Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Hit and Miss June

Its been a mixed week for birds. At the weekend the weather was warm but very windy around F5.
We headed to Sumburgh quarry first where Black Redstart and Red Backed Shrike had been seen the previous day.

It wasn't surprising that very few birds showed with the strong wind, the two birds in question didn't show to me but I did see Pied Wagtail, Fulmar, Wheatear, Blackbird, Wren, Starling & Sparrow. An hour after we left both birds showed, just typical.


Down at Grutness a small flock of 6 Dunlin, Redshank , 2 Ringed Plover, Lapwing 2 and Oystercatcher 4 fed on the muddy edges. Lots of Arctic Terns were bring in fish which was good to see and lots of tern taking off when a Gt or Arctic Skua passed over.


The day after we went across to Geosetter, as we stopped the car a Quail started to call which happened to be about 10-15 feet away. It didn't show at all even though it called frequently during our two hour stay. It called several times then had a 10 min break before starting up again.


Another Quail also started called in the bottom field , one of these birds may have been the bird from Boddam then Brow marsh.


As a Lesser Grey Shrike had been seen again down at Maywick along with a Marsh warbler and Comon Rosefinch, we took a detour but failed to see any of the birds which may have been scared off by someone putting out washing. We did see a Crossbill and a pair of Linnet.

ON Tuesday we headed to Sumburgh again and after a long two hour wait the Red Backed Shrike appeared on a fence above the quarry, I wouldn't have seen it if I hadn't move a bit closer the road. No sign for me with the Black Redstart although it was seen earlier in the morning







A few seals down at Sandsayre taking advantage of the fact that the Mousa boat isn't running due to the virus.

Monday, 29 June 2020

Sumburgh Puffins

The Puffins at Sumburgh Head seem to be having a good breeding season as do the other auks, Razorbill and Guillemot.

We have been up twice recently and there has been plenty of Puffins around, many carrying fish which is great to see.

Its very difficult to capture a photo of those carrying fish as they disappear straight down the burrow


Previous years have been bad for seabirds but this season birds are bring back regular supplies of fish which means they must be catching them locally.

It was only a couple of years ago that a Guillemot was tracked going down to near Aberdeen to catch a small fish and was away from its young for 3 days.

Unlike Puffins which can carry loads of fish, Guillemot and Razorbill catch less fish at one time.


With the increase in the number of Auks bring in fish, its noticeable that there has been an increase in the number of Skua, Gtbb and Herring Gulls patrolling the cliffs.


with more birds arriving back from the fishing grounds, the predator birds cannot attack everyone so the success rate if far higher than normal years.








Still digging 





Kittiwake numbers have been down for 20 years so it will be interesting to see how much success they will have. At the minute, they are just bring in nesting material and are sat on eggs.





It was amazing that we were the only people at Sumburgh head on both occasions, on the first a police van parked next to us (Many other parking spaces available). Two policemen got out and went straight over to photograph the Puffins with their mobile phones.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Sumburgh head action

We now visited Sumburgh Head twice in recent weeks and its been very quiet from a visitor point of view. in fact we were the only visitors for most of the time.

 Good news is that lot of Puffin, Guillemot and Razorbill are bring in food, seems the best for many years.
Arctic and Gt Skua

 This has attracted a lot of Skuas, mostly Gt Skua but a couple of Arctic as well but the Gt Skua seems to be top dog
 Kittiwake with nesting material







 Gt Skua brings down Guillemot who releases fish to right



 Lots of Guillemot on the stack down at Sumburgh Head

 Rock Pipit and Wheatear also seem to be doing well

 That's why I haven't seen many Killer whales this year, have been looking on the sea

 Puffins bring in fish have normally gone straight down tunnel

 Good to hear the Kittiwakes although numbers have been greatly reduced since the 1980's