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Spring 2020 - lockdown birds

It is unlikely that anybody will remember spring 2020 with any great affection. Wild Shetland Tours, in line with the tourism industry as a whole, went in to hibernation. At least there were still some birds to look at; here's a selection from what was, from an ornithological perspective, an excellent spring. The majority of these were found within walking distance of our house at Bakkasetter in south mainland Shetland.

Whilst this is "just" a Common Chiffchaff, it is an individual of the subspecies tristis (often referred to as Siberian Chiffchaff). Siberian Chiffchaffs are common migrants to Shetland in the autumn, but are very rare in the spring. It was therefore a big surprise to find this one in our garden at Bakkasetter on 23rd April 2020.

Another garden visitor, the spectacular Hawfinch on 28th April 2020.

A lovely male Pied Flycatcher in a neighbour's garden at Culsetter on 2nd May 2020.



A rather distant photo of a Great White Egret which spent a few days at Loch of Spiggie in early May. At times, and with a little bit of creative effort, this bird was visible from our garden!





Another distant photo, this time of a Red Kite which toured the south end of Shetland in early May. It eventually flew over Bakkasetter on the 3rd, allowing us to see it (rather distantly) from our garden.



Three of a flock of eight Brent Geese which visited Loch of Spiggie briefly on 8th May 2020.




Two delightful male Red-backed Shrikes appeared on 25th May; this one near Geosetter...







... and this one a couple of hundred metres from home at Culsetter.







A drake Mandarin Duck provided a splash of colour on a small pool at Scousburgh in late May 2020.





The star of the spring: Scotland's first ever spring Booted Warbler which spent all of 1st June 2020 singing in our garden at Bakkasetter. See here for more about this bird.



Somewhat overshadowed by the Booted Warbler on 1st June 2020 was this Icterine Warbler in the fog at Spiggie.








Bakkasetter was very busy during the first few days of June; this Pied Flycatcher brightened up our garden...







... and this Osprey caused chaos in the skies above!





A Mediterranean Gull frequented the Bakkasetter/Spiggie area from 6th June 2020 onwards.

Also on 6th June 2020, this Ring-billed Gull appeared at Spiggie.

This fine adult Rose-coloured Starling on 18th June 2020 completed a splendid selection of spring birds in the Spiggie/Bakkasetter area.




A couple from slightly further afield in late June, once lockdown had been eased a little: a Lesser Grey Shrike at Maywick...







... and a gorgeous Long-tailed Skua which set up territory at Dalsetter, near Boddam.


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