Wild West

Nobody likes a smart-arse, do they? But it’s hard not to say I told you so when 2 Black Ducks were found yesterday evening. Am a little surprised nothing else American was found, though it’s certainly not been for want of trying.

I decamped off-isle today and headed west to spend a few hours walking around one of my favourite “looks good for American waders and wildfowl” areas on the west side of Shetland. A massive headland, it’s studded with myriad small pools and marshy areas, and bigger lochans too – it just oozes potential. On a fine day like today, with the wind still blowing at a reasonable clip off the Atlantic, and following what has been seen recently in Shetland, I felt I was in the right place. Seeing Foula clearly on the horizon helped!

In the event, nothing doing on the rare bird front, but that didn’t really matter. It felt good to be out and looking, and every time I came across new pools or marshy bits there were scores of waders to sift through. Countless summer-plumaged Turnstones, and good numbers of Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Lapwing, Curlew, Whimbrel, Ringed Plover and Snipe, and beside one pool set back a little from the clifftop, 5 Purple Sandpipers.

Also plenty of Arctic Skuas and Terns…

Arctic Tern

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Brown-headed Cowbird gallery

None of these are showstoppers, but given the range they were taken at, are better than nothing.

Cowbird3

Cowbird7

Cowbird9

Cowbird2 flight

CowbirdA

CowbirdB