Shetland June 2014

Late June is a fabulous time to visit Shetland.

Late evening light on Quendale Bay
It generally doesn't bother getting dark. The islands aren't quite far enough north to see the midnight sun, but since the sun only just dips below the horizon somewhere north-of-northwest, and soon afterwards reappears somewhere north-of-northeast it really doesn't get properly dark. This is tough if you were hoping to see the Northern Lights (best come back in winter, when it does get really dark), but fabulous otherwise. The locals refer to the light that persists at this time of year as the Simmer Dim, and on the 21st June (which is also Shetland's flag day) it has been known to have a party or two.

Looking to sea on St Ninian's Isle
In late June, the verges and hillsides are covered with wild flowers and the sea cliffs and headlands are overcrowded with sea birds.  The puffins always put in an appearance, but they aren't the only attraction. The cliffs are also busy with guillemots, razorbills, fulmar and kittiwakes, and in a few places you'll find black guillemots too. Elsewhere there are also oystercatchers doing their best to ensure that you notice them (by flying past peeping enthusiastically).  The terns and the great skuas (the tirricks and the bonxies, locally) will do more than peep if you get too close to where they think you shouldn't be - and will draw blood on occasion. Yours not theirs.

One of many puffins (amongst the sea pinks) at Sumburgh Head
Arctic tern in the evening light
Black guillemot
In fact, I guess (tirricks and bonxies aside) the only real problem with being of Shetland at this time of year are the crowds.
Crowds on the beach, St Ninian's Isle
Sometimes you even have to share the beach with someone else.

If you want a few more puffin pictures from the most recent visit to Shetland - there is a selection on Flickr.

And if you really want more puffin pictures, and other pictures too, there is now a selection available for sale on my new online shop on Etsy, as were as on my North South Images website.

No comments: