Finale- Shetland Autumn 2011

Saturday, 8th October

Still on Shetland, South Mainland to be precise. A little emerging tradition has been to finish guiding and join Roger Riddington and Paul Harvey the next day for a full day’s relaxed birding together. As Roger so helpfully reminded me, together we scored with Taiga Flycatcher (2 years ago) 2 Olive -backed Pipits (last year), so what would one day together produce this year (no pressure then!). Bonus ball with Brian Small joining us too.

It proved to be a storming day on the rare bird front!

first winter Citrine Wagtail

Day started with just me and Roger at Fleck farm, as I was keen to put in some time with the Citrine Wagtail there. Got recording of the call which Magnus R. made interesting comments on.

1st winter Citrine Wagtail, South Mainland, Shetland, October 2011 © Jim Nicholson. and memory jogging video by Brian Small:

Citrine Wagtail call

You can listen to the call of the Fleck Citrine Wagtail: >>HERE<<

n.b, there was some farm machinery making mechanical noise in background.

“The Citrine is interesting as it has the minimum of modulation for this taxon and sounds almost flava-like. Note that all the modulation is concentrated in the highest part of the call, which seems to be typical for Citrine.”  Magnus Robb

Grey and white flava wagtail

About to leave, Brian Small rang to say he and Dave Fairhurst had an interesting grey and white flava wagtail at Sumburgh farm. Soon there. The bird did look interesting. Not immediately ‘eastern-looking’ but still a pallid grey and white 1st winter with big pale supercilium and yellow limited to ventral region. And the call, at least to my optimistic ears sounded a little harsher than usual, as if there was slight modulation present though not Citrine Wagtail-like (having just been listening to one.) Well maybe it was just hopefulness as in the end the recordings come out as very ‘north western’ and now I think it actually looks very similar to some examples of 1st winter Blue-headed Wagtail. Still a fun morning!

grey and white(ish) 1st winter flava Wagtail (perhaps Blue-headed), Sumburgh Farm, Shetland, 8th october 2011, © Roger Riddington

grey and white(ish) 1st winter flava Wagtail (perhaps Blue-headed), Sumburgh Farm, Shetland, 8th october 2011, © Roger Riddington

You can listen to the call of the Sumburgh farm flava >>HERE<<

grey and white(ish) 1st winter flava Wagtail (perhaps Blue-headed), Sumburgh Farm, Shetland, 8th october 2011, © Mark Payne

strange guy recording bird calls and looking very serious, Sumburgh Farm, Shetland, 8th October 2011, © Roger Riddington

Adult female Daurian Shrike

Soon we joined others at Brake to see the stunning Daurian Shrike, second of the trip and an adult this time. Yep- definitely time to add this taxon to the British list. Pretty cool moment as it was possible to look at the shrike only metres away, swivel my body and ‘scope clockwise to see the juvenile Pallid Harrier nearby, sat in some grass, and with a further slight turn watch a calling Common Rosefinch sat on a post.  ‘nough said have a look at the photos and Brian’s video, taken when I was there.

Adult female Daurian Shrike, Brake, Shetland, October 2011, © Jim Nicholson

Adult female Daurian Shrike, Brake, Shetland, 8th October 2011, © Brian Small

video © Brian Small

Adult female Daurian Shrike, (above 2), Brake, Shetland,  October 2011, © Dougie Preston.

Buff-bellied Pipit

Now having my birders emotional tank now full to the brim, Brian, Roger and I headed off to meet Paul at Quendale Mill. The plan was an afternoon stroll together up the burn, relaxed, and chilled. After all, I had already seen more than enough cool birds for one day. Lagging behind as too busy chatting, I realised I forgot my bins. Numpty! Various derisory comments ensued from other 3. Returning with bins, Paul gave some prompts on working the kale field and within 5 minutes I had walked straight into a Buff-bellied Pipit. Frantically waved compatriots over and together, full of incredulity, we just took it in, prior to anticipated mass arrival. Does it get much better?

First photos on the day here

Buff-bellied Pipit, Quendale, Shetland,  October 2011, © Roger Riddington

Buff-bellied Pipit, Quendale, Shetland,  October 2011, © Phil Woolen

Buff-bellied Pipit, Quendale, Shetland,  October 2011, © Phil Woolen

Roy Hargreaves kindly sent me some short video clips of the bird showing front and back and pulsating body!

Buff-bellied Pipit, Quendale, Shetland,  October 2011, © Mark Payne

Sunday 9th October

What an Incredible Day, Saturday had been! Next morning I awoke to blustery winds and a flock of 8 Long-tailed Duck and 4 Little Auks from the breakfast table window overlooking Grutness harbour. Scandinavian Thrushes were on the move. Autumn was clearly fully here with winter approaching. Time to head home. Next year then?

Thanks especially to Roger and Agnes, Paul and Brian for a very cool last full day and the all the guys for the use of the very cool photos and videos. Cheers!

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About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
This entry was posted in Pipits, Shetland, Shrikes, Wagtails. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Finale- Shetland Autumn 2011

  1. PaulBT says:

    Another awesome autumn, Martin. Really enjoyed the accounts of all the great birds. Unst-oppable!

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