Tuesday 13 December 2016

Mammals & more

Otters are a firm favourite of mine and we are very fortunate in Shetland to have the largest population in Europe

Shetlanders are just as keen to see otters as visitors and to help protect them from mad motorist they have put up signs in key places where otters may be run down.

The highest density of otters can be found in the North and west mainland and on the islands, however with a bit of patience you can also see them in the south mainland. 

 These otter prints were photographed down at St Ninian's isle but could well have been taken on a number of beaches. There are more dogs it seems on the beaches in the south and Otters and Dogs don't mix so they are a bit more wary

There seem to be a good number of Mountain Hares about, these can be seen anywhere in the North & West mainland down to Sandwick area. 

Moorland is the preferred habitat and in sunny weather they can easily be seen in winter sitting out taking in the rays. It helps that they have a white coat during winter so they normally stand out again the dark heath clad hills

Seems strange seeing a hedgehog at this time of year but we met one the other night crossing the road at Tingwall, no doubt encouraged out with this very unseasonable warm weather, it was 11 degrees that night.

We never got to see them but it was good to hear that possibly 4/6 Humpback Whales had spent around 3 weeks off the coast of Yell. I met Hugh Harrop who said it was a good 3 mile walk out over boggy ground and thick heather to get to the point to get close enough for photos.

We would have gone up last weekend but it was wet and wind, a shame but we hope they may come back next year.

As for the birds, last Thursday i saw three Guillemot in Scalloway harbour which i thought was early and Helen Moncrief (RSPB) noted on Monday a number had also come back to the cliffs, the earliest date yet.

On Monday a quick tour of Sandwick revealed that the Killdeer was in the usual field and never moved for 45 mins. 

Lapwing (38) Turnstone (88) Redshank (46) Snipe (4) Ringed Plover (16) Golden Plover (78) Curlew (8) Purple sandpiper (6) Barnacle Goose, Greylag (136) Redwing (6) Twite (12) Starling (50+) Sparrow (50+) Blackbird (8) Red Throated Diver (3 Sanick) Fulmar, GtBB, Herring Gull, Rock Dove (32), Merlin, Raven (6) Hoddie (8) Shag (8) LT Duck (2) Mallard (8) Teal (4) Common Gull (5)

see www.amazingshetland.co.uk for canvas prints

Also i have a new facebook group, come and join Shetland Aurora Hunter

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