Wednesday, 27 June 2012

I have been giving illustrated wildlife talks for over 27 years and it is always a great pleasure to be asked to do one on Shetland. Normally out of the 25-30 talks I give a year about 1/4 of these are on Shetland. I have already given a number this year and these are still to come.

16 7 12 - Puffin around Shetland - Abbeydale Probus Club Sheffield
4 10 12 - Puffin around Shetland - Dronfield Natural History club
8 10 12 - Shetland Flowers         - Woodhouse Wildlife Group Sheffield
 2 1 13  - Unst                            - Norton Lees Women Institute Sheffield
 9 1 13  - Shetland Flowers         - Maynard Gardening Club - Sheffield
 7 2 13  - Shetland Birds             - RSPB group Sheffield
18 3 13 - Shetland Birds             - RSPB group Grimsby
 3  4 13 - Shetland Birds             - RSPB group Mansfield

As always I finish with a Shetland sunset or two

Monday, 25 June 2012

Shetland has only one species of ant- Myrmica ruginodis which is common in the northern parts of Europe. I have found this species around the Quendale area in small numbers. It has a localised distribution in Shetland.

Colonies of around 2,500 individuals can be found with up to 20 Queens present.
It has a diet of small insects

Monday, 18 June 2012

It's surprising how many birds hover, we all know about Kestrels and skylarks, and we saw many buzzard hovering looking for prey over in France( not seen many here ). On our last trip to Shetland last year I noticed a Wheater hovering catching insects up at Sumburgh head but also singing in mid air, could this be due to a limited number of song posts so it has adapted to displaying like a skylark.

Has anyone seen this elsewhere with this species. I did also notice  that a Whitethroat was singing while hovering in France.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

At last back on the internet after a lot of problems.
We have just returned from Royan in Western France, a great area for birds, including one of my favourite birds the Bluethroat. This is the white spotted race the (Cyancula Svecia) a bird we don't often see in the UK.

These birds return from Africa in late February through early March and can be found in damp scrubby areas. We have found birds at Le Teich bird reserve near Bordeaux, Ile de Re, and Brouarge marsh. This year we managed views of three birds, all in song , which is loud, varied and full of mimicry.

The birds found in Shetland are the red spotted race ( Luscinia Svecia) which migrate later March - May from Africa and the Middle East. They breed in Scandinavia and often get blown off course. Shetland has only had a few Bluethroat this spring.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Just back from a trip to France, down in Royan near Bordeaux. Had a great time with lots of interesting wildlife sightings which i will be posting on here in the next couple of days, just need to sort through 2,500 images I took.