Our final day and we had a more leisurely start after a long day and a late night. We headed up to a coastal site on the North mainland to see the rare oyster plant, found at only a couple of sites in Shetland. This pretty little blue-flowered plant survives on the rocky shores here in just a few places.
With the wind picking up, we drove up to the cliffs at Eshaness. There is no better place to experience Shetland than up on this spectacular headland. The wind was mighty blustery up there and, with blue skies and excellent visibility, it was beautiful!
Hugh took this picture of the group standing on the cliffs… you can only gauge the scale of this place when you have people in the shot….
The views are simply breath-taking!
It was rather windy up there… and the best way to demonstrate that was to take my hat off!!…
Next, we headed back South and to the otter location that I had placed the Bushnells when I first arrived. We took a look at the site and showed the group some of the signs that otters are around. This site has clear otter spraint areas and we could see where the ground had been worn smooth with the otters in and out. Patches of lush grass showed where they commonly spraint, marking their territory.
I collected the Bushnells and hoped that we would have captured some good footage… I was not disappointed!
I have merged together a selection of the best day and night clips from the card. Most of the clips are of a dog otter. You will see him rubbing himself up against a rock, making his territory with his anal glands . You can also see the piles of spraint within the cave-like entrance.
I also captured some night-time clips. Again, this is a collection of clips, merged. I was delighted to get one capture with the female and 2 cubs. This appears to be mainly a male holt area and records of females visiting such holts is rarely documented, so this makes these clips much more special. Listen out for the cubs’ vocalisations as well…
I also set a camera at this spraint site that is close. Again, there is a lot evidence that this area is commonly used and you can see how much the grass has grown at the base, due to the increased fertilisation. This is a female with her two grown-up cubs.
Sharing the clips with the group, they were obviously thrilled to be able to have such good views of these wonderful Shetland mustelids; it was a fitting end to what has been a truly incredible week!
It is always sad to say goodbye to guests who have become friends over the week. A massive thank you to Brian, Peggy, Chris, Anita, Diane, Zoe and David … if you enjoyed this trip half as much as I did, then you will have had a very memorable time on the Isles of Shetland. Of course, another massive ‘Thank you’ to Hugh Harrop of Shetland Wildlife. His knowledge, enthusiasm and organisation skills that ensured we saw as much as we did this week.
I am delighted to say that Hugh and I will be running the same trip this time next year!
Fancy joining us?? Check out the Shetland Wildlife website and this trip will appear shortly….so, until next year……