It has become somewhat of a tradition (well for the last two years) that we venture further north in the hope of something different. This was actually a thinly veiled disguise to do a spot of filthy twitching. Having resisted the urge to go for the Taiga Fly' when it was on Fetlar the chance to see it nearer on Yell couldn't be ignored. Things went to plan i.e. Andy managed to get us all up at 07:30 in time for us to get breakfast and make the 09:40 ferry. More importantly hot pies were available at Mainlands (a good omen). Arriving at Gloup around 10:30 we immediately located the bird around the farm where it performed very well.
Having 'murdered' the flycatcher we then tried some of the suitable looking gardens on Yell. Unfortunately there had been something of a clear out and even finding a Goldcrest in them proved difficult. A Sheep at Cullivoe needed our assistance as it had got it's head stuck in the wire - lucky for the sheep that we came along and that no Welsh birders were in the vicinity There had been an Arctic Redpoll at Yell Leisure Centre so with the absence of anything else we went there. A walk around the small planted area revealed just a few Bramblings but whilst we were sat in the car waiting for Rob to finish off yet another phone call he banged on the window pointing out the Redpoll just a few metres away. We duly 'slaughtered' it and it's little cousin the accompanying Mealy Redpoll.
After getting the 2pm ferry we decided on checking a few plantations on our way south. First stop was a new to me site at Graven with a small attractive looking graveyard. The field at the end of the graveyard held a good flock of Redwings, single Pied Fly' and a Bluethroat which unlike the previous two showed very well. Whilst I'massacred' it news of a Blue-tail at Sandgarth came through. Not wanting to be rude we thought it only polite to pay it a visit.
Sandgarth s an excellent spot and has turned up some top draw rarities in the past including on this day in 2003 the second Taiga Flycatcher (pointless fact lifted from RBA). Mark Chapman (not the one that killed that Beatle) was watching the Blue-tail as we arrived, but it was a further twenty minutes before we caught a brief glimpse followed by several more brief views. With the light dimming we tried to salvage something for the found list at Catfirth. Again another empty plantation so we headed to the shop where.................
We found these........
Following Rob's review of the Macaroni Pie a couple of years ago I made it my quest to sample this holiest of pies. Sadly last year none were located. However today was the day and I reached into the fridge at Catfirth stores and pulled out what can only be described as the premier of all pies. It's not much to look at, just macaroni topped with cheese, but hidden inside are beans, not magic beans or jumping beans but baked beans. Cheese, Macaroni, Baked Beans all enclosed in a pie - genius. But how would it hold up cold. Bloody marvellous that's how. The combination of working class ingredients pulled together to make this one truly upper class pie and a ten point rating would do it no justice. My quest is over, never will I eat a superior pie. Amen.
We called in at Tingwall on the way home and picked up the Ring-necked Duck, it wasn't very happy at being picked up so we put it back down and left.