Wednesday, 13 February 2013

THE BIG TWITCH


THE BIG TWITCH NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED.

Eider
we arrived in Aberdeen around lunch time and was hit with the news that the Pine Grosbeak had not been seen by late morning, so as you could probably guess the whole car went silent, but we were still certain that the bird was there as it had been around since last November, we booked the ferry tickets which £52.00 per person. that’s not bad to be honest for a return we then grabbed some food at Mc Donalds, and then headed off to Blackdog for abit of a seawatch to waste some time before our 14 hour ferry journey to the Shetland , whilst seawatching we noted 25 Long-tailed Ducks, 5-10 Red-throated divers, lots of Common Scoter, Eider,  7+ Red breasted merganser and about 14 Pink-Footed Geese, whilst seawatching were debating whether we should continue our journey north or not, Kevin phoned Lee Evans who was on Shetland looking for the Pine Grosbeak with a couple of other birders but it was still negative news, but we decided to still head to the island imagine not going and it seen in the morning we would be suicidal!!!!!!!
Pine Grosbeak

After popping into ASDA for some food for the boat we headed to the car park and then the unbelievable happened as soon as Kevin started to pull into the car park he got a call from the one and only Lee Evans who said (Whilst shouting in excitement) "KEV ITS STILL HERE" ....  he was cut off as signal .but as you could probably guess we were jumping around the car with excitement, we parked the car and got the luggage and headed out to the reception when i realised that we did not pay for the parking so after Dave and Kevin sorting it out we got on the boat and got a comfy spot at the front of the boat where we could get some sleep but that didn’t go to plan, as soon as we left the port the boat started acting like a Dolphin jumping out the water and smashing down again,  we tried to get some sleep but Kevin couldn’t take it anymore so he booked a cabin and came and got Me Dad and David  we were all so enjoying a nice comfy  night sleep.

Pine Grosbeak
Early morning when we arrived in Lerwick we had to wait around till 8:00am for the hire car but once Kevin had the keys in his hand it was a dash put everything in as soon as possible and get to Collafirth after a 45 minute drive and year ticking Raven and Hooded Crow and Black guillemot, on the way we enjoyed the wintery scenes snow clad mountains and frozen lochs as we headed north it started to snow. we parked the car Me and Dad just grabbed our stuff and started scanning for the bird whilst David and Kevin thought they would be sensible and put waterproofs on, the other group of birders arrived and just got out of their car with their binos i then followed two of them and they instantly had the bird come out of roost i instantly got on the bird and called Dave, Kevin, Dad and every other birder in the area Dad was the only other person in our group to see the bird with me before it moved back into trees after that point all i could keep thinking of was OMG IVE JUST SEEN A PINE GROSBEAK BLOODY HELL, it was then seen sitting on top of a tree before it flew out of view this time Dave and Kevin saw the bird but Dave had a trick up his sleeve, he called the bird out and sat in the open for a couple of minutes before flying of the Housetter, we then moved on to Housetter where we watch the bird for an hour, it gave us stonking views and we couldn’t ask for much more, whilst in this area we had Twite also in the same pine as the PG, Dave then picked out a Waxwing calling as it flew over us . A couple of golden eye were out in the bay. 5 ravens flew low over cronking as they went and in the loch we saw a nice otter. 
Ring-Billed Gull

From here we headed on the good advice from Hugh harrop to Frankies Fish and Chips for some lunch because we were starving and this was the best chip shop i have ever been to mainly because it is the most northerly chippy in the British isle, so after here we headed to Scallaway for a 1st winter Ring-Billed Gull which would be a plumage tick, we were told that if we wanted to see the bird we had to feed it bread but all we had was rolls  hoped it’s not too fussy but to our joy it wasn’t, as we got out the car dad chucked the rolls  out and the Ring-Billed Gull just appeared and what a stunner it was that pale grey wings and its variegated band of the tail feather whilst watching this we also noted Ringed plover and Turnstone also we had some lovely common gull one of which was in summer plumage 

Black Guillemot
at Scallaway docks we had a no show from the Iceland Gull but were did have some great views of Raven which was cronking from the old castle and some very showy Eiders that were not scared of us, i managed some very good shots of these birds, Dad also picked out 2 Slavonion grebes which were very distance but were still nice to see we also had lots of Black Guillemots but we were stunned to see that one was almost in summer plumage i have never seen one in this plumage so close and i have got to say they are one stunning bird. Kittiwake, rock pipit, shag, long tailed duck and great black back gulls were also seen here.

Shag
So our last stop of the day was Lerwick harbour where we were told that we could get Iceland gull but as you can expect we didn’t see one here either but we were able to find  3 Glaucous Gulls two second winters and one first winter i have never seen 3 Glaucous gulls at one time before so this was quite something thanks to Dave for being keyed up on his ageing of gulls , whilst hear we also had more Long-Tailed DuckBlack Guillemots i even managed to get into touching distance of 4 Shags which i was amazed by, we then headed back to the ferry for another 14 hour boat journey what do we put our self’s through.  we decided to book our self’s into a 4 berth cabin so that we could get a good night sleep before the long drive home, Kevin started reading stories to us of he's past birdwatching experiences which kept us entertained.

After such an amazing trip i would just like to say thank you to David Campbell for his company and Kevin McCoy for doing all the driving and taking all of use up to the Pine Grosbeak.

Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeak


Pine Grosbeak



Common Gull


Ring-Billed Gull
Ring-Billed Gull

Raven


Eider

Greater Black Backed Gull

Black Guillemot

Shag












 

2 comments:

  1. Nice account and some great birds as well the obvious stunner, great stuff :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks alan yer it was an amazing trip, the pine grosbeak was a absolute stunner

    ReplyDelete