Saturday, 20 July 2019

Shetland Waders & Seabirds

On Sunday Two Barred Crossbills still arrived in Shetland with further birds at Veensgarth, Yell, Hillwell, Bressay and Stromfirth around 17 in total with 25+ Common Crossbill.

It was interesting to read that a dead Arctic Tern was recovered a few weeks ago near Aberdeen and it was found that it was 32 years old, beating the previous record by two years. It was estimated that it may have covered at least 1.5 Million miles in its lifetime.

I ventured south and arrived in a very foggy Sumburgh. At the tern colony young terns could be seen, six in total with adults feeding them. Several first year birds flew around the pool and adults brought in some Sandeels.

Lots of Oystercatcher still fed in the paddocks and a small party fed and drank from the loch. What was unusual was one taking green weed out of the loch, not once but five times and this was draped over its beak.

A small flock of Dunlin arrived, one bearing rings. This bird was ringed at  Ynyslas Nature reserve near Aberystwyth, Wales in 12 August 2017

Several Ringed Plover including young also mixed in.

Not a lot on the beach excepts around 50 Common Gull.

At a voe in the South mainland I came across two otters, good to see in this area as two adults had been killed by cars two years ago so it looks like they have recolonised. There are plenty to go round with an estimated 1500 animals, the highest density in Europe

They both fed in the middle of the voe having a lot of success then the split up with one coming up to preen and eventually going to sleep.

Up at Sumburgh Head there was a lot of Puffins, People and Gt Skuas. The smell and sound is nothing like it was 25 years ago but still a great place to visit.

The Guillemot young, jumplings are at a stage they are ready to jump off the cliffs and onto the sea to be quickly followed by the adults and then they swim out into the north sea for a life that is full of hazards.

Never seen so many Skuas around the head, at least 25 with a few Arctic Skuas all looking for prey.

I did see one lift a young bird from a nest, possibly a herring gull. News of an Otter at the lighthouse is now become a regular feature, unfortunately its taking young Puffins.

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