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Shetland autumn rarity thread

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Old Tuesday 3rd July 2018, 18:00   #1
Stephen Dunstan
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Shetland autumn rarity thread

Ok, as at least one person is interested I am doing this again. It's from 1 July to 31 October, and a reminder of the scoring:-

BBRC - Gold
Scottish rarity - Silver
Shetland rarity - Bronze

And this is how 2017 finished:-

Mainland 22, 19, 15
Fair Isle 16, 11, 8
Unst 15, 4, 6
Foula 10, 2, 1
Out Skerries 3, 1, 3
Whalsay 3, 0, 2
Bressay 3, 0, 1
Fetlar 2, 5, 1
Yell 1, 0, 1
Papa Stour 0, 0, 0

This doesn't include the Parrot Crossbills on Unst and Mainland, but they didn't affect the final standings. As predicted Mainland 'won', and Fair Isle then Unst and Foula was arguably predictable. A late rally from Skerries took it into fifth ahead of some larger neighbours.
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Old Tuesday 3rd July 2018, 21:07   #2
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2 July

Fair Isle

Rustic Bunting - BBRC
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Old Tuesday 3rd July 2018, 21:14   #3
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Autumn? I thought you were being a bit previous there Stephen, but if the rare birds start turning up, I guess I have to live with it. Mind you this heat wave has started the trees in the reserve I look after to lose their leaves already.

Bring on the rarities then!
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Old Tuesday 3rd July 2018, 21:22   #4
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Autumn? I thought you were being a bit previous there Stephen, but if the rare birds start turning up, I guess I have to live with it. Mind you this heat wave has started the trees in the reserve I look after to lose their leaves already.

Bring on the rarities then!
I guess the Rosy Starlings were post-breeding dispersal and they were on Shetland from late May, but I take your point Jon.
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Old Thursday 5th July 2018, 21:50   #5
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5 July

Mainland

Hobby - Shetland rarity
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Old Saturday 21st July 2018, 18:00   #6
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Update

A catch-up as I have been away surveying in Biscay.

Yell

Rosy Starling - Shetland rarity
Hobby - Shetland Rarity

A couple of points about the Rosy Starling - for anyone who didn't know this wasn't a Shetland description bird for a while, but was put back on in 2015. As someone said to me when I was up in the spring (possibly Paul Harvey) it feels like it should be a description bird.

The other point is that although it is the first one in this 'competition' there have been records on six Shetland islands during this year's influx so far - Fair Isle, Unst, Skerries, Mainland and Fetlar already having had them. Obviously there may have been movement between isles and some duplication.

Yell off to a flier this year...
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Old Monday 23rd July 2018, 17:01   #7
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23 July

Whalsay

Pectoral Sandpiper - Shetland rarity
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Old Saturday 28th July 2018, 13:12   #8
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27 July

Mainland

Rosy Starling - Shetland rarity

Possibly one of the ones which arrived before the period covered by this thread. Today (28th) the first Icterine Warbler of the autumn was on Unst.
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Old Wednesday 1st August 2018, 20:36   #9
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1 August

Unst

Greenish Warbler - Shetland rarity
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Old Saturday 4th August 2018, 18:50   #10
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4 August

Bressay (Noss)

Hobby - Shetland rarity
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Old Saturday 4th August 2018, 19:20   #11
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July totals

A bit late, but makes it a bit easier to do running totals:-

Fair Isle 1 0 0
Mainland 0 0 2
Yell 0 0 2
Whalsay 0 0 1

Bressay and Unst have since registered description birds, leaving Fetlar, Foula, Out Skerries and Papa Stour still to score.

I might try and summarise coverage on each island if that's of interest to anyone.
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Old Wednesday 8th August 2018, 21:17   #12
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8 August

Fair Isle

Gyrfalcon - national rarity


There was a Rosy Starling reported yesterday on Mainland but I am assuming this is the bird from last month.
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Old Thursday 9th August 2018, 21:52   #13
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9 August

Fair Isle

Rosy Starling - Shetland rarity


There were three seen on Fair Isle before the period of this comparison, but this is the first since 1 July.
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Old Friday 10th August 2018, 21:18   #14
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Fair Isle

Rosy Starling - Shetland rarity


There were three seen on Fair Isle before the period of this comparison, but this is the first since 1 July.
There seem to be two Rosy Starlings on Fair Isle, with a juvenile and an adult reported.

A probable Gyr was on Unst yesterday. Clearly this may be the bird seen on Fair Isle but not confirmed as yet.
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Old Saturday 11th August 2018, 12:50   #15
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Gyr update

The bird on Unst is now confirmed to be a Gyr, but also confirmed to be an escape. Presumably the Fair Isle bird so that needs to be discounted from the scores.
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Old Saturday 11th August 2018, 14:24   #16
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Today (28th) the first Icterine Warbler of the autumn was on Unst.
According to the Obs website, Fair Isle had one from 27-29 July.
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Old Saturday 11th August 2018, 14:27   #17
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According to the Obs website, Fair Isle had one from 27-29 July.
Fair enough. Its not included in the scores in any case.
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Old Monday 13th August 2018, 17:16   #18
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Papa Stour

Whilst it's quiet I thought I would start the summaries of islands I mentioned a while back. I welcome any amendments to the content below:-

Papa Stour is off the west coast of mainland Shetland, but far closer to the rest of Shetland than Foula which is a major factor in it having less interest for seekers of migrant birds. The population is only circa 15, and perhaps unsurprisingly doesn't include any resident birders at present.

In recent years it has barely had any coverage, with a limited ferry service for day tripping and a lack of a rarity track record to entice any visiting birders to base themselves on the isles. There have, for example, been no records submitted to Nature In Shetland this year. In the past records from residents have included Subalpine Warbler.

Recent coverage of the west of mainland Shetland has produced a number of rarities from east and west, so there presumably are good birds to be found on Papa Stour for anyone wanting a Shetland island to cover themselves in autumn prepared to put up with lean spells. If nothing else the seven areas of freshwater give the possibility of wildfowl and waders. There is guest accommodation available, though there are no shops on the island so you would need to take provisions with you.
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Old Tuesday 14th August 2018, 12:40   #19
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14 August

Unst

Arctic Warbler - national rarity
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Old Wednesday 15th August 2018, 16:31   #20
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15 August

Mainland

Hooded Merganser - national rarity
White-Rumped Sandpiper - Scottish rarity

Last edited by Stephen Dunstan : Wednesday 15th August 2018 at 19:43.
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Old Wednesday 15th August 2018, 19:29   #21
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Out Skerries

Out Skerries, or Skerries for short, is made up of several small islands to the north east of Whalsay. The three main islands of Housay, Bruray and Grunay have all been inhabited but the latter isn't any longer. There has been a history of active birding on the islands since the late 1960s, and resident birders for much of that time but not at present. Bobby Tulloch and Bill Oddie both made several visits to Skerries.

The relative isolation of the islands and position at the eastern limits of Shetland make them a good site for finding Siberian rarities. A few American birds have been seen over the years, including most notably an Ovenbird, but it does less well for them than many other Shetland islands.

There are no trees on Skerries other than small ones in gardens. This has pros and cons for the rarity finder. The isles punch well above their weight for Lanceys and PGTips, but regular species on Shetland like Golden Oriole haven't been recorded and the first Firecrest was only last year. Freshwater is restricted to a single small brackish pool on Bruray and one on Grunay.

These days coverage on the isles come from Edwin Tait when he is resident rather than in Lerwick, two or three visiting birders / groups in the autumn and Shetland birders day tripping when there hasn't been much coverage. It is possible to day trip from mainland Shetland on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
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Old Thursday 16th August 2018, 08:37   #22
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Hooded Merganser apparently also seen on Bressay yesterday.
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Old Thursday 16th August 2018, 15:54   #23
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16 August

Fair Isle

Arctic Warbler - national rarity
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Old Saturday 25th August 2018, 07:23   #24
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Bressay

Bressay as a reporting area within Shetland also includes Noss, the island off its east coast with steep cliffs and seabird colonies. This makes Bressay unique in terms of this 'competition' as there is a split in coverage; whilst the seasonal wardens are on site Noss is the main source of records but in the second half of the period the Bressay 'mainland' gets more coverage. As it is only a short and frequent ferry service from Lerwick most years see some visiting crews spend some time on Bressay.

With regard to Noss given its location and lack of cover migrants can turn up just about anywhere. On Bressay there is a small plantation at Gorie that has produced in the past, and plenty of gardens on the east side of the island that can turn stuff up. Recent autumn rarities have included Black-faced Bunting and Paddyfield Warbler, whilst there was a Lesser Kestrel on Noss in spring a couple of years back.

If anybody heading up in the next few weeks is a runner the only parkrun on Shetland takes place on Bressay, starting just up from the ferry slip at 9am every Saturday.
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Old Monday 27th August 2018, 09:08   #25
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27 August

Mainland

Arctic Warbler - National rarity

Unst

Rosy Starling - Shetland rarity

This is a juvenile so not one previously on Unst.

I am assuming the Gyr on Mainland last week is the presumed escapee on Fair Isle and confirmed escapee on Unst, so not including it. I am continuing to give the Hooded Merganser the benefit of the doubt, but can see why people wouldn't.

Last edited by Stephen Dunstan : Monday 27th August 2018 at 11:51.
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