Hello everyone!

Welcome to my first blog post, as the new Assistant Warden for the Shetland reserves (It still feels very surreal that that’s me!!)

Lizzy stands in upland habitat with weather writer in hand
Lizzy carrying out wader surveys 

 This is now week 5 of the job, which has absolutely flown by. It’s the perfect time to join the Shetland team, as we are at the start of survey season. So I have been out and about with Beth, learning the ropes of survey plots, and methodologies for the various surveys, which I will be helping with. So far we have undertaken counts for Black Guilliemot, known locally as Tystie, on Mousa, a Puffin count at Sumburgh Head, wader surveys on Yell, Unst and Fetlar, and Breeding Bird Surveys on Yell where we had an Osprey do a fly over! A lot of our breeding birds are back now, seeing the first Arctic Terns on Mousa was wonderful and a sure sign of spring. Only thing we are waiting on now is the Red-necked Phalaropes. I have never seen one, and I am so looking forward to getting to know them this season.

A single puffin on the cliff with a survey map in the foreground
Carrying out puffin surveys

A Black Guillemot on a rock
A Tystie on Mousa

As well as the surveys, I am getting stuck in with the practical tasks that are always required to keep things running smoothly. Including, adapting the waterflows at the Mires of Funzie so we can easily top up the pools if the water levels start looking low before the phalaropes get back. We have also been busy sorting signage and fencing for Mousa and Fetlar to ensure that people have the best viewing experiences they can while maintaining safe distances from the birds and minimising disturbance.

Working out how to get the tern rafts out!

Visiting sites with the wider RSPB Shetland team

I think that’s all for now, please say hello if you see me out and about, I am always keen to hear what people have been spotting on their travels around Shetland.


Recent sightings

Sumburgh Head: Kittiwakes nest building, Guillemots and Razorbills on eggs, Puffins, Twite, Wren, Starling, Wheatear, Swallow, Whitethroat, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff

Loch of Spiggie: Wood Sandpiper, Knot, Dunlin, Sanderling, Ruff, Shelduck, Bonxie, Arctic Skua, Whooper Swan, Grey Plover, Curlew,  Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Arctic Tern, Redshank, Redstart, Blackcap, Common Tern, Willow Warbler, Sand Martin. Osprey, Great White Egret

Mousa: Storm Petrel,  Shag, Fulmar, Eider, Dunlin, Wren, Great Skua, Great Black-backed Gull, Arctic Tern, Tystie, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated Diver, Skylark, Meadow Pipit