Sunday, 22 December 2013

Xmas Harbour Pics . . . . .

A beautiful male Common Eider in Lerwick today before the rain and winds set in again . . . . .


Common Eider - female

Common Eider - Female

Common Eider  - Male

Detail of Herring Gull Head - Lerwick 22.12.13

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Storm Break

Mobile phone shot showing Iceland Gull with other gulls in Lerwick this afternoon.

Iceland Gull - Lerwick

Common Eider - Lerwick today

Common Eider - Lerwick

Monday, 16 December 2013

White Xmas?

A nice Juv Iceland Gull in Lerwick Harbour - December 2013. I have been enjoying settling into Shetland Island living these past 2 months though it still feels like i'm on an extended holiday. I've been slowly sorting out our lovely Lerwick house & been utilising days out with the camera in between a couple of impressive stormy house-shaking weather systems! After the last monster storm we found 2 white-wingers, Iceland Gulls in the harbour, this Juv and a 3rd Winter bird though we are optimistically always on the look out for that fabled Ivory Gull . . . .There should be one here with those mainland records of late! A Snowy Owl, Hawk Owl, Tengmalm's or Gyr would be a nice Winter treat too . . ..we'll have to keep scanning those hills & conifer plantations . . . . .I don't want much for Xmas do I! ;)

Juv Iceland Gull - Lerwick

Juv Iceland Gull - Lerwick

Me & a rather attractive Xmasy light projected Moose in Lerwick!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

A Touch of Thrush . . . .

Pretty delighted on Saturday to find a Black-throated Thrush near Gulberwick, whilst out counting Greylag Geese! I was in my car, parked with the window down looking over a small marsh when I heard Redwing 'seep' & several drop in along a fence line some distance away. Unbelievable really to have casually raised my bins to scan the Redwing only to spot this beauty amongst them! My own MEGA just literally dropped in! 

A great November bird!  

Sunday, 3 November 2013

NEW Home - NEW British Tick - NEW British Mammal

Cape May Warbler - Unst - October/November 2013
1st for Shetland, 2nd for Britain & the Western Palearctic! What a bird to welcome me to Shetland - my new home! ;) A great find by Mike Pennington & enjoyed by several hundred birders & many friends who have managed to get up here to see it since the 23rd October. 

Cape May Warbler in flight showing the superb tail, a feature often difficult to see in the field.  

Cape May Warbler - a fabulously calm, bright day yesterday saw me return to Unst to see the Warbler for a third time with Phil. 

I really enjoyed watching the Cape May Warbler activity feeding & moving from Sycamores to Fuschia's & more open grassland areas catching a number of large flies in the Autumn sunshine.

We went to Unst via Mid-Yell & found the Bearded Seal on a jetty, which was a UK mammal tick & much wanted after dipping this Arctic beast on 3 other occasions! What an amazing animal to see so close! This handsome whiskered beast has been frequenting several sites in Yell since last Summer but can disappear for days at a time. 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Thick Billed Pulls in the Crowds

Thick-billed Warbler - Fair Isle - May 2003 - 4th for Britain - I thought i'd share a couple of my images of the 'blast from the past' 2003 Fair Isle bird in light of the 5th having just been discovered in Geosetter on mainland Shetland by a visiting birder. It's been over 10 years but the memories of seeing this bird in the ringing room at the Observatory early one May morning is still very fresh in my memory! Why not join us in 2014 to look for more mega's of this magnitude!!?? Please email me for bespoke Shetland Spring and Autumn birding, wildlife and photography trips or visit
Up close and personal - Thick-billed Warbler - 4th for Britain- May 2003 Fair Isle

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

A Score at Skaw . . .

I had an excellent trip to Unst yesterday to catch up with a Two-barred Crossbill which incredibly was a British tick for me, having never gone for one and never been on Shetland when there have been influxes. The day was made extra special by news that the Baltimore Oriole had been relocated at Halligarth - so I just had to call in to see this sculking individual before heading to Skaw for the Crossbill. . . . no photos so I have added a smart Snow Bunting I took whilst looking for the Two-barred at Skaw.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Delighted to receive my Shetland Bird Report 2012 yesterday & see that I have the front cover shot!

Me, Phil and our Autumn 2013 birding group of 11 enjoying dinner at the Sumburgh Hotel - thank you all for  making this 10 day Fair Isle and Shetland trip such a fun and memorable one!
Our 10 day trip was full of highlights including Bonelli's Warbler, Arctic Warbler, Western Subalpine Warbler, Red-backed Shrike x 2, Red-breasted Flycatcher x 2,  Bluethroat, flocks of Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting & over 20 Yellow-browed Warblers as well as a great Minke Whale!!

Birding Fair Isle with Sheep Rock and Rainbow backdrop

Watching the plane coming in before we birded the airstrip & Homisdale.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

More Svalbard Pics . . . .July 2013

me with some of my group - Margaret, Francis, Richard & Colin - Svalbard 2013

view from my bedroom window!!

guns always at the ready . . . .

18th July at 80 degrees North - Colin's 70th & my umm birthday also . . .

spider plant
purple saxifrage

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


I have just returned from leading a superb trip to Svalbard for the Travelling Naturalist circumnavigating Spitsbergen and enjoying wonderful arctic seascapes and wildlife.  . . .here are a few examples of the fabulous wildlife we encountered. Thank you to my wonderful group for making it such a success and of course to the Oceanwide Expeditions staff who really made the trip. A full report will follow shortly as will a lot more pics!!

Bearded Seal - Spitsbergen 2013 

Brunnich's Guillemot

Northern Fulmar 'blue'

Humpback Whale's tale . . . 

One relaxed Polar Bear - one of up to 20 seen on our voyage

The Walrus - what a beast!

I love Kittiwakes, they look so good on ice too . . . 

After finding the male on a nest incubating eggs we found the better looking female on a small pool nearby

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Of Owls & Mice - some recent images . . .

Ural Owl - Central Sweden

Great Grey Owl - Central Sweden

Wood Mouse - Suffolk Garden

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

A Few Belize Birds - March/April 2013

Vermillion Flycatcher

Collared Aracari

Grey-necked Wood Rail

Green Breasted Mango on Nest!

Wood Thrush