Saturday, 30 October 2010

High Seas

A force 9 SW gale, fantastic light and an afternoon high tide meant only one place to go and photograph! Lots of great action shots on offer including birds riding over and even through waves! Here are few fresh out of the camera...

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Hornemann's Redpoll

This 'snowball' of a Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll gave brilliant views in Toab this morning...

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Waxwing Recordings

Finally managed some reasonably 'clean' sound recordings of the Lerwick Waxwing flock today. The bell-like trill is one of my favourite bird calls...

Waxwing 1:

Waxwing 2:

Waxwing 3:

Sunday, 24 October 2010


With a trickle of Waxwings seen in the last few days, Rob, Anya and I headed to Lerwick and found a flock of around 25 birds in the Gremista area. The birds were very vocal but the high winds and traffic noise made sound recording a bit of a nightmare! On returning home we were greeted by a Waxwing in our garden!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Snow Goose

Spent the morning with Rob & Anya Still on Burra searching for the white morph Snow Goose. We searched high and low and just as we were about to give up, we were treated to a magnificent fly-by as it flew over us and headed to Loch of Houss with the Greylags. Fantastic!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Lapland Buntings

There are still good numbers of Lapland Buntings in Shetland. As well as having a Twite feeding station set up for our winter photours, we also have two more superb sites where up to 30 buntings are coming to seed. We hope they stay!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Autumn Sound Recordings

A couple of recordings from the weekend:

Yellow-browed Warbler:

Bramblings & Chaffinches leaving a roost site:

A compilation of Shetland Autumn bird sounds - among the Skylarks, Redwings and Fieldfares can you pick out the Red-breasted Flycatcher and Yellow-browed Warbler? Several other species are also included. An ideal way to test your ears and bird call ID skills.

All recordings were made with the Nagra Ares PII and a Sennheiser ME66 microphone with a 20 dB booster.

One more Bluetail...

Just finished editing the Red-flanked Bluetail images from Friday - couldn't resist posting this portrait of the bird on the 'forest' floor.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Isabelline Shrike IV

Another visit to see the Isabelline (Daurian) Shrike which had caught a Twite and impaled it at one of the larders. After a session of unsuccessful hunting, the bird returned in the mid-afternoon sunshine and started to devour it; watch the video to see it feasting below...

Friday, 15 October 2010

Red-flanked Bluetail

News of yet another Red-flanked Bluetail saw us heading north to Kergord Plantations this morning. I have been lucky enough to see over a dozen Bluetails in Shetland in the last twenty years and have photographed many of them. This bird however ranks as my personal favourite for many reasons. Firstly the setting - a mature plantation with lots of natural perches and 'dappled' forest light. Secondly, the behaviour - the bird would feed incredibly actively just a few metres in front of us and was also heard to call (sadly I'd left my recording gear in the van). And finally, the crowd' of admirers numbered no more than eight people at any one time. Shetland birding at its very best I'd say. It made the celebratory coffee with Brian at Weisdale Mill taste even better!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Isabelline Shrike III

More great opportunities with this superb bird. In the afternoon I watched it take a mouse from the fields above the loch - amazing! The bird has three larders and one of them contained a Brambling and a Robin!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Isabelline Shrike II

An absolutely brilliant morning spent watching and photographing the shrike. It brought three mice to the larder in just under an hour and impaled them with ease! Later in the day we found another larder containing two more mice and a Robin. Thanks to Alan & Kathleen Sinclair for their cooperation and allowing us access on their land.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Isabelline Shrike

The run of first-class rarities continues! This female Isabelline (Daurian) Shrike was found at the north end of Spiggie in the early afternoon by Shetland Wildlife traveller Jim Wood. The bird showed exceptionally well and visited a larder where it had stored a Blackcap.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Red-breasted Flycatcher

This first-winter Red-breasted Flycatcher offered some nice opportunities at Channerwick this afternoon. The rotting kelp held lots of flies and thus it spent a lot of time on the beach!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Pallas's Warbler

This stunning Pallas's Warbler spent the day feeding actively along the stone walls at Sumburgh Farm:

Friday, 8 October 2010

Red-flanked Bluetail

It was one of those special Shetland days with lots of good birds being found today. This stunning Red-flanked Bluetail graced Geosetter during the afternoon...

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Little Gulls

Little Gulls are scarce birds in Shetland so I was happy to find a group of 4 birds (an adult and three first winters) here on my home patch.