Monday, 1 November 2010

Sunday 31st October

  I've often said that a lot of wildlife sightings here are often a matter of luck or just being in the right place at the right time. Certainly with Otters, unless you go out deliberately looking for them - and in doing so, the wind, tide etc has been checked beforehand - a lot of sightings are just luck. This can be deciding to take a particular route or even passing a place when the tide is just right. This happened this morning when I was on may way to see if the Grey Phalarope was still there. Quite often if a lone gull or crow is standing on a seaweed covered rock on the shoreline, there is usually food nearby and sometimes it's an otter feeding close by. One place where the road goes close to the shoreline, is a regular hunting spot for otters and today was one of those 'lucky days'. A 'hoodie' was standing on a rock with an otter feeding on a rather large piece of fish close by. Unfortunately, unless it's either early morning or late afternoon, you look straight into the light at this place which doesn't always make for good picture taking. Today there was only one 'hoodie' in attendance - often there are several and in the past I've seen 10 or 12 all trying to grab a piece of the action. On one occasion, there were two, each taking it in turn to distract the otter by pecking its rear, while the other one tried to grab some of the fish.

 The otters at this spot are used to cars or rather seeing the shape and will often look towards the road and will then continue - unless they catch a scent.

  Close by a female Redbreasted Merganser was preening on the shore, but once the otter re-entered the water, it kept a careful eye on it until the danger had past.

Female Redbreasted Merganser

  Over at Haroldswick, the phalarope was still there but as there was some dog walkers there I didn't stop although I did also see a late Wheatear.

Monday 1st November

  This morning was a beautiful morning with bright sunshine and hardly any wind. I dropped of Rona at school and was then stopped by a guy from Uyeasound - he'd just had two Waxwings in his garden and thought I'd like to know. As I'd got to go there to pick up my daughters best friend, I thought I'd take a look. Sadly no Waxwings, but the numbers of wildfowl on Easter Loch was growing daily. Returning back to Baltasound, I called in to Haligarth (with a slight hope there might be Waxwings, but none there) although I did see a Chiffchaff. Heading back towards the centre of the village, a bird flew up from the roadside and looked very lark-like. It was a Short-toed Lark, probably the one that's been around the north of the island for the last few weeks. Fortunately, the bird flew back over me and back along the roadside I'd just driven along. Luckily this road is a small 'loop' road, so I drove around to the other side and sat and waited. Fortunately there is a parking place on a bend which looks straight along the road to where the bird was feeding - and moving steadily towards me. It took over 20 minutes for the bird to get anywhere near enough just for a record shot and then suddenly it appeared in front of me and caught me totally by surprise. I hadn't even seen it take off, let alone fly in and land not too far from the car.

Short-toed Lark

  After the lovely start to the day, as I type this at 8.30 in the evening, the wind is blowing a real hoolie and the rain is lashing against the window. What's that saying about a 'red sky in the morning' etc etc ?


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