So begins our ‘intrepids’ trip to Unst or Unstable as the predictive text would tell you. Flights went as planned and on time and we arrived at Sumburgh just before 11am. Picking up the hire car we called in at Rob’s for a quick cuppa, where Dave found the first Yellow-browed of the trip.
Tea drunk we headed north via Tesco after dropping Dave off at Cunnisburgh. On our way through Voe a large grey warbler flew over the car – it was obviously a Barred Warbler and a quick U-turn proved us right. Hanging around for the Yell ferry we received a call from Dave who’s team – who will from now refer to as Team Smurf (after the cornflower blue house they’re staying in) – rang to let us know they had just re-found the Alpine Swift! Unperturbed we carried on with our journey northwards taking in the first pie of the trip a Johnson and Wood egg and bacon.
Connecting easily with the Unst Ferry we soon arrived at our chalet in Baltasound where we immediately discovered two things; Vodaphone and O2 don’t work and the prearranged unlocked door to the chalet was not unlocked. After enquiring with the family next door who kindly took us to the key holder we finally got in, dropped our stuff then finally went and did some birding.
The gardens around Norwick were our choice and an hour or so in the rain produced 5 Yellow-browed, 2 Brambling, Sparrowhawk and a Garden Warbler. The lack of any sort of phone signal created an intense feeling or paranoia and worse still meant that we couldn’t contact each other if either of us had anything interesting. Without the 21st century’s technology this really is back to basics birding!