Monday, 7 November 2011

Fireworks and Otters

 This last weekend was after a somewhat dull few days rather pleasant, sunshine, clear skies and not too much wind, so I went out for the morning to just see what was about. Over at Skaw, there were a few common migrants around but, more interesting, was a set of tracks down on the beach. They came out of the sea and then went right up the beach to the grass at the top which is some distance, what is baffling is that they don't appear to go back in to the water again. They had been made as the tide was going out - so the sea hadn't washed away any retuning tracks - and also the first set wouldn't have been so obvious. All I can think is that the return was made via the burn which was around 50-60ft away, but there were no tracks leading to it. The width of the track is around 12 inches so assuming it was made by a seal, then it would have been a pretty small one. It's going to be a mystery that I may never know the answer. Below is a pic................

Tracks at Skaw

Male Blackcap at Skaw

  After Skaw, I headed back south towards Baltasound, but just outside of Haroldswick I got the call from Brydon, ' Think we've got a Pine Bunting at Clibberswick'. As I was only 5 minutes away we (I had Rona with me) headed off to see the bird. It was a female and basically it looked like a Yellowhammer but without any yellow - still a pretty little bird though none the less. They breed across most of temperate Asia and winter in Central Asia, North India and Southern China, however, some also winter in NE Italy. We saw it well and watched it for a while, Rona however, said 'birdwatching is boring' - wash your mouth out with soap !................

female Pine Bunting

  Saturday evening was spent partly at Uyeasound at the bonfire and fireworks display and then at home having a few beers with Mike and Brydon - the excuse was them finding the the Pine Bunting, but who needs an excuse !

 This morning (7th Nov) I thought I'd take a look at the trail cam down the field. There were a number of clips on it, sheep, birds and a rat but only one otter. Setting it up again, I took a stroll along the shore to see if the Snow Bunting was still feeding on the shingle bank. Getting to the Noost I glanced down the jetty and had quite a surprise. There half way down were two sleeping otters curled up in the morning sunshine. As the wind was going straight from me to them, I quickly retreated and fetched the camera. Fortunately I could approach the shingle bank using the lie of the land and with the wind now coming at 45 degrees over my left shoulder, I was safe for now from them catching my scent. I had a little bit of time to spare so I decided to just lie and wait for them to stir. I'm told that during the time they are looking for food, they will hunt for a while, then rest for half an hour and then fish again etc, repeating this until either low or high tide is reached...............

Mum and cub

  After about 15 minutes or so, they began to stir. At first the cub wanted a feed but mum wasn't having any of it. So then it began to play around a bit,  but she wasn't having any of that either. Eventually, they both stood up and relieved themselves before settling down and curling up again. However, the cub still wanted to play and decided to bite its mums ear which I don't think she was too happy with. I did wonder after seeing the two cubs playing the other day (and was slightly sad with the thought) how this cub possibly felt after loosing its brother or sister and not now having a playmate..............

 Mum's on the right

Wakey Wakey



Getting an earful !

  Finally they settled down again and so I left them to it. That's the way it should be, unaware that I'd been watching them for a while. However, if they had of got up and gone back in to the water and headed east, they may well of picked up my scent as they swam along the shoreline.



Graham said...

Now those tracks are very interesting Robbie. Doesn't look like a seal to me on the basis that tracks I've seen in Norfolk consist of a flattened furrow where it's dragged it's belly and clear flipper indentations ?

Could it have been an injured bird like the Gannett we found ?

As you say, not something you'll ever find the answer too.....

Graham said...

....oh yes, and I forget to mention those wonderful Otters.....I'm really not in the least bit jealous mate !