Sunday, 8 January 2012

A New Year begins.........

  Here were are at the start of another new year and as with most folk, I am wondering what the coming months will bring. For me, I know it's going to a busy one with lots to do on the house and from now until the spring, I'll have to concentrate on the cottage as we want to rent it out for self catering this year. Fortunately there's not a huge amount to do, but there is still quite a lot. Hopefully we'll get a few visitors and several have already said they'll come up, so despite the house work, I will still find time for visiting friends or relations. Around the fields, there is more fencing to be done and later on, more trees to plant. The fence down at the jetty (which goes in to the sea) will have to be taken down again and be completely re-done. The one at the eastern end has a rail along the top which I think helps to spread the weight of the seaweed  which collects on the fence, so I'll repeat it on the western one. It's pointless doing it now as there is still plenty of time for more gales which would demolish it again, that will have to wait until April.

  Photographically, I have a few ideas and subjects to improve upon lurking in the back of my mind, by this time next year I'll know whether I have achieved them or not. And what of last year ? Well as far as birds go, my clear favourite has to be the Pallid Harrier at Northdale here ; I'll never forget the bird and I'm still getting comments about it from birders. Despite it being a relatively poor autumn for migrants, there are still a few that stand out such as the Siberian Rubythroat at Gulberwick - here- or the Pine Bunting at Haroldswick found by Mike and Brydon -here. Also, going out and landing on Muckle Flugga was pretty special - here.

  Going south off Shetland for a couple of holidays was great as well - even if it was to appreciate the peace and quiet we have here. One trip was to the west side of Orkney for a week  - here , the other was to the Spanish Pyrenees for a week - the start of it is  here.

  Wildlife, holidays, friends visiting and trips out aside, obviously the best thing about last year was putting down roots here at Ordaal, enough said !

  So what about the last week ? On  New Years Day, I went for a walk with Sula to Woodwick over on the west side. It's one of the more 'remote' beaches on Unst in that it's a 3/4hr walk from the nearest road - not far by most standards ! For most of the way, the route goes through a fairly deep valley which, at this time of year is in the shadow of the sun - if it's shinning (today it was). If there's one thing that Woodwick is noted for, it's the rubbish on the beach. As, like I have said, there is no road directly to it, it doesn't ever get collected up. It is literally piled high with timber, fishing nets, floats and everything else that you could imagine. This the place that Catriona and the girls found the eel tag last year - here . It came as a surprise to me when I realized that in the time we've been here, I'd only been to Woodwick once before. One thing or object that is amongst the commonest of items to turn up is footwear; I don't know why but there are all types from wellies to flip flops, trainers to sandals - unsurprisingly, there is never a pair ! The picture below is of a few that Sula piled up in the space of 10 minutes and there were probably the same amount again..........................


and a couple of more pics.............






 It never ceases to amaze me what can be found and some times it can be useful. I also wonder where it has originated from, with most fish boxes that's easy as they often have an address on the side. However, I am wondering how far this funny little duck had swum  :) ................

(now residing by my bath!)

 Locally bird wise, the Woodlark is still around Skaw, but it is the white-winged gulls that are of interest ie Glaucous and Iceland Gulls. In the last week I've had two Glauc's at Skaw (an adult and imm') along with 4 Iceland Gulls. According to Mike on the Nature in Shetland Facebook page, there could possibly be over 20 Iceland Gulls (once they're all added up) on Shetland at the moment with lesser numbers of Glauc's................

Imm' Iceland Gull (low light = high 2000 ISO)

  After what seems like months since I had the trailcam out, a couple of nights ago I set it up in the usual place. I had deliberately not left it there due to the gales and heavy rain - I didn't want to have it destroyed by the weather. Apart from a rat, a blackbird feeding (at night) and one of our cats, I was delighted to see this morning (8th Jan) the mum and full grown otter cub on it briefly. I'd not seen them for over a week and it can't be long before the cub becomes more independent..................
video 

  Robbie

1 comment:

WPATW said...

Good luck with your challenges this year Rob

Martin