Saturday, 23 August 2014

From South to Nort' : Birding with Steve Carter

In February of this year, I was contacted by Steve Carter from Hertfordshire asking me if I could show him some of Yell's birds, mammals and scenery while he was up here in early August.
After a couple of months of planning, Steve came up to Yell all the way from Hertfordshire and I went up to Cullivoe to meet him.
I got there just around 1040 and a van was being unloaded full of the gear for Steve and all the others that were staying in Cullivoe.
Steve came out and we shook hands before beginning to talk about the day ahead.
There was still a bit of unloading to do so I headed in with Steve and after a while we were ready to set off.
First we headed south to Gutcher to get shots of seabirds. ie. Gannets, Fulmars and Shags.

A very deeply coloured Yarrow flower

Alot of Gannets

A closer shot

My Gannet shots weren't that great but I'm learning

A very low dive

Still working on it

A bit of Gannet Photography

Steve and I then headed off in search of more species, our next was Red-throated Diver which we managed to spot from the road.
We headed further south to Basta Voe and we met a couple who said about a Merganser with chicks at Mid Yell, so we headed off in search of them.
We searched in the Voe at Mid Yell but with no luck so I asked Charlie Inkster if he had any idea.
Charlie told me that he had seen the birds at the Head of the Voe so we headed off there.
Still no luck though so north we headed, back to Cullivoe.
The Van pulled back up at the Community Centre and we went in for a few minutes before heading north to Kirk Loch and Breakon Beach.
Four of us headed off and after checking a Trout Loch or two we reached Kirk Loch but it was devoid of birds so Breakon was next.
Steve and I headed down to Breakon Beach, a first look produced no birds so we had a look at the hundreds of Sea Rocket plants before scanning the beach for birds.
We managed to pick out a flock of Arctic Terns and a summer plumage Sanderling! we slowly edged closer to the birds and I had a quick look out to sea and I spotted three Great Northern Divers (presumably the three birds I saw a few weeks ago).
Steve rolled off a few photos and we carried on to get closer and by the time we reached the other end of the beach it was time to head back.
The four of us got back in the Van and headed back to the Cullivoe Community Centre, the kettle was put on and I gave my Mam a call for a lift back home.
I sat with the rest of the group in the main room for the next twenty minutes before Steve and I headed outside.
After a few minutes we met Jim Nangle (A local birder) and Lynn Thomson, we were speaking to Jim about me having to head to Fair Isle tomorrow and that I wouldn't be able to show Steve around any more and we were wondering if Jim would be able to help out.
I'll have to thank Jim very much on this one because he took Steve around Unst for a look.
My Mam showed up five minutes later and I shook hands with Steve and that ended our Birding Trip.

I very much enjoyed showing Steve around Yell, we may not be the Island with a history of great rarities but we make do with all of our other birds.
I hope that Steve and I will get a chance at Birding again if he's ever back in the Isles or if I'm ever near his county.

Steve does his own blog so I've put the address to it below (but I can't get the hyperlink to work).

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