Thursday, 14 November 2013

Fair Isle: Awesome Autumn 16th-25th of October 2013

This October holidays Dad and I went into Fair Isle for 5 days, Mairi, Abby, Laura and Ellie had gone in two days before.

The 16th of October 2013

 We arrived at the Tingwall airport at 9.30am and we waited until five minutes before our flight when we were told that there was mist in Fair Isle so we would have to wait until it had cleared.
At quarter past eleven we were told that the plane would be going in 15 minutes, Dad and I were hungry so we rushed to the nearest shop rushed back, ate our food and we were on the lane and flying towards Fair Isle.
As we got off the plane we were met by Deryk, he was saying that we had just missed the Purple Heron, at the time we thought he was joking.
We then headed down to Quoy and we had our denner.
Afterwards I headed down to Haa and I found this Blackcap along the way.

I spotted this Blackcap on the road outside Burkle.

He paid no attention to me so I was able to get these photos.

So I went into Haa and I spoke a while, one thing that came up was a Purple Heron had been sighted a few hours ago, Hnery and I then went out to see if we could find the Purple Heron and any other birds.
We first went to Skerryholm in search of a Dusky Warbler which had been seen there the day before.
We searched around Skerryholm and then we moved along to the neighboring dykes, then on the dyke between Skerryholm and Nether Taft a small dark warbler flew up, the Dusky! a new lifer for me! we got a quick look at it before it flew over to the garden at Nether Taft, we followed it and we were soon getting photos of the bird.
After a few minutes the bird went over the wall and we lost it so we headed over to Lower Leogh.

The Dusky Warbler

The Fair Isle Wren,
one of the rarest breeding birds in Britain

At Lower Leogh we saw my first Pink-footed Geese of the year (15 in total) and a few Skylarks we then started to make our way north to Midway.

One of the Upper Leogh cats

Some Barnacle Geese north of Nether Taft,
 these birds are part of a flock of about 27 Barnacle Geese 
(which are pictured below)

(This was not the entire flock, there was several birds to the left and the right of these birds)

These geese just seem so cute with their black and white markings

 Snaa Fuls (Snow Buntings)

Greylag Geese

 In flight

When we reached Midway, we cut across to the cliffs in search of the Purple Heron which had been sighted near Hjunki Geo and was then seen flying out towards the sea being mobbed by gulls.
And later it was seen flying back towards the Isle in the direction of Steensi Geo.

We checked a few of the Geo's around the foot of Malcolm's Head and we found a Song Thrush, a Merlin and some Redwings.


We headed south from Malcolm's Head towards Hesti Geo then the "Puffinn" and finally towards Meoness, in total we found a Grey Heron, a Robin, 60 Snow Buntings and 13 Lapwings.

A Grey Seal

Afterwards Henry and I met up with Tommy at Haa and we all headed north to Chatham's Land (Barkland) to see the Dotterel which had been hanging around with the Golden Plovers there since the 15th of September.
When we arrived at Chatham's Land we started scanning the Goldenm Plover flock for the Dotterel, soon Tommy spotted it and he then got his scope on it and we were all enjoying views of it. (this bird was another first for me today).

So we left Chatham's Land and we headed back to the Haa.
At the Haa we saw a group of birders standing together and looking at something in the park below Skerryholm.
The birders said that they were looking at the Red-throated Pipit! which had been seen around Utra.
Then we all heard a strange call and a pipit flew across the road and into a park next to the Auld Haa, the Red-throated! it then started to show very well and I got some great pictures of the bird (my third and final first for the day!) before all three of us went back into the Auld Haa.

Thursday the 17th of October 2013

This morning I headed up to the Obs for the trap rounds.
We caught a Robin, some Blackbirds, 3 Fieldfares and a "Lesser" Redpoll.

A Fieldfare
One of the three that we caught in the double dyke trap

I was very happy when we caught the Fieldfares because I had never seen one up close

After the traps I headed back to Quoy, along the way I spotted the Dotterel with the Golden Plovers at Chatham's Land.

After I had gotten my breakfast and all that I went on a quick bird watch before I went to Haa.
On the way I met Deryk at the Quoy byre, I had a speak with him and while talking to him he spotted a "ringtail" Hen Harrier flying over Kennaby.
So after we had finished speaking I continued birding round the south of Island.

A Pink-footed Goose
One of three at Nether Taft

By the time I had got to Haa I had seen 23 Barncale Geese, 26 Wigeon, over 100 Snow Buntings and a very mobile Great Black-backed Gull with a broken wing.
So I went into Haa to get Henry and we went out birding.
Outside Haa we spotted a few birders who were looking at the Red-throated Pipit, since we'd already seen the bird the night before (and it wasn't the most exciting bird either, one difference it had was its white markings down its back, besides that it looked like a Meadow Pipit) we went to look for a Richard's Pipit which had been seen in a field next to the Walli Burn.
On our way we had a look at the Sample beach and we spotted a small warbler feeding on the flies in the seaweed.

I find that Chiffchaffs are very cute because of their size

A few minutes we identified it as a Chiffchaff and after a few photos we went back up the beach to see the Richard's Pipit.
When we got over the top of the bank the group of birders who were looking at the Red-throated Pipit were already over at the site of the Richard's Pipit, so we hurried after the them and were soon helping to find the bird.
Soon one of the birders said that the bird was flying over and we watched it fly into the Walli Burn, we tried to relocate the bird but it had vanished.
So we continued birding and headed to the Skaddan, South Light and Utra.
In those areas we found 4 Twite, 5 Snow Buntings, a Rock Pipit, a "Fair Isle" Wren, 3 Redwings and 2 Skylarks.
By the time we had got to Utra I had to go back to Quoy for my lunch.
After lunch Henry came up to Quoy and we headed north to the Chalet via the Shop.
When we had come around the back of the Houll at half one when we spotted David and another guy looking at something next to the shop.
I walked across Boini Mire and I stopped at a ditch while Henry went round to see if he could find out what the thing was, David then gave me a call and said that the bird was an Olive-backed Pipit and that it had flown into the ditch near where I was standing, so I moved along a bit and I flushed the pipit towards David and it kept flying and disappeared.
 Henry and I then continued north to the Chalet and there we found a Robin and a possible Peregrine flew over.

One of the Golden Plovers at Chatham's Land

We then headed to the Plantation for a look and on our way we met Mary from Houll, she said that she had seen two Bullfinches at the back of Shirva about half an hour ago, so we thanked her and we cycled really fast towards Shirva.
We searched around Shirva but there was no Bullfinches, so we back north towards the plantation, there we found two Redpolls and we spent a lot of time getting photos of them.

They weren't really noticing us that much so we got some good photos

So after the sun went in we couldn't get very good photos so we started heading back down the Isle.
We had just reached the bottom of the plantation when we met Susannah, she had been looking at something on the north side of the plantation before we arrived, so we asked her what it was she was looking at and she said that it was a flock of thirty Redpolls.
Henry and I saw quite a few of the Redpolls before we had to head south again.
On our way we spotted a Hen Harrier flying over Bull's Park, we then lost the bird as it headed over to Field.
We then cycled down the Isle towards Quoy, I was ahead of Henry when I arrived at Quoy, I then got off my bike and I heard Henry shouting "Whinchat!" I ran (and I mean ran) over to Aesterhoull where I saw Henry looking at the bird.
I whipped out Paula's camera which died on me, so I had to resort to my own camera which took a few, very blurry photos before the bird flew off.
So I said goodbye to Henry who cycled back down to Haa and I went into Quoy for my Tea.

Friday the 18th of October 2013

On the traps this morning I got to work with a Blackbird which had been caught.
After trap rounds I went down to the Havens, there I found a Robin, one Long-tailed Duck, a few Rock Pipits and ten Turnstones, I then headed back to Quoy for my breakfast.
Not soon after I got into Quoy the phone rang and it was from Houll saying that they had two Bullfinches outside their window, within minutes Dad, Mairi, Ellie and myself had set off there and we were soon enjoying great views of the male and female Bullfinch.
The Bullfinches flew away so we went back to Quoy for our breakfast.
After I had got all my birding stuff ready I headed down to Haa.
I had a look into the "back garden" at Haa and I saw their cat Thomas staring at something, I went to check to what it was and it was the feathers of a Woodpigeon.
So I went into Haa, Henry was almost ready to go so I stayed in a minute and soon we were ready to set off.
Our first destination was South Harbour and Meoness, as we walked along the cliffs at Meoness we spotted two Grey Herons (Haegries) sitting on the cliffs! I got a photo but only after they had taken off.
Further along the cliffs we met Richard, he told us that he'd seen the two Bullfinches at the Brecks o Busta just north from where we were standing.
So we headed over to the cliffs on Meoness which were opposite the Burrian to look at/ photograph Fulmars.
We were there about ten minutes and I got some pretty good photos before we went to the Brecks o Busta to look for the Bullfinches.
We didn't find the Bullfinches but we did get to see two "tristis" type Chiffchaffs at Busta which Richard had told us about, and so I had to go back to Quoy for my Denner again before returning out again at about one o'clock.
So this time Henry and I headed north to Da Water, there we found a Tufted Duck and we started heading east to the East Cliffs.
We checked the cliffs but we could barely find any birds so we went to meet up with Liz at Shirva at half past two.
We arrived at Shirva and shortly after Liz arrived so we all headed over to South Reeva to try and find the Bullfinches (Liz had never seen a Bullfinch so we were trying to find them for her).
As we were walking out towards South Reeva a Hen Harrier flew by (the Hen Harrier might of just been one roaming individual), I tried to get some photos but the bird had flown away before I could get my camera out.
We didn't end up seeing the Bullfinches so we went to check Midway in case they had appeared there.
Instead we found a two Whinchat, then the three of us headed up north to the North Lighthouse.
We made it to Furse at four o'clock, Henry then spotted something in the sea below, I got my binoculars on the bird and it looked like a diver of some sort but I couldn't be sure so Henry and I tried to get closer to the bird while Liz went to fetch Tommy and his scope.
After a while I spotted a male Common Scoter swimming near our "mystery bird" and soon we decided that the bird was a juvenile Red-throated Diver.
After we had identified the bird we started to make our way down the Isle when Liz came back with Tommy and Nick, so we all went to have a look at the bird.
Tommy and Nick also agreed that the bird was a Red-throated Diver and with that we went home.

Saturday the 19th of October 2013

This morning I decided to get up for the traps but as the forecast said it would be raining and so it did for the rest of the day!
Today we went over to Shriva, while I was there I spotted a Hen Harrier flying right outside the kitchen window! and later out the sitting room window.
When we left Shriva we headed back to Quoy and when I got in I had a look outside the kitchen window and I spotted a very damp Woodpigeon. 
I later called Henry at half one to tell him I was coming down we spoke for a while before I hanged up and within ten seconds the phone started to ring, so I answered it and it was Henry saying that they had a Hawfinch in their garden! I said goodbye and then Dad gave me a lift down to Haa.
As soon as Dad dropped me off I ran into Haa, Tommy said that the bird had just flown away so I waited for it to come back.
Soon Tommy spotted the Hawfinch at the far end of the garden! we watched it hop around for a while before it flew off, I was very happy because the Hawfinch was another "lifer" for me on this trip and it was a very beautiful male bird.
Also in the Auld Haa garden was a Redstart specie and two male Blackcaps.
Half an hour past and then Dad showed up just before he was about to go to North Haven, so I went with him in case there was any birds in the Havens.
In the Havens there was lots of birds sheltering there and there was a flock of several hundred gulls mainly Commons and Herrings but with a few Black-headed and Great Black-backed.
So we headed back down to Quoy and along the way we stopped to look at the burns which were nearly over flowing with water.

The burn at Finniquoy

Sunday the 20th of October 2013

This morning I didn't even bother to get up for the trap rounds because the weather was meant to be terrible again, so for once I had a lie in.
Later on I went with Dad up to North Haven to check on Stewart's boat
On the way up I took some pictures of the burns sheer power, the Finniquoy burn was the strongest I saw on Fair Isle.
The large gull flock was still Havens and also there was 25 Grey Seals in the North Haven with a few in the South.

Some of the seals in North Haven

So Dad and I headed back to Quoy after a few more photos.
At two I went down to Haa and I got to see the "Auld Haafinch" again.

The Auld Haafinch

Soon Tommy, Henry and myself went out birding since it had finally stopped raining.
Our first destination was Upper Stonybrek, there we saw a flock of 80 Barnacle Geese, we couldn't find much else so we went to Lower Leogh.
We had only been at Lower Leogh a few minutes when Henry spotted a Waxwing land on a fence post several metres in front of us! so I slowly got the camera out and started taking some photos.

This perrie beauty was our first Waxwing of the Autumn

Also this Meadow Pipit landed on the fence post behind the Waxwing

We searched round Leogh and we found a flock of 10 Redpolls suddenly a bunting flew up next to one of Redpolls and within seconds I knew it was a Little Bunting! the bird then flew off towards Nether Taft and we were in pursuit.
I was running to where the Little Bunting landed and then I heard this click several inches to my left and up flew a Jack Snipe! (my first of the year) I then lost sight of the bird and I carried on looking for the Little Bunting.
None of us could spot the Bunting so I carried on towards the end of a dyke and I managed to flush two Reed Buntings! which then flew off towards the museum.

The Upper Leogh cats

We spent a bit more time hunting round Lower Leogh for more birds but we came up with nothing so we started to head north to Midway when I got a text from David saying that there was a Lanceolated Warbler at Shirva. 
We set straight off to Shirva while telling the news to one or two birders along the way.
After a few minutes there was no sign of the bird but we were going to a thing at the Hall in the next 15 minutes so we had to hurry back to Quoy and Haa.
The fund raising at the hall was great, the food was delicious and the raffle was quite funny.
Afterwards I went to see if I could locate the Lanceolated Warbler but with no luck so I headed to Midway in search of birds.
I got round the back of Midway when I flushed a bird from a nearby "angelica" plant, I quickly followed the bird and it turned out to be not one but two Bullfinches, most likely the pair I'd seen at Houll a few days ago.
I then went into Quoy for tea and I ended my day with a very nice picture of some really beautiful Bullfinches.

Mr and Mrs "northern" Bullfinch

Monday the 21st of October 2013

This morning the weather was good enough for the trap rounds so I was able to go.
We caught quite a few birds including Blackbird, Blackcap, Redwing and a Woodcock!

I was very lucky to ring the bird with the help of Alan Leitch. (Photo by Phil Charleton)

Whilst on traps we had a flyover Goldfinch and a dead juvenile Whooper Swan (which was seen alive in the south-west of the Island on Friday).

After the traps I went back to Quoy for my breakfast and soon I was heading down to Haa.
On my way I spotted 70 Barnacle Geese and a Pink-footed Goose with 5 Greylag Geese.
I was checking the Haa back garden before I went in when I flushed (or at least what I thought was) a Woodcock from the pond, I went to where the bird had landed and then it flew up and hovered a few metres in front of me, my bird was not a Woodcock it was a Water Rail! it then flew down next to the Haa main garden wall and I followed the bird but it had vanished.
So I went into Haa and soon Tommy, Henry and myself headed north to Setter.
At Setter we found several Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff and a very unfortunate Water Rail which had most likely been killed by a cat, from here we headed south at quarter past twelve.
At the Chalet we saw 74 Barnacle Geese and 9 Blackbirds and a Lower Leogh we saw 3 Woodpigeon, a Hen Harrier, 7 Redpolls and a Woodcock by that time I had to head back to Quoy for lunch.

After I had finished I went back down to Haa at half one.
When I arrived at Haa I checked the back garden and I managed to flush the pair of Bullfinches! I got a few pictures and then I ran into Haa to tell everyone, they all came outside but the Bullfinches had gone.

Some of twelve Bramblings that were eating the seed Tommy had put out in the garden

So Tommy, Henry and I went down to South Harbour, there we found 8 Black-headed Gulls, at least 15 Common Gulls and over 50 Turnstones.

I was in Haa for a while before Henry and I went out birding, as I got out the door at 2:38pm I got a text from David saying that Graham had found a MALE SIBERIAN RUBYTHROAT at Upper Stonybrek!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I told Henry to run back into Haa and get Tommy and so he did and the three of us (plus two other birders we picked up outside Haa) drove straight there.
As soon as we arrived the people were gathering and we all set off to find the bird, then the bird was spotted in a ditch and I got my first sightings/photos of the bird!
It then moved farther along the ditch until it got to a fence and it remained there for quite a while, I got lots of photos but they weren't the best since the bird was quite a distance away.
The Siberian Rubythroat was the first red-throated male to be seen on Fair Isle and it was also the fifth record and the 10th for Britain!!!
A woman named Becki has been coming to the Obs for years and this bird was her fourth ever Siberian Rubythroat!!!
Henry had also painted a red-throated male Siberian Rubythroat a day before the bird came, he also painted Black and Grey-headed Woodpecker (but maybe he could paint it in my garden this time).
Soon the sun went in and Tommy, Henry and I headed back to Haa after enjoying our 2nd ever Siberian Rubythroat!

Some of the lucky birders to see the Rubythroat, 
some of them were meant to be leaving but the mist stopped any planes getting in

Fair Isle (Tommy's blog)

Siberian Rubythroat- Tongue & Cheeked... and other Birds.

Rare Bird Alert

Fair Isle: Wardens Diary

(On the last picture of the link you'll read a bit about me)

Tuesday the 22nd of October 2013 

As usual I went up to the Obs for traps.
We caught a few birds, one of them was a Blackbird which I got to handle.
I then headed back to Quoy and on my way I met Richard going out on traps so I joined him.
After we had checked the plantation I spotted Phil coming from the Obs I told him what Richard had caught and so he came to have a look too.

The Rock Pipit (Latin: Anthus Petrosus)

So after Richard went off to do census, Phil went off birding and I went to Quoy.
After I had got my breakfast I headed over to Schoolton at half ten to see if I could find any birds.
There I spotted two male Blackcaps and what I thought was a Blackbird fly into the "Rosa rogasa" it then popped out onto a stick very close to me and it was a Song Thrush! the bird then caught sight of me and it flew off towards Quoy.
I then started heading down to Haa.
Within a few minutes of being there, Henry was ready to go out birding, so we headed out towards South Light.
We got there at eleven and we saw a flock of 13 Snipe and a few Gannets before we headed north to Midway via the Utra Scrape, there was a two Snow buntings and a few Blackbirds so we continued when we met Tommy and we went to Midway.
There we spotted a birder who was looking at a male Bullfinch I got a quick look at it before it flew away.
Then I started walking down the road to speak to Graham to ask if he had seen anything, then Henry shouted and then I saw what he was shouting about, a Short-eared Owl! I got some pictures of the bird flying over Midway before it flew north.
We then spoke to Graham and then we headed to Upper Stonybrek at half past eleven to look for the Siberian Rubythroat.
After a bit of time we found the Rubythroat! I got Paula's camera out and I started taking photos, the bird came closer and closer until it was within 30 or 40 feet, the sun came out and the lighting couldn't of been any better but most of my photos were slightly out of focus.

Coming closer

This has to be one of my best in counters of such a stunning bird
(some people were probably dying to see this little beauty)

Tommy got some video of the bird which was really great! and after the bird flew farther away we started heading back to the car when Henry pointed and said " There you go Logan, a Yellowhammer."
My first one! Henry has spotted so many new birds for me.
So we finally got to the car after I had taken a few (understatement) photos of the Yellowhammer and Tommy and Henry ran me back to Quoy for denner.

Fair Isle (Tommy's Blog)

Soon after denner, I started heading down to Haa but ouside Quoy I spotted a male and female Blackcap, one Robin, four Bramblings and four Blackbirds from here I continued down to Haa.

One of the Bramblings at Quoy

When I arrived at Haa, Liz and Henry came out and we started working our way round.
We checked South Harbour and we found a female Tufted Duck and a few Rock Pipits, we then headed north to Midway.
When we got to Midway at about two o'clock, Henry and I worked our way along the back of the house and I saw a Great-spotted Woodpecker within throwing distance away pecking on an "Angelica" plant! Henry managed to get a photo before it flew towards Shirva.
The three of us gave chase and we found it on another Angelica plant, this time I got my photos of my third Great-spotted Woodpecker.

If you can't find a tree a fence post is just as good

or an angelica plant

Liz, Henry and Myself then went up to the Chalet to see the Siberian Rubythoat.
As soon as we got there we spotted the bird hopping about the ground near the Chalet! Liz parked the car at the Chalet and we got out, cameras and "bins" at the ready.

We saw the bird and I got a few pictures but the better ones are farther down the page.

A flock of 70 Barnacle Geese            

Rubythroat on a horse pat

Golden Plovers over head

I got some really good views and pictures of the Rubythroat as it hopped around 20 metres away

After Liz had seen the bird really well she headed back to Haa and left Henry and I to do some birding.

Tuckered down

A peerie video of the Rubythroat (sorry about the condition)

After an hour some birders were calling us over to Barkland, we went over and they were looking at a small pale warbler, one of the ideas was Paddyfield and I would agree with that and the bird was identified as a Paddyfield Warbler!

My first Paddyfield Warbler which was found by the wife of Alan Leitch

It hopped around the Ootbraks (across from Barkland) and then the bird flew over to Barkland.

I then phoned Tommy to tell him about the Paddyfield Warbler and soon he arrived to join us.

Yellowhammer: flight mode

I watched the Paddyfield Warbler for a while and then I went back to look at the Rubythoat.

Word can's explain how amazing this bird is

The Rubythroat soon disappeared into the bushes at the Chalet, Henry and myself then went back to looking at the Paddyfield, we asked the other birders where the Paddyfield Warbler was and they said it was in some grass, the bird then flew into a bush and in that bush was the Barkland cat! David the moved into action and he flushed the Paddyfield into the Heligoland trap at Barkland (the trap is rarely used).
Just by coincidence some one had a bird bag from one of the trap rounds, so we put it in that and David took the bird back to the Obs to be ringed.

I was really happy that I got to see the Paddyfield Warbler and it was even better when I got to see it in the hand!

It sat quite happily

and it did flap every now and then but it was a great bird

I have now seen more Siberian Rubythroats than Paddyfield Warblers! (considering I have only seen two Rubythroats and my first Paddyfield was today)

After the Paddyfield Warbler was taken back to Barkland, Henry and I went down to the Havens at four.
In the Havens we spotted a Robin, 2 Brambling, 9 Snow Buntings, 5 Rock Pipits, two male Goldeneye, one Guillemot and 40 Turnstone.
Tommy then came down and we continued to look around the Havens, soon we spotted a wader in among the Turnstone flock on the North Haven beach, Phil came down and soon David and we identified the bird as a Dunlin (David said it was one of the bigger races of the species).

This Kittiwake was one of two in the South Haven


Tommy, Henry and I then headed back to Haa after a very successful days birding, when we arrived at Haa there was several birds in the garden such as one Chiffchaff, two Redpolls, four Brambling and six Blackcaps.
When it reached six o'clock I headed to Quoy for my Tea and soon the Obs for log to end the day.

Wednesday the 23rd of October 2013

On the traps this morning we caught several birds and on my way back I saw a flock of over 200 Redwings and over 70 Blackbirds!
Just before I got into Quoy a Woodcock flew over my head so not bad for a pre-breakfast bird watch.
As usual I had my breakfast and then I went out but this time I popped along the shop to get a few things.
After I had gotten what I needed at the shop I had a look at Lower Stonybrek, there was a flock of 20 Twite and a flock of 18 Wigeon flew over.
I then went south (like the birds) and at Boini Mire (below the shop) a saw a Great-spotted Woodpecker feeding on the ground! the bird then flew onto an Angelica plant and then onto a dyke, I got some video of the bird. (as below)

I'm sorry about the condition, it was windy and I'm not very good at staying still

The Woodpecker flew to Shirva and then to Midway, I then left the Woodpecker to feed and I went south.
Around the fields at Nether Taft I found a Pink-footed Goose along with two Greylags and at Lower Leogh I found two Redpolls, six Blackbirds and six Skylarks, finally I got to Haa at ten to eleven.
I stayed in an hour before we headed out to Lower Leogh, there we saw Graham who was looking at the flock of Redpolls which we had seen round there the past few days, he said that he was looking at a "possible" Coue's Arctic Redpoll, the bird had a white rump and it was quite white.
We then moved on to the shop and while Tommy got some things Henry and I checked for birds.
We found a Blackcap and a Chiffchaff and then Tommy came out and the three of us headed back to Haa.
I stayed at Haa for a few minutes and then I headed up to Quoy for lunch, on the way I stopped at the small plantation below the Chapel and there in the trees were 10 Redpolls, probably the ones from Lower Leogh.
When I got to Quoy I checked in the reeds next to the rig and I found a Blackcap also I spotted something small and dark right in the bottom of the ditch, what could it be? a warbler of some sort, grasshopper maybe, Lanceolated? could this be my first biggish rarity!?! who knows so I kept my eye on it but I couldn't get a good look at it, the bird then flew towards Schoolton with me in pursuit, I was half-way there when a small bird flew over my head and towards Quoy, it landed in some grass and I lost it so I went to check at Schoolton.
There I did spot a small bird flitting in and out of the Rosa rogosa but It wouldn't sit still so I couldn't get an ID of it! I then lost the bird and I headed into Quoy wondering what I had just seen.

I told everyone in Quoy about my bird but they hadn't seen anything in the reeds, so after denner I went to Haa, when I got in, I got Henry and we went to Busta and Kennaby for a look.
While Henry got the camera from Tommy's car which was at Koolin, I had a look at the Brecks o Busta.
Henry came and then he spotted a flock of 30 Snow Buntings and he then shouted and said that there was a bird flying towards me, I couldn't see any bird and then a male Bullfinch landed three fence posts away!
The Bullfinch then flew over to Kennaby with me and Henry in pursuit.

We found the Bullfinch in the garden at Kennaby at half one, I then phoned Liz (who still hadn't seen one) and told her about the Bullfinch and soon she came and saw... (see below)

not one but two Bullfinches!

After Liz saw the Bullfinches she went back to Haa and Henry and myself then went north to the Chalet via Quoy.
When we got to Quoy we saw Tommy and the three of us went to the Chalet.
There we saw nine Blackcaps, a Woodpigeon, 43 Golden Plovers and 15 Skylarks, from here we headed west along the Burn of Gilly towards the cliffs.
Along the burn we found 13 Blackbirds and Tommy saw a Song Thrush., we then went north along the foot of Hoini and there was a flock of over 600 Fieldfares! and a Pund there was a Common Redpoll and a Robin.

On our travels we found these mushrooms (?)

Back at the Chalet we got in the car and headed north to North Light, on the way we met David out on traps and he told us that there was a CAPE MAY WARBLER on Unst, I had no idea what it looked like but in an instant I knew it was REALLY RARE because I remembered reading about it in the Collins Bird Guide.
We thank David and we headed up to North Light.
At North Light we didn't see much besides seven Blackbirds and some seabirds (mostly Fulmars) but on the way south we saw a flock of 70 Fieldfares and another flock of 30 at Furse.
We stopped off at the Obs and the Havens before we went back and there we found one Wheatear (probably a Northern type), five Redshank, three Blackcaps, fourteen Turnstones, one Great-northern Diver and one Black-headed Gull (North Haven), five Blackbirds and a female Red-breasted Merganser (Herald Deuk) in South Haven.

North Haven

When we got to the Chalet we stopped so we could look for the Siberian Rubythroat also there was some birders who had come off a charter plane! the only plane to make it in or out in days.
After a while of searching we couldn't see any Rubythroat so we spoke to Darren at Barkland to see if we could check his garden.
At the back of Barkland we spotted a small warbler, it flew round the corner of the house and disappeared, we searched but there was no sign of the bird, we thought it was a Chiffchaff or the Paddyfield but we never got a look at it.
Back at Haa we looked up Cape May Warbler and the bird on Unst was only the SECOND-EVER record for the Western Palearctic!!!!!!!!!! Tommy checked it up in the Crossley ID Guide (A very good picture guide) and we looked at all the different plumage's of the bird, it was amazing in juvenile and adult plumage.
I headed back to Quoy at 6:15 and later I went to Log and I tallied up 142 Blackbirds, over 16 Blackcaps, 7 Robin, over 500 Fieldfares and 31 Skylarks.
At the Obs I spoke to a couple from Nova Scotia (Canada), they told me about all the birds that they have there and they told me quite a few (amazing) stories.

Thursday the 24th of October 2013

This morning I went on my last trap round, while out on traps David and I spotted three Whooper Swans flying right over our heads!
We caught a few Blackbirds in the Gully and there was also a Goldcrest hopping about.
We then moved along the traps and by the time we got to the Plantation a Hen Harrier flew over and also the Whooper Swans.
David and I then hopped in the the Obs van and we headed back to the Obs, we were nearly at the Obs when I spotted something big and white in the sea at Finniquoy, I asked David to have a look at it because my hands were full of Blackbirds (9 in total), my bird turned out to be an adult Iceland Gull (my first of the year!).
At the Obs the Blackbirds were ringed and released, after I had released the last bird I spotted a green bird land in a tree and then a red one followed, Crossbills! a pair! I ran back to the ringing room window and I knocked to get David's attention, he got his "bins" up and he agreed with me that they were Crossbills (probably the pair that had been seen at Setter).
After the traps had finished I went down to the Havens, there I found fourteen Lapwings, a Chaffinch, a Brambling, four Snow Buntings, a Tystie and a Shag.
I then headed back to Quoy, I arrived there at twenty past nine and I was out again at 10.
It was quite windy and the gulls were having trouble flying in any direction so it was quite easy to count them, 10 Common Gulls and a Great Black-backed Gull I also spotted a flock of 30 Barnacle Geese.
Instead of going straight to Haa I had a check at South Harbour and Meoness, I spotted 50 Turnstones, 5 Blackbirds, one long dead Shalder (Oystercatcher), 2 Snipe, 30 Fieldfares and 19 Greylag Geese.

South Harbour

I then went into Haa and after twenty minutes Tommy, Henry and I went out birding.
We first went to the Skaadan and Puffinn, there we found five Snipe, four Redshank, thirty-five Fieldfares, eight Greylag Geese and four Brambling.

Muckle Uri Geo

At South Light we saw a flock of 20 Snipe, a Curlew, Fulmars and a few Gannets from here we went to Lower Leogh.
There we found several Blackbirds and then we went north to the Chalet at 12 o'clock.
Tommy thought that we should go and check the parks east of Barkland in case the Siberian Rubythroat had gone there.
We checked the parks and all we found was a Woodcock and a Meadow Pipit, we continued to the cliffs.
When we arrived at the cliffs Tommy spotted some birds in the sea below, after a few minutes we identified them as four Long-tailed Ducks also we found 10 Blackbirds.
I had to go back to Quoy for denner so Henry came too, Tommy stayed a while to see if he could find anything else.
On our way to Quoy we passed by Da Water and there was a flock of ten Teal.
I then went into Quoy and Henry went down to Haa.
After denner I went back to Haa and when I got in there was no sign of Tommy, Henry said he still hadn't come back yet, Henry was then ready to go out and so we went birding.
We had reached Nether Taft and all we found was Blackbirds and Skylarks so we went back to Haa to see if Tommy was back, on our way back we saw a flock of 30 Snow Buntings at Utra, Henry got some close photos before the birds flew off.
Just before we reached Haa we had a quick look in South Harbour and there was 31 Eiders sheltering there.

A rainbow over Lower Leogh

We waited fifteen minutes and then Tommy showed up, he told us why he was away so long: he had sat himself down on the cliffs for a while and then he spotted a small bird in the bottom of a geo, he got his "bins" on it and it had a green rump and a streaked underside (what could it be? an american warbler?)
He watched the bird fly off towards another geo and land on the side of it, he gave chase and soon he got a fix on it, it was... IT was... IT WAS... A... siskin.
After the story we had check in South Harbour again, we found next to nothing so we went back to Haa.
Just before we got into Haa we met Alan Leitch and his wife, we all spoke for a while and then I spotted a Hen Harrier flying towards Meoness from the north.
Alan and his wife then continued walking round the isle and we went back into Haa, I continued on my painting of a Sparrowhawk trying to catch a Blue Tit (I ended up leaving the painting at Haa!)
An hour later (four ish) I got a text from David saying there was an Orca going north past Buness! Tommy, Henry and I ran into action and soon we were heading up there, we were on the road past the plantation when we were stopped by one of the Obs van which had broken down! luckily within seconds the van was moving again and we were off! (but the van didn't even make it to the Obs!)
We came round the corner to Furse and we met a birder (who I now know is called Kevin) who was staying at South Light (should just add this in, the northern building of the South Light has been turned into accommodation and the people who live there have a bed and breakfast) we told him about the Orca and he jumped in.
Soon we were at North Light and we were scanning the seas for the cetacean, two more birders came to search for the Orca as well.
After 20 minutes there was no sign of the Killer Whale (I had accidentally mis-read the text as saying "Orcas" instead of "Orca") but I did see a Kittiwake.

Tommy looking for the Orca

We then heard a plane and it was coming into land! the birder from South Light went to get on it and I phoned my Dad to make sure I wasn't going on it, luckily I wasn't but Mairi, Triona and Laura were.
On our way down the Isle we spotted a single Snow Bunting at Golden Water and then we went to the Havens.
There we spotted 26 Blackbirds! 5 Snow Buntings, the Red-breasted Merganser from yesterday and 20 Turnstones, we then made our way down the Isle along the east road.
Between Shirva and Nether Taft we spotted a Whinchat on a fence post, a good bird to end the day with.
At Haa Henry and I worked on our paintings, when it was time to go I had finished painting the Blue Tit which turned out very good but I still hadn't finished the Sparrowhawk.
I then left Haa and when I got into Quoy Stewart was back, I told him about a few of the birds I had seen and then we all sat down for our last tea at Quoy (for this trip).
At 7.45pm Dad ran me up to Log, there I tallied up some of my sightings of the day 55 Blackbird, 15 Redshank, 13 Skylark, 8 Curlew, 68 Turnstone, 7 Snipe, 30 Greylag Geese, 5 Blackcap and 2 Robins.

The rest of this Blog post is continued on CAPE MAY WARBLER: 2nd for the Western Palearctic!!!!!!!
You can access it by following the hyperlink below.

The rest of this Blog post is continued on CAPE MAY WARBLER: 2nd for the Western Palearctic!!!!!!!
You can access it by following the hyperlink above.


  1. A great read! great photos too! a lot of work! well done!

  2. Brilliant Logan! Such enthusiasm is great to see!