Thursday, 18 September 2014

Pallid and more

I was very sad to hear about the death of Jim Wood, many of you will have seen his superb wildlife photos taken in Shetland and the Spey Valley. I met Jim on the first day we moved to Shetland back in April and we used to meet up to photograph the birds in and around the south mainland. Jim knew all about where and when to go to certain spots and could be seen out during all weather and at all times of day. Jim will be missed by many people.

Meadow Pipits are still moving through Shetland, corresponding with the national trend. Flocks of over 40 have been see feeding on short grass at Scatness, Sandwick, Grutness and Compass head during the past week

                                                                           From  BTO / Bird track

A couple of Buff Breasted Sandpiper showed down in the south mainland along with a couple of Little Bunting and two Red breasted flycatcher but I was unable to get away from the house with builders present. Migration is hotting up, with Yellow Browed Warbler & Barred Warblers further up north, flocks of Pink footed geese are passing over , with 20 over the house the other day.

I did manage to catch up with a distant Pallid Harrier down at Hillwell which returned the following day. Thanks to Hugh Harrop with the identification.  

It was also good to hear that Hen harriers bred in the Upper Derwent Valley near Sheffield this year. Unfortunately out of 5 young 3 died

                                               Long distant Pallid Harrier on Wednesday 17 9 14

A bird that will be in Shetland throughout the year is the Raven. Back in the Sheffield, Ravens could be seen in the Derwent valley but didn't manage to breed due to persecution. Here Raven are common, especially at Quendale where 100's gather, coming down off the hill to feed in the surrounding fields. They always seem wary but occasionally you can get close, they are large birds with a powerfully beak

Still a few Butterflies about, with a couple of Red Admiral in the garden on Tuesday and Large White Monday and Thursday.

On the mammal front several dead Polecat/ ferret have been seen on the main road , this follows the spring trend. A couple of very active brown rats scurried among the rocks down at Boddam and as usual many seals, both common and Grey are very evident where ever you look on the sea.

On Clickimin Lock 40 Tufted Ducks gathered, this species is certainly more abundant now than when we first started coming up back in the late 80's

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