Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Summer time

If any of you have seen the latest BBC Wildlife magazine then I hope you read the article about Great Skuas or Bonxies as they are known in Shetland. The photos for the article were taken on Hermaness NNR back in 2009, by Andrew Parkinson, he's a really good wildlife photographer, and his website is well worth a look.

I've been out a few times to try and get some good photos of the Bonxies flying past a setting sun. This is fraught with difficulty, it looks like a good evening, and then along comes a big cloud and blots out the sun, or there is a big cloud bank out to sea so the sun is too bright when it disapears. Autofocus sometimes gets a bit confused when you try and track the bird, and switching from focusing on the left side to the right side is a faff when birds are wheeling about all over the place, so manual focus is order of the day. And most importantly is finding somewhere to sit where you're not disturbing them but where they are flying around between you and the sun! As you can see below, it works out OK eventually!

Bonxie shortly before sunset

On one of my weekly wanders around the Keen of Hamar NNR I came across this very sweet little bundle of fluff. I would probably never have found it had I not noticed it running around before it froze, but that is the general idea to stop it becoming something elses dinner.

Ringed Plover chick

Ringed Plover chicks hide very well!

Most of the flowers on the Keen of Hamar have finished flowering. One of the plants I didn't get into my last blog though was the moonwort. It is at most 20mm tall, and a very interesting little plant almost looking like some kind of Cobra.


Most of the campion has gone over now too, the incredible vivid pink is difficult to capture on camera and reproduce on screen, so I had to play a little with the next picture to get it looking true to life.


There are lots of other flowers out now though, which I hope to be able to get some photos of in the next week or so. I don't think I have ever seen such an incredible carpet of Ragged Robin as there is in the fields around Haroldswick.


  1. What a superb bonxie picture, patience rewarded!
    Your flower pictures are great too, & with Unst meadows a profusion of wild flowers, what a gorgeous place to be able to spend some time.

  2. Great blog, Alastair! It was really nice to meet you in Hermaness last week and see you rescuing the gannet. I will send you the image I took then by email. Could you then also send me the photos you took from the kayakers? Keep up the good work on Shetland!