I am currently sat on the North Link ferry on the way to Shetland for this years trip to the Northern Isles. The planned itineray for the trip consists of a single day on Shetland mainland either side of a 5 day stint on the migrant rich Fair Isle. The forecast is promising with strong SE winds predicted for the foreseeable future, and with an already respectable cast of rare and scarce birds on the islands, the trip promises to be eventful.
Whilst waiting for the ferry in the Aberdeen area earlier in the day, the group spent approximately 3 hours searching for scarcer species of sea duck, and any other seabirds of interest which may have been on show. The usual suspects were easily located in good numbers, with Eider, Kittiwake, Common Scoter, auks and Red-throated Diver all being numerous. Amongst these the following more interesting species were noted at close range:
Velvet Scoter - 10+
Arctic Skua - 20+
Pomarine Skua - 3 (2 ad + juv)
Long-tailed Skua - 1 (juv)
Sooty Shearwater - 1
Shortly after departure from Aberdeen, we encountered further seabirds with good views of both Sooty Shearwater and Great Skua being obtained.
Unfortunately due to a lack of internet over the next 36 hours it is unlikely there will be any more updates from the Shetland trip until we reach Fair Isle, but with the forecast set to deliver hoardes of migrants to the Northern Isles, the next post may well be worth the wait. In the meantime, updates from Spain will continue to be regular, as my Dad continues to enjoy the superb passage birding currently available right on our doorstep.