First of all - a quick mention must go to local woman Charlotte Black.  She reached Sumburgh Head at lunch time  today having run through the night all the way from UNST!!!!  That's around 80 miles!!  Congratulations Charlotte on an exceptional effort, raising money for local good causes.  We hope da spaegie isn't bad.

This blog entry is mainly a note to say please take care if visiting Sumburgh Head by car, particularly in these icy conditions.  The sun never quite reaches some sections of road leading to the reserve, so ice remains throughout the day.  Remember that there is a lot of construction traffic on the road too, so please be patient as the work continues - it will all be worth it come 2014!! 

You can still walk around the reserve on foot, but best put on rubber boots as it's rather muddy in places.  Either walk up from Grutness or Jarlshoff, or park at the main car park (you'll see quite a bit of equipment there), and take notice of Corramore's access signage as you walk up to the lighthouse. 

The new education building has really taken shape, and you can actually watch the work live via a webcam!.  The contractors are trying to allow public access as much as possible, and permitted safe access around the perimeter of the South Park for birders to get a look at the Rosa Rugosa bushes in the hope of spotting rare migrants in autumn. 

What sort of wildlife might you see in December at the Head?  Well, fulmars are always a joy to watch.  Take time to enjoy watching them surf on the wind and cackle away to one another at their nesting sites.  Twite are frequently around the lighthouse buildings or on the cliffs.  We put out canary seed for them to help sustain wintering birds in particular. Their population has declined in Shetland over the years.  This is largely down to changing times in agriculture, with less arable weeds for them to feed upon.

Twite feeding outside the office window. 

Twite, or Linties as locally known, like to perch on the various wires and strucutres around the lighthouse and are really rather tame.  Their twitterings are lovely to listen to on a calm day.  Occasionally, you can spot something different on the reserve. In the last few days there have been robins, redwings, fieldfares, blackbirds and snow buntings.

It's great to go for a walk looking for wildlife, but I think Sumburgh Head is a marvellous place to visit to purposefully do nothing - to have a wander and a ponder.  Wrap up warm and gaze at the sea, sky and land.  The sunsets and sunrises have been amazing the last couple of weeks.  I'm sure I heard a "tssssssss" as the sun dipped behind the sea beside Fair Isle! 

The Good Shepherd passing the reserve on a calm frosty morning, on her way from Fair Isle.