Sunday, 20 January 2013


Just a mere 11.3 km (7 mile) stroll today, but four more species added to the list, so I've now exceeded my upper estimate. But Shetland's like that - unpredictable.

Lovely calm day. Still no snow, but frost overnight, so the usual soggy Shetland ground was firm and pleasant to walk on. Heading out along the south side of the voe I managed to add Eider (only usually start coming back inshore in February) as well as finding a site record of 7 Slavonian Grebes. At Skeo Taing I also found my first Purple Sandpiper, but there was nothing else on the walk out to Huney, although I took the day total for Great Northern Divers.

While I was at Huney I got a text from Rob  to say that the Shoveler he thought he'd seen briefly yesterday  had reappeared in front of his house - which I 'd already passed in the morning. So a return along the shore loomed. Instead I saw the bird on the Peerie Houb so returned along the road. Slightly longer but quicker. Just as well, as when I reached the Houb there was a redhead Smew swimming around in the ice chunks that were floating on the incoming tide. It stayed 30 seconds before flying off. The only downside was that I couldn't get to the garden to get it on the house list!

So, a week to ruminate on what I've missed so far: Whooper Swan, Long-tailed Duck, Merlin, Snow Bunting ... and where are the Iceland Gulls?

Day totals: 32 species, 11.3 km, 7 miles.
Foot It totals (Shetland only): 61 species, 69.7 km, 43 miles.
Including Foot It Extra (my bonus Foot it in Perthshire): 91 species, 96.3 km, 60 miles.

I didn't count this one though, found on the beach at Skeo Taing: Scuba Duck Anas cousteauii

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