Friday, 26 November 2010

Dam it's cold... Part 3

OK... OK... I know the title lacks imagination, but it's still bloody cold here!

As far as birding is concerned, this cold snap has had it's good side though, as species that are normally very hard to see, are a bit more obvious as they have fewer places to hide! This helped me get a 'patch' record of 4 Jack Snipe today, along with copious amounts of Common Snipe and Blackbirds. Not sure if these are just local harsh weather movements, or refugees fresh in from Scandinavia? Also seen today; a hunting Merlin and the usual Otter. Not a bad day concidering I never even made it out of Burravoe!

I've had better Jack Snipe photos, but this was all I could manage today;

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Dam it's cold... Part 2

In the last few days, South Yell has seen temperatures just below freezing, with quite heavy snow fall and bitterly cold winds. This weather combination has made birding less enjoyable, and more of a challenge! But as always I'm up for a challenge, and I've been out and about (dragging my poor dog behind me as well!) and still managed to see a few nice birds (for this time of year!... any birds are good). Highlights for me are the 2 Mealy Redpolls, 1 Water Rail, 13 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Robins and 'strangely' 7 Pheasants!!!

This Water Rail was quite confiding, but the light was crap, so shutter speeds were down to as low as 1/50th sec, and the iso between 800/1600... not ideal, but still managed some semi-decent results!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Dam it's cold... Part 1

Finally off work today, and able to try for Brydon's Water Pipit (the first for Shetland no less!) on Unst. I arrived at the beach about 9'ish, and was joined by Robbie and Mike shortly after. The bird showed very briefly on the road behind the beach for about 2 min, before leading us on a game of cat and mouse for the next few hours. The temperature was about 2 degrees, and with a strong Northerly wind and rain/hail showers, it felt much colder!... All this, and the fact the bird was so flighty and difficult to follow, meant the pics I have are truly crap... So you ain't going to see any pics here. Try the 'Nature Shetland' link in the side bar for decent photos of this bird.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Easy come... easy go!

Well It seemed too good to be true. A stunning male Serin that takes a liking to Shetland and even starts singing in November!............. Looks like it was just a wee bit too good as well. The bird was photographed very well yesterday, and according to the 'bling' it's wearing on it's left leg, it's a bloody cage bird! (why can't the people who want to keep these things, not keep better control over them?) Oh bugger...

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Breakfast on the beach...

Finally received my lens back from Sigma today, and what a great job they've done (and more than I'd paid for!). So now my camera is back in action, I guess there will be no more good birds to photograph now!

I did manage to find this Otter having it's breakfast on the beach this morning. I was photographing it straight into the sun, so the results weren't ever going to be great. The pics are also shown in the order in which I took them, which is surprising as In the second pic he did clearly see me, as I was caught out in the open, but he still didn't seem too fussed and just continued messing about on the waters edge...

Bird wise, I did manage; 14 Bar-tailed Godwits, 5 Common Redpolls and 1 Robin today, and I also did another two BTO 'early winter' surveys, although found nothing unusual as expected.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Sweet 'serinus' song...

A good day was had on the 'Out Skerries' today. It all started because a Male Serin was found by Peter F. last Sunday, but due to work commitments, I wasn't able to make it till today. Just glad the wee bird has taken a liking to the islands and decided to stay so long! The sun was out while I was trying to digi-scope it (still not got my decent lens back...), and bugger me it decided to start singing!!! so pics were forgotten about and the recording equipment was hauled out and dusted off (didn't expect I'd need it for another six months or so). Many thanks to Peter and Mark for all the help.

Crap pics of a top quality bird due to it being digi-scoped;

Calls quite reminiscent of Snow Bunt...

Very quiet song as it basked in the sunshine;

Also seen on the Skerries; 2 Jack Snipe, 1 Water Rail, 1 Woodcock, 1+ Redpoll sp and 2 Robins.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Straight to hell...

I went out looking out for Waxwings today, as I was hoping for some sound recordings of the beautiful 'trilling' call they make. For a change the weather up here was calm enough to get recordings too, but sod's law the only bird I did see just wouldn't call! I even tried the 'hated' method of playing an ipod at it to get a response (I know... I'm going straight to hell!), but even that failed to get a response... So I just took a few pics of this rather messy individual instead....

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Birder in 'work' shocker...

Well I know it will come as a bit of a shock to some of you, but I've been busy at work for the last 5 days! Still managed to see lots of migrants though, but only in the form of Fieldfares and passage waders etc...

Yesterday I had 3 Waxwings hiding from the wind in my front garden, but as soon as they seen my ugly mush at the kitchen window, they scarpered! A Grey Wagtail was also the reward for me doing a few of my local WeBS counts.

Today I decided to try my luck with Unst. The bird of the day being a very flighty and elusive Shorelark. These are pretty good birds up here, as we don't get many, and the ones we do get are always on Lamba Ness. So finding one at Haroldswick was 'nice'... I did get a few crappy record shots, but they ain't anywhere near good enough to post here! so you'll have to take my word for it... Also had a flyover Lapland Bunting here too. The Grey Phalarope was still at Westing beach. (Thanks to Robbie B. for the directions, as I was heading to the wrong place!)

All pic's are taken with a really nasty 200mm lens, as Sigma are still holding onto my decent lens!

Rainbow over Fetlar;