Monday 5th October 2015
Well it was that time of the year again, the much anticipated visit to the Shetland Isles. In company with Julian Allen, Tom Perrins, Pete Forbes and Keith Wimbush we settled in to our accommodation in Lerwick. Not much of a view but we did have Sycamores in the front and back gardens which were regularly visited by both Lesser Whitethroat and Yellow browed warbler throughout the week.
Yellow browed Warbler - viewable from my bedroom window.
Large numbers of Yellow broweds were seen throughout the week at almost every location with a suitable Sycamore tree/bush.
The weather was varied, from very pleasant sunshine to strong winds and squalls. Time in the field was divided between checking out likely habitat for ourselves and following up information of new birds. The week started on a high note with a number of 'good' 'Shetland birds' soon 'in the bag'. Lanceolated warbler was undoutedly the bird of the day with Blyth's reed warbler and American Golden plover good back up birds. The day was slightly spoiled though by England losing to Wales in the World Cup.
Day 3 saw us heading up to Unst which turned out to be an unwise decision. Despite the beauty of the landscape we missed out on the Pallid Harrier and the Arctic warbler. A couple of Barred warblers seemed scant reward.
Barred warbler, Skaw
Even more so when a Grey checked Thrush made a one day appearance on the Mainland.
Day 5 was notable for a Pechora Pipit at Norby and a sprained ankle at Quendale. A Bluethroat at Deregarth also showed well.
Day 6 was notable for an Arctic warbler at Gott, Fish and Chips (again) and 2 excellent Rugby matches
Bird of the day on day 7 was a toss up between a very showy Red breasted Flycatcher at Hestingott and a confiding male Bluethroat at Quendale quarry.
Red breasted Flycatcher, Hestingott
Bluethroat, Quendale Quarry
So, my recollections of a very enjoyable week on the Shetland Isles. Good company, and good birds.Some of the places have been omitted because I cant remember them but you get the general idea. An assortment of other images will appear in the next post including more shots of the Bluethroat.
I was very fortunate to have the opportunity of a week's Birding on the island of Tenerife last week. In company with Pete, our host, Keith and Steve. We did a bit of Birding, a bit of walking and a bit of lounging and became members of the San Miguel appreciation society. We even managed a couple of sessions in the pool.
We saw most of the endemic species in the first few days with trips to the north of the island, Mount Teide and the Laurel forests. I was surprised to see so many White tailed Laurel pigeons having only seen this species only briefly in flight on a previous visit to Tenerife. I also caught up with other sub-species Tenerife Goldcrest and Tenerife Chaffinch which I hadn't seen before. We also tried various headlands for a spot of Sea watching. Despite the lack of favourable winds there was an impressive passage of Cory's Shearwaters. Numbers totalling thousands on one evening. The Petrels were more difficult with only one confirmed sighting of 2 Bulwer's petrels. Despite our best efforts the only migrants of note were Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis and Osprey. In all we recorded some 50 species including a Long tailed Glossy Starling of unknown origin.
My bird of the week was a single Lesser short toed Lark but White tailed Laurel Pigeon was a close second and the Sheer numbers of Corys Shearwaters was a memorable sight. All in all a very successful week and my sincere thanks to the lads for such an enjoyable time. It were fun!
Berthelot's Pipit, widespread
Hoopoe, quite common, particularly around Golf courses
1st Sept. 2015
Since returning from a short break its been back to business with some local Birding. Focussing on the Caldecote and Mancetter areas with the odd visit to Alvecote but not straying into the Tame valley for some reason. Numbers of migrants have been moving through The Anchor pub bushes particularly Chiffchaff with smaller numbers of Willow warblers and Lesser Whitethroats. First Common Redstart turned up yesterday and presumably the same bird was still there today. A Peregrine was causing havoc with the Corvids near the Rookery at Caldecote and there was a concentration of Green and Goldfinches at Rothern's farm.
Enjoyed a short visit to Prague in the Czech Republic with friends. After the short flight we had a taxi ride to our apartment near the centre of the city. It was a short walk to most of the places of interest. Arriving late afternoon our priority after off loading the luggage was to find somewhere to eat and drink. The drinking bit was easy enough. There was a small brewery with a beer garden just round a couple of corners. So we had a very pleasant introduction to Prague with a couple of pints of 11 per cent unfiltered home brewed Pilsner Lager. During the next couple of days we toured the city. The weather was hot and sunny. No binoculars of course but I kept my eyes open for the few birds that were to be seen in the parks and wooded areas of the city. Best bird of the 20 species seen was undoubtedly a White backed Woodpecker, the rest were familiar species with the exception of Black Redstarts which seemed to be fairly common.
Hi,I've lived and worked in Warwickshire all my life, now retired my lifelong interest in wildlife is now my main hobby. Birding in particular both local, national and in the Western Palearctic region is a major interest. I am very happily married to Jan and have two great kids Rachel and Paul,and 2 beautiful grandchildren
Birding lists(All BOU),
Old Warks 255,
Western Palearctic 716.(Netfugal)