Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Shetland Footprints Day 4

When the weather is not right for photography less important things need to happen, like the shopping for food or the use of free wifi in community cafes, this leaves your diary clear for when the sun shines.  Here on The Shetlands the weather can change totally in less than an hour and this coupled with news of wildlife sightings can force an immediate reaction. This morning we could see the clouds starting to clear and we were just about to move when we got a tip off that Orcas may be in the area, so we dropped everything and charged down the coast trying to get one step ahead. We found a beautifully named headland called the Scult of Laward, a rocky outcrop just north of Sumburgh lighthouse that we had to ourselves and that gave us a view right up the coast past Mousa towards Noss. These islands had been mentioned as the latest possible sightings. This place was home to Arctic Terns, Eider Ducks, Oyster Catchers, Turnstone and a couple of Grey Seals so watching the seas was never going to be boring.

Now the problem with relying on previous sightings is that wildlife is, by and large, unpredictable. This seems doubly so for cetaceans but all you can do is keep your fingers crossed. Eventually patience paid off and three black fins broke the surface and headed straight into our bay, circled around the headland close to the shore and us. Being able to watch these incredible creatures at such close quarters was amazing and another reason for us making the journey north. It turned out that there were at least four Orca and they swam around the headland giving us superb views, views that in my opinion just can’t be beaten by any other animal.

 All too soon though they had disappeared from sight, leaving us with the dilema of whether to guess again and head off west or to leave them and move on.
Well of course we didn't leave them, well not intentionally! A quick drive around to another bay, to the west, gave us stunning views of the Sumburgh Lighthouse but alas no more Orca.

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