Thursday, 25 February 2010

 Overnight we had another fall of snow - driven by the wind - which blocked several roads and caused a small amount of disruption, - another day and another day of the schools being closed, this is now getting tedious. I was out for an hour in the morning doing shopping etc and so managed to grab a few shots of the snowy scenery around the north of the island. The place pictured below is tidal and a lot of the sea water there is frozen.

 The Houb, Baltasound

Like almost all habitats with wildlife, there are always numerous pairs of eyes on the lookout for a possible predator or danger. In woodland, it is usually the clatter of a Woodpigeons wings or the raucous call of a Jay that signals the approach of someone creeping through the vegetation; on the coast it is no different. The two main birds here - and which are a total pain - are Redshank and Great Black-backed Gulls. The former, flies off calling with such a load call that even the sleepiest seal will lift its head and check whats about, the GBB Gull however is a totally different kettle of fish so to speak. Just a casual walk along the shore will cause one to take to the air and constantly circle telling the world and his wife that an 'undesirable' is there. Numerous times I've been hunkered down in camo gear, well hidden (or so I thought) when one will take off from a long way off and come and circle overhead constantly calling. One thing that I have found that does work from time to time, is to raise the long lens like a gun and 'take aim', quite a few times now this has caused them to fly off.

Great Blackbacked Gull
After lunch today, I took the short drive along to the end of 'our' road for a quick walk around my favorite beach. Shorebirds are still the main species around at the moment (not counting the ever present Greylags') and today I had a pair of displaying Ringed Plovers, a feeding Snipe and the surprise of a Woodcock which flew up from amongst the seaweed between some rock pools. These birds must really be finding it hard at the moment and I often wonder what the mortality rates are. During these hard spells one of the few species of bird that thrive because of the food shortages is the Raven. Like most parts of the country, they are doing well up here (too well for some folk) and can be seen almost anywhere feeding on dead rabbits, sheep,seal carcases or other fatalities. I actually quite like them despite their reputation for the damage they inflict on new born lambs etc.I have driven past them on the roadside numerous times and they don't fly up, but drive past with the window down and they are gone like a shot !

Hopefully after this weekend, the roads will be back to normal, the kids will be back at school and I can find some different wildlife.


ps Please bear with me on this I'm having a few formatting problems :) 

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