June 2nd – 3rd – Shetland, the northern isles of Yell and Unst.   Leave a comment

On the 2nd June after birding at Quendale and East Burra, Paul took us north to the island of yell, where a Black-headed Bunting had been seen for the previous few days. unfortunately it had gone. Paul’s car suffered a puncture and we had to go even further north to the island of Unst to get it fixed.

We didn’t have enough time to explore the riches of Unst properly so we returned, along with Liz, on the 3rd and took a long walk over the moors to Seito on the north-west cliffs, then north to Hermaness, the most northerly point you can practically reach in the UK.

The weather remained cold with a stiff northerly breeze, but it was sunny and felt quite warm in the few sheltered places. We birded a few more sites on the way back but saw little except for breeding waders.

Margaret and I reach the most northerly point of the island of Unst. Behind us are Muckle Flugga and Out Stack the most northerly points of the UK.

The cliffs of Hermaness, at the north end of the island of Unst.

Nesting Gannets cover the offshore stacks.

On my last visit to Seito in 1982, we saw a Black-browed Albatross that had built a nest in the dip on this ridge, just right of centre. It returned here for several years.

Notice the green tinge to these Gannet nests. This is caused by discarded fishing nets that the birds incorporate into their nests and often become entangled as a result.

Gannets were constantly on the move offshore

Rock stacks and arches litter the base of the cliffs.

Lambs lie on the very lip of the abyss.

Puffins (or Tammie Norie in local parlance) used to sit on the cliff tops in large numbers but increased predation by Bonxies means they now fly directly to their burrows.

No visit to Hermaness would be complete without a visit to the Bonxie (or Great Skua) colony.

Bonxies attack anyone approaching their nest. They seldom strike but come very close and are quite intimidating.

This was taken with a wide-angle lens, you can see how close these large and aggressive birds will come.

And of course we had to photograph Unst’s famous bus shelter. Starting out when someone added a couple of comfy chairs for the kids to sit on, it snowballed into a fully furnished mock flat – with its own website!

For the Unst Bus Shelter website see http://www.unstbusshelter.shetland.co.uk/index.html

Posted June 21, 2012 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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