Thursday, 6 January 2011

More Snow

 Sula went back to school yesterday and Rona was due back today - well at least she was due to be, until we got 'the call' this morning. Just after eight we had the call to say that due to snow being forecast for this afternoon, there would be no school on Unst today - Baltasound or Uyeasound (I don't know about the rest of Shetland) So, once the disappointment had subsided (by us and the girls) we set about a few chores around the house including the taking down of Christmas decorations. We'd had a bit of snow but not really enough to close the schools as far as we were concerned. It looked like it was going to brighten up so at around 10.30am we set off out in the direction of Westing. There'd been a sighting of a Hen Harrier there yesterday so that was as good as an excuse as anything.

  The was quite a blow coming in from the west, creating quite a swell and large breakers on the beach there. Around the bay were 150+ gulls of several species - Herring, Common, Black-headed, Great Black-backed and a solitary immature Glaucous Gull. This bird was very obvious due to its uniform biscuit colour and no black wingtips. The gulls were obviously attracted by an abundant food source in the water, but I've no idea what it may have been.

Glaucous Gull

  As we sat in the car watching the gulls, I caught a fleeting glimpse of an otter diving just out beyond the gulls, it appeared to be moving away from us and so I assumed we'd been rumbled. Fortunately I was wrong, not long after the otter appeared again but with a flat flatfish and was heading for the shore.................

  It came out on the beach not too far away and gave my girls and I a great view for 15 or 20 minutes as it fed on the fairly large fish.

The salt spray is a pain on the camera lens

The ever attendant 'Hoodie'


  Once the otter had fed for quite a while and also the girls had been watching it for a good time, I decided I'd try and get a bit closer and if in doing so I spooked it, at least it would have had a good feed. The was very little cover apart from the shingle bank but at least the wind was right (but not good for blowing the salt on the front lens element though) and also I could approach  from the right side and be hidden until the last moment when I put the camera over the crest of the shingle bank. Unfortunately as I crawled to the edge and looked over, most of the feeding otter was obscured by shingle in the foreground and raising my self higher was out of the question. I took a few pictures until when, after the otter had finished feeding, it looked up my direction and then retreated in to the sea (must have seen my outline). It didn't got too far out and instead of disappearing completely (as they often do when disturbed) it swam slowly down the shoreline and out of view.

Rumbled !



1 comment:

Suze said...

Marvellous as usual and a hoodie included also, jammy.