Thursday, 15 July 2010

After the storm

Last night and this morning we had some very unseasonal weather, high winds and torrential rain. I spent the morning during the rain sorting out stuff to pack and various bits of paper that I need for our journey south. I also finished another set of mounted prints that are to go in a small gallery/restaurant here. Going over this morning it was interesting to see what was remaining from the last 'batch' I took there some while ago. The ones that were left, I have to admit, I only put in originally because they were of one of many of the seals  that haul out near by. I personally don't think that seal pictures are particularly interesting unless they are either close up of the face or are doing something. My kids used to describe seals which had hauled out as looking like big, grey, slugs !

Whenever I go away on holiday - whether its here or when I was down south - I always like to have a last visit  to a favourite spot. Down south it was to a trig point along an old Roman road which is a special place for me, here, as I'm sure you may guess, it's Lamba Ness. By lunch time the rain had stopped and at one time the sun even came out briefly. It wasn't really a photo trip out (but the camera is always on the seat any how) but more like getting my 'fix' before we head for the hustle and hassle of way down south. As I drove down to the headland there wasn't much happening apart from the ever present - and ever noisy Oystercatchers and a few Starlings preening themselves now the rain had stopped.

After staying there for a while it was back for a quick visit to Skaw. Judging by the burn at Skaw, there had been a lot of water down it during the night as a lot of the grass on the banks had been flattened in the direction of the sea.

The croft at Skaw (Britain's most northerly house)

It never ceases to amaze me how the shape of the beach where the burn enters into the sea can change so much in such a short time. I'd love to a have an old digital SLR (no not my trusty 40D) and set it up to do some time lapse shots of the beach and its changes. Some days it can be a gentle slope down in to the burn at the beach then other days there can be a 5ft vertical drop where the action of the sea and water coming down the burn almost create a mini gorge.

Skaw beach looking towards Lamba Ness

Turning northwards along the beach, I could see an obvious whitish carcase on the beach and judging by the size, I guessed it was a Gannet. Sure enough it was. It's always sad to see these magnificent birds washed up like this and it isn't usually obvious how they died. Sometimes when it is a juvenile, I assume that it didn't learn how to fish and maybe it starved, who knows? Going over to check for a ring, I saw that it wasn't natural causes that had ended this birds life. Around its body it had a plastic band around 3/4 inch wide - the sort used to secure large packages and boxes. The band was intact so all I can assume is that either it swam into it or by incredible odds, dived into it.

After the storm

The only other thing of note on the beach at Skaw was a party of 11 Turnstones, these birds must be returning south from breeding or are failed breeders - summer really is almost over, if you're a wader.

As I headed back southwards, I stopped in at Norwick beach for a short while as there was a lot of tern activity there. Just below where I stopped the car, a dozen or so Arctic Terns called noisily from the boulders just up from the waters edge. Amongst them were a number of recently fledged young who chased flies among the seaweed covered shore - and not catching many !

adult Arctic Tern

By Monday evening I'll be a bit nearer the Arctic in Iceland, so there won't be a post for over a week. Cheers.


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