Friday, 2 October 2009

Pechora Pipit & Veery: east meets west

Dawn broke flat calm and as I headed out to sound record Twites and Skylarks, I was beginning to wonder whether I'd made the right decision to wait on news of a Veery on Foula. I consoled myself by reminiscing about the amazing views we had of the Lundy bird 22 years ago in 1987 and as I tend to twitch the likes of Foula or Fair Isle only for lifers or UK ticks, it turned out that for once, I'd actually made the right decision to stay put...

After picking up Gary and heading somewhere to pick up a mobile signal, all hell broke loose when I got a voicemail from one of our Shetland Wildlife clients saying that trusty guide Jon Dunn was desperately trying to get hold of me to say there was a VEERY on Whalsay! Bloody hell! Foot down, ferry booked, a couple of calls made and we were soon on our way with Dave Fairhurst, guiding the second Shetland Wildlife group.

An hour and a half later and after a considerable search, out walked this beautiful diminutive Catharus, right in front of me at point blank range to give a 'binsfull' of its rufous, grey and silvery white sullied tones. Wow. My camera was on the other side of the garden but I was going nowhere, choosing to enjoy every detail of this rusty gem through my bins rather than through a viewfinder. So if you've come here looking for pictures, I can't oblige so will point you to these super images by Jon Dunn

A Pechora Pipit found a few miles up the road at Skaw was a must-see and after a bit of searching we located the bird practically outside Jon's house! The bird gave incredible views, striding through the grass and there was no way I could keep the camera away from it as it certainly offered the best opportunities I've ever had to photograph a Pechora here in Shetland.

Quite a day (and night ahead).

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