39. Day Six in Shetland: Storm Petrels at Mousa Broch

The main event of this day: heading out after sunset with the fine folks of the Mousa Boat to see the storm petrels come in from the sea to nest in the wall of the Mousa Broch. I had heard of this phenomenon before I made my final decision to go to Shetland in June 2021. Little did I know, it would turn out to be one of my favorite adventures of the trip!

I didn’t do much on this day besides start gathering my stuff for departure early Monday morning. I drove to Lerwick to fill up my gas tank so I wouldn’t have to think about it. (Petrol is as expensive here, as it should be everywhere. My probably unpopular opinion is that people on holiday should have to pay even more, to subsidize those who have driving jobs — including boats. I never did figure out quite what the cost per liter was, but I think it came out to around US$11 a gallon. Fair enough.)

9:45 PM. I know, right??
9:55 PM, about a half hour before sunset.
Those kids were having such fun! They were wearing wetsuits and jumping and playing in the water.
On approach, about 11:15 PM.
This is a great opportunity to hear the Shetlander dialect, along with seeing the darting flight of the storm petrels and hearing their chirring calls.
Lots of drama in that sky. Over an hour after sunset.
This is such an ancient and mysterious place. A bit eerie.
Sorry for all the bumps and rustles. After that stops, volume up!
I was wonderstruck. This was my first full simmer dim night!
I recommend embiggening this so you can really see the petrels flying in.
The sky and the isle are full of mystery, light and dark.
Volume up for the full effect. The storm petrels next in the stone walls in fields, and also in the stony beach above the water line.
And then the even brighter moon rose above the clouds in the still-light sky.

I was so amped after finally getting home (around 1:45 AM), I stayed up for at least another hour reflecting on this amazing experience, and listening to my recordings of the petrels chirring, rhythmic song.

4 June, 2022


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