Day 2 of the trip was my first day on Shetland. The forecast was for strong south westerly winds and plenty of rain, not ideal birding weather on Shetland and so it proved. After grabbing some breakfast and a coffee in Lerwick, I headed for the plantation at Aith where a Greenish Warbler had been found the previous day. Unfortunately several hours of searching failed to turn up the bird, or anything else for that matter.
Other birds seen during a tough morning on the mainland were; White Wagtail, Wheatear (2), Kestrel, Pink-Footed Goose (110+), Raven, Hooded Crow, Red-Breasted Merganser, Lesser Whitethroat and Rock Dove – slim pickings.
My spirits somewhat dampened, I decided to cut my losses and head north taking two ferries and arriving on the most northerly island in the UK, Unst, at about 4. A few birds had been reported here throughout the day, and I decided to try for the Radde’s Warbler in the garden at Valyie, Norwick. After a short wait (and a brief glimpse of a Yellow-Browed Warbler) the bird showed, though was incredibly elusive! Brief glimpses showed all of the salient features; short stout bill, bold supercillium (rufous at the front and pale at the back), compact Wren-like build and apricot undertail coverts. Unfortunately I didn’t manage any record shots of the bird, but you can follow the link below to see one on the Shetland Nature website:
It had been a slightly disappointing start to the trip, saved slightly by the Radde’s, but I was optimistic for the next 24 hours which were forecast for much better birding conditions!