Every so often, there is something that you see - or think you see - that 'gets away'. This happened on Saturday to me here on Unst. I was over at Valyie in Norwick at the north of the island watching the two species of Redpolls - Arctic and 'Greenland' Common Redpolls. The birds were in the burn on the way up to the croft at Valyie having a bath and preening etc. They were very approachable although not very easy to photograph due to the vegetation around where they were bathing. As I sat watching them, I saw a small bird that looked like a cross between a Redbreasted Flycatcher and a Redstart fly in and land low on the fence behind them around 50ft away. Raising the bins', I saw a small bird with very obvious orangey brown flanks. My first thoughts were that it was something special and I should gets some shots. A split second later as I carefully got it in the viewfinder, the bird took off and despite an hour and a half of searching, I couldn't relocate it. On checking my Collins book, my initial thoughts were confirmed, it was (or had been) a Redflanked Bluetail ! I phoned both Brydon and Mike P, with my thoughts and despite searching again for several hours the following day, I couldn't find it. Unfortunately for Unst birders, it was relocated today by a visiting bird tour and the 'word' didn't get out until it was almost dark. Hey ho win some, loose some. At least I know, that I saw it first :)
I had to go over to Fetlar today to look at some work, so once done I had some time for a bit of birding. My first port of call was to Funzie to see if the Siberian Stonechat that Brydon Thomason had found yesterday. Sadly that bird had gone, but I did see a Chiffchaff and a Barred Warbler and also bumped in to a friend and his brother who are up for a few days. I then got a call from Brydon to say he'd got an Arctic Warbler down at Tresta. Arriving later, I soon saw the bird along with Goldrest, Yellow-browed Warbler, Brambling, Redwing etc.
From here we visited an number of other sights looking for migrants and found a number of commoner birds, probably the best (after the Arctic) was a Jack Snipe which flew up from a marshy area. It was here also that a small warbler - in flight it looked Sedge Warbler like - that could have been any one of a number of species from common to very rare. Unfortunately, the area was a large area of tall iris and sedge which made trying to find it again impossible. Hey ho.
Returning home later, I had a fantastic sight of at least 800 - if not more - Golden Plover circling around behind our house before they landed again in the field nearby in which they're feeding.