Monday, 25 June 2018

Shetland's Sea Birds

No film reviews today on this blog so instead I'll share another blog about our trip to Shetland!

Sumburgh Head is one of the best places for seeing seabirds in Shetland. One of the wonderful things about this place is that you can get so close to the birds, specially the puffins


The puffins are such characterful birds and are great fun to watch as they waddle around on the tops of the cliffs, going in and out of their burrows (which were often originally rabbit burrows).

It was lovely to watch them collecting nest material

checking out burrows

and greeting each other

There are other sea birds here too including fulmars


and guillemots 
 and there's a special type of bumble bee here - the Shetland  bumble bee, which is very pretty and only (as far as I know) found in Shetland and the Hebrides.

It's all very beautiful but only a pale shadow of what it used to be. Most species of sea birds are declining across the UK and Shetland is particularly badly hit. In 2000 there were over 33,000 puffins on Shetland, last year there were around 570. Read this article to find out more about seabirds in Shetland and this article to find out more about how puffins are faring across the UK.

One sea bird that is thriving in Shetland is the storm petrel, which has thousands of pairs nesting on the island of Moussa. The petrels nest in the cracks between stones in the beaches and walls on the island. We went on a late night boat trip to see the petrels and it's a wonderful experience to have them flying round your head as they come in to their nest sites. You can also hear them all calling from the walls and the beach, quite a haunting sound!


eileeninmd said...

I love the puffins. Awesome photos. Enjoy your day and new week ahead!

Lowcarb team member said...

Wonderful post.
I enjoyed seeing all of your photographs, the puffins are super.

All the best Jan

Caroline Gill said...

What an exciting boat trip, Juliet. I have never been to Shetland and have always thought it sounds a wonderful place to go with its Puffins etc. But those figures are indeed startling...

We saw a few Puffins off Bempton on our journey south this year, but no puffling sightings this time. I look forward to catching up on your other Shetland posts...