White-sided Dolphins and Edmonston’s Chickweeds

It’s been a fabulous last couple of weeks, starting with the Killer Whales and moving through a broad canvas of all that’s good about being out and about during the Shetland summer. Last week remained blisteringly hot throughout, and the roads started to melt while we were on Fetlar. Crazy stuff.

The wildlife has been as diverse as you could wish for. The Killer Whales were just one highlight amongst many… a dog Otter spending an hour fishing just offshore… summer-plumaged Red-throated and Great Northern Divers… singing Marsh Warbler… a confiding Mountain Hare on the roadside verge… Gannets plunge-diving around our boat… Arctic Skuas twisting and turning mid-air while harrying Arctic Terns… Red-necked Phalaropes pattering over the water after flies, like colourful petrels… the magnificent Edmonston’s Chickweed in it’s full glory*… a Red-backed Shrike impaling bumblebees on a barbed wire fence… a pod of White-sided Dolphins leaping clean from the water as they passed close by the shore… Golden Plovers shepherding their chicks through the heather… understated Frog Orchids… and Crossbills everywhere.

frog orchid

* may contain some element of lie. Edmonston’s Chickweed never fails to underwhelm me – a classic case of rarity providing the attraction in the face of the overwhelming facts. They’re small. Very small. And a bit drab. Anything that elicits an “is that it?” is always on an uphill struggle.

Edmonston's Chickweed

Speaking of Crossbills, they’re all over the shop. Seen from the bus on several occasions flying up from verges to perch on the wire fences; amongst the Bonxies on Unst; perching on chimney pots. And in fields and bushes. JLI tells me there are still good numbers near to home, so maybe tonight or tomorrow I’ll finally get one on the moribund house yearlist. Weather permitting – it turned grey and cooler at the weekend, just in time for me getting my camera back and the dolphins being found.

White-sided Dolphin1

White-sided Dolphin2


2 Responses

  1. Hi Jon,
    Can only echo your thoughts on what a great week it was. Got home to find my SD card was corrupt, fortunately the London Camera Exchange (no apologies for the advert) retrieved 95% of my images FOC. Will sort out the best this weekend and forward the Orca ones to you.
    Gary and Anna

  2. Thanks Gary, that’d be great. You must have been devastated to find the card broken – and well done to LCE for saving the day. 😉

    How’s the IOW? Keep your eyes peeled for Blue-cheeked Bee-eater!


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