Friday, 14 October 2022

Shetland - 7th October

I began the day heading north to Lunna as this is such a beautiful location but also because a Barred Warbler had been present for a few days. I soon had rather brief views of the warbler in very windy conditions but saw little else. I then headed to Vidlin and birded the field behind the Common Wealth War Graveyard but despite the shelter afforded by the trees there was little to be seen. Next was Voe and a similar story, very little to be seen and very windy. So I decided to head south lured by the temptation of a second Yellow-rumped Warbler having been found today only 700m from the first and the chance of seeing two in a day. So I headed to the Bigton bird, the second to be found, which showed very well in the pines and occasionally coming down very low into the grasses and Yellow Iris stands. I then headed over to the first bird and had rather brief views (but sufficient to say that I had seen two of this mega rarity in the UK in one day) when news broke of a possible Least Bittern 15 minutes away at Scousborough Beach Carpark at the north end of Loch Spiggie. I grabbed a lift back to my car which was parked a mile away and then sped south. Fortunately, one of the first to arrive a grabbed a parking space outside the RSPB hide at Loch Spiggie and headed the short distance to the carpark and there, amazingly, and clearly exhausted and fresh in off the sea was a Least Bittern. I got good views of the bird in the Marram Grass and then gave way to the increasing numbers of birders in the very limited viewing spot. Numbers swelled to around 150 and eventually as the light began to fade it was announced that the bird would be taken into care. The hordes of birders retreated and a local birder moved in and captured the bird which was remarkably tiny when seen in the hand, it was briefly paraded to the admiring birders before being whisked away to be fed and cared for, sadly the bird died over night only 50g, 35g below the average weight for the species. Despite this sad end it had been an absolutely amazing day.

Shetland subspecies (zetlandicus) of Eurasian Wren - Lunna

Yellow-rumped Warbler - The second bird at Bigton

Least Bittern - Scousborough Beach Carpark. Showing in the Marram Grass before 
being captured and taken into care where it sadly died overnight.

Links to the Days eBird Checklists