Hello, another week has drifted by with a mix of weather and further signs of summer merging into autumn. The undoubted highlight of the week was a trip to the cliffs behind our house. The sea was flat calm and a pod of c30-40 Atlantic white sided dolphins had been tracked along our coast, with them now distantly off Levenwick but moving South.
Arriving at the cliffs, the sizeable pod was quickly picked up, but distant (hence the photos), but it was brilliant to watch them diving out of the water and splashing through the flat calm seascape.
Whilst waiting for the pod to come closer in, I picked up a few harbour porpoise close in, and panning to the right another fin briefly arched through my binocular view. I waited for a further few minutes until the next view, Minke! Brilliant, my first Minke, with a second in tow. Superb to be watching 3 cetacean species so close to home!
Arriving back home, news came through they were actually entering the bay at Boddam. A quick dash into the garden, and there they were (not in the garden) dancing through the waves at the mouth to Boddam voe. Excellent.
Flocks of wading birds continue to grow, with 42 oystercatcher, 8 golden plover, 22 turnstone and 16 whimbrel on one day in the field in front of the house. The long tailed skua continues to hang around, on some days flying around the bay viewable from the front room with Arctics.
The decent weather has allowed for some more storm petrel ring sessions, with another 2 Leach's petrel caught at Sumburgh Head, with one bearing a ring- ringed on Fair Isle on 11th July.
A storm petrel contained a Danish ring, and a couple more were ringed somewhere in the UK, so we are waiting for details.
As summer drifts in autumn, the cliffs will start to clear soon, with puffins and other auks getting ready to head out to sea, but for now, we are still able to enjoy a superb showing from the charismatic puffins on the cliffs around here.
With monitoring now complete, it is time to compile the data from the season, and begin preparations for a busy few month's of practical management, organising grazing and planning.
In just a few short weeks time. we will be starting to see the first real sign of passerine autumn migration, with more than a few surprises to look forward to in the month's ahead.
We are off on a cliff top walk tomorrow. a spot of rock pooling and a bit of a walk on the beach.
Apologies for the shortness of this blog, I am having issues with the blog, it doesn't seem to be working right, but hopefully ok for next week.