Sunday, October 5, 2008

Slight improvement

Still very windy today. Mark and I had a kick around Toab & Virkie in the morning, including walking down the 'Ditch of Delights' behind Rob's house where Marcus Lawson found a Paddyfield Warbler and a Thrush Nightingale a couple of weeks ago, but for little reward. OK, no reward.

Then in the afternoon we got a message about a Red-throated Pipit down the 'Valley of Plenty' (otherwise known as Clevigarth, just north of Exnaboe). I wouldn't normally bother twitching something like this, having seen several before, but as the alternative was probably seeing fuck-all we went to have a look.

Some entertainment was provided by a halfwit thinking that a perfectly normal Meadow Pipit was the bird ("it's a very bright one!"), but we had to make do with hearing the real bird call a few times and seeing it in flight. There was further egregious stringing when several people claimed to have seen it on the ground, but all we could see was a well-marked Meadow Pipit. Eventually we gave up (although Rob still hadn't even seen the bird in flight) and went to the shop to get some food for this evening.

Thinking that it might be easier to find the bird once the crowds had gone (yes - crowds - on Shetland!!), Mark, Rob & I returned late afternoon, and immediately located it in the same general area. Without the presence of large numbers of cretins it was much easier to get close to it, and we had excellent views of it on the ground. Not the best-marked Red-throat I've seen, but still very distinctive.

The real highlight of the day, however, was the splendid four bean curry (that's four types of bean, not four individual beans) cooked for us by Mark this evening - who needs Andy Lawson?...

Finally for now, an illustration of the sort of undesirables who are coming to Shetland these days - we heard an account of some absolute cock twitching 2 Song Thrushes at Brae (fucking miles away in the north, up near Sullom Voe) because he needed it for his 'trip list'. Even funnier - he dipped!!

P.S. photos of the Red-throated Pipit on Surfbirds and the Shetland website - as you can see, it was a bit of a scrubber!

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