Thursday, 31 July 2014

Good breeding season

These are a few photos from recent trips around Shetland. Its good to see so many birds bringing in fish, these tended to be sand eels early in the season but now this has changed to small fish, not sure what species. Talking with a few people it seems everyone is predicting a good breeding season for once, it seem quite a while since we could say that.
                                                                                 Sumburgh Head

I have seen a number of young puffins either at the entrance to the burrow or just above the entrance, generally around 9-10 pm but also one early morning. Puffins have also been bringing in food as with predators such as Gt and Arctic Skua down in numbers more birds seem to be getting through.

                                                                              A 3rd year bird

Fulmars have large young on the nest, these white balls of fluff seem too big for predators and seem quite happy to be left while the adults find food.
                                                                                       Fulmar Young
On the cliffs, Shag have large young , a few guillemot young have been seen late at night diving off the cliff to join the adults in the sea while Razorbill young fledged a while ago.

We visited Yell the other day and watched Red Throated Divers catching large sand eels which indicates that young may be present.
                                                                Red Throated Diver at Mid Yell pier

Young Arctic terns are still well guarded with adults diving bombing me on the road at Grutness and Scatness. I really feel sorry for the birds having traveled such a great distance from the Antarctic to breed in Shetland.
                                                                                 Arctic tern young

Many young wheatear, wren, meadow Pipit and white wagtails have been seen as well.
Waders are very numerous in Shetland and again a number of young Oyster catcher, Red shank, Curlew, Lapwing and Ringed Plover have been seen in different parts of the islands
                                                                            Ringed Plover young at Grutness

Just hope that this successful season is repeated next year and that it is not just a one off
                                                                   Arctic Skuas numbers are down this year.

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