Monday, 20 March 2017

Toft

We have been wanting to go to Toft in the north mainland for a while, but the weather has been against us, hwoever Saturday couldn't have been better. Sunny still weather all day



Grey Seals greeted us as we approached the pier


 It was the otters we came up to photograph, ferry terminals are a great place to see them and Toft is no exception. It was looking good, we arrived just after high tide and the ferry has just left heading north to Yell.


 After around 45 mins i noticed one quiet distant, feeding. After 5 mins it started to head towards the pier and I moved closer when it dived. It then started to call loudly to another Otter which i assume came out of the holt among the boulders


After a while calling, one came out and walked towards a metal bridge and curled up and started to go to sleep. I was moving round into a position to get a better photo with the Otter still sleeping, i was also down wind so not to disturb the animal when the ferry arrived back with safety warnings blaring out , this alerted the otter and it quickly slipped back into the sea.

                                                               Turnstone



 There was plenty of bird activity wit a flock of 178 curlew constantly flying back and forth, sometime joined by Turnstone (44) Redshank (18)


 A good sized flock of around 250 starling flew round


 A few Kittiwake joined Herring and GT BB gulls as the ferry arrived back


Over on the far bank a flock of Greylag (86) and a Brent Goose fed. The following day i managed to find a Barnacle goose in Sandwick and the Stonechat arrived back in the same spot as last week. The Killdeer is still in the same field which it settled into 4 months ago and has now started to display to Ringed Plovers.

After giving illustrated talks to two WI groups and the RVS i have further ones come up soon, down at the RVS at Hoswick this Thursday and the Shetland Photographic Club a week on Wednesday

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Saturday, 11 March 2017

Stonechat

Stonechat our first  Shetland spring migrant, this time in our garden. This appeared yesterday and stayed until just after 2pm this afternoon. This was after one was found on Whalsay the day before


Last year it was again a Stonechat , when we found one at Sumburgh farm.



This one allowed close approach




With daisies appearing its getting more like spring, even the weather is warmer.




Some geese are returning north with Barnacle and Whitefront seen and the Killdeer is still present in the same field as usual at Sandwick




We have been getting regular visits from Rock Pipit

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Sunday, 5 March 2017

Female Long tailed duck

The number of Long Tailed Ducks are now starting to build up in several bays and it will be interesting to see what numbers are present before they finally move off to their breeding grounds further north.

Female Long Tailed Duck







The Killdeer is still present at Sandwick but little else, just hope for a better Spring migration this year.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Male Long Tailed Ducks

Long Tailed Ducks are one of my favourite birds especially when seen in winter plumage. They look so dapper yet coming into breeding plumage they have more or less a dark brown colour, pink beak and white spectacles.



These are small sea ducks and in Shetland they have a good distribution in the south mainland. Usually found in small flocks they start to gather in late March, especially in West Voe when around 200 birds can be seen.



They tend to move north into Bluemull sound where around 1000 birds can sometime be found. Back in the 1980's you could usually find a few birds summering around the isles but they now seem to be a lot rarer June - August



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Saturday, 4 February 2017

Gt Northern Diver


Gt Northern Divers are present in Shetland all year round, with larger numbers in winter. As spring draws near numbers build up, especially in Quendale bay with over 40 birds present most years



In the south mainland Quendale, Grutness, Sandwick are all good places to find these divers


Red Throated diver disappear during the height of the winter months returning in March. These first appear on the sea before dispersing to breeding lochs around Shetland in spring



Only the occasional White Billed and Black Throated diver appear in winter and on one occasion a Pacific Diver showed in Grutness bay one spring.




The Killdeer is still present in Sandwick while a good number of Iceland Gull and a few Glaucous Gulls are still around the islands

                                                                                      Shag
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