The Shetland Little Buntings

Celebration of the Bird that topped and tailed

Finally got my photos off the camera. Just celebrating. It’s the Little Bunting you see. So I am having a short reminisce on how the Little Bunting really has topped and tailed my Shetland experience. The beginning and the end and in-bewteen too! You’ll see what I mean. I’ll explain this rusty faced guy further down.

Little Bunting 2 (1 of 1)

First Group. First Find

The first group I guided in a storming week on Shetland in autumn 2010. Guess the first good ‘find’. Yep of course, not one but two Little Buntings dropped out of the sky at Valie, Norwick on Unst. These two got the adrenaline pumping from the off. You can read about the full amazing week HERE. It’s worth a read- still grips me! TWO! Syke’s Warbler and Lancy find topped the billing. I quite liked picking out the Black Duck hybrid in flight. but I am a bit of a nutter!

rustic bunting one lk (1 of 1)

Robbie Brookes photoed one of the two. I have pics of both but need to dig them out.

These bad boys spiced up the week:

rustic bunting one lkmm (1 of 1)

Lancy by Mike Penno!

rustic bunting one lkmm m (1 of 1)

Sykes’s Warbler – one of two

rustic bunting one lkmm mmm (1 of 1)

Black Duck- almost

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find on the last day or so


Spring Time Singer

Spring time guiding produced this one. Delighted as it was a new world bird for some of our group. And they loved it! Much rarer than in the autumn, this fella took to singing at Skaw on Unst. Rather stunning scenery as it fed in the stream that ran into the sea.
Little Bunting Skaw one

Little Bunting Skaw 3

A cheeky Rustic Bunting

OK not a little. But it was find up the Feal Burn at Houbie. While leading on the best island ever. Fetlar. Photo by Andy Cook. A great friend whenever we visit. And of course Rustic Bunting really is a proper rarity 🙂


 rustic bunting one kj (1 of 1)

Rustic Bunting on Fetlar by Andy Cook-  a favourite island and top find spot for our groups. This one gave us a little runaround before we finally nailed the ID of a flying ‘ticking’ Bunting.

Brown Shrike friend

This one set us up to see the Brown Shrike – good ol’ Jim Nicholson got a great photosof the Brown Shrike. I got a rubbish one of the nearby Little Bunting.




Tame Autumn Beauty

This one – again at Skaw was an autumn scoop. Just the tamest bunting I think I have ever seen and great opporutnity for close up views of the nuances of plumage tones and the like. Spent a fair bit of time with this one. Beautiful.


Millfield Early Morning Joy – October 2015

This year. Wondered out the house on first proper morning of birding. And there on the road, only a few yards from the entrance to our amazing holiday house at Norwick- a Little Bunting. Never managed really close photo views but picked him or his mate up every day for the next few. And he loved the road! I say he, this was particularly richly brownish red over the head. Might not mean anything- just musing.

Little Bunting 4 (1 of 1)Little Bunting 3 (1 of 1)

Little Bunting 2 (1 of 1)Little Bunting 6 (1 of 1)

Thank you to the Little Bunting. Made Shetland extra special many times over.


3 thoughts on “The Shetland Little Buntings

  1. PaulBT

    That first Little Bunting (my first!) that dropped out of the sky on that first morning on Unst in 2010 set us up for a magical week. Classic autumn birding, I was so lucky to be there.


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