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Great Reed Warbler, Norwick Unst

Posted by Micky Maher on Saturday 22nd September 2012 | Birding in Shetland

On the 22/09/12 of September Mike Pennington and I set out to the Northern sites in Unst, as we had so many times before. Migration at Skaw, so often the birding barometer of the isle appeared scant, so we trudged off to Valyie, Norwick. On walking alongside the tatties, oats and grasses, we saw a couple of Barred Warblers and a Yellow-browed Warbler.

A large warbler was flushed from the crop and flew over a trailer at the bottom of the incline. It looked tawny with a long, floppy tail. As I walked towards where it had landed the bird flew, up on to a fence and showed really nicely, heart racing thoughts of Thick-billed Warbler were soon replaced by, sorrow and defeat, as we saw the dark lores long bill and wings of a beautiful Great-Reed Warbler, the third record in autumn for Shetland. We then showed the bird to Tony Davidson and friends who were walking along the Norwick road towards our position, before legging it back to Mike’s for literature, to try and ‘rule in’ Oriental Reed Warbler. Another fantastic day team birding, spent with an excellent bird in Shetland.

Interestingly, until the Norwick bird, there had been three autumn Thick-billed Warblers in Shetland. Mike Pennington had also found one of the previous two Great-Reed Warblers!

Micky Maher