Sunday, 29 March 2015

Spring in the air

It had been a while since we managed to get down to the south mainland but it was a nice sunny still day so we headed off with a noisy party of Oystercatchers flying over to accompany the car down the road.

Lots of Greylag geese are in the fields and parties of starlings fly up to sit on wires as the car past by. Arriving at Grutness we could see waves crashing up on the beach and the first bird that appeared was a Red Throated diver, the first of the year, still in winter plumage.  Shags and eider ducks soon appeared and near the beach a nice party of 13 Long Tailed duck, some very close in. Walking past the small pool a pair of Teal showed together with Mallard and several Common Gulls. On the rocks at least 100+ Common Gulls kept flying up and circling round before landing and continue to call.

                                                                                  Long Tailed Duck Grutness

Only a Stonechat  showed in the garden before being chased off by the ginger cat. Starlings displayed, calling and flapping their wings while others admired the varied song, while stood on the back of the local sheep.

Several Skylarks sang above the airfield which was very quiet until one plane came over very low putting up around 100 starlings. A few Blackbirds showed while several sparrow had a dust bath in front of the hotel.
                                                                                                Great view point

At first the garden seemed quiet but then a Robin appeared on the fence and couple of Twite landed in the bushes. Then out of nowhere Goldcrest (4) appeared just a front of me no more than 6 feet away and too close to photograph. They continue to feed on the grass only occasionally jumping up onto the walls.

Another Stonechat jumped up onto the back wall before quickly disappearing into the field, but it did make a few return visits.

                                                                    Hide and seek with a Long Tailed duck

Up at Sumburgh farm, another Robin was showing in the garden along with 36 Sparrows and 4 Starling. The sound of more Skylarks reminded me that Spring was actually here but some birds had not yet paired up feeding in the stubble field.

During the week the Quarff Iceland gull was seen in the same garden on several occasions, a couple of Great Grey Shrikes arrived at Sandwick , close to where we live, then another or the same down at Levenwick. A pair of American Wigeon turned up at Burra with another male over on the west side, and on Unst a trio of Scoter with Surf, Velvet and Common seen in the same place. It looks like migration has started and in the coming months things should really pick up.
                                                                                                         Rock Pipit

Flowers are emerging and you cannot help but notice that primroses have suddenly appeared. Lines of yellow daffodils brighten the road sides and the ground has started to turn green.This last week the weather also has been very spring like with beautiful blue skies, less windy than normal and slightly warmer.
                                                                   Shelduck Boddam

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