Monday, 9 October 2017


Despite much searching the Siberian Blue Robin was not re-found first thing after the night’s heavy rain had moved through, I opened some nets at Holland mid-morning and caught a few Redwings while the Red-breasted Flycatcher was still present and now weighs 10.3g.   There were a few new birds around the Obs census route including 45 Redwing and 7 Fieldfares while other birds of note comprised a Whinchat, a Lapland Bunting, 6 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs, a Lesser Whitethroat and 8 Wheatears.

                The family party of 5 Whooper Swans flew out south over the Obs in the morning and the drake Green-winged Teal was still on Gretchen along with 25 Teal and 20 Black-tailed Godwits.

Purple Sandpipers




A great feeling day with very light ENE winds and drizzle drifting in and out, it was however quiet at nets first thing with only a handful of new birds while the Red-breasted Flycatcher still foraged along the southern side of the garden.   It was also quiet around the northern census route where migrants included Little Stint on Trolla, a Redstart, 2 Siskins, a Song Thrush, 2 Snow Buntings, a Willow Warbler, 4 Redwings, 3 Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap, 2 Robins and 11 Wheatears while other counts of note comprised 54 Purple Sandpipers, 67 Curlew, 14 Bar-tailed Godwits and 41 Teal.

                The afternoon was amazing though with two stunning rares found!   First a cracking HORNEMANN’S ARCTIC REDPOLL was found feeding with a little group of other assorted Redpolls at Westness and showed brilliantly well for everyone and then the world went crazy as an absolutely incredible adult male SIBERIAN BLUE ROBIN was hand-caught in Southness croft and brought back to the Obs for me to ring….nothing else left to say!!


Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll


The light winds remained and swung round from the west into the NE through the day, it did however bring with it long spells of rain and drizzle which limited time spent in the field; birds around the middle census route included a Scaup on Ancum with 18 Tufted Ducks and 81 Wigeon (been present for a few days now), 3 Redstarts, 3 Redwings, 8 Wheatears, 24 Chaffinches, 16 Ruff, 4 Blackcaps, a Song Thrush, 5 Chiffchaffs, 3 Robins, 4 Reed Buntings and 4 Lapland Buntings.

                It brightened up late afternoon but the nets at Holland were quiet with just a re-trap Yellow-browed Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat caught with the Red-breasted Flycatcher still present.

Yellow-browed Warbler



The awful wind of the last week mercifully began to die down overnight to leave a pleasant day, I opened some nets in the morning after it had calmed down enough with a mix of new and re-traps including the Red-breasted Flycatcher, 8 Blackcaps, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Robins, 2 Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest.

                I then walked the west coast census route starting with the drake Green-winged Teal on Gretchen along with an influx of 58 Black-tailed Godwits, the highlight was a detour up to Sandar to get good views of a smart Short-toed Lark feeding in short grass but other birds included a young male Peregrine, a Blackcap, a Willow Warbler, 3 Robins, 5 Song Thrushes, 12 Chaffinches, 3 Lapland Buntings and a Snow Bunting.

                We then went over to Southness but failed to find the Red-throated Pipit that was apparently there but there was a high-flying Arctic Redpoll (almost certainly a Hornemann’s) overhead – a large, bull-headed, pale, deep calling Redpoll with an obvious pure white rump, even at long range; enough to call it an Arctic personally (plus several arriving in Shetland today) but not enough to officially claim it.

Short-toed Lark


Still horrendous weather so I waited until the afternoon when it was marginally better to walk round the Brides census route but it was still hard work with my first 15 Whooper Swans of the autumn the highlight (5 on Brides and 10 on Hooking) which included a couple of family parties along with 27 Pink-footed Geese.   Migrants included a Jack Snipe, a Kestrel, Whinchat, a Redstart, a Tree Pipit, 4 Robins, 10 Wheatears, 9 Song Thrushes, a Blackcap, single Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, 6 Chaffinches and 12 Reed Buntings.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017


Crazy windy again with a force 8 westerly blasting across the island so the Obs census route was a bit challenging but there are still a good number of migrants ‘trapped’ by this period of horrible weather including the Barred Warbler still round the Obs (trapped late in the afternoon), a Redstart, 2 Blackcap, 5 Chiffchaffs, 8 Robins, 8 Song Thrushes, a Tree Pipit, 11 Rock Pipits (including birds in funny places like Holland!), a Grey Wagtail in Nouster, 2 Goldcrests and 10 Wheatears.

Black Guillemot


A very windy morning gave way to a crazy, extremely windy afternoon with frequent, vicious showers whipping through; I still staggered round the northern census route for a few hours from mid-morning where a decent, given the conditions, selection of migrants included a Yellow-browed Warbler at Sandback, 2 Redstarts, 5 Robins, a Whinchat, 7 Chiffchaffs, 2 Willow Warblers, 3 Blackcaps, 7 Song Thrushes, a Redwing, a Chaffinch and a Swallow.   Also of note were 3 Little Stints on Trolla and one skein of 60 Pink-footed Geese which went over.