Saturday, 13 October 2012

 Unst - and Shetland in general, has been pretty busy in the last couple of weeks with visiting birdwatchers/birders/twitchers - call them/us what you like. Unfortunately once again, like in many walks of life, there are a few who spoil it for the rest of us. This time it was down in Norwick last week. There had been a couple of rare birds found (Pechora Pipit and Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll) down in one of the fields. I wasn't actually there myself (I saw the numbers of folk and decided to keep clear) but from what I'm told there were quite a few walking through the fields, climbing fences and, so I'm told, leaving gates open. Eventually the crofter got fed up with the behaviour of some of them and asked everyone to leave. One (so I understand) even argued to say 'I can legally go where I like' - he may think so, but I bet there are a few crofters that would argue against that. I was talking to the crofter the other day and she told me, that just leaving that gate not tied up properly, could have caused her a whole load of problems. The gate concerned separated two fields with sheep in; one had ewes, the other had at least one ram in it. If they'd got together it could have meant the lambs were born two months earlier, which means they'd be lambing in the late winter.  Just one example of selfish, thoughtless behaviour by a few.

  Earlier in the week I had a parcel delivered which was a new book - 'Birds: Through Irish Eyes', it was written by Anthony McGeehan and Julian Wyllie. Anthony contacted me a while ago for a couple of pictures he liked and wanted to use them in the book, to which I happily agreed. The photographs were the Grey Phalarope - which I use as my blog banner - and the Woodlark from Skaw last winter. I must say it's a cracking book and will thoroughly enjoy reading it. The book is here on Amazon.

  One 'milestone' reached this week on Unst, was by Mike Pennington. Mike reached his 300 species seen on Unst - quite amazing and even more so that the all time total for the island is 333 species. That puts Mike in a very exclusive club up here in Shetland, so well done Mike for that. What was the bird, I hear you say? It was a Longtailed Tit at Skaw - the first for the island in 151 years ! The bird was discovered by Martin Garner and the group he was leading (For Brydon's Nature in Shetland). I think it must have been a bit strange for the group, they had come up looking for rare or scare birds and then Shetland birders getting excited about a LTT ! .....

  Last Monday (8th Oct) there was a fantastic aurora - as said by those lucky enough to see it. I stayed up until midnight and by then it had clouded over and was spitting with rain, so I turned in. Later around 1.30am, it all kicked off and as I was told by one person who saw it, it was as good as any you'd see on the tele - blast! There's another one forecast for around the 14th/15 but unfortunately I'll miss it as I'm going to the very deep south. We're off to visit a friend of mine who I've known since 1989 but have not seen for almost 20 years; Linda and Innis now live in southern Spain. After months down there with no rain (which resulted in wild fires and one fatality) they have now had severe floods in places - it almost sounds biblical.

 A couple of nights ago, we had a lovely clear, cold night. There had been a prediction of low auroral activity, but I took a look anyway. There was a very faint glow to the north at midnight, but I liked the mist on the water and, on this occasion, the harbour lights helped the picture.....

North over Blatasound from home

As I said, I'm away for a short while so I won't be posting for a week, after that it may well be pictures from a more warmer climate.


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