Our motley east London crew consisting of team members Paul Hawkins, Martin Blow, Nick Croft & of course moi, amassed a very reasonable 134 species in our week on Shetland, of which I added five new birds - Siberian Rubythroat, Lanceolated Warbler, Pallid Harrier, Hornemanns Arctic Redpoll and with the good wishes of the BBRC Eastern Bonelli's Warbler. We also managed to find our own Blue Tit and Great Tit - which is not to be sniffed at, as both of these birds are scarce visitors to the isles. We also had enormous fun one afternoon chasing first an Acro which turned out to be a Reed Warbler and then a Locustella which turned out to be a Grasshopper Warbler both along the burn at Channelwick and surely that's what makes Shetland so special - every bird is worth checking and then double checking as you never know what's lurking in those nettles. And then there was that wet Bunting around the Sumburgh Lighthouse garden which we all got over excited about, fuelled by alcohol we all made assumptions which were later downgraded!
|This beauty was sheltering in the Virkie Willows and was one of two Long-eared Owls we saw that week.|
|Brambling were numerous in number with flocks of over a hundred seen around the crop fields at the Sumburgh Hotel and Wester Quarff.|
|Just the one Great Grey Shrike, this very mobile bird was seen along the East shore of the Virkie Pools.|
|This Little Bunting at Boddam gives us the run around - which was typical of this species throughout the week!|
|My first ever 'Northern' Bullfinch in the crop field at Geosetter.|
|Three Olive-backed Pipits, this was one of two birds at Lower Voe, with another seen at Wester Quarff being a nice rewarding team find.|
Along with the great birds and company, I also managed to lose and then thankfully retrieve 1 rucksack with camera, passport, flight tickets still inside, 1 iPhone, 1 Walkie Talkie and 1 Canon Extender - thanks to Jim Nicolson for returning that expensive piece of hardware. On top of that I gave Didier Drogba a run for his money by face-planting head first into the long grass whilst looking for a Bluethroat much to the amusement of Mr Hawkins & Mr Blow who literally pissed themselves with laughter - Shetland 2014 was memorable for many reasons!