Sykes’s Warbler

Twitchers for a day!


Our Shetland Nature group opted to head south today. Good result! Joined the small group looking at the locustella Warbler at Levenwick. Managed several flight views and once on the deck. Rather strangely it did ‘flash’ what appeared to be pale tips to the tail feathers on a couple of occasions in flight – perhaps mix of feather wear and sunlight – or something! This being the main impression that lead to putting news out of  Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler. Some useful photos taken just before we arrived, unfortunately  showed heavily marked undertail coverts and overall rather Grasshopper-Warbler-like bird. No shame on the finders- they are out there looking, (and flip- they had already found a  Swainson’s Thrush!)

News broke that the Booted was really a Sykes’s Warbler just 5 mins down the road. headed there via a quick, but wasted  look for the Swainson Thrush. Got 2 good but brief perched views of Sykes’s Warbler and lots flight views. More acro than phyllosc!

The Shetland Nature team are now well-trained in flight identification of locustella, acrocephalus (Reed, one probable Marsh) hippolais and phyllosopus! BTW we have had up to 6 Siberian Chiffchaff on Unst and Fetlar, including one calling/ recorded. I am convinced Shetland gets tons of ’em (OK tens!) every autumn. We are looking at them now!

The Radde’s Warbler at Sumburgh showed superbly. Hacking back north we jammed a Redstart at the Toft Ferry and juvenile Black Tern at the Gutcher ferry.

All agreed. The scenery was stunning all day. Sorry no pics. More details and photos when I get back.

Yesterday I popped out just before breakfast. Half light at 7:15. There was the magnificent Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll with a bunch of Greenland Redpolls (main characters compared to other redpolls?, as one of out team noted- they are the size of a sheep).

It’s not a bad place to be. So back on Unst in hunting mode today!


About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
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3 Responses to Sykes’s Warbler

  1. MikeP says:

    Re Sibe Chiffs, we have known that Shetland gets tons of them for many years. FIBO flatly refused to even consider the idea of the species being a BB when first mooted in the 1990s and I had a letter in BW in 1997 stating that they were common migrants. People have become a nit more cautious in the last few years as attention has focused on them more, and maybe only claimed calling birds, but we always knew they were frequent migrants.

  2. Marcus Lawson says:

    Hi Martin,
    I had a cracking Siberian Chiffchaff in Toab last week (28th). It dropped into the garden I was walking past and conveniently landed on a dead branch showing well for c30 seconds or so and more importantly calling it’s little head off. It then disappeared into cover and wasn’t seen again, I did wonder if it had just made landfall.
    Lots of photos on the Nature Shetland website of previous Autumns birds.

    Glad you’re having a good week, it was all a bit frustrating last week in the knowledge that there were undoubtedly lots of good birds around but the strong winds made finding them very difficult.

    Have fun,

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