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2013 April-June

2013 July-Sep

2013 Oct- Dec

2013 January - March

23rd March 2013

White fronted Goose

Bitterly cold in Shetland at the moment but at least we are avoiding the snow affecting most of Britain. Still no sign of much in the way of migrants, the Blue and Great Tit are still present and were together at Symbister this afternoon. A juvenile European White fronted Goose was with a small party of Greylags north of Marrister and is likely the same bird BM found in the same area in January though where it's been for the last few weeks who knows.

20th March 2013


A Moorhen turned up in a Vatshoull garden today so Brian and myself went along and took a few photos out Lowrie Patons kitchen window. Perhaps not a bird to excite the masses but one that is quite possible  to be missed in any given year on Whalsay. The winds are still in the East so Black Redstart or Stonechat in the next few days would do fine.

18th March 2013

Dream on

Angelas sunrise photo taken 16/1, spot the bird right of centre.

blurred crop

Mistle Thrush and Lapwing at Hamister.

Common Redpoll at Skibberhoull


Over a month since my last entry as there's been little seen for ages. A ringtail Hen Harrier was the only interesting bird over the period and was seen flying north past Hamister on 5/3. The Water Rail remains in a Vatshoull garden and two Woodcocks in the Skaw plantation and a Common Redpoll at Skibberhoull were new for the year today. Brian later found two Mistle Thrushes, also at Skibberhoull. I managed to flush them across the valley to Hamister where I got a few record shots.

Angela was showing me some of her sunrise photos taken on 16th January. When the above pic appeared on the screen I said something like "goodness  I do believe that's a large bird of prey". Its hard to be sure due to blurring when the image is cropped but it does look like the White tailed Eagle has flown straight past our house with me fast asleep!! though its hard to be too depressed as the other island birders missed it altogether.

14th February 2013


Anyone tempted to go for a hilarious "tabloidy"  headline here needs to be reminded that its about as funny as a kick in the nuts.

Although par for the course for almost the whole of Britain, the above pic is a rare sight in Shetland. Have been trying for ages to get the Blue and Great Tit together on a photo and managed to get a reasonable shot (by my amateurish standards) at Gardentown today. The Kumlien`s Gull and "normal" Iceland Gull are still at Symbister  with the dark bellied Brent Goose at Skaw for a third day. After strong SE winds I was hoping for a Mistle Thrush somewhere but didn't manage to find one.

12th February 2013

Another adult Kumlien`s Gull

Grey Heron at Symbister

After the long staying bird  last winter another adult Kumlien`s Gull was at Symbister today, a poorly marked individual flying around the piers in company with the long staying second winter Iceland Gull. The dark bellied Brent Goose seems to be raking around a bit more of late, it was in the Greylag flock at Skaw this morning.
6th February 2013

Humpback Whales

adult Iceland Gull at Symbister

Little bird news in the last few weeks, a second Blue Tit had been at Huxter for a few weeks in January with the Gardentown bird present at the same time. BM found a juvenile European White fronted Goose at Brough on 17th January and a Peregrine flew east past Hamister on 18th. An adult Iceland Gull joined the second winter bird at Symbister on 2nd February, and both are still present today along with the dark bellied Brent Goose at Challister and two Snow Buntings on the golf course.

Todays main highlight was the discovery of two Humpback Whales which spent about half an hour between the Skaw Taing and the east isles this morning.

10th January 2013

White tailed Eagle

With an improvement in the weather I decided on a walk around the Skaw Taing today. Unsurprisingly little was seen, a single Merlin and the resident Carrion Crow was added to the year list. On reaching the North loch on my return a huge bird of prey was drifting slowly south over the golf clubhouse being mobbed by three Hooded Crows which were absolutely tiny in comparison. It was obviously a juvenile White tailed Eagle a bird we see regularly in Norway and more than likely the bird seen recently on Unst.  It does appear to show a bit of red at the base of the left leg, the Unst bird had a red colour ring on this leg and the white patch on the shoulder was also shown by the Unst individual so you have to assume its one and the same. Usually you would hope for a "new" sighting but as this bird is a proven Norwegian migrant as opposed to a bird reintroduced into Britain it is very welcome indeed. This a long awaited addition to my Whalsay list though a real pity nobody was home to enjoy it with me. BM sent me a heart-warming congratulatory text saying I should "bugger off to sea and stop gripping me off". The King Eider is still on site around the Symbister salmon cages and a Pink footed Goose was in the field above the Houb adding another to the year total.

6th January 2013


King Eider photos

Thanks to Graham Polson and Ellis Anderson who run the local salmon boat. A trip off at 2pm gave good photo opportunities for myself and Paul Harvey who picked the right day for a jaunt to Whalsay. The Brent Goose, Iceland Gull and a Glaucous Gull are also present on the isle. Both Blue and Great Tit are still also doing the rounds at Gardentown giving me another two good year ticks.
3rd January 2013

Brent Goose

A dark bellied Brent Goose was on the Houb for a short while around lunch time today. This may seem a bit underwhelming but is actually quite a good bird for the isle with no records for a year or two. The drake King Eider is still hanging around the Symbister salmon cages with its common cousins so a day of relative calm would be nice for a few photos.

1st January 2013

King Eider

Happy new year to both my regular readers. The drake King Eider is still around the Symbister salmon cages today so I went down to the shore below the North Park to try for some long range record shots. I make no apologies for the state of the above pics as the bird was so distant I was reduced to finding it through the telescope then point the camera in the general direction and hope for the best!! Am trying to bum a lift on the salmon boat within the next day or so and would hope to get some decent shots if it hangs on.