Shetland Day 1

by Stuart And Barbara Robertson April. 29, 2017 1525 views

The lovely croft we have rented for the week we are here. Near Walls, on a quiet peninsula. A tranquil bucolic location

The end of a loch coming in from the North Sea. The young couple who own the croft have a sheep farm all around and are very busy with lambing now. Sheep everywhere on the island

Our first full day here, we got up at 4:30 to be in Lerwick for 5:30 to go out birding. We passed this loch with amazing early morning light

Once we got out to the island of Noss, about a 30 minute ride from Lerwick, we were surrounded by sea birds. The whole island is a bird sanctuary

Guillemots nest on the high cliffs. They are hard to distinguish from the Razorbills who also frequent these cliffs

Gannets prefer sandstone cliffs which have better ledges from erosion. They spend their entire life at sea except when they come in to large colonies to breed.

Fabulous sun rise over the North Sea

The gannet is a well-designed bird for diving for fish

The boat captain had brought some fish and the gannets were hungry. The large shoals of mackerel and herring have not arrived off the coast as yet. In the summer the birds are less interested in the captain's fish. The photo here was of one of the first birds to respond to the offered fish. The bird plunged into the sea to grab the sinking fish, then quickly surfaced to move his catch into position for swallowing. 

Garnets will dive from up to 40 metres in the air, going to depths of 10 meters into the water for fish. Once into the water, they seemed to need time to recover before taking off again. 

Nice sequence of chasing a fish

Note how they fold their wings to dive. They also have binocular vision which is good for spotting fish even underwater. They can enter the water at speeds of 100 kilometres an hour

The Guillemots did not get involved in the feeding frenzy as they are smaller and eat smaller fish

This rock formation is off the small island of Bressay, as we were returning to Lerwick. Known locally as the Giant's Leg, our guide felt it looked more like an elephant

A lighthouse on Bressay. It is now automated and the keepers house is available for a holiday rental. Nice place and also very quiet. Behind, you can see some of the buildings of Lerwick on the main island.

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Elisabeth Kaufmann 3 years, 8 months ago

Thank you for sharing those fabulous pictures. A trip for my bucket list. My ancestors must have been Scottish :)

3 years, 8 months ago Edited
Stuart And Barbara Robertson Replied to Elisabeth Kaufmann 3 years, 8 months ago

I am sure they were. From the very mountainous part of Scotland where they speak Swiss German!! But this is an amazingly beautiful and stark place. With lambs everywhere right now. 'Tis the season....

3 years, 8 months ago Edited
Phyllis 3 years, 8 months ago

absolutely gorgeous photos!!

3 years, 8 months ago Edited
Stuart And Barbara Robertson Replied to Phyllis 3 years, 8 months ago

Thanks Phyllis. Such a photogenic place. Simply beautiful

3 years, 8 months ago Edited