Saturday, 1 June 2013

Foggy fantastic Fair Isle by ferry...

After the organisation of family, flights, accommodation and meetings to go to Fair Isle to audit the core paths there I woke up to fog! It eventually lifted here but not in Fair Isle, so all flights were off. Rather than cancel the trip I opted to go on the Good Shepherd IV from Lerwick; a four hour trip that many just wouldn't do, but I fancied it and it's cheaper too!


A hold being filled with supplies and house hold goods for the islanders...


The sea was flat calm pretty much all the way, certainly nothing to get excited about. With the conditions I had high hopes of seeing some whales or dolphins, but sadly hopes were all I had.

Here's a video of the highlights of the trip on the Good Shepherd...




Mareel and Haydock was looking pretty...


Life on the water was relatively quiet but there were fulmars, herring gulls, common gulls, shags, gannets, guillemots and puffins along the way.


The ferry crew kindly agreed to take us through Mousa Sound for a view of the broch...


For all the the crossing was fine by the time we arrived at just before 8pm after four hours I was pretty tired, not to mention starving.

North Haven, Fair Isle...


Fair Isle Bird Observatory nestled on the side of North Haven was to be my home for a couple of nights...


Looking back to The Obs from Bu Ness...


Presumably the fog horn at the North Lighthouse is out of action as we didn't hear it despite the often thick fog on Thursday and Friday...



The fog horn itself is in a very dramatic location along a narrow ridge...


At the opposite end of the island is the South Lighthouse which is also a B & B. Not such a dramatic setting, but certainly a lovely one...



This little valley near The Obs reminded me very much of places on the North York Moors back home. It is also one that helps funnel  birds into the heligoland traps that are in this part of the island...


At the top of it are the remains of some mills with a collection of old millstones strewn about...


Even in the fog the coastal-scape is stunning, though some of the higher bit were just too shrouded in fog such as Sheep rock and Malcolm's Head.









For all I was pretty much walking the coast and logging up a list of work to discuss with a local contractor there is obviously a lot of bird life to see, though some times there seemed more bird watchers than birds!

I also saw this grand old sheep...


And sadly was introduced to this dead gannet...


 There was plenty of live bird life too though with the ever popular puffins...


And wonderful Arctic Skuas...



And many many more species that I either didn't see or wouldn't have known if I did see. I did see a small flock of snow buntings which was nice and a first for me. Another treat if you can call going out at 7am a treat was to follow the staff checking the traps before breakfast. Things had been pretty quiet with the fog, but we found a pair of twites and a blackbird when I went round with them.

Mr Twite (see his red rump) on the left and Mrs on the right...


Mr Twite...


Being weighed is never pleasant but atleast he doesn't have to see the numbers!


Inspecting the twite for the amount of muscle and fat on it...


Mrs Blackbird had to under go similar indignities after having her new bracelet fitted...


 Checking the feathers to gauge the age. She was only 1.


Measuring the wing...


It seems this size yogurt pot is just right for black birds, I think there was a bucket outside for the bonxies LOL!


Sadly all good things must come to and end and just as the weather came good on Saturday and the flights were back on schedule it was time for me to leave after one last meeting. I really enjoyed my stay on Fair Isle, so many thanks to all the the staff from The Obs who make it such a great place to stay and also all the other visitors who were friendly and and full of conversation. One thing is for sure, I'll be back...



2 comments:

  1. Excellent - as usual - glad to see you had a wonderful time despite the fog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeh it was a great couple of days. Ta!

      Delete