Tuesday 22 December 2020

Interesting Shetland visitors

Shetland has been very quiet bird wise, only a few migrants around. The other day i did see a couple of Siberian Chiffchaff and a Blue tit down at Swinster

Whooper Swan numbers have now dropped as most have moved south, more by instinct rather than the weather which has been very mild with only a few gales

Whooper Swans

Oystercatcher with winter collar

Bobby Tullock & Bill Oddie
David Bellamy

These famous naturalists have promoted Shetland wildlife in the past. Bobby Tullock lived on Yell and was most remembered for discovering breeding Snowy Owls on Fetlar. We had a lucky trip in the late 1980's when we saw one of the last offspring at the back of the school in Fetlar.

Bill Oddie always liked to come up to Shetland and promoted Shetland after the Braer oil disaster , we meet him a few times, the one with Bobby Tullock on the island of Noss.

David Bellamy was up in Shetland promoting Conservation work, we met him at the Aith Lifeboat gala.

Happy Christmas to all my readers, back soon with more Shetland Blogs

Thursday 17 December 2020

Shetland Seal rescue

I was down at Leebitton/ Sandsayre  a couple of days ago and started to photograph a few waders at high tide
Moving across towards the jetty i could see something small laying on the concrete and it was moving occasionally. Moving closer i could see a very small Grey seal pup which didn't look in a very good condition

I could see no adult seals around so just stayed to observe more before moving in closer. It made no attempt to move away and just turned on the spot. It looked very thin towards the tail and have a cut just below its throat

I am glad I moved across because i was able to divert two dog walkers away from the area, both dogs off the lead and may have attacked the young seal

After about 1.5 hours and very little movement from the pup I phoned Hugh Harrop and he said he would come for a look as i didn't have a phone number for the Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary

Pups are normally weaned after about 3-4 weeks so although it looked abandoned it should have been in a position to fend for its self.

Hugh arrived and said he would contact Jan and Peter at the sanctuary, he had to go but phoned Karen Hall who said she would come down with gloves and a cage and take it up to Hillswick. 

Jan reported later that the pup was in very poor condition and perhaps wouldn't have lasted the night.  It was very dehydrated , emaciated due to lack of food, had a very poor sounding chest, suggesting a bad case of lungworm and  his mouth was full of blood from rotten gums. 

Jan and Pete gave it antibiotics and got some fluids down him and hoped for the best. Next morning he looked a lot better , the blood in his mouth had cleared up and the gums were already healing. A long way to go but its looking hopeful.

He has been named Gisli, a Norse name meaning `Ray of light', by Sunnyside Primary School in Glasgow

Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary is having a complete rebuild and do fantastic work looking after sick Otters and Seals, look them up on facebook

Another update today (19 12 20) seal still doing well, check out Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary facebook page

Join me on my new blog Shetland Solar Photography

Friday 4 December 2020

Down at the beach (ish)

A few Wigeon on the sea at Quendale not seen this happen before but i have seen Mallard,  Teal, Tufted and Scaup on the sea even though they are normally on fresh water

Long Tailed Duck, up to 7,000 can be found around the Shetland coast before they gather in Bluemull sound and then migrate further north to the arctic to breed, a few stay around the Shetland coast during summer

In Shetland these duck are also known as Calloo ducks, I prefer to see them in winter plumage they look a lot smarter than the browner spring plumage

I like to get down to the beach there is so much to see, lots of abstract patterns

Too much litter on the beach which is very harmful to the wildlife, a few seals have been seen with deep wounds to the neck as they have been caught up in fishing line

You don't have to g far out before you see more wildlife, this in a rock pool in Sandwick

Treasure found on the beach before it gets ground down into sand

If you like seashore finds then join Shetland Seashore Discoveries on Facebook

Sunday 29 November 2020

Winter has arrived in Shetland

 With gale force winds, torrential rain and snow last week i think winter has arrived. But for some it doesn't seem so, we have a garden full of daisies who seem to ignore the bad weather and a late Hedgehog crossing the road this morning

We had an arrival of thrushes yesterday with Fieldfare (62) Redwing (12) Blackbird (10) fielding in the field in front of our house also here Curlew(3) Starling (40) and Rock Dove (6)

The Golden Plover flock seems to have moved from Sandwick marshes with only a few around but good numbers of Redshank (40), Turnstone (100), Ringed Plover (28), Lapwing (25), Snipe(4)

A few Black redstart have arrived, normally a good time of year for this species A Bullfinch on Yell and the Gt White Egret seems to have gone at last.

Today 93 swans on Spiggie including 15 Mute swans with the rest Whooper and always Goldeneye feeding close by. Around the shore 150 wigeon, Mallard 22, Tufted 12, Moorhen 4, Greylag 100, Starling 200, Curlew (12) Redshank (30) Snipe(2) Lapwing (10) and about 50 gulls.