Monday, 25 November 2013

Weekend Birding 9th and 10th of November 2013

Saturday the 9th of October 2013

Today I headed down to Lerwick to see my Dad.

I got on the ferry at Toft and at the other side Tommy picked me up and he showed me the partially lecustic Shag which had been hanging around there for several weeks.
Tommy also had my camera with him and it was fixed, I had accidentally dropped it a few weeks before and then Tommy set it on the table at the shop in Lerwick and it was fine!
I got some really good views of the bird and it sat on the same buoy the entire time we were there.

A good comparison if you know how big the buoys are

A very funny looking bird but a very nice sight

Preening time

"Tall and proud"

Tommy and I then did a run around to check for Swans on the Lochs (as it was the count for the Swans and Geese in Shetland).
On the Loch of Trondavoe we found six Whooper Swans and we continued south looking at the lochs at Voe, Laxo, Girlsta, Stromfirth and Strand, there was not a single swan on any of those lochs so we headed into Lerwick to pick up Henry.
We got over the hill at Shurton Brae and I saw a few birders, I was thinking they were looking at geese or swans but there was six or seven of them so I was probably wrong, Tommy pulled over and I got out to speak to one of them.
I asked what he was looking and he said that the bird had just flown towards Lerwick, I asked what was the bird and he said Black-throated Thrush!! I thanked him and we drove straight into Lerwick to fetch Henry.
On the way I phoned Henry and I told him about the Thrush, when we got to the hostel he was standing at the side of the road waiting, he jumped in and we were off!
We got back to Shurton Brae and we spoke to Jim Nicolson and the birder from Wester Quarff (who's name I didn't catch, again!), they said there was no sign of the bird but the Wester Quarff guy said that he would take us to where it was found.
Within several minutes we were there and we were scanning the parks for the bird, we found a few Redwings and then two other birders came, we all stood chatting for a minute and then one of them got a call saying that the Black-throated Thrush was by the cemetery at Sound! one of the birders gave us a lift down and we rushed to see the bird before it disappeared.
Many birders were already there when we arrived and so we joined in the search for the bird.
I spoke to some of them and they said it was hoping on some grass, I got my eyes on it but it looked black through my "bins" but It was a new tick for me so I was very happy, It is also the 200th bird specie I've seen in Shetland! (I think).
The Black-throated Thrush was found at Shurton Brae by Rebbeca Nason and if she had never found maybe it would of gone un-noticed.

I then got this shot, for all anybody knows it could be a Fieldfare but its something to remember the bird by.

I then watched the bird for a while and then it flew off, everyone stood around speaking for a while, Tommy then took us to Netherdale and he dropped Henry and I off.
 Henry and I had our lunch and then we were off for a look at the Clickimin Loch for some birds.
On the south side of the Loch we spotted forty Turnstones, twenty-eight Shalders, seven Redshank, eight-teen Hooded Crows! five Goldeneye, four Redwings, five Blackbirds and two Great Black-backed Gulls.
We then spotted a juvenile Mute Swan, Henry wanted to try and see if we could get it to come close so we bought some bread.
We started chucking a few pieces in the water but the swan didn't notice and instead three Mallards came over (domesticated origin birds) and we fed/photographed them for a while before we noticed that the Hooded Crows had made a circle round us (kinda creepy) we then headed round the loch to find more birds before the Crows decided to find their next meal!

A Hooded Crow on the Clickimin Loch

We headed into Helendale and we met a birder from the south end, he showed us two Goldcrests which he had found and also a Gadwall which was on Clickimin, also in the trees in Helendale were over twenty Hooded Crows!
We then headed home and then out to Girlsta with my Dad.
At Girlsta we visited Paula and she showed us a Hedgehog which she was looking, Henry had only seen a dead one before so he was really excited to see it.
We stayed there a while before we headed back into Lerwick.
When we arrived we put Henry back to the hostel and we went for tea.
Afterwards Dad ran me to Isleburgh for a Shetland Bird Club talk, I enjoyed the talk and I spoke to a few birders who were there before Dad picked me up and we headed home.

Sunday the 10th of November 2013

This morning I headed out to Clickimin.
There I found seven Greylags, several Redshank, two Herring Maas, one Great Black-backed Maa, one Snipe, the juvenile Mute Swan from yesterday, thirty-one Goldeneyes and ten Mallards.

Three of the seven Greylags

I fed the Mallards the last of the bread from yesterday

I then headed to Helendale and I found three Blackbirds, one of the Goldcrests from yesterday, a male Chaffinch and two Bramblings.

When I came out of Helendale I spotted three very nice Whooper Swans swimming on the loch.

These two are probably the parents if the bird below

The juvenile Whooper Swan which is probably related to the ones above

The juvenile Mute Swan which Henry and I found yesterday

I watched the Whooper Swans move closer to the young Mute and they were soon trying to scare it off, the young Whooper Swan started hissing and running at the young Mute Swan.

On the side of the loch I spotted this lone Turnstone

I then headed back to Mairi's and when I arrived she had picked up Henry and the five of us (including Laura and Ellie) headed over to Kergord to take part in an event planned by the wildlife explorers (a group that teaches the younger ones about nature).

When we got there loads of people had already arrived and soon about thirty of us set out into one of the woods at Kergord.
Henry and I took our own route into the woods to look for birds.

An old ruin of a house in the trees at Kergord

From the bottom to the top of the trees we heard Goldcrests, we got some quick views of some but we could never find them again but at the top of the trees we finally found one in a bush!
I got within two feet of the bird and some really good views came with it.
The Goldcrest went deeper into the bush so I tried to find a way round to Henry's side of it, I found a way round and I managed to flush a Woodcock on the way!
Neither of us managed to find the Goldcrest again so we went and joined the main group.

Some people were huddled around a log looking at something so I joined them, the thing turned out to be a fungus and they were all trying to figure out what it was but in the end no-one had any idea.

The fungus

I was speaking to someone when I spotted this strange moth land on my jacket, someone said (or at least what I thought they said) that it was a Ghost moth.

A ghost moth (I think)

Somebody then pointed to some trees in front of us and I saw Goldcrests, at least eight of them!
The birds were to far away to get photos of but I did get some really good looks, I then went off to tell Henry about the Goldcrests.
I found Henry taking pictures of something in the trees above him and it turned out to be more Goldcrests!
I got our my camera to try and take pictures of them.

This is the only decent shot of a Goldcrest I saw in Kergord, see if you can find it

Soon the Goldcrests disappeared, Henry and I then tallied up all the Goldcrests we had seen which was about eight and all the ones that we heard and that brought our total to fifteen in this one plantation!

Mairi, Laura and Ellie soon found us and we all headed back to Lerwick.

When we got back to Lerwick, Mairi took Henry back to the hostel and I went to Clickimin.
I found the Whooper Swans from this morning, seven Greylags and the juvenile Mute Swan.
Also on the loch was fourteen Herring Gulls, eight Mallards and thirty-two Goldeneyes.

I got really close to this female Goldeneye 

I then headed into Helendale and I found three Blackbirds and two Brambling.

This Wren was also hunting for insects, I saw it catch one in the small hole to the left of it

I see this Rabbit most afternoons running about but I haven't seen it eating lettuce next to a Blackbird who is eating an apple

A close up of the Blackbird

I left Helendale and I headed back to the house and I saw two Snipe and this flock of twenty-eight Shalders on the way.

I like seeing the Shalders during the winter

I finally returned to the house and that was the end of this blog post.


  1. I always read your blog..Your photo collection is amazing... superb Photos...