• Footage of Puffincam 2012

    Here is a sequence of videos of significant moments of Puffincam 2012.

    First there was the arrival of the puffins, back to the same burrow as previous years. www.youtube.com/watch

    Then there was the egg  www.youtube.com/watch

    Then, the occassion we were all waiting for, the hatching www.youtube.com/watch

    Then, the first footage of a feed! www.youtube.com/watch

    Special massive thanks to Andy Steven who has spent HOURS…

    • 14 Jun 2012
  • Eggciting news at Sumburgh Head! We've got a puffling!

    Blair - one of our Date With Nature assistants at Sumburgh Head - called me this morning saying that the Puffincam egg was starting to hatch.  How eggciting!  There goes my productive day off  in the garden :)

    Both parents - we call them Tammy and Norie after the local name for puffins - have been in the burrow today.  As I write this blog post, the incubating bird is shuffling around a bit,  checking the egg, tossing its…

    • 12 Jun 2012
  • Eggciting news at Sumburgh Head

    Blair - one of our Date With Nature assistants at Sumburgh Head - called me this morning saying that the Puffincam egg was starting to hatch.  How eggciting!  There goes my productive day off  in the garden :)

    Both parents - we call them Tammy and Norie after the local name for puffins - have been in the burrow today.  As I write this blog post, the incubating bird is shuffling around a bit,  checking the egg, tossing its…

    • 12 Jun 2012
  • Superduper Whoopers!

    In my excitement about Sumburgh Head redevelopments and classic cars, I totally forgot to mention that our Loch of Spiggie whooper swans successfully hatched out five cygnets!!  Only a few whooper swans breed in the UK, and this is the first time they've brought out chicks at Spiggie in nearly one hundred years.  We are totally chuffed to bits.

    Small cygnets are vulnerable to predation, so we ask people to avoid disturbing…

    • 1 Jun 2012
  • A Triumph at Sumburgh Head - literally

    This weekend, the Shetland Classic Car Club have their show in Lerwick.  Before all the vehicles find their place in the Clickimin Centre, some visit Sumburgh Head.  Jenny took a couple of shots as she left the office. 

    They don't make 'em like they used to!

    Larry gave some less-mobile visitors a lift to the top of the reserve, which gave us a chance to check out his 1973 Triumph (in RSPB blue colour).  It is…

    • 1 Jun 2012
  • The transformation begins!

    It's been a long time in the planning, but with the arrival of contractors Corramore at Sumburgh Head, plans are becoming reality.  Take a look at our partner Shetland Amenity Trust's website for details on the project.

    Continued visitor access is very important to everyone here.   We are delighted that Corramore have factored in this into their work programme, and you will still be able to access much of the reserve…

    • 31 May 2012
  • An iconic bird and iconic reserve

    Hello there.

    Yesterday I received an email and had to share the attachment with you.

    It is Sumburgh Head in the background, with the star of our RSPB logo flying by!   The avocet was discovered by Roger Riddington at Scatness last night and my thanks go to George Petrie for allowing me to share his photograph here.  If you wish to see other photographs of this bird, or keep updated with what birds are in Shetland, do visit

    • 24 May 2012
  • A glow of robins, a rush of colour

    Former Member
    Former Member

    Lately the weather has been a mix of sunshine, gales, snow and hail but the south easterly winds brought some welcome migrants including an amazing fall of 160 robins on Friday (20 April) which saw them tumbling out of the drystane dykes in one's, two's, three's...they were everywhere! Fluttering around like rusty red flames against a grey wintry background, providing such a warmth of colour, the reserve was…

    • 3 May 2012
  • Wham, bam, puffincam

    Former Member
    Former Member

    After a week of installing cameras, we were very excited when the puffins returned to the puffincam burrow at 11.20am on 17th April.  They have been in and out lining their nest since then, so keep a look out for an egg any day now! The camera has also revealed unexpected visitors to the burrow in the form of a mouse, a starling, a robin and a rabbit (not all at the same time, it's not the tardis burrow).

    Check out…

    • 2 May 2012
  • We love Mousa

    Last Saturday, the Mousa Boat ran to the reserve for the first passenger run of the summer.  Hurray! 

    Crewing the boat was Tom Jamieson - anyone who has been to Mousa will recognise Tom - and two of the new owners Alan Pottinger (left) and Jimmy Fullerton (right). 

    Unfortuantely, it was an exceptionally wet day so Jenny, Newton and I (hardened RSPB staff) were the only passengers onboard!  The weather was not at all kind…

    • 26 Apr 2012
  • Whooper swans making whoopee!

    A couple of years ago, my family were arranging a surprise birthday party for my father.  On occasions, when Dad has had one or two small sherries at a gathering, he'll laugh about making whoopee.  I thought that this was simply a reference to a good party. So, I sent out cards to various aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, old and young, inviting them to a night of "Making Whoopee."  Then someone told me that…

    • 11 Apr 2012
  • Tammy Norrie touchdown

    Former Member
    Former Member

    They're back! Through the fog, wind and rain, around 200-250 puffins can be seen on Sumburgh head this evening. Some welcome colour and character in dreich weather! (Phone pic - sorry!)

    • 8 Apr 2012
  • We'll be able to go to Mousa this summer!

    All is revealed.  Click here to read the news of Garry Sandison, Alan Pottinger and Jimmy Fullerton taking over Mousa Boat Trips.

    • 28 Mar 2012
  • New beginnings?


    I can't reveal too much just yet, but I am soooo excited (and relieved!) and wanted you to know....

    ....someone has put in an offer for the Mousa Ferry


    It sounds very promising that later this summer, we will actually be able to visit Mousa RSPB reserve to experience the broch, terns, storm petrels, seals, pipits, snipes, black guillemots, Arctic skuas, curved sedge, autumn gentian, bog bean, bog asphodel…

    • 26 Mar 2012
  • Happy Worm Day!

    I have to admit that on Sunday morning, I was feeling a bit grumpy and stressed and was cursing my community mindedness.  I volunteer for our Shetland RSPB Wildlife Explorer Group and we were to meet in the afternoon.  Sharon and I had been collecting well-rotted pony poo, and I'd managed to stomp it into my house, I'd thorns in my hand from digging up my rose bushes and I was trying to muster some enthusiasm.  We were…

    • 19 Mar 2012
  • Opportunities to inspire - Join our team!

    We are delighted to have three job vacancies in Shetland! 

    If you love seabirds, enjoy talking with people about nature and are passionate about people supporting the conservation work of the RSPB, then you might like to be a Date With Nature Information Assistant.  There's a full time and a part time post, based at Sumburgh Head this summer. 


    Do you have experience of working with children and have a desire to inspire…

    • 12 Mar 2012
  • What connects Mousa Nature Reserve with Kruger National Park?

    The answer is... a storm petrel!

    In January, a storm petrel was found in the Kruger National Park, having been blown in land during a tropical storm.   The bird was ringed on Mousa RSPB nature reserve in July 2011, by RSPB Seabird Ecologist Mark Bolton and Glasgow University PhD student Hannah Watson.   Mousa is a famous breeding site for these sparrow-sized seabirds, particularly the Iron Age Broch. http://safring.adu.org.za/

    • 8 Mar 2012
  • Old friends return

    I love the return of birds to our reserves here in Shetland.  Seeing the first Shalder back on Sumburgh Head reserve last Tuesday (21st Feb) added light to what has been a long dark wet winter. 

    Shalder is the Shetland name for oystercatcher which is an anagram of "cheesytractor".  I think Shal means black and white (like shelduck), and the name is similar in Faeroe and Iceland (Tjaldur).   Flocks have been arriving…

    • 28 Feb 2012
  • Sumburgh Head Sea Life Images Wanted!

    Have you got any top quality images of seabirds? Or even zooplankton and killer whales?  Well, our friend Matt Arnold at Shetland Amenity Trust (who are the lead partners in the Sumburgh Head redevelopments) might like to hear from you.  

    Here's what Matt said...

    "Sumburgh Head is set to be redeveloped in a £5.4million project which will see the area transformed into a world class visitor attraction. The Sumburgh Head…

    • 23 Feb 2012
  • Little auks and big birdwatch


    When a reserve has conservation designations,such as SSSIs, certain aspects of management require government consent. I  was discussing the management of Loch of Spiggie RSPB reserve over the phone with ourl local Scottish Natural Heritage Area Officer, when he announced that little auks were passing his window!  The SNH office has views across Lerwick Harbour over to the island of Bressay, and they've seen a few unusual…

    • 28 Jan 2012
  • Stacked up with guillemots

    They're back!

    Today is the first day of 2012  that I have seen guillemots at Sumburgh Head.  What a joy to see them, but also to hear their "ha hah haaaring" rising upwards.

    Believe it or not, this photograph contains hundreds of guillemots covering the stack and the cliffs (dotted here and there are fulmars).  From the Seabird 2000 counts, it is estimated that Shetland has around 16.5% of the British breeding…

    • 23 Jan 2012
  • Sumburgh Head's first orcas of 2012

    Yesterday morning, I was having a long lie trying to recover from a rotten cold.  My plans of wallowing under a blanket of self-pity were interupted by a call from my big brother, John.  "Killer whales at West Voe!!"  He quickly described what had happened (including a dog walker who'd been concerned the whales would get stranded, such was their behaviour in the shallows at West Voe) and that they were moving n…

    • 9 Jan 2012
  • Happy New Year from Sumburgh Head


    I hope you had a good Christmas and New Year.  It's been a rather wild festive break here in the south end of Shetland, with many strong winds to battle against and an awful lot of rain.  Have you made any resolutions?  Apart from the usual "eat less, excercise more" kind of thing, one of my resolutions is to keep a year list.  The list begins with birds spotted during the first sunrise of 2012 whilst walking…

    • 4 Jan 2012
  • "... appears frequently in company of sparrows and snowflakes."

    Hello from a cold 60N.

    Following the drama of last weeks humpback whale, I wasn't quite sure what to write in a blog entry this week.   I decided I would write about the first bird I saw today which made me smile.  So it happened to be  that it was a flock of a dozen Linties, as they are called in Shetland.

    Whenever we come up to the Sumburgh Head Lighthouse, where the main RSPB Shetland Office is based (the other is in…

    • 21 Dec 2011
  • Yesterday's whale tale


    Yesterday, Martin came into the office and said "There's a big whale in the West Voe.  Looks like a humpback."  "Is it beaching?" I asked, immediately concerned about what scenario may be about to unfold, and Martin didn't think so but wanted to get a better look at it. He'd spotted it's blow, which is absolutely amazing considering the sea condition.  So I didn't grab my hat, gloves…

    • 13 Dec 2011