Saturday, 19 October 2013


Oct.5th and the weathers almost tropical. Red Admirals are out and provide an amazing splash of colour in such a grey place. Could be my first Shetland butterfly.
We're up at Voe Plantation well away from the scrum at Geosetter. Thicky is being trampled on by the unwashed masses of Southern checkbook twitchers. We heard someone had actually called for a napalm strike!!
Luck is on our side once more as we get great views of the Arctic Warbler that's been here for a while. Novelty factor is increased when a Great Spotted Woodpecker is found rummaging over the moorland nearby, what an odd sight. Norwegian sub-species is rumored?

spot the pecker?
Also in the plantation a couple of YBWs and Siskins

Heading on down to the southern bit of mainland Shetland we find ourselves back at the garden we birded yesterday at Hoswick namely Cliff Cottage(or house). There's already a huge crowd of birders gathered, about 15, Scilly would be 200!! all peering into the well vegetated garden awaiting views of another goody from the east.

Showing its crucial ID features off the Eastern Olivaceous Warbler gets a nice spot perched up in the glorious sunshine. The Shetland paparazzi absolutely murder it with there 20 foot long mega lenses. I on the other hand am quiet satisfied to get a record shot (I think this is the right bird?).

The day is still not over as a Short toed Lark has been found on the beach near Sumburgh Hotel.
Here we meet a party of bird spotters fresh from a week on Fair Isle who don't even know about the Thick billed Warbler over at Geosetter...I'd hate to be using their info service. Absolutely shit views of the Lark through scopes are confirmed when I take a record shot via my phone...

can you see those short toes?

Oct.8th (the 6th and 7th ?) we set off this time (once we'd got Matty up) north from our 5 star luxury pad perched on the hill above Lerwick..

to the plantation at Voe. I've done Shetland many times now but have always for some reason bypassed this place. Why I don't know cos its a cracking spot and more goodies were lurking within its depths.
One very nice RBF and a huge white blob of a 'Mealy' Redpoll for starters. The great spot was still trying to drill holes in the surrounding rocks poor bugger. Trip list boosted we ventured off to Vidlin and spread out to hopefully find something new.

Bingo! I found what I thought to be a Reed type Warbler in the gardens middle left on the photo. Chris and Phil went to work with their big lenses and Chris got several shots which proved to show the bird had yellow legs and feet... Marsh Warbler! other features like rump colour , wing tip spacing and head shape were also sussed out. A great team effort and a damned decent find me thinks!

ignore the colours, back of a camera phone piccy!

More searching, bush bashing and bog snorkling ensued but not much else could be found apart from yet more Yellow browed Warblers.

Mr Griffin in action...and not a flippin Lancy to be had.

So back to the pad for a well earned shetland mexican special..nice one Matty.

And so another trip to the Shetlands comes to a close. A great one to be remembered for
1. being there when the mega was found. 
2. seeing the mega and it being a mega Thick billed Warbler
3. warm south east or south westerly winds for most of the week.
4. a splendid night courtesy of the Shetland Bird Club
5. finding something albeit a padder for some!
6. great accommodation and good value team once again..cheers lads.


the one that got away...maybe next year?