Although initially remaining quiet on 15th, the following few days saw the autumn roar back into life delivering some quality rarities and a decent scattering of common migrants. Highlights on 15th included a Little Stint on Gretchen, Little Gull in Linklet Bay, Rosefinch at Lurand, and a Pied Flycatcher at Ancum Willows, although common migrantss were very thin on the ground. 16th began with a blythi-type Lesser Whitethroat at the Shooting Gallery, hinting at the quality which was to follow - later in the morning a smart Rustic Bunting was discovered feeding around the Sheep Dyke at the Lurn. Amazingly a Blyth's Reed Warbler was then found only 200m away, feeding around the rocks by the sea, clearly having just arrived in off the sea. Despite the morning rarity bonanza, it remained quiet for the rest of the day with a Convolvulus Hawkmoth and a Curlew Sandpiper providing some rewards for the afternoon's efforts.
17th began slowly with a Rosefinch at Holland the morning's sole highlight. The early afternoon saw a Lesser Whitethroat at the New Kirk followed by a Jack Snipe at Lenswick and a Lapland Bunting at Bridesness (first of the autumn). However, the evening's arrivals hinted at what was likely to follow with the first Yellow-browed Warblers of the year at Lenswick and the Lurn, with a Barred Warbler also seen at Westness.
18th was the most eagerly anticipated day with easterlies and rain forecast meaning the Obs was full of hope for what might arrive. Morning ringing produced a few signs with a Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Chaffinch, Goldcrest, Woodpigeon and Barred Warbler trapped. Another blythi-type Lesser Whitethroat was then caught at Holland, followed by the discovery of an Icterine Warbler at Senness and then a Little Bunting at Inglis Geo. As the day drew on it was clear that birds were arriving with more Yellow-browed Warblers discovered amongst a scattering of common migrants. A Locustella warbler at Nether Linnay unfortunately could not be pinned down, leaving us wondering what could have been given what was turning up in Shetland... However, this disappointment did not last long as the second Arctic Warbler of the year was soon discovered at Brigg, shortly followed by a Lanceolated Warbler at Upper Linnay! Pending acceptance, this will be the sixth 'Lancy' sighting since 2018, continuing a remarkable run of records here. Two Tree Pipits flew over Upper Linnay just as the heavens began to open. For those brave enough to suffer the deluge, the afternoon produced a more significant arrival of common migrants and also saw the rediscovery of the Blyth's Reed Warbler at Gretchen, followed by another at Doo Geo. Unfortunately, the rain strengthened significantly by 5pm, making conditions unbirdable and preventing any further discoveries - not that we had anything to complain about! Migrant totals by the end of the day (excluding the rarities already mentioned) were as follows: four Yellow-browed Warblers, eight Goldcrests, six Willow Warblers, Spotted Flycatcher, two Pied Flycatchers, Crossbill, Lapland Bunting, Rosefinch, Redpoll, Whitethroat, four Redstarts, six Whinchats, Reed Warbler, four Chaffinches, three Song Thrushes, 12 Blackcaps, 10 Robins, two Dunnocks, four Garden Warblers, six Lesser Whitethroats and an additional Barred Warbler. The day certainly made up for the quiet start to September! Hopefully there is more to come...