After last weekend’s high excitement, this weekend’s been a more low-key affair. I’ve been putting the finishing touches on a piece of natural history writing that’s been a few months in the making; and haven’t really had much time for heading out birding.
Looking out of the window, that’s not been a lot to suggest I’m missing too much – the same suspects have remained in the garden since last weekend – a feisty Redstart decimating the craneflies that are hatching out of the lawn, and officially Shetland’s happiest Blackcap – a male that’s spending his days gorging on the windfall apples I’ve been impaling on the old Christmas tree skeletons that serve as bird feeders and perches. I tend not to think of Blackcaps as frugivores, but this one certainly is, and he’s in no hurry to move on now he’s found such an abundance of fruit.
I took a brief wander this morning to see if there was much happening beyond the garden’s boundaries. A Whinchat on the fences beside the track to the house suggested there might be some cause for optimism – but beyond plenty of Meadow Pipits there wasn’t much more sign of migration and the plantation was silent – no warblers of any kind calling, let alone the vocal (but secretive) Eastern Olivaceous Warbler of last weekend.
I worked my way back home along the shore, stopping at the beach to look – with much hope, as always – for cowries. I could only find one, but there was plenty of another, much more animate form of marine life a little way offshore – a vigorously feeding pod of Harbour Porpoises. I think there must have been north of 20 animals out there, rolling through the small waves. I spent a while watching them, hoping for a Minke Whale too… but with no joy on this occasion. A distant photo and a lone cowrie were all I could take away from this encounter.