Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Pennington Marsh and Needs Ore Point- 25th October

The morning was forecast to be sunny and with a hope of getting some nice photos I set off with my camera to Pennington Marsh but it was grey and drab with a gentle westerly breeze so I settled for my scope and Sony RX100 for a bit of digiscoping and some crap photos. It was remarkably slow going on the marshes and I walked south from the Lower Pennington Lane car park out past the Shoveler Pools, along to Keyhaven Lagoon and then back around Fishtail and Butts Lagoon. The tide was on the rise and not far off high and the water levels in the lagoons were high.

A single Chiffchaff called in the scrub next to the car park and around five Goldcrest quickly moved through. On Efford Lagoon there were around 55 Wigeon and 35 Coot. An immature male Peregrine passed through and landed on the north side of the lagoon flushing at least 75 Meadow Pipit from the recently seeded ground. As I headed past Shoveler Pool there were six stonechat on the The Old Tip, a higher number than usual and possibly indicating some migrants had arrived. There was a good gathering of Brent Goose on Fishtail Lagoon with around 175 birds present. These birds had gathered to bath and preen but there was a great deal of squabbling amongst the family groups as they maintained their personal space.

A family group of Brent Goose defend their personal space

The difference in structure between this pair of Brent Goose is evident with the male clearly with a bulkier head and bill, it was also substantially larger.

Out on the mudflats there was very little mud exposed and most of the wildfowl were loafing on the margins and the waders were roosting. 

Adult male Wigeon approaching the end of its moult from eclipse plumage still with much chestnut feathering inn the flank and breast and with subdued head colours.

Adult female Wigeon

On Keyhaven Lagoon there were around 250 Wigeon and with good numbers of Shoveler now present, a total of 95 being counted. There was a distinctly wintery feel to the birding.

Shoveler on Keyhaven Lagoon

Continuing on my little mission of photographing and getting to know gull plumages a bit better I was hoping for a selection of gulls on Efford Lagoon but there were but a handful of Black-headed Gulls. Out on the mudflats there were half a dozen Common Gull, 25 very distant Herring Gull and half a dozen distant Great Black-backed Gulls all of which were adult but for this 2nd winter bird - mega distant!

Adult winter Common Gull. Moult to winter plumage is complete and extends from August and is completed in October. 

2nd winter Great Black-backed Gull. Again winter plumage is achieved through a complete moult through the summer and completing in October. While I am no expert, this bird looks to be fairly advanced to me for this age with perhaps more of the dark of the adult feathers in the mantle and wings than is the norm for this age group.

AFter an uneventful few hours at Pennington I then spent a couple of even less eventful hours at Needs Ore Point having recently obtained a new permit. It was very slow going though with the only birds of any note being a Chiffchaff, Cetti's warbler and around 250 Brent Goose at the mouth of the Beaulieu River. The tide was very high and I pushed off home.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Hurricane Gonzalo - 21st October 2014

Hurricane Gonzalo was a powerful hurricane that tracked through the Caribean and across the North Atlantic to make landfall on UK soils on 21st October. This was the first major ex-hurricane to make landfall in Autumn 2014 and there was a great air of expectation as to which American species it might deliver and where these would occur, the obvious sites being Shetland, Ireland and the Isles of Scilly.

The track of Gonzalo as it passed through the Caribbean and towards the UK
Position of Gonzalo on 20th October
Gonzalo makes landfall on 21st October

The first bird to be found and likely to have been deposited by Gonzalo was a Hermit Thrush found at Balranald, North Uist on 22nd October but 23rd was the day when it all happened producing an outstanding list of North American passerines in the UK on just one day. The Scottish Islands took the lions share with nothing on that former American mega of the Isles of Scilly and nothing from the rather underwatched west coast of Ireland. The list:

  • Hermit Thrush - 22nd-23rd October at Balranald RSPB, North Uist
  • Grey-cheeked Thrush - 23rd October on Barra, Outer Hebrides
  • Grey-cheeked Thrush - 23rd October on North Ronaldsay, Orkney 
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo - 23rd and 24th October at Porthgwarra, Cornwall
  • Black-billed Cuckoo - 23rd October on North Ronaldsay, Orkney
  • Chimney Swift - 23rd to 25th October on Lewis, Outer Hebrides
  • Grey-cheeked Thrush - 24th and 25th October on Fair Isle, Shetland

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Pennington and Keyhaven Marshes and Titchfield Haven - 19th and 20th October

After the excitement of the last few weeks I was back on the local patch at Keyhaven and Pennington Marshes on 19th October walking the usual route. It was a fairly slow morning, the tide was high and the lagoons appeared very full of water so waders were a little hard to come by and there were few passerines to be seen. Highlights were five Chiffchaff and a similar number of Goldcrest three or four Bearded Tit, pinging in the Vidle Van Marsh reed beds, 150 Brent Goose, six Greenshank and 120 Black-tailed Godwit on Keyhaven Lagoon and 21 Coot on the Efford Lagoon. There was some viz mig wit small numbers of Goldfinch, Linnet and Meadow Pipit moving west into the westerly wind. The Efford Lagoon is really starting to come into its own with a high count of Coot today, 75 Lapwing, 55 Oystercatcher and good numbers of gull loafing on the banks. I don't get to study many gulls in general and consider them to be a group that I somewhat neglected so this winter I am determined to start to get to grips with them and possibly, if the enthusiasm takes me, start a separate page on this blog showing the various age stages of the commonly encountered species. for now, I have taken shots of the range of Herring gull present today at Efford Lagoon - when I say there were good numbers, I am talking 20 birds and not the vast numbers encountered on many sites - give Efford time though and I think that a big roost will form.

On Monday 20th October, I was working nearby and popped into Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve to take a look at the Siberian Stonechat that has been present since 18th October. The bird was present in front of the Meadow Hide on the eastern side of the reserve and was feeding within an area of recently cut reeds and sedges. It showed well if a little distantly for the 20 or so gathered birders. Always too distant for the SLR I only managed distant digi-scoped shots. There were also around 12 Common Stonechat present and the recent reed cutting has obviously proved attractive. The bird is a 1st winter and is strikingly pale with a salmon pink rump and ill-defined supercilium. There is only one other Hampshire record also from Titchfield Haven on 31st October 1998 - a one day bird. To the end of 2012 there have been 367 records of Siberian Stonechat in the British Isles.

Siberian Stonechat - 1st Winter at Titchfield Haven

Siberian Stonechat - 1st Winter at Titchfield Haven

Herring Gull - A juvenile moulting to 1st winter with, on the scapulars a mix of dark pale fringed juvenile feathers and paler 1st winter feathers with dark anchor marks.

Herring Gull - The same bird as above, a rather dark bird


Herring Gull - 1st winter. The majority of juvenile mantle feathers have been replaced with 1st winter feathers and this bird is now in body moult. The moult of the juvenile wing feathers is suspended until November to February and hence this birds wing feathers are all juvenile.


Herring Gull - 2nd winter. This age has a complete moult in April to October and hence at this time of the year is at the end of its moult.


Herring Gull - 2nd winter, more advanced than the bird above with a clear grey mantle. The bird on the right of the image is a 3rd winter with a trace of dark markings in the wing coverts


Herring Gull - Adult winter birds

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Shetland and Fair Isle 8th-15th October

8th October
I had been looking forward to getting back to Fair Isle since my trip last October. The island, like the Isles of Scilly, holds a special affection for me, I think it may be related to having grown up on an island but also just the rarity attraction that many islands hold. I have only visited Fair Isle on two previous occasions the first in May 1987 when the highlights were two Thrush Nightingale, Black-headed Bunting, Snowy Owl, Long-tailed Skua and multiple Bluethroat, Red-backed Shrike, Icterine Warbler. The second time was just last October when the highlights were Grey-cheeked Thrush, Arctic Warbler and Dusky Warbler, as well as an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler at Hoswick on mainland. So, it was with great excitement that I set off at 05:30 from a wet Romsey and headed for Southampton Airport. My flight left more or less on time at 06:50 and before I knew it I was in Edinburgh, flight to Sumburgh then left on time and I was on Shetland by 11:00. I picked up a car from Bolts Car Hire and then, okay, difficult choice here..... Mega Siberian Rubythroat or Mega and World tick Lanceolated Warbler. Well, the Rubythroat is hallowed ground, especially a male so it was a bit of a no-brainer, Netherton to the east of Levenwick it was. I parked up, walked to the drive of the house opposite Heimli and there it was a stunning, mind blowing male Siberian Rubythroat. Over the nest 2.5 hours I watched it as it fed up and down the driveway and in and out of the gardens luxuriant shrubberies. During the time I was there there were no more than 10 birders at any one time and so there was no hustle and bustle that would be expected on the mainland, imagine the chaos if this bird was in Norfolk, for example. This bird has been present since 3rd October and today was its last day, it had gone by the morning of the 9th.

Siberian Rubythroat - Levenwick

Siberian Rubythroat - Levenwick

While there an Olive-backed Pipit flew over calling but didn't land and a Tree Pipit flew over and did land and gave views on a fence, otherwise a Blackcap and Goldcrest plus a hungry looking cat on the driveway! I then headed for Quendale where a Lanceolated Warbler had been present since 1st October, it wasn't until I drove the road to Quendale that I realised how many birds there were with Redwings,Song Thrushes and Wheatear lining the roads and every stop producing many Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Goldcrest, I have never seen so many Robins, literally waves of them. I got to Quendale and got some directions and headed up the track to the quarry where the Lancy was. In the distance I could see a few birders spread out over the Iris beds and things didn't look hopeful, as I approached and asked a birder, Mark Ponsford, what the score was the news was a little negative so I wandered off keeping close by Mark who suggested we walk in aline and then, bang, there it was we both got on the bird but Mark called it. Over the next 45 minutes we pushed the bird a little through the iris beds getting glimpses and eventually it appeared and showed fairly well given the dense undergrowth.

Lanceolated Warbler - Quendale

After satisfying myself with the Lanceolated Warbler I wandered back with Mark and his mates seeing a couple of Reed Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, 15 Siskin, two Whinchat, 20+ Robin, five Blackcap, 15 Wheatear etc. Back to the car and I decided to head towards Lerwick where my hotel was booked, I stopped along the road from Quendale back to the main road on a number of occasions, the number of birds was a bit bewildering and it was difficult to work through everything that was seen, I added Brambling, Pink-footed Goose (30), Wigeon and Teal to the day list but there were many Skylark, Song Thrush, Meadow Pipit, Redwing and Robin in particular. I then spent the rest of the afternoon birding at Flabberbista where the highlights were four Chiffchaff and two Yellow-browed Warbler. Headed to Lerwick quite knackered arriving at the Lerwick Hotel in the dark.

9th October
Up at 06:30 to a grey drizzly day with a north-east wind although it was to brighten a little later. I started the day back at Netherton with a quick look for the Siberian Rubythroat and then I birded the gardens and fields at Netherton and on Levenwick Ness before heading a short way north along the road to the Beadies and then south a little way to Gord and Upperton. There were good numbers of birds around with probably hundreds of Song Thrush and Redwing plus many Blackbird and Robin and a flock of 15 Brambling. In the gardens I recorded approximately 10 Chiffchaff, 10 Goldcrest and 3 Blackcap. A single Redstart was at Gord in the fantastic gardens behind the stores which look great for a mega. While in the fields were also small numbers of Barnacle, Greylag and Pink-footed Geese including one bird with all white primaries. I also spent a little bit of time on Levenwick Beach where there was a single Wheatear and some a obliging Ringed Plover.

Ringed Plover - Levenwick

I then headed back north and headed to Wester Quarff where a Little Bunting had been present for a few days. As I drove through Easter Quarff a warbler flew in front of me that I could have sworn had a yellow rump, I drove on but there was just this niggling doubt so I turned back and spent some time looking in the gardens to the east of the school but nothing but for two Chiffchaff and a Blackcap. I heard on to Wester Quarff and parked up by Nethaburn House on the southern road at Wester Quarff. I birded the gardens and fields back up to the junction seeing a Yellow-browed Warbler, Redstart, 5 Chiffchaff, three Blackcap, two Brambling and, perhaps most surprising, two Yellowhammer. While a large flock of Hooded Crow and Rook raided a cereal field with a flock of around 200 Rock Dove.

It was 13:00 and time to head for my 14:45 flight to Fair Isle, after some faffing in Lerwick to get some supplies I headed for the airport, with 15 minutes to spare I stopped in the willows by the pumping station just to the west of Veensgarth, a pish produced a very obliging Yellow-browed Warbler that approached to within two metres in fantastic light, bugger, the camera was in the car! I headed for the airport to find that, in typical Tingwall Airport fashion, the flight had been delayed for 45 minutes so I went back to the pumping station to see if I could tempt the Yellow-browed in close again, as I approached I saw a large grey warbler flop into some briars ahead of me, I put my bins up and could see through the foliage some wing bars, the briars moved a little as the bird flopped around and then it flew, I watched as the first Barred Warbler I had ever found disappeared into the gardens of Veensgarth and I had no time to chase after it. After a quick pish back at the Yellow-browed spot a female Brambling popped out but the Yellow-browed remained distant in the willow thicket.

Female Brambling - Veensgarth

I arrived on Fair Isle at 16:00 to the news of a Treecreeper at South Light, the 9th Fair Isle record so the van drove down to the end of the island but I had no luck as the bird had moved along the cliff face to the west. However, a stunning Long-eared Owl showed well on the cliff face. I slowly wandered back north up the island in the last couple of hours of daylight seeing around 300 Pink-footed Geese, 30 Barnacle Geese, many Song Thrush and Redwing, a Siskin down to two metres, six Goldcrest, a very vocal but mobile Little Bunting at Chalet and an obliging Olive-backed Pipit just along from the observatory but unfortunately it was too dark to photograph.

Long-eared Owl - South Light

10th October
Up at 06:30 and wandered down to the Havens and onto Buness and then along the road from the observatory before breakfast. Seeing a Ring ouzel on the hill to the north of the obs Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest on Buness and Olive-backed Pipit on the road just past the obs again. 

After breakfast I headed south via Da Water, Rippack, along the Walli Burn to South Harbour, did a short seawatch at the South Light and then back towards the obs along the road. Things seemed a little quieter than yesterday with a decline in Song Thrushes, Robins and Wheatears. Highlights included the Olive-backed Pipit again, three Redpoll at Chalet, a fly over Dotteral at Setter, four Tundra Bean Geese at Setter, Little Bunting at Chalet, Whooper Swan and Pochard on Da Water, 175 Golden Plover Rippack, Jack Snipe on Walli Burn, Slavonian Grebe, two Knot and a Sanderling at South Harbour and Yellow-browed Warbler Meadow Burn. After lunch I headed back down south and basically walked a loop of the roads cutting from east to west along the Meadow Burn. Birding was much as this morning with the only major addition being two Hen Harrier. Other birds seen today included five Brambling, c350 Pink-footed Geese, 40 Barnacle Geese, many Twite, Rock Dove and Black Guillemot, three Swallow, eight Blackcap, 10 Chiffchaff and three Wheatear. There certainly seemed to have been a clear out of birds over night. A selection of pictures from today:

Olive-backed Pipit - Ditfield

Olive-backed Pipit - Ditfield

Fair Isle Wren - Ditfield

Robin of the larger and greyer nominate race from continental Europe which was present in abundance on Fair Isle - Gilsetter

Little Bunting - Chalet

Mealy Redpoll - Chalet

Pink-footed Geese - Over Vaasetter

Whooper Swan and Greylag Geese - Da Water

Golden Plover - Rippack

South Light

Dunlin of a longer billed race than I am accustomed to seeing in Hampshire - South light

Eider - South Harbour

Knot - South Harbour

Slavonian Grebe - South Harbour

Sanderling - South Harbour

Starling - South Harbour

Starling - Quoy

Yellow-browed Warbler - Meadow Burn

Blackcap - Post Office


11th October
Today was a relatively still day with largely sunny and mild conditions but for a squally shower in the evening, the calm preceding night had led to a significant clear out of birds particularly of Song Thrush and Redwing which were approximately half in number of what they were yesterday. Accordingly the birding seemed pretty slow going. Prebreakfast I wandered out onto Buness but saw relatively little, a Reed Bunting in the Havens was the highlight. 

After breakfast I headed south and saw much as yesterday in terms of the commoner species although there were some absences with the Little Bunting, Knot and Slavonian Grebe now departed and others such as the Golden Plover flock much diminished. I spent much time digi-scoping, particularly the spectacular Pink-footed Goose flock. The only new bird was a Snow Bunting that flew high to the north over Auld Haa and a Merlin seen from the shop.

Pink-footed Geese - Chalet Area

After lunch I headed to the North Light and then back down the Wirvie Burn before a final short seawatch from Buness in the evening. Highlights included three Snow Bunting at the lighthouse, a mixed flock of two Tufted Duck, a Pochard and a female Scaup on Easter Lother Water and a Yellow-browed Warbler at Easter Lother. A short seawatch produced a Sooty Shearwater and two groups of eight (six male and two female) and seven (six female and one male) Long-tailed Duck all flying south. In addition there were three Risso's Dolphin, although I missed a close school of six feeding off Buness during the afternoon which had departed by the time I got there at 17:30. Did a short seawatch off Buness until the heavens opened and I made a dash for the obs.

North Light

North Cliffs viewed from Noirth Light looking towards Dronger and Ward Hill. Ward Hill is the highest point on the island at 217m

Pochard, Tufted Duck (two) and Scaup - Easter Lother Water

Black Guillemot - Off Buness


12th October
Before breakfast walked to Buness for a short seawatch which produced a couple of Puffin and a single intermediate phase Fulmar but little else besides the throng of Gannet and Fulmar. There were evidently geese arriving in the north-west winds with 23 Barnacle Goose and several skeins of Greylag amounting to around 35 birds.

After breakfast a Mealy Redpoll was caught in the obs garden so I wandered along to the rationing room to take a look.  I then headed south, the Olive-backed Pipit was again at Ditfield and a single female Long-tailed Duck was offshore. I wandered up the Hill Dyke seeing a fine male Wheatear and a Lapland Bunting which showed well at the south-east end of the Dyke while a Carrion Crow was new for the trip at the north-west end of the Dyke. A ring-tailed Hen Harrier hunted the hillsides of Hoini and Burrasheild. I then climbed up over Hoini and walked south along the cliffs seeing relatively little but for 20 Redwing, 30 Song Thrush and 14 Snow Bunting including great views of two birds. I spent some time sitting on the cliffs scanning the slopes for birds and admiring the skills of the Fulmar playing in the updrafts. I then dropped down through the Gilly Burn and back up the road towards the obs spending some time in the vegetation around the post office. A Yellow-browed Warbler was still at Chalet. All in all, by Fair Isle standards, it was very slow going.

Mealy Redpoll - Observatory

Lapland Bunting - Hill Dyke

Hen Harrier - Burrashield

Fulmar - Hoini

Grey Seal - Hoini

Snow Bunting - Hoini

Siskin - Post Office

After a big Sunday lunch I headed back south and birded the roads passing via Da Water on the way south and cutting across at Meadow Burn before heading back north. Again it was pretty slow going with the Olive-backed Pipit once again at Ditfield, now seven Long-tailed Duck offshore here (including two adult winter male,and one adult summer male) a Buzzard which flew south over Chalet, a Whinchat at Boini Mire, the Blue Tit at Quoy (a Fair Isle mega), the Hen Harrier at Barkland and the Yellow-browed Warbler at Chalet. It was so quiet, that I spent much of my afternoon trying to get reasonable shots of the everyday birds.

Long-tailed Duck - Ditfield

Southern part of Fair Isle

Whinchat - Boini Mire

Observatory with Buness to the right

13th October
Started the day by birding the Havens and Buness seeing pretty much the usual stuff of previous days with a Wheatear,  Reed Bunting in the Havens and a Yellow-browed Warbler in the obs garden. A short seawatch on Buness produced a blue Fulmar and a Minke Whale.

Sheep Rock

After breakfast I was just putting on my boots in the stifling hot boot room and out went the shout 'Bluetail in the ringing room' after a hurried tying of laces headed to the outside of the ringing room to get in hand views of a first winter male Red-flanked Bluetail. After photos the bird was released and promptly flew around the west side of the obs. Although the bird then showed on and off until lunchtime I had made a bee-line down the island on the theory that there could be something else out there, I didn't see the Bluetail again and ended up with just in hand shots, not the most satisfactory.
I birded Pund, Hjukni Geo, the Raeva's and then cut back towards Lower Leogh and back up the roads. Despite the expectation following the mornings Bluetail there was little new to be seen and once again there appeared to have been a bit of a clear out overnight. however, I found a Little Bunting which may possibly be a new bird or the Chalet bird relocated, and possibly a new Yellow-browed Warbler was at Hjukni Geo otherwise a scatter of Goldcrest, Blackcap plus the usual Yellow-browed at Chalet was all that the morning produced.

Red-flanked Bluetail - First winter male Observatory

Little Bunting - Vaadal

Twite - Vaadal


Meadow Pipit - Observatory

Meadow Pipit- Meadow Burn

Goldcrest - North Shirva

Sky Lark - Observatory

Sky Lark - North Shirva


After lunch headed out with Andy Close and headed along the west coast, at Field Ditch Andy yelled 'Locustella', could this be it, the mega! Nope, up it popped and there sat a rather splendid Grasshopper Warbler, great, it gave fantastic views but not quite what we had hopped for. Still, it's always great to have views of Grasshopper Warbler, it even flicked into the adjacent field and walked on the short sheep grazed grass and looked a little pipit like.


I then headed down along the east side of Barkland and out to Rippack, a fly over Lapland Bunting was nice, and tthen close to Kennaby a slightly odd call 'sip sip' and I glanced around to see a pipit alongside the track, bins up, OBP and a fantastic bird at that, it wandered onto the track, flicked onto a post and then back to the track and gave the classic OBP call and showed well. It was then flushed by a dog and it flitted to Kirki Mire. I wandered on covering Walli Burn, South Harbour, Hegri Burn, Lower Leogh and the road back north. Nothing new was seen, just revelling in the beauty of Fair Isle.

Olive-backed Pipit - Kennaby

14th October
My final day on Fair Isle and I wandered out onto Buness before breakfast seeing the usual range of birds, a fine blue Fulmar flew south at close range and a Yellow-browed warbler showed well in the obs garden. 

After breakfast I head south and did a circuit of the roads, highlights were an Eastern Lesser Whitethroat at Upper Leogh, a Dotteral that flew south over Upper Leogh and appeared to disappear out to see over the South Light and a summer plumaged Great-northern Diver in the South Harbour.  A Siberian Chiffchaff was at Burkle and was probably a new bird. The eastern influence of the Lesser Whitethroat and the Siberian Chiffchaff made me nervous as 11:15 approached and I needed to make my way to the airport. I had a nasty feeling that a mega was about to break on the Isle.

Siberian Chiffchaff - Quoy

The flight from Fair Isle to Tingwall was amazingly calm and clear and Foula could be seen clearly in the distance to the west while two Risso's Dolphin surfaced below the aeroplane. After landing in Tingwall I taxied to Lerwick to collect a car from Bolts Car Hire and headed to Scalloway for an Eastern Bonelli's Warbler that had been present since 10th October but had no luck, I arrived on the day of its departure. The only birds seen were five Chiffchaff, one Goldcrest, one Blackcap and a fly through Merlin. I then headed to Quendale where there were three Siberian Chiffchaff, two Blackcap and a Blue Tit (a Shetland rarity). I bumped into an old friend Dan Houghton and spent some time chatting while grilling the Siberian Chiffchaff. I then headed south to the Willows at the Pool of Virkie where a Long-eared Owl showed very well and 10 Bar-tailed Godwit, one Knot, 30 Dunlin and 45 Curlew were present. I headed back to my hotel in Lerwick and had a chilled out evening.

Siberian Chiffchaff - Quendale

Blue Tit - Quendale

Long-eared Owl - Poole of Virkie

Long-eared Owl - Pool of Virkie

15th October
My final day on Shetland and I began birding the Sycamore's at Seafield in Lerwick but saw nothing but for a single Blackcap. I then headed for the Loch of Clickimin in Lerwick and birded the Loch, the paths to the north and the old campground and the Helendale area to the west of the Loch. On the Loch were around 20 Whooper Swan, 15 Goldeneye as well as small numbers of Teal, Wigeon and Snipe. The Helendale area produced a small number of redwing, a single Fieldfare, four Chiffchaff, a calling Siberian Chiffchaff, a Yellow-browed Warbler, a Pied Flycatcher and three Blue Tit.

Whooper Swan - Loch of Clickimin

I headed north to collect Andy Close from the airport and birded the vegetation to the west of Veensgarth seeing another Siberian Chiffchaff and little else. Things seemed decidedly quiet. Andy and I then birded Levenwick seeing a Chiffchaff and a Blackcap, had a quick stop at Pool of Virkie for the Long-eared Owl and then I dropped Andy at Sumburgh Airport. I spent the rest of the day birding Quendale and drove around the Pool of Virkie, through Scousburgh to Geosetter seeing relatively little. I headed for the airport for my 16:05 flight from Sumburgh to Edinburgh and then onto Southampton. When in Edinburgh I switched on my phone just as news broke of a Siberian Thrush trapped at Scousburgh in the evening, bugger!! Double bugger, I had driven past the very garden where the Siberian Thrush was trapped earlier in the day!! Thats Shetland for you, never a good time to leave.

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