Thursday, 28 February 2019

Tengmalm's Owl

My first visit to Shetland could easily have gone badly. Arriving from the ferry at Tresta to negative news, a further 90 mins of searching the Lea Gardens compounded the rising horror of a potential dip. Just as all hope was almost lost, a cry of  'it's here' went up. A dash through the trees and it was in view, partially obscured by evergreen leaves it stared down at us from just twenty feet away. Views were better than my photos suggest!

Tengmalm's Owl

Over the road were 4 Slavonian Grebe, 3 Red-throated Diver, 4 Red-breasted Merganser and a winter plumage Black Guillemot.

Slavonian Grebe
A drive south to Loch of Spiggie gave good, but distant views of the wintering Pied-billed Grebe and 5 Eurasian White-fronted Geese. A Twite gave a couple of fly-overs.

A bit of light dipping followed, with no sign of the Rosefinch or the Tundra Bean Geese. More success back in Lerwick with an adult Glaucous Gull, juvenile Iceland Gull and 3 Black Guillemot. Of the latter only a winter plumage bird was close enough for photographs.

Black Guillemot

Back at the owl for more another look and it was more active as it got closer to dusk. Plenty of preening and yawning, but unfortunately it didn't move out into the open. A 'real' Rock Dove was feeding in the gardens.

Rock Dove
An excellent trip!

Sunday, 24 February 2019


Thick fog this morning and a lie-in beckoned, but a call from George dragged me out of bed to see the family party of Whooper Swan that had dropped in at Shibdon. Normally just a flyover species in Gateshead, this was the largest group I've seen on the deck here.

Whooper Swan

Tuesday, 19 February 2019


A trip up to Wark on the Scottish border this morning was instantly successful with the long-staying juvenile Common Crane seen from the car, feeding along a field edge.

Common Crane

The trip up produced Scaup at Cresswell, Green-winged Teal & Ruff at Druridge and White-fronted Goose & Ruff at Newton. On the way south a couple of Crossbill were at Harwood and the Egyptian Goose flew in at Big Waters.