Friday, 10 December 2010

One day snow, next day rain.

  Yesterday (Dec 9th), the kids were off school due to the snow (all of the Shetland schools were off) which did surprise us as the roads weren't too bad, but I suppose it's down to 'health and safety' and all that. Sula and I had a dental appointment on Yell, so at 9.30 we headed off for the ferry. It was a cracking morning, blue sky, sunshine and crisp white snow - it was just crying out to be photographed. Unfortunately the appointment had to come first as there isn't a full time dentist on Yell so an appointment there is much sought after. On leaving the surgery an hour later, a bank of cloud had come in and had partly obscured the sun, nonetheless the landscape did look fabulous. We had to go to a shop on the south of the island which is where I grabbed the shot below.

Nr Aywick, Yell

  Heading back to the ferry at Gutcher, we had a short wait before it arrived and were 'entertained' by the 'Gutcher Geese'. These semi wild farmyard geese have been around the ferry terminal for years in varying numbers, dropping down to just three recently. Then more arrived mysteriously, swelling the numbers again to seven or eight (I didn't count them properly). Despite their noise and rather aggressive hissing, they don't bother most folk.

The 'Gutcher Geese'

  Later on in mid after noon, I took a short drive along the shore road as the sun was going down. Near Buness House two seals had hauled out on the old slipway there and seemed to be 'taking some sun'.................

  During the last few weeks, numbers of Grey Herons on Unst have been increasing with with cold weather arriving - some days last winter there were double numbers on Unst. Here at Buness there were four all vying for a good place to fish on the shore-line. Even on cold days when food is hard to come by they are still very difficult to get close to - unless they are obviously weak with starvation. This one below was very tolerant as I passed by in the car as it walked slowly along the shoreline, I took a few photos and then left it alone.

Grey Heron at Buness
  A little further on, a Curlew stalked the foreshore, like the Heron not too bothered by me sitting in the car. I'm always on edge at times like this when food is in short supply as I'd hate to be the cause of a birds demise through me taking pictures. When I was heading south last week, I had a few hours in Lerwick and as I like to have some local fish and chips I took a walk along the harbour to one of the fish quays. There are always loads of gulls hanging around there and this can make for some good photo opportunities. I wasn't using my camera (light was rubbish) but I still threw in an occasional chip into the water for the gulls to fly down and take. I threw in a chip and suddenly  saw in the crystal clear water, a large bull Grey Seal, suddenly appear from the depths and try and grab one of the gulls from beneath. I presumed that the seal had thought the disturbance was due fish scraps being thrown in as is often the case here. Rightly or wrongly I repeated it again to see if it was the case and sure enough, the seal was going for a gull sitting on the water not to where the 'action' was. It would certainly have made a good shot, but I wouldn't try and achieve it by throwing in food for the gulls.

Curlew at Buness
  This morning, the thaw had set in with a vengeance. I had hoped it was going to be a reasonable day so I could go and give the 7D a better try out. Unfortunately it was poring with rain and the road along from our house was under 12 inches of water in places - and we're only 100yds from the sea, such was the 'run off' from the surrounding hills.


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