As part of an event staged by NGB (Next Generation Birders) a singles/pairs bird race was to take place on the weekend of the 17th/18th, deciding to do mine on the 17th I checked to see if Dave was free and we headed out while doing the International Swan Count as well.
I came down from Yell getting my list started up and was on twenty odd after a run out to Seafield with my Dad.
Dave came by an hour later and we were off, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck and Greylag Goose were picked up along/around Clickimin but it was virtually empty so we went south to Burra & Trondra.
Doing the three isles (West & East Burra + Trondra) wasn't bad, we came out with quite a few additions to the list and a couple of Swans, Teal, Wigeon, Rock Pipit, Snow Bunting (flock of 25), Fieldfare, Redwing, Comorant, Great-northern Diver, the list goes on!
Scalloway was our next destination, heading to Ladysmith Rd (home of Shetland's 1st breeding Goldfinches) with staked out the place in hope of some wintering Goldfinches along with the Great & Blue Tits.
Half and hour later, with very little birds appearing we finally got what we wanted, first 3-4 Chaffinches flew in and afterwards a Robin, shortly followed by a Blue Tit (and the latter could be seen chasing the other!), finally with two Goldfinches in the sycamore right above the car! not bad if I say but time was against so we pushed north along the Tingwall Valley.
The Lochs were packed with Tufted Ducks (presumably the Clickimin birds) but no Scaup in among them, Oystercatcher was the only bird picked up before heading to Griesta (site of a recently 100% fire damaged house), after a quick talk to the policewoman in the car saying I was just wanting to look at some birds up the road, I headed up and picked up 10 Twite! the only place in the Central Mainland that I can find them with ease, Rook was also picked up and then it was onto Strand.
Nothing was managed here, no Goosanders or notin' bar some Mute Swans, I'd had an idea to head out to Breiwick/Califf for Golden Plovers as one autumn there was hundreds out there (I was looking for an American Golden Plover but that refused to be found).
We gave it a go, hopes started to dwindle but I looked onto the park where I'd seen them and they was some Lapwing! (we haven't been able to find these all day and now about 15 appear!), Dave turned around and there was also Golden Plover!! finally!
Lerwick was next and we had a few sites in mind, Dave made a call to Dennis Coutts to see if he'd had the Velvet Scoter out by his recently but he hadn't seen it since the storm.
By this time we were on a great total of 49 species! so I was striving for a minimum of 50.
Shetland Catch was our next destination, two species of white-wingers and a duck was in mind so we wanted .
Second Gull flock we saw I picked up a 1st winter Glaucous Gull (White-winger no.1!) and we quickly moved towards the sea.
Long-tailed Duck came next with several out in the sound and then Dave managed a 1st winter Iceland Gull! (White-winger no.2!) we quickly left and Seafield was empty of anything I hadn't already got.
Finally location of the day, Helendale, my own patch and a good spot for a few garden birds and wintering bits and bobs.
I went in quickly and brought out nothing and Dave came in, we spent the last half an hour of light here (1510-1540), first bird I picked up was a Merlin being harassed by a Hoody overhead (a patch tick surprisingly).
Dave flipped on the calls to see if we could bring any Great Tits in, some appeared but weren't really interested, by some I mean a grand total of 3!! which is pretty good, 4 Chaffinches also appeared and a Brambling calling somewhere! not a bad end to the day I have to say.
A few of the poor record shots I managed are below.
One of the Chaffinches at Ladysmith Road
And also the Blue Tit that was there
For January this is a great total, 65 could easily be possible if we'd started earlier and gone to the likes of the South End but that's for another time.
Without Dave it seems my total would of been much, much less than what we got so I can't but thank him for all his efforts and assistance.
- Hooded Crow
- Great Black-backed Gull
- Common Gull
- Rock Dove
- Collard Dove
- Herring Gull
- Black Guillemot
- Black-headed Gull
- Red-breasted Merganser
- House Sparrow
- Greylag Goose
- Mute Swan
- Tufted Duck
- Grey Heron
- Great-northern Diver
- Ringed Plover
- Rock Pipit
- Snow Bunting
- Whooper Swan
- Blue Tit
- Golden Plover
- Glaucous Gull
- Long-tailed Duck
- Iceland Gull
- Great Tit