Friday 9 October 2015

Reflecting on Shetland

Though it was my first time on Shetland, I haven't come back feeling particularly put out after eight fairly challenging days. Despite conditions being sub-optimal at best our team still managed to unearth a decent selection of scarce between us: Arctic and Blyth's Reed warblers, Bluethroat, Nightingale, Common Rosefinch and four Barred Warblers. A decent result and reward for the effort put in by the team, particularly Dan and Guernsey Dave who were unrelenting!

There's no denying that working the iris beds, gardens and fields all day is tiring but in my mind the challenge doesn't compare to that in the Azores, where steep slopes, subtropical forest and dense scrub dominate. Therefore the next person to suggest birding on Corvo is easy will feel the full force of my wrath! :-)

The good thing about Shetland (unlike the Azores) is that there is always something to look at in late September. Common migrants - particularly the endearing Yellow-browed Warblers - keep you going, even during the slowest periods. Their presence encourages you to keep plugging away - if they're there, then theoretically something much rarer could be too. Early in the week it seemed that just about every garden with sycamores had this species, though they were sometimes found in the burns and in weedy areas, too. I had a ringed bird at Easter Quarff on our penultimate day, which I only realised when reviewing photos.

Here's a selection of other pics taken throughout the week.

Olive-backed Pipit, Lerwick, 3 October

Red-breasted Flycatcher, Bigton, 3 October

Bluethroat, Quendale, 4 October

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