Wednesday, 15 June 2011

A few days at Sumburgh Head

 Sunday 12th June

  Well after a late night as Graham mentioned here , I also got up early to see Graham and Sue off (thanks guys for coming up) and also to get ready for a trip down to the old Sumburgh Head lighthouse keepers cottage for 3 nights. We stayed there before as I mentioned here and at the time thought about staying there in the late spring. Thankfully, due to the refurbishment  work there starting later than planned, they took some more bookings and so we were able to go there for 3 nights again.

  The trip down was uneventful but we had planned a short trip over to the island of Mousa. On arriving at the ferry jetty just before 1 o'clock, it started to rain and the wind got up. Neither I or Ian (my father in law) wanted a soaking so we headed on down to Sumburgh while the others went to Mousa.

  Unfortunately the cottage wasn't quite ready but a least there were plenty of birds around to keep us occupied. Shortly after unloading the car, I took a look over the cliffs which are only a few seconds walk from the cottage. As I passed a spot where the wardens put food out for the local Twite, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a cracking male Common Rosefinch feeding with the Twite. Rosefinches are regular autumnal passage birds up here but they are usually rather tatty juveniles. (the bird was still there today 15th June)...................

A male Common Rosefinch

  There were also a number of Twite around including a recently fledged family of young birds.........

 A young Twite

  As well as the finches, there were a number of other birds around including several pairs of Wheatears. The ones below had a nest in an old rabbit burrow and would retreat in to it if a gull or Bonxie flew over too close.........

Male Wheatear

  There were also quite a lot of Puffins around and some, like this one, still gathering nest material (quite how it would get it down the hole I don't know) and one or two were bringing in food........

a variation on the theme of 'bird on a stick'
  All in all it was a great few days despite the wet weather on one of the days and having to drive back up to Unst for the girls school sports day and then drive back down again all in one day. I hope that in several years time when the work has been completed, it still retains a bit of the charm that Sumburgh has although it probably won't. As it is a listed building, it will have to be done in keeping with what's there already, that said, it does need restoring.


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