Tuesday, 8 February 2011

'I don't believe it' ! ...............

  That was a catchphrase that was used by 'Victor Meldrew' from the BBC's series 'One foot in the grave', well today (8th Feb) I've used it more than once. We moved here to Ordaal over a week ago and so on Tuesday last week, I contacted BT to move our phone and broadband to the new address. They told me it would be 5 working days and we may be able to keep the same telephone number - I said to them at the time that I'd believe that when it happened. When we moved the last time - around 16 months ago, I had to re-order the 'broadband move' 3 times and in the end I threatened to cancel our BT package, it was then done the following day. Well, today was to be the reconnection and guess what, it happened ! Both phone and broadband (and our old number) were done this morning by 11am, so this time BT have done well ( I still don't know why it should take 5 days to process the order though)

  The last week has been pretty hectic with the move and so I've not been out that much apart from when I'm doing the school run - I can't complain (and won't !), as now I can have a 10 minute walk around the field and along the shoreline. The end of last week was pretty wild here, over night on the 3rd and 4th, we had a gale where the wind reached Force 11, which on the Beaufort Scale is classed as a violent storm. Off the west of Shetland there was a swell recorded of up to 16 meters (52ft) and needless to say there was some damage around the place. Here in Baltasound, I heard of one family loosing the roof off of their kitchen and we (getting off lightly) had two 6ft x 4ft doors ripped off one of the sheds - it was lucky the roof didn't go as well. Going down to Westing after I'd dropped off Sula on the 4th, I parked briefly in the turning area but decided it would be a good idea to move as the waves were crashing on to the car. The light was pretty bad so I left after only a very short time. Returning there again later before the afternoon school run, the turning area was covered in stones twice the size of a house brick - just where I'd previously parked briefly ! What a westerly storm here does produce is lots of feeding gulls and today was no exception. There were hundreds of Common, Great-blacked Backed, Herring and a few Black-headed Gulls all feeding in the crashing waves.

........ same view on a nicer day.
.....and these islands aren't that small

 Whilst standing there talking to another guy that had come down for a look, he nudged me and said with surprise, 'look, there's an otter'. The was an otter coming down a small burn next to where we were parked and then went down in to the sea without even a glance in our direction. I grabbed a shot with the 500 with out any time to check the exposure etc........
 

  I watched it fishing (very successfully) for quite some time, until finally it set off in one direction and came out of the water, scent marked and then headed off along the rocks and out of sight......


  It was certainly a very difficult situation to be photographing in, a gale force wind blowing straight towards me from the sea, constant spray being blown onto the camera lens and getting a soaking every 7th wave - aaah, the pleasures of being out in the elements !

  Later on in the day, the weather cleared up a bit and for a time, even the sun came out. Around 7pm, I got a call from Rory to say that there was a prediction for an aurora so keep a look out. On going outside, we had the whole of the northern half of the sky glowing green with the Northern Lights. At this house, we are lucky to have and uninterrupted view of the sky around us apart from the lights of the village to the west and the pier lights to the north across the sound. I quickly set up the camera in a spot out of the wind and took a number of pictures. I then decide to move it slightly to get a better silhouette in the foreground for some time-lapse shots but, unbeknown to me, I'd knocked the focusing ring and forgot to recheck the focus (I was manually focusing) so all I got was this one picture, hey ho, better luck next time............

(the orange glow is the light from the pier)

  By 9 o'clock, it had clouded over and I thought that was that and went in, wrong ! Next day when I spoke to Rory he'd said at around midnight it'd been one of the best auroras he'd seen for years.

  The following day, the wind had dropped off quite a lot, but I still called in to the west side. At the beach there were quite a few Common Gulls feeding amongst the breakers so I spent half an hour trying to get some shots of them on the wing.........



Common Gull

 Back at the house/garden/field etc, after just over a week, my bird list is starting to grow and is now 24 species, including - Sparrowhawk, Peregrine, Slavonian Grebe and Little Grebe. It is still only February and things won't really get moving until mid April at least. I've been seeing otter almost daily and only yesterday Sula saw one from her bed as she was off from school feeling unwell. I was fortunate to have been given a 'trail cam'  (a remote camera that records anything that moves in front of it both day and night) by the previous owner of the house.Last week I set it up and left it over night and then the following day reviewed the images (a short video) to see an otter moving out of the picture at 1.30am in the morning. The following day I moved it to a better location (so I thought) only to see it - or more to the point, not to see it - under 12 inches of water ! It was the morning after the storm and the heavy rain had flooded the freshwater pool, we live and learn so they say. At least I hadn't just bought it  :)

                            Robbie

2 comments:

MarkW said...

The BBC website mentions a large solar flare yesterday 15th, so they think the aurora might be good in the next few days. Mind, you have a much better chance of seeing it than us further south, so good luck.
There must be something magical when it happens, out of this world, & so special.
I look forward to some more pictures!

robbieb said...

Thanks Mark, not good weather for viewing up here either at the moment :(