Tuesday 4th October proved to be the windiest days so far on Shetland. So birding was not easy. Much was done from the van or in the most sheltered places in the morning. Funny thing (and I need to remember it). Even in the most unlikely conditions, Shetland can score. We managed a scattering of birds like Yellow-browed Warblers, Pied Flycatcher and juvenile Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit. Some folk (I will blame John Sweeney as I know he was involved!) however worked a tiny patch of some of the most sheltered habitat on Unst- Baltasound school, and early afternoon found not one but 3 good birds. An Olive-backed Pipit, a Rustic Bunting and a Common Rosefinch. The bunting eluded us but the other gave great repeat views. Shetland really is amazing!
Olive-backed Pipit, Baltasound, Unst, October 2011 © Stef McElwee.
Olive-backed Pipit, Baltasound, Unst, October 2011 © Stef McElwee. I went back 3 times to watch this bird. On 2 occasions I was all by myself watching it walk around my feet. Fantastico! While it has become much more regular it still ranks as one of my ultimate ‘Sibes’ (= vagrant bird from Siberia). Thanks to Penno (in school teacher mode) too.
I enjoyed the company of Dave F and Brian S and their group at the pipit. Brian got this lovely bit of video capturing the slow-motion walking action of the OBP.
Olive-backed Pipit, Baltasound, Unst, October 2011 © Martin Garner (above 2 photos). This Olive-backed Pipit had some of the most densely marked black streaking on the underparts of any I have seen. Stunner!
of Olive-backed Pipit I maintain is pretty distinctive such with practice you can tell one from a Tree Pipit if you just hear one without seeing the bird.
You can listen to a recording of the call of the Baltasound OBP: >>here<<
photo of a spring Olive-backed Pipit taken in April 2009 in Sichuan by John Furse