Shetland Rarities 2017

Shetland Rarities 2017

Postby FarnboroJohn on Sun 15 Oct 2017, 7:51 pm

In my other life as a twitcher I spend a couple of weeks on Shetland each autumn hoping to intercept rare birds whose migration has gone awry, either from North America or the East - Siberia, Mongolia etc. This year's selection is below. It was hard work this autumn: the wind blew solidly and strongly throughout the fortnight, and rarity-finding goes better with the occasional calm day!

Rustic Buntings are rare but quite regular: they can be elusive and are often flighty, so this is the first one I've photographed.

Image20171002 (1)_Rustic_Bunting by John Dixon, on Flickr

Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler (PG Tips or Pallas's Gropper in the vernacular) are inveterate skulkers in any cover available and generally have to be booted out for any views at all. This one was (relatively) co-operative.

Image20171001 (10)_Pallases_Grasshopper_Warbler by John Dixon, on Flickr

A second and much more showy Rustic Bunting.

Image20171004 (11)_Rustic_Bunting by John Dixon, on Flickr

Parrot Crossbills are irruptive migrants - they only move when food supplies fail or in very hard weather, so are irregular. An invasion is on this autumn and we had two point-blank in the middle of Lerwick.

Image20171005 (11)_Parrot_Crossbill by John Dixon, on Flickr

Image20171005 (21)_Parrot_Crossbill by John Dixon, on Flickr

Our only transatlantic bird this time was a Buff-bellied Pipit, closely related to our own Rock Pipit but neater and more delicate in appearance - not so delicate in reality, its just flown the Atlantic.

Image20171005 (29)_Buff-bellied_Pipit by John Dixon, on Flickr

Then one of my personal favourites, a Red-flanked Bluetail. Once a massive rarity, this is now expected annually in small numbers, but still a class bird.

Image20171006 (7)_Red-flanked_Bluetail by John Dixon, on Flickr

And on our last day a nice Arctic speciality, a very fresh looking Arctic Redpoll.

Image20171007 (7)_Arctic_Redpoll by John Dixon, on Flickr

Thanks for looking

John
FarnboroJohn

Re: Shetland Rarities 2017

Postby helired3 on Sun 15 Oct 2017, 8:01 pm

Great post thanks for sharing
Ian Harris https://www.flickr.com/photos/133062485@N05/

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Re: Shetland Rarities 2017

Postby Airwolfhound on Mon 16 Oct 2017, 11:19 am

Loving these John :clap: :clap:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/24874528@N04/

Agile, mobile and hostile ;-)
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Re: Shetland Rarities 2017

Postby Skyflash on Mon 16 Oct 2017, 11:29 am

Terrific stuff - those crossbills are gorgeous! :love:
Posting comments on an aviation-related chatroom, are ya? Looks like it an' all...
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Re: Shetland Rarities 2017

Postby DaveM on Mon 16 Oct 2017, 1:56 pm

Cracking selection from the Northern Isles there John.

Saw video of the Parrotbills on the pavement in Lerwick taken on a phone out of a car window - confiding or what!

Rustic Bunt is now quite a vagrant compared with a few years ago, only seen a couple and the best of those was on Scilly in the late 90s which was mobile to say the least - those are crippling views by comparison.

Arctic Rolls are just a minefield these days with all the lumping and splitting going on - a winter of them on Spurn a number of years ago with every possible colour of Mealy with them gave us so many headaches especially with people telling us that some streaky birds were Arctics on structure and bill size and some much frostier birds were Mealies :dizzy:

Dave.
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Re: Shetland Rarities 2017

Postby FarnboroJohn on Mon 16 Oct 2017, 5:01 pm

Thanks guys!

Dave, I know what you mean about Arctic Rolls: consequently it was nice to have an unarguable one presented to us basically on a plate. The Parrot Crossbills were hopping towards us to the point where we had to walk backwards to keep them in focus. Crazy!

In the 80s I'd have said Little Bunting and Rustic were about even - at least on Scilly - but Little is now very easy whereas Rustic is very much not. However, this year on Shetland we felt quite lucky with the two Rustics we had, and didn't even bother with a third at Cunningsburgh!

John
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Re: Shetland Rarities 2017

Postby st24 on Mon 16 Oct 2017, 5:48 pm

Lovely stuff, The Redpoll and Bluetail are belters. :clap: I wonder what Ophelia has picked up and dropped off along with all that Sahara sand!?!
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