After a half day of travelling and getting settled into our comfortable chalet at Baltasound our first full day of birding dawned sunny and windless. As soon as we stepped outside Andy picked up a ringtail harrier hunting in the adjacent field. A rather dark individual with orangey under parts but hefty looking with broad wings it proved to be a Hen Harrier a new bird for me on Shetland.
The plan for the day was to head north to Skaw then slowly work our way back south. We were warned by Martin that the farmer at Skaw is a bit grumpy so with that in mind we stuck to the paths and decided against walking the burn. As a result the only bird we saw was a Garden Warbler.
At Valyie, Norwick it was obvious that there had been a bit of a clear out with only one Yellow-browed compared to at least 5 the previous evening. However a couple of Barred Warblers were new in and Andy picked up a couple of Rosefinch in the oat crop.
Returning to Baltasound we covered the immediate gardens and the Helligarth plantation. Again more evidence of an exodus with just a Willow Warbler and a few Chaffinches!
Having briefly caught up with the Black-headed Bunting at Belmont on our way north yesterday we headed back for seconds and eventually had good views of it among the local sparrows.
A return visit to Norwick produced pretty much the same birds as earlier and another ring-tail Hen Harrier was a more typical bird than the early morning one.