated on getting some images of migrants in the garden. The Starlings were irresistible in the low sunlight.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Spotted Sandpiper II

I returned to Quendale twice on Friday for some more views and photographs of the Spotted Sandpiper but it has become extremely flighty - these were the best images I could manage all morning.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Red-flanked Bluetail II

With the prospect of much better light I finished off some office stuff early on returned to Sandgarth where the Red-flanked Bluetail gave some lovely opportunities for photography.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Red-flanked Bluetail

Three words that send shivers down your spine. Mark Chapman found this superb 1st W Red-flanked Bluetail at Sandgarth yesterday afternoon. I arrived just after dawn in heavy rain and after an hour of searching to no avail, I was thinking of packing in - but it duly appeared. The bird proved to be extremely retiring and was certainly not behaving like the last few of Bluetails I'd seen in Shetland (this individual is now the 6th I've seen in Shetland).

Four hours later and soaked to the skin, I managed some very pleasing images considering the poor light and the paucity of opportunities! Sadly, the owners of the croft and the plantations, Tony & Beth Gerrard, are away on holiday so hopefully it will stay for their return. Imagine how you would feel if somebody found a Bluetail in your garden while you were on holiday. It doesn't bear thinking about!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Spotted Sandpiper

Excellent views of the Spotted Sandpiper near Quendale this morning:

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Western Bonelli's II

Out pre-dawn to set the gear up in the Ellister garden to hopefully sound record Redwings and Bramblings - it worked a treat and I'll add some clips at a later stage. The Western Bonelli's Warbler was still present with lots of other common migrants and gave great views. The bird was also calling regularly and I managed to get much better recordings than yesterday:

Maywick Migrants

A few images of other migrants in the Ellister 'Bonelli's' garden: Yelllow-browed Warbler, Chiffchaff & Goldcrests.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Western Bonelli's Warbler

A great day with lots of migrants on the home patch. Found this superb Western Bonelli's Warbler in the Maywick valley this morning - a welcome find tick having had our 1992 Fair Isle bird relegated to Bonelli's Warbler sp. as we never heard it call. This individual called within around twenty minutes of finding it and thus identification was straightforward. It performed beautifully for those who came to see it and not too bad for the cameras (though never once could I set the ISO lower than 1000 due to poor light). I also manged some sound recordings which considering the force 8 wind and rain, aren't bad and sound spot on with those at the excellent Xeno Canto site.