6th October: Marital Stress Relief

Following my wife's decision to trade me in for a newer model (in my opinion like swapping the Jag for a Lada), this years Shetland Bird and Pie fest couldn't have been more welcome. It was with great delight that I boarded the 7am flight from Birmingham - Aberdeen and even more delightful that I managed to get myself on to an earlier Shetland flight. This meant I could be in Shetland by 10:30am and out birding by 11 - hoorah. So with great expectation I was met by my good friend, and Shetland property baron, Rob. Bags dumped, clothes changed and kettle on my Shetland trip began.
First port of call was the ridiculously long staying Killdeer at the Pool of Virkie some twenty yards from Rob's front door. After a short walk along the shore it dropped in obligingly in front of us. A quick walk in to Toab produced 3 Lapland Buntings in the crop field, including a fine male, and the first two pies of the trip - mince and onion eaten cold scoring a respectable 7/12 on the Pie Scale. There were no other varieties available on this visit.
After Rob had picked up the last member of our party we headed for Hoswick where a Barred Warbler and at least two Yellow-browed Warblers had been present. After a few minutes both Yellow-broweds were on view but the Barred had vanished.
Our next point of call was for an Olive-backed Pipit at Swinister. In addition to an OBP we had the added bonus of a quick stop at the Sandwick Bakery shop for one of their legendary Lasagne Pies. This stop did not disappoint with the target quarry showing well on middle shelf of the chiller. The added advantage of the Sandwick Bakery is that they have a microwave which automatically gives them a two point advantage on the pie scale. This 'king of pies' lived up to expectations and scored the maximum 12/12.
The hallowed Lasagne Pie

The OBP was, as typical, a right little bugger to see but eventually gave itself up to the masses (all 9 of us) when it walked across the narrow burn. Unfortunately I had a faff with the camera and didn't even get a blury shot to put on Surfbirds to prove that I'd seen it!!

With the birding and pie munching at an end it was time to head back for some tea - what more food you fat bas***d - look I've been on a divorce induced fast for the last six weeks and am starting to resemble that Mr Muscle bloke!! With tea (pitta bread pizzas) out of the way it was time to hit the bright lights of Sumburgh! Several pints of the black stuff later we headed for the swinging night spot that is the Ness Boat Club. On arrival we had a crisp fiver crowbarred from each of our tight northern fingers. I think the fact that there was a hen party inside helped us part with our hard earned cash. After initial scepticism it turned out to be a good night with some of the very friendly local ladies inviting Rob and I back for a party. After more beer and getting to know the locals a little better we staggered back to Sunnydell at 4:30am a personal best of being awake for some 26 hours! The day had gone well Birding, drinking, party and waking up at the side of someone in a strange bed the only problem being that this was Rob's bed!!!

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