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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Points North!

To the north of Yell lies the Island of Unst, which represents Britain's most northerly inhabited land mass. Please consult the map two posts below if you would like to see exactly where the island lies. The natural history of Unst is staggering and it is home to some of the largest seabird colonies in Europe and some of the rarest breeding birds in Britain. I was able to find a few...

The island of Muckle Flugga, Britain's most northerly outcrop. Strictly, the most northerly place where you can stand is the little rock just beyond the lighthouse. I am one of the privileged few who have actually stood on it! The smudge on the horizon is a cloud-bank, not distant land. The next land is the Arctic!

A closer view of Muckle Flugga lighthouse. When manned by keepers, they were the most northerly persons in Britain. Now the lighthouse is automatic, without keepers, anyone can become the most northerly person by walking out to the headland where this picture was taken. The white "wash" you can see on the rock faces is in fact...

...colonies of Gannets, our largest sea bird (as big as some albatrosses). Their guano gives the rocks the white-washed appearance.

Walking about in the heather you may stumble upon a baby bird like this - a Great Skua. This one is so young it still has the "egg-tooth" on its upper mandible, used for piercing its way out of the egg shell. You might never guess that such a sweet thing could...

...grow into such a vicious and piratical brute as this! They have no hesitation in...

...making an attack from the air on those who wander to close to their chicks. I have had more bangs on the back of my head from these birds when ringing (banding) their chicks than I care to remember!

Shetland is the British stronghold of the Red-throated Diver, an endangered species...

...whilst the Red-necked Phalarope is one of Britain's rarest breeding birds

Everybody's favourite, the Puffin, returns to relieve its mate incubating in a burrow...

...who gladly stretches her wings ready to fly out sea to catch her meal of sandeels.

And my personal favourite, the Maalie (Fulmar) is found nesting all around the cliffs

Sky Watch Friday

Maalie selects images from his albums of travel pictures for Skywatch

Click here for a complete list
of all the participants
of this week's Sky Watch!


Blogger Karen said...

Wonderful images !!

That solitary sheep in the first photo, looks so curious about what you are up too :-)

7:36 pm  
Anonymous Ninnu, Finland said...

Really lovely pictures! This is almost too much for me. It is so beautiful and fresh! I have always wanted to go to a place like that!

8:20 pm  
Blogger mkreider said...

Very fine photography... a pleasure to behold!

8:54 pm  
Blogger Steffi said...

Wonderful images!Really beautiful! A great place of the world where you live!

8:55 pm  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

How do you know the puffin is female?

Those skuas are beastly little oafs.

9:05 pm  
Blogger Merisi said...

I agree with Ninnu, these images are almost too beautiful to comprehend!

"Their guano gives the rocks the white-washed appearance" - that sentence made me laugh out loud: Guano -> white-wash! ;-)

9:12 pm  
Blogger simon said...

great photos again Jim, and again brings back fond memories

12:05 am  
Blogger Glennis said...

great photos, so many Gannets in the colony and a cute fluffy chick. Very scenic area.

10:25 am  
Anonymous auringonkukka :) said...

great photos :)
and have a nice weekend!

10:56 am  
Blogger Maria said...

What a lighthouse! Must be the lonliest place in the world! Great!

11:30 am  
Blogger Shammickite said...

Great stuff! Ilove northern climes. I'll be in Newfoundland soon.... YAY!

12:48 pm  
Blogger Arija said...

Magical post, views of the island, the birds, those adorable chicks and Puffins which I missed seeing in Iceland and have to content myself with pictures of.

2:39 pm  
Anonymous Mo said...

wonderful photos and information. I want to stand on that nothern most rock.

6:42 pm  
Blogger Regina said...

These are amazing!
The colonies, the lighthouse on top of the mountain, the soaring one. So beautiful.

Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed so much.

7:33 pm  
Blogger Secret Mom Thoughts said...

Great sky shots. You got some amazing shots of the birds.

8:34 pm  
Blogger This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Jim: That was certainly a feast for the eyes. Thanks so much for sharing.

9:53 pm  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Amazing pictures! Especially the birds, not known to me, along with that rugged land on which the lighthouse stands.

You make me interested to want to learn more about the Shetland Islands.

4:39 am  
Blogger Susan said...

Thanks for your comment. Of course, there are MANY other great countries I just have the personal knowledge about mine here in the USA. Remember our heritage is out of England :o)

2:05 pm  
Anonymous Melusine said...

Awesome shots!

10:46 pm  
Blogger Euroangel said...

great photos here..was in England last year but not in this your pix here...have a nice day!

1:24 pm  
Anonymous Marju said...

Just wonderful pictures!!

2:12 pm  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

I love the puffin. Wish we had some in Fenland.

8:27 pm  
Blogger Viola said...

Beautiful photos and birds and sky! I visited the Lake District once, long time ago. A nice place. :)

5:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh its very beautiful picture. i love to fly like a bird.


1:46 am  

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