Red-flanked Bluetail

After a failed attempt to see the juvenile Sabine’s Gull in Lerwick harbour this morning, I’d resigned myself to a birdless day. News then of one of the few species I’ll break my loose no-local-twitching-unless-it’s-a-lifer rule * for was most welcome – a Red-flanked Bluetail at Sandgarth. Went there on my way home this evening, and got brief but adequate views of the bird – a real skulker, lurking in the depths of an inaccessible thick stand of trees, and only occasionally coming out onto the perimeter fence. A bird then to enjoy watching, rather than trying to get a good photograph of.

As evidenced by the following 2 photographs, both poor if we’re being charitable, and absolutely dire if we’re being honest. You can (with a leap of faith) just about make out what the bird in question is. I shared it with 3 other birders. Any more and we’d have started to feel a bit crowded – rewind around 15 years and remember the blind chaos a Red-flanked Bluetail would elicit… but this evening, there were just 4 of us, and the bird (showing poorly, but let’s not allow that to stand in the way of a moment of reflection).

Bluetail doing perched blurry

Bluetail doing flappy blurry

* Or if I just fancy seeing a given species. It’s not a very good rule, frankly.


4 Responses

  1. its like one of those mystery bird challenges. I’d fail this one. but really fun pictures!

  2. Tell me Jon, was it a dirty, filthy twitch?

    I nearly went but had to share a box of chox with Enie, who owns the Bonelli’s garden – she was 90 today! Oh, and then I went to see if the shrike had returned…


    • haha, going to see a bluetail is more of a homage than a twitch. Anyone who’s bored of bluetails is bored of life…

  3. I completley agree – thats why I have just spent 4 hours in the rain watching it. My 6th in Shetland. A real stunner and can you belive it that in those 4 hours there were just 6 of us there.

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