Hello, the last few weeks for the reserve team have involved lots of different surveys and many miles walked!

We have nearly completed our wader surveys, breeding bird squares and AECS wader surveys across Shetland. So far the numbers seem to be good, but it is a bit too early to say just yet. Once we crunch the numbers, I am sure we will let you know.

One thing we have noticed is that sites are wetter this year, which is great for the birds. The last two summers have been dry, with pools evaporating which means numbers of invertebrates that birds feed on have been lower. To help us track and monitor the change on sites we have been undertaking fixed point photography. We have specific points across the reserve where we take a picture facing either north, east, south or west or potentially a combination of directions. We can then compare the photos from different times to track changes across the sites. It has been a few years since the last photos were taken, so it has been great to start the monitoring back up and see the difference in reserves. Here is a selection of images below –

 

Mires of Funzie from the hide - 1st photo 8th of May 2019 2nd photo 31st of May 2022

Mires of Funzie looking out to the sluice pool - 1st photo 8th of May 2019 2nd photo 31st of May 2022

The team would like to say a massive thank you to Keith Blomerly, a member of staff currently on sabbatical with us. Keith initially set up the points and worked hard to complete the photos. Next week Keith will be writing a blog about his time on sabbatical with us. Thanks again  

Next week we will start on our red-necked phalarope monitoring! This Is an exciting part of the year for the team; numbers on Fetlar have been increasing. Last night on Houbie Mires, I counted 4 birds, and it is the best location on Fetlar at the moment to see these magnificent birds. Speaking of sightings, here are the sightings for this week -

Fetlar - Mires of Funzie is full of breeding waders such as snipe, redshank, curlew. Loch of Funzie - Lots of Arctic terns, red throated divers and a large dog otter 

Sumburgh - male rosefinch (seen near the airport on the road to the lightouse), chiffchaff in the roses.

Mousa - The storm petrels put on a good display last week and if you’re lucky listen out as you walk past the walls as you may even hear them!

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