10th October: The day after the day before

Got up at a ridiculous 7:30am with a dose of killer man flu. The windsock indicated southerly winds and it was incredibly mild. With renewed enthusiasm, after yesterday's success, I headed in to Toab with both birds and pies in mind. I stopped to have a look in Helen's garden, probably the best in Toab, and immediately saw the Yellow-browed. The garden opposite also had one and the Lesser Whitethroat was still present in the former. The sight of those lazy B'stards from Nordegerdi heading up the road in the car and shouting that they were going to get to the pies before me, filled me with dread, what if they got their hands on the rare sausage bean and tatty pies that I had yet to add to my pie list? However I was comforted by the earlier words of Helen informing me that sausage, bean and tatty are only stocked on every second Tuesday and as this was Wednesday I could rest at ease that they would not get their filthy mitts on this rare of pies. On entering the shop I was disappointed at the selection on offer and chose a steak pie. What a dreadful choice quite the poorest pie that I have ever purchased and only worthy of a 1 on the pie scale. I really doubt that heating this pie would have made any difference and expect that even Sparky (the legendary Llamas dog) would have turned up his nose and he eats shit.

Terrible Pie (M N Reeder)

At least someone was thinking about birding and Andy Mc turned up a nice Short-toed Lark in the stubble field behind Toab of Toab Hall. On returning for refreshments Rob informed me that Helen had invited us for Shetland Soup on Thursday night. Hopefully this is exactly what it sounds like and not some local custom!
As Sparky was due a jab at the vets in Scalloway we headed towards there stopping at several locations on the way. Feeling a bit pissed off about the current home situation I consumed a couple of drams to cheer myself up and fight the man flu before we made our first stop at No Ness for a Woodlark. On exiting the car I glimpsed the bird in flight over the house where it appeared to drop into the adjacent field. Further investigation revealed that it must have carried on though my alcohol fuelled I.D was strengthened by the fact that Andy Mc heard it call. A quick call to the Sandwick Bakery turned up a very good Scotch Pie (small) and again due to the reheating facilities scored a 10 on the pie scale.

A traditional small Scotch Pie (M N Reeder)

Close to the bakery was a small flock of Common Redpolls and I managed a shot of one which appeared to be a Mealy. Common Redpoll (M N Reeder)

We dropped Andy Mc off at Fladderbister whilst we had a quick look for the Melodious Warbler at Voe of Quarff. It was clear that this was going to be a pain to see and we left empty handed. A quick look around Scalloway produced yet another Yellow-browed and several Brambling. After Sparky's vet visit we picked up a thoroughly pissed off Andy who had thrashed the Fladderbister area to death for nowt. A Red-breasted Fly at the Lighthouse tempted us up the head where it showed near the fog horn. With the light fading we headed back to Sunnydell. A call from the Nordagerdi crew of a many pipit in the burn at Swinister was considered too late in the day by three of us though Andy L thought it worthy of a look. It now turns out that there were as many as five species involved. A rather splendid Chinese was thrown together by the talented Andy L followed by a trip to the pub to take the piss out of the pipit boys. But this failed as only two of their party were present the other apparently going to bed 'early', though given the literature available up there I very much doubt it. After leaving the Sumburgh at 12:30 we sat up until 2am leaving drunken postings on several birding websites - which seemed fun at the time!!

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