Goatsucker

Only used that title to see if I could lure some of the internet’s bottom feeders here and thereby boost my hit rate by purporting to cater to the more, ahem, specialised blog reader… when disappointingly this is only about a bird. Quite a good one, though, or at least for here.

Left the isle this morning after trapping a Spotted Fly, and finding 3 others and a putative acro on the patch between 6am and 7am. Weather seemed perfect – a humid south-easterly, occasional heavy brief showers, and best of all, mainland Shetland shrouded in fog. I wasn’t surprised mid-morning to find JLI on the phone, but sadly not with news of the anticipated mega. Nightjar instead. Which is a decent Shetland bird, and one which had the decency to stick around all day until I got home in the evening.

Obligingly sat on a low wall in a garden below the road, allowing for easy and unobtrusive photography.

Where\'s my blasted heath?

Came back to my patch afterwards with JLI. Nailed the Marsh Warbler again more easily than yesterday, then a cracking male Red-backed Shrike (punctuate with yet more Spotted Flycatchers en route). Walked the ditches into the plantation hoping for Bluethroat, but no joy. Instead, in the plantation a couple of Willow Warblers, a Garden Warbler, and then JLI flushed another warbler with bright yellow underparts. Little darling had the grace to give itself up easily in a fir tree and confirm JLI’s suspicions – a cracking Icterine Warbler.

We phoned J – he needs Icterine. Poor bloke came up north, we drove the plantation several times, and no joy. No sign of anything but Willows and the Garden Warbler. The same Icterine had pulled this trick earlier in the day, but we had a fallback to try and line up J’s lifer – another Icterine JLI had found earlier in the day nearby. Off we went, but same story – no sign of the bird. J clearly jinxed where Icterines are concerned.

We left him to it, and put in another hour in the field, but thick fog was making birding pretty thankless. A few more warblers, but nothing remarkable.

Still, a decent evening’s birding. Maybe tomorrow will be the day of the biggy…

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