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2013 April-June

2013 July-Sep

2013 Oct- Dec

2013 October - December

7th December 2013

Otter in the snow

There is still nothing to report bird wise on the island but at least one hardy Great Spotted Woodpecker and Chiffchaff are trying to hang on for my 2014 year list.  The last few days has seen Northerly gales with snow and with a lull today I had a wander in a few likely places. Little was seen unsurprisingly, Jack Snipe at Skaw, Snow Bunting near the shore below the North Park and a single Chaffinch at Hamister. Three Otters was a bonus with the individual above quite unconcerned by my presence near the Brough kirk.

16th November 2013

Another one gets away

Common Eider off Symbister

With a never ending barrage of South Westerly gales any hope of a late migrant or two is being dashed at the moment. I am hopeful that last years drake King Eider will reappear off the Symbister salmon cages but there is no sign so far. My year list has stalled on 149 and there has to be real doubt whether I will catch the 151 of 2011 given the lousy weather. Main news in the last few days occurred after a Southerly storm overnight on 10th - 11th....

Early afternoon 11/11 saw me dog walking around Skaw and as I loaded "Jessie" back into the car I had seen Woodcock, five Snow Buntings and a scattering of Fieldfares and Redwings. Suddenly a calling Redpoll dropped into the plantation so I headed down to check it out. I had hardly moved when I heard a "tsip" call to my left and so I turned expecting to see a Song Thrush and got a surge of excitement when it turned out to be a small and short tailed bird of some sort. It dropped into the boggy patch on the south side of the plantation so I hurried after it. On reaching the general area I once again could hear a "tsip - tsip" call which wasn't good as it meant it was airborne again.  I picked it up heading South  and my hopes that it would come back in never happened as it went straight over the hill in the direction of Vevoe. Needless to say I have walked the areas of Skaw and Vevoe and the moorland in between daily but without any rewards. Initially I was thinking of a bunting of some sort  but the shape was wrong. Suddenly my prolonged "DOH" moment lifted and I am now fairly sure what it was - a bird I have seen and heard on two previous occasions! What do you reckon are my chances of getting this past the rarities commitee?

Species - Pechora Pipit

Total observation time -

5 seconds                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Description   -  Small and short tailed passerine seen in flight silhouette only but possibly brownish and looked decidedly "pipitty". Call was a double "tsip- tsip" and sounded the same as my Pechora Pipits greatest hits album played when I got home.

Sometimes you just have to let things go!!!!.                                                                                                                               

4th November 2013


Great spotted Woodpecker at Symbister

Isabelline Shrike at Brough  28/10/13.

I caught up with Waxwing for the year today with one bird on Cath Simpsons Cotoneaster bush at Symbister.  There had apparently been five birds in her garden yesterday so I was relieved to see one at least. A Great spotted Woodpecker was also in the same garden allowing a photo or two. Although it is possible that the Isabelline Shrike is still lurking somewhere at Brough I haven't seen it since 28/10,  though it wasn't allowing a close approach for photographic purposes.

27th October 2013

Isabelline Shrike brings up the 300

Isabelline Shrike at Brough   Photo Brian Marshall

Treecreeper at Hamister  Photo Brian Marshall

Sabine`s Gull at Skaw   Photo Brian Marshall

Been away since 13/10 at the mackerel fishing and have seen the occasional Sooty Shearwater, Glaucous Gull and quite a few Killer Whales. Main bird news at home in this time was the discovery by two incoming birders of an Isabelline Shrike at Brough on 17/10. This is a new bird for the island bringing our total up to three hundred species. The Western Bonelli`s Warbler was last seen at Hamister 18/10 after an impressive twenty day stay and BM turned up a  Treecreeper in the same garden 19/10. Another bird I need for the island is Sabine`s Gull so news of Brian finding a very approachable juvenile at West Nettlar beach 24/10 was a bit painful. We came home at lunchtime today so I went to Brough hoping the Shrike was still lurking. Despite no news for four days my luck was in and with a better forecast for tomorrow am hoping for a few photos of my own.

9th October 2013

Window tick

The Western Bonelli`s Warbler relocated to Hamister today on its tenth day on the island. It spent most of its time in my uncles garden next door and I watched it for a while from our kitchen before strolling down to try for a few photos. With the addition of Great spotted Woodpecker and a flypast Turtle Dove heading south at Marrister yesterday, the year list has crawled up to 146 still five behind my best effort in 2011.

4th October 2013

Another OBP

Yet another Yellow Browed Warbler. This one at Roadside, Skaw. 2/10.

An Olive backed Pipit turned up in next doors garden at Hamister this afternoon. Completely unapproachable though so no photos were taken and it disappeared before BM arrived. Over three hundred Snow Buntings were in three flocks at Skaw. This would normally be quite impressive but given that there was 2000 and 1500 on Fetlar and Unst recently ...... The Western Bonelli`s Warbler remains at Marrister and Brian will likely be trying up the mist net now the weather has died down a bit.