Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Close encounter with Seabirds

Anyone starting to get interested in birds should start with a visit to a seabird colony. In Shetland we are fortunate to have several large ones, the best at Sumburgh, Noss and Hermaness but also lots of smaller ones but just as interesting

Puffins always draw a lot of attention and rightly so, they are so interesting to watch and are very colourful. It looks like they may be having a good breeding season for a change with a good number bringing in fish, mostly Sandeels

When you get close up these little birds are even more amazing, look at the stitching around the beak, only an expert could do that.

How different they are in winter when they shed the colourful beak and take on a darker, dirtier look. But then most people wouldn't be out in the north sea where they are found during the dark winter months.
I have only found one dead Puffin on the beach I survey which is good news

Pufflings are just about ready to fly, these come out late in the evening before they jump off the cliffs, some 600 feet high up. Parents then guide them out to sea away from predators such as Skuas

Fulmars can be found through Shetland, some on inland cliffs and even nesting on the ground on Mousa.

They hardly make a nest so it was interesting to see the above Fulmar tackling a piece of wood, surely not to use in a nest.

Please check out my other blogs

ww2preserved.blogspot.co.uk  (about Shetland during WW2 and what can be seen now)

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