Monday 14 July 2014

Unst wildlife

Unst has a great variety of wildlife and normally at migration tie some great birds pass through. This trip we didn’t see any rare migrants but we did see some other interesting birds such as Gt Northern Diver, Red Breasted Merganser, Twite, Red Throated Diver, Gt and Arctic Skua and Twite
                                                                Red Brested Merganser 

Otters can be seen anywhere around the coast with Baltasound a good spot and if you are lucky the odd Killer Whale can turn up especially in Bluemull Sound.

We visited the Keen of Hamer again this year, a bit later than normal, first passing Unst Bus shelter which changes its look every year. It’s even got its own website at , well worth a look.
At the Keen of Hamer, which is a National Nature reserve, a wide variety of unusual plants can be found on the largest area of serpentine debris in Europe. Here you might find Shetland Mouse ear chickweed; it’s the only place in the world it grows.

                                                                                Frog Orchid
Also Norwegian sandwort, frog, fragrant, common spotted, heath spotted, northern marsh and early purple orchids grow. If you view the area from a distance you wouldn't believe anything was growing it looks so barren.

                                                                              Early Purple Orchid
                                                                              Heath Spotted Orchid

On this trip is it was fairly busy with wildlife tours calling in, but they didn’t stay long and then I had the place to myself once again. Even areas outside the reserve are worth a look, especially where they sheep haven’t been grazing. Rabbits also cause damage and get into the reserve despite it being fenced off.

At the very tip on Unst Hermaness NNR is worth a visit, but watch out for the Gt Skuas that dive bomb you. Once you get to the cliffs it’s a mind blowing sight with so many Gannets, Puffin, Fulmar, Guillemot, Razorbill and Kittiwakes in the breeding season as well as the sounds and associated smells.
                                                                                      Gt Northern Diver

After our visit a Lesser Grey Shrike and Pectoral sandpiper, that life !

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