The above picture was taken shortly before we departed Fair Isle on the last day of our successful and enjoyable 2010 Shetland tour. However, the smiles were short lived, not due to the tour i might add, but more that usual suspect - Mr Sod and his Shetland law!! Within 20 minutes of touching down at Sumburgh airport, news filtered through to us of a Lanceolated Warbler on Fair Isle!! (the groups main target of the tour). As if to add insult to injury 3 further Locustella's had been found on the Fair Isle warden's morning census - at least one of which was thought to be a Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler!!
A frantic half hour or so ensued as we assessed the viability of going back to Fair Isle, eventually we decided to grit our teeth and enjoy the remainder of the day on Shetland mainland before the ferry to Aberdeen later that evening. Our despair was slightly lifted by the superb views of both Radde's and Booted Warbler we managed to achieve, however there was another twist in the story! Having boarded the boat an hour early to enjoy some food news came through of a Swainson's Thrush which had been found just up the road but with the hire car keys given back, it would unfortunately be another one which has to be put into the category - "dipped on Shetland!"
The tour did manage some excellent scarce/rare migrants and vagrants during the trip so we didn't dwell on the few we missed. Trip Highlights included - Arctic Redpoll, Melodious Warbler, White's Thrush, Buff-bellied Pipit, Red-flanked Bluetail, Booted Warbler, Radde's Warbler, Bluethroat, Red-breasted Flycatcher and many Yellow-browed Warblers, Barred Warblers, Common Rosefinch and the sheer numbers of common migrants such as Pied Flycatcher.
Since returning from the trip I have remained in the UK in the hope of completing my goal of seeing 300 species in the UK this year. On the 6th of October i made the trip North to Hartlepool where i was rewarded with superb views of a juvenile Woodchat Shrike. Yesterday (11th October) found me heading down to Seaton in Devon to see the Solitary Sandpiper pictured below, a beautiful vagrant which showed very well within the vicinity of 3 Green Sandpiper, excellent for comparison. My current total for 2010 stands at 294 so I have 6 to see before the 20th when I plan to return to Spain.