It was another dry day but slightly windier and colder and after a slightly later start, we were out looking for more birds. One of the first birds we saw was a Great Tit, an unusual bird on Shetland so we stayed for a few minutes taking record shots. Coming from Hampshire this seemed rather odd but it was nice to watch for a while!
We then continued on our journey around Unst, checking fields and gardens as we went but no success, although Twite and Brambling are always nice to see. Then Brydon pointed out a Glaucous Gull to us as it flew over head – at last, they were arriving!
We then moved into a Rocky shore and checked the pipits. There were a few Rock Pipits and also a few which looked slightly different. They were paler and very well marked. Possibly Buff-bellied Pipits? We spent a good while trying to decide with the help of other birders but ended up concluding they they might be unusual Rock Pipits… If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that pipits are challenging especially if they don’t call and you can’t get close up views!
We carried on checking other parts of Unst until we bumped into the Autumn birding group being led one of Brydon’s colleagues at Shetland Nature so David and I joined them in the afternoon while Brydon went to see if the unusual pipit we saw yesterday was still about. It was nice to meet the other birders, and we quickly connected with the long staying Bluethroat which was fantastic.
We then headed off to Weston to search for waders and check some more gardens. One of the first things we saw there was an Otter feeding just offshore! Lovely. There were also a few waders – mostly Turnstones and Ringed Plover. Next a loch was checked and had Whooper Swans, Tufted Ducks, Mallards and a Ruff.
Finally, we headed to Northdale where a Great Grey Shrike had been reported. We were joined by Brydon and Micky who were able to confirm that we had indeed found an Olive-backed Pipit yesterday. They’d been able to get better views so had seen all the features and showed us the photos. We were very pleased to hear the positive news! Brydon’s lovely photo of it is here.
They also put us onto the Great Grey Shrike which is a lovely bird and a perfect end to a great day!