Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Sunshine, Snow and - Sledging

It was another stunning morning here today - clear blue sky, another dusting of snow and no school again ! The kids were feeling better so it was off down to the south of the island for some sledging for them and for me hopefully a chance to take a few pictures. The lochs were completely frozen over again and the wintering wildfowl that had been using them - Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Longtailed Duck and Whooper Swans had moved on again - after having only recently returned after the snow over the Christmas period. The Unst folk have said several times to me that it's very unusual to have snow for this amount of time as it only usually lasts for a couple of days. Despite the snow, the first signs of a far away spring are already starting to show. Oystercatchers are returning here after leaving Unst for a couple of months and Fulmars are now returning back to their nest ledges. Having been used to seeing Fulmars nesting on cliff faces, it seems strange to see them on roadside hillocks and peat banks. I think this partly due to there being relatively few mammalian pretators - otters are known to take them and I'm sure a cat would have a go if it managed to avoid the foul regurgitated fish that Fulmars spit out when threatened.


One area that I've sadly neglected over the last 18 months has been landscapes. Unst, like most of Shetland, is a landscape photographers dream. I pass many locations on a daily basis and think 'that would make a good shot' but seldom stop, take out the tripod, and get some shots. The lighting here is fantastic and often within the space on half an hour a scene can totally change. One such place that I pass regularly on my way to the ferry, is the old ruined crofts at Snarravoe at the south end of the island. As it happened, this was near where my girls were sledging today and so I stopped and took some shots. A 'landscaper' would have made a better job of the picture taking, but at least it made me stop and look. The light on these old buildings changes by the hour and some days go unnoticed, but today the approaching snow storm made me look - so maybe sometime in the future I'll go across there and explore them more.


Despite the snow and despite the forecast, when the sun does come out there is now a little warmth in it and is strong enough to melt the ice. The daylight hours are now starting to increase with the sunrise at around 7.15am and the sunset is now around 5.15pm, but the Simmer Dim still seems a long, long way off.


1 comment:

Suze said...

Hello Robbie,
Good luck with your blog, it all looks very good and interesting. Super images.