An immature Jackdaw - it should have moulted the wing feathers out by now.
The pale collar varied in width, length and brightness amongst the jackdaw flock, sometimes being just a pale spot.
During the first part of the week, I didn't do much in the way of picture taking - partly due to the weather, partly due to doing some work at home, so apart from the jackdaws the only other bird I photographed was this Purple Sandpiper at Westing. For me, I think the stalks of Kelp on a beach, are one of the most distracting backgrounds there is.......................
There probably isn't anyone this week in the UK that has missed the gale warnings issued by the Met Office. I heard folk a number of times on the radio, commenting on them saying, 'What's the issue ? we have weather like this on and off all winter in Shetland' etc etc. I think they (the Met Office) must have heard the comments too; as on one report, I heard a spokesman acknowledge that Shetland did indeed often have gales like these, but the reason for the 'red alert' was that these gales would travel right through the central belt, where it was much more likely to cause damage. It was really eerie yesterday, in the morning we had a very strong wind, then for a few hours either side of lunch time it went perfectly still. In the mid afternoon, it picked up again (from a different direction) and blew a right hoolie for a while and gusting to Force 11.
Early this morning (Fri 9th), it kicked off again when I got a text message telling me both the Yell and Bluemull Sound ferries were cancelled due to the weather - when they stop running, you know its rough ! So, after dropping Sula off for the last time at Uyeasound School (sort of an 'end of an era' for me) I took a look a Westing, all I could say was WOW ! Just as I turned off the engine at the end, an otter trotted past the front of the car carrying a fish heading inland a short way looking for some shelter for it to eat its catch. The funny thing was when it returned to the top of the shingle bank it paused, looked at the sea, then back to where it had come from and returned to the relative shelter of the marsh. I think I'd have done the same. As the light was rubbish, I decided to go home, do some work at the house and return at lunchtime.
WestingAnd here is a rather shaky 24 sec vid from Lamba Ness - I was using the car as a wind break but even that wasn't enough.........
By early on Saturday morning, the storm had gone through and every thing was looking fine. Our house was intact (apart from an ingress of horizontally driven rain) the sheds were also still in one piece although the shear ferocity of the wind had driven water through the joints of the ship-lap boarding. The only options for that is to have either double boarding or a membrane behind the boards - that is now usually done as standard practice. Down at the shore, the fencing I put up to stop the neighbours sheep coming along the shoreline had been almost flattened by the battering from the sea. Not so much the wave action but more to do with the weight of seaweed being thrown against it. When I was doing it in the spring, the crofter that had sheep here, told me not to spend too much time on it as if we were lucky it would only last 2 or 3 years. The main straining post (5'6" of old telegraph pole) was pulled out of the rocks and that had been dug down almost 3ft.
As most will know, there was a lunar eclipse on Saturday afternoon. Due to the timing, Shetland was going to be the best place in the UK to see it - weather permitting. I headed off up to Lamba Ness with a hope that at around 3pm when the moon was due to rise, there might be a break in the cloud. Arriving at 2.30pm, I was disappointed to see there was a long band of cloud almost all the way across the eastern horizon. As the cloud was moving south, (but not as quick as last night !) I thought I'd wait awhile - just in case. Finally after several tantalizing minutes just before 4pm, the moon finally showed and with it the last few minutes of the eclipse - oh how I wished it had been clear................
Lunar Eclipse, Lamba Ness