Sykes’s Warbler

While the rest of Shetland south has gone quietly mad, here is just quiet. Spent yesterday tramping around the locale with just one (nice, bright, but still singular) Yellow-browed Warbler to show for my efforts. Meanwhile, the mobile went loopy. Brown Flycatcher, Fair Isle… eek.

The reason I was home and birding midweek was a Council strike that meant no ferries were running. No ferries running meant I had no way to get off the isle and into Fair Isle. Curses.

Today was unavoidably a work day, so took the precaution of stopping at Tingwall on the way in to the office to secure a place on tomorrow’s early Fair Isle plane. The Tingwall staff are lovely, lovely people, and too kind for words. By late morning, Fair Isle had got that little bit madder – an adult male Siberian Thrush. Hell hell hell… meanwhile the flycatcher had gone awol, and we all know that Siberian Thrushes never stick around… or at least, I do. Dipped the St Agnes bird; dipped the Foula bird. I fly tomorrow, and who knows what I’ll see.

Back to today – and my 4th lifer of the year. (This is unprecedented in recent years). Managed to get to Sumburgh and back in my lunchhour for a thoroughly tick-whorish visit to Sumburgh Farm and the newly discovered Sykes’s Warbler. I like warblers at the best of times, and this one was a beauty – a lovely pale, long-billed skulker. Got a crap record shot, and after all too brief a time watching it, I had to get back to work again. Grr.

What will tomorrow bring? Hopefully the Siberian Thrush (slim chance), a relocated Brown Flycatcher (slimmest of slim chances), and maybe a nice first for Britain (on Shetland’s current form, I’d not bet against it!). Returning on Saturday, so if the Thick-billed Warbler on Skerries would oblige and settle down somewhere, that would take care of Sunday…

Whatever happens, you’ll read it here first. Bitter Bonxie – all life is here.