The second I could make a reservation for a Seabirds and Seals tour, I did so! I was looking forward to this so much, and thankfully the weather cooperated (it is not unusual for these sea tours to get canceled because of wind conditions). I had read nothing but great reviews for this company, and I was really looking forward to up close and personal with the gannet colonies of Noss. And seeing the huge numbers of them on the cliffs from the sea is very dramatic (as I learned from my trip to St. Kilda in 2018).
But first, the most important meal of the day!
I decided to take the bus again, this time into Lerwick to catch the Original Noss Boat. So much easier than driving and trying to park!
With any trip, no matter how much time you’ve got, some things just don’t happen. I had hoped to ferry to Bressay and then on to Noss to walk around those islands a bit, but it didn’t happen. Which makes me even happier that I got to take the Noss Boat tour.
We took a detour into this sea cave, where we got a good view of a shag drying his wings, with his mate nearby!
The following picture is hard to make out, but it’s a Great Skua predating a dead gannet. That gannet is probably dead from avian flu – there is a serious outbreak in the Shetland Islands right now, mostly impacting the gannet and skua populations. I saw a LOT of dead birds on beaches, and really everywhere. To see the skua making a meal and then probably getting sick itself, and taking the highly contagious disease back to its nesting grounds — so, so sad.
Fortunately, there are a great number of gannets that are not ill, and are nesting in great numbers. I’ll be curious to see what the final mortality numbers mean for the upcoming years’ breeding populations.
One of the features of this tour was the “feeding of the gannets.” Marie threw out fish for the gannets to dive for, and I had my video camera on the scene but forgot to push PLAY. One final still of one flying away from the feast.
We parked the boat over a shipwreck and they sent down a robot camera. I didn’t take any photos, but it was great! Lots of life down under there!
I had seen so few kitties my entire trip! Finally, a couple of Lerwick cats enjoying the fine weather.
Since I’d not gotten any walking in, I decided to stroll out to the Knab, a strip of land on the edge of Lerwick proper. It’s a stiff climb to the top, and totally worth it.
And back down toward the bus and a closer look at this sculpture. Engraved with scenes of the fishing industry, and text in the Shetland dialect.
Before heading to the bus, I managed to find a department store where I could buy some PJs. My super light packing didn’t leave me any room for clothes to relax in, so since I didn’t have to haul a pack on my back for a few weeks, I decided to go for it. And ain’t they cute!
2 June, 2022
Leave a Reply