Firstly, apologies for the lack of updates here lately. Have you missed us??
It's been all go here in Shetland, with literal and metaphorical highs and lows. In the last couple of months our work has taken us low to beneath the sea (via hydrophone on a Chris Watson sound recording course, run with our Shetland Nature Festival partners as a part of the Year of Natural Scotland) to the islands' highest point (partnership work with Shetland Islands Council inspired by John Muir taking Anderson High School pupils up Ronas Hill) .
This past weekend there was sad and good news.
The sad news was that the Puffincam chick has not made an appearance this year. It appears that a problem developed around hatching time and the chick did not survive. It's looking like a very poor year for our breeding seabirds here in Shetland, and we'll update you as the season progresses.
The good news was that our Loch of Spiggie whooper swans have brought out four cygnets. They're small and vulnerable and gorgeous. If you are visiting Spiggie, please look from the roadside rather than accessing the lochside.
I hope we see you at one of our reserves or events in the next few weeks!
In Shetland at present and enjoying the lovely weather. Have managed to see a lovely variety of old and new birds! For me some of the new sights have been:- Whinchat Rock Pippit, Grey Phalarope (i think!)and Great Skua on Bressay. Still got 4 more days to go so here's hoping i'll catch some more wonderful sightings.
I will defeat the RSPB blog! As I was saying, some minutes ago...
Firstly, not all large birds with thin curved bills are curlew, meet the Whimbrels.
Secondly, Oystercatcher chicks are a delight to watch but the bellyaching of their parents at 5am just outside the window is very, very loud!
Thirdly, the main hazard to road users were Fulmars, zillions of them; you don't need binoculars, just look around and find them nested almost anywhere with a few rocks, magnificent bird giving great views.
Fourthly, the Gannet colonies on Noss are best viewed from the water on one of the sightseeing trips from Lerwick, not cheap but the views are spectacular.
Fifthly, Red Throated Diver (3 off) in full summer plumage on Loch Gonfirth, so easy to study at length, great spot.
Sixthly, taking the "midnight to Mousa" boat trip to see and hear the Storm Petrel is a surreal but wonderful experience. There is about a 20mins walk over open heathland with some inclines to manage to reach the Broch; we took our time and missed nothing. Ferry guides are excellent. Very odd having toasted cheese sarnies with gin as supper at 3am in full sun and daylight back at our cottage.
Seventhly, seeing Whooper Swans, some with young (Hulman Water) at Hamnavoe harbour, Ulafirth, Loch Bruaer and Loch Tingwall.
And finally, a possible female Merlin near Laxo, 90% sure but all polite contradictions welcomed.
As you explore the islands;
sample the local bakeries, especially Voe...
enjoy the mussels at Frankies fish and chips in Brae, most northerly chippy in Britain but well worth the expedition...
Imbibe sensible amounts of the local brewery product from Valhalla, Unst, almost in Norway...
We are going back in May 2014, can't wait.
Dave and Hazel
Hello Folks, my wife and I are just back from 3 weeks in this lovely archipelago and offer a few memories to stimulate you to get up to 60N and enjoy the spectacle.
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