Friday, 25 October 2013

Wilson's Phalarope and other birds (12th & 13th of October)

So this weekend I went birding round Scalloway and Lerwick, and I also went over to Sand in the Wast Side with Paula to see a Wilson's Phalarope.

Saturday the 12th of October

So this morning I went to the Loch of Clickimin in hope of finding something on the "Clickimin patch".

After a while of searching the Loch I found a strange duck, I quickly got out my scope and decided it was a female Wigeon also in the view of the scope was another strange duck which I identified seconds later as a male Common Pochard, my first one this year! I was really happy that I'd found it and just to make sure it wasn't a Redhead or a Canvasback I checked my birdbook, sadly it didn't turn out to be either of those very rare American ducks but still the Pochard was a really good find.

So when I returned back to the house I sat and had a bite to eat and a cup of tea before heading over to Scalloway with Dad.
On our way out of the house we met Paula who had a letter for Dad, Paula then started speaking about the Wilson's Phalarope in Sand and asked if I wanted to go and of course I said yes (since the last one to been seen in Shetland was 1988!).
So after stopping off at Girlsta we set off to Sand in hope of seeing this American rarity.
When we got to Sand we walked across a beach towards two groups of twitchers who were probably watching or at least looking for the Wilson's Phalarope.
One arrival I noticed one or two birders who I recognised and I asked them if the Phalarope was still on the marsh, they said that it was but it hadn't been showing for about an hour.
So we waited a while and then someone said a Slavonian Grebe was on the sea behind us, so I turned my attention to that and soon everyone else did too then Paula pointed to the Phalarope on the marsh! and every turned around to see the Wilson's Phalarope.
I got some okay photos of the bird before it swam into the reeds again and disappeared, soon everyone started wandering back to the cars after being happy with their sightings and left while Paula, me and two other men stayed and waited for the Phalarope to come out.
After about 20 minutes Paula again spotted the Phalarope coming out of the reeds and all four of us got our cameras at the ready as the bird got closer and closer, then it was with 15 feet of us and we all got amazing photos before the flew off after seeing us, I got a few photos of the bird in flight which turned out okay.

My first Wilson's Phalarope, 
a cute peerie bird which is actually quite amazing for a thing 
so small to travel all the way over here from North America.

I was amazed at how small it was when I saw it.
Paula also let me use one of her cameras on this trip

So after getting great shots and views of the Wilson's Phalarope, Paula and I headed over to Scalloway to meet up with Dad.

After speaking with Dad a while I went out birding round Scalloway and eventually I made it to the Tronda Bridge then Dad picked me up and we went home for the day.

The view south of the Tronda Bridge

Sunday the 13th of October

This morning I went birding round the Clickimin Loch and Seafield in Lerwick.

The Clickimin Loch was completely empty this morning besides from a few Mallards so I went home made a cup of tea and headed off to Seafield.

At Seafield I found a couple of House Sparrows and a Wren but just as I was about to move on I spotted a very pale warbler fly into a tree down the path to me.
I followed the warbler in hope that it might be something rare and after five minutes of fleeting views I identified it as a Chiffchaff.

I was quite happy with the bird so I moved on to try and find something along the shoreline.
White Feral pigeons

I ended up flushing at least 5 Snipe and possibly a Teal but it flew off and disappeared before I could identify it.
So I headed over to Clickimin in hope of some more birds and there I found the male Pochard and a Goldenye in the Tufted Duck flock, so after that I popped over to Helendale and there was nothing! at all! so I went home.
Later on that day I got a text from Dougie saying that he had found a Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll at the Windhouse Bod outside Mid Yell.
So when I got back to Yell I headed there in hope of seeing the bird.
On my first look around the Bod I found a female Blackcap, so I took a second trip round and I spotted several small birds in some trees over a fence from where I was.
So I ran over there and started going through the trees, several Redpolls flew up including one with a white rump.
I couldn't see the Redpolls very well so I moved to the oppostie side of the trees and there it was, the Hornemann's Arctic three meters in front of me sitting on a branch so I slowly moved Paula's camera (which I had borrowed for my trip into Unst the next day and for Fair Isle later in the week) and started taking shots in the fading light.

One way to tell a Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll is by it's unstreaked rump (as in this picture)

 And another is by the size of the bird and the amount of white on it.

 I'm glad that I got to see the bird feed happily and unaware of me even standing taking pictures of it.

It seemed to be quite at home in the trees with the other Redpolls

So after getting my shots I went home before the light got to bad for taking photos (and for seeing my way home).

So what awaits me in Unst tomorrow? stay tuned to find out.

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