I'd just started writing a blog post when Susannah burst in to announce 'Killer Whales North Haven!'. OK, so the blog can wait as Grace is swaddled, optics are grabbed and we go haring out the Obs. The lucky islander who had phoned had seen a bull, two females and a calf right in the Haven, but they'd just headed out and he hadn't been able to see which way they'd gone. We gambled on North, but checking from Furse and North Light produced nothing (and was so windy we had to hold on to Grace!), so a quick change of direction and south we went.
No orcas here, but dramatic sky and seas in the view west from North Light.
Whilst driving past Dutfield, Susannah saw a mighty fin close in to Goorn. It surfaced twice, but was gone by the time I managed to park and grab my bins - I'd dipped again (hopefully not an omen for the new year)! If we'd stayed in the Obs we'd probably have got great views from the lounge, but that's always the gamble with Killer Whales, and I'm not complaining after my sightings last year. A vigil at South Harbour failed to produce anything cetacean-wise, but at least there were some birds as consolation, with a Merlin chasing Rock Pipits a pleaant sight. Best bird though was the second winter Iceland Gull that dropped in briefly, as Fair Isle finally cashed in on the white-winged bonanza that the rest of Shetland is enjoying!
Beautiful, but totally orcaless.
The drive back also produced six White-fronts and a Pink-foot in with the Greylags, but the ferocious wind generally made birding difficult. With a calmer day forecast for tomorrow, perhaps something may turn up. The good folk at Nature in Shetland have posted on Facebook that January 8th in the past has turned up Tengmalm's Owl, Ross's Gull and Bittern on Shetland, any of those would do me tomorrow (and we'll probably open the Obs early for the season if we get a Tengmalm's!).