9th October. Farewell my Fair Weather Friends

Birding on Shetland should not be compared to birding the Scillies. You have to work for your birds here. You can't just stay in bed with the CB switched on waiting for the other people to put out the news. Birders who come here should be aware that they are very much part of the finding scene. So it disappointed me somewhat this afternoon when the Nordagerdi crew informed us of their early departure. Andy L couldn't take the pressure of the Alder Flycatcher anymore and John and Dave were concerned that the weather wasn't going to be very nice for their return crossing on Saturday. However we have since learned that the latter two are already making plans for the flyca'. It was going to happen sooner or later that Shetland wouldn't come up with the goods and so far this October it hasn't. But with new birds still appearing daily you write it off at your peril. For instance Mr L had been dropped off at the airport only to learn minutes later that a probable Lancy had been found at Toab, this caused him to get a taxi from the airport with only 40 minutes or so before his flight only for the bird to never show.

Anyhow. The day started off well when I found a nice 1st winter Great Grey Shrike in the Sumburgh Hotel Garden, which typically showed well knowing that I had left my camera in the car. The lighthouse was poor with just a couple of Goldcrest and a Reed Bunting. The Toab area produced a Yellow-browed Warbler and best of all an obvious fall of Lasagne Pies in the Toab shop. These were very soon reduced to just two with none present at dusk.

Early afternoon seems the best time to visit the lighthouse as migrants often drop in before dark. Andy M commented that this was the first year that he hadn't seen Red-breasted Flycatcher there. Sure enough as we walked around the corner two birders had found one!

On hearing of the impending departure of our friends we were told to help ourselves to the remainder of their provisions. We didn't need telling twice and quickly cleared the fridge, we did however decide against the collection of magazines featuring elderly ladies in compromising positions - whatever floats your boat!


Earl Gray or Dave for short! said...

Mr Reeder I thought Andy and John found the Shrike? Shame on you!

Mark said...

Not really Dave!!

Andy Mackay said...

Dave - what actually happened was that John & I were standing by the farm as Mark approached the hotel garden. I looked through my bins and saw a grey blob low down in the sycamores that I wasn't even sure was a bird (bearing in mind it was about 500 yards away!). I said to John that it might be the Waxwing that another birder had reported earlier. When Mark entered the garden the 'blob' flew, and he rang and said it was a Great Grey Shrike.

So I certainly wouldn't claim to have found it!

Earl Gray or Dave for short! said...

Also I didn't realise that Shetland had Vultures on its bird list?! or was that you and Mr Mackay clearing out the fridge!!;-]

Mark said...

Yes Dave. Just had those over priced chicken breasts.

John Hague said...

Twas a good week lads despite us bailing out early. Sorry we missed a big piss up on friday night but ho hum. Hope you have a good last few days.

Rune said...

Mmmmmmmm, pies.

You can get some great pies out at Lochinver if your ever out that way.

Homemade pie shop.

Lots of different fillings.

Mark said...

Would that be the Lochinver Larder?

Rune said...

That's the one, the Lochinver Larder.

Pie heaven. Whenever I'm anywhere near the northwest, I make a wee diversion there.

You guys must be pretty dedicated to the old birdspotting. I've been up in Shetland in midwinter, so I've got some idea what you're up against.

I've got a few birdfeeders out in the garden and I've seen more birds than I thought possible in Glasgow.


But I'm normally watching them from inside with a cup of tea and a nice biscuit.