Well, woke up to not a sign of snow or ice this morning. It hadn't stayed long anyway, perhaps about four days, and then the rain set in yesterday and seemed to not stop til this morning, although today has been more showery than constant rain. I may be able to get the sheep shelter up now before the next blast of bad weather comes. It's not so bad for the Shetland sheep. They are hardy and can withstand extremely bitter weather but the Soays are not so good in wind and rain and we can get more than our fair share of that in the winter. The climate's slightly warmer than the Gulf of Alaska, which lies on the same 60th parallel of latitude. At the moment we're not having too many hours of daylight either. Shetland winter will normally give us only about 6 hours of daylight. I'm feeding the sheep at about 1.00pm at the moment because after that the sky begins to darken and any 'good light' is all but past.
This has been a notable season in Shetland for that beautiful bird the waxwing.This is a photo I got last year in a friend's garden. Not a good photo I confess but it was taken through a window quickly!
Waxwings love apples!
Waxwings are scarce migrants to Shetland but will head here from Scandinavia if there is a shortage of berries there. They can normally be seen in October and November. On November 1st this year a flock of 55 were seen at a school in one of the northern Shetland Isles, Unst. That very same day, at the other end of the Shetland mainland, a group of about 40 was recorded. It was decided that it may be an interesting project to try to count how many waxwings were seen over that weekend. The estimated count, as near as possible for that 3 day 'weekend watch' was 975. The largest number ever recorded on one day was in 2004 and was 950. That season also saw the largest flock of 80 waxwings. I can't wait til' next year. We HAVE to beat that record again! The most we had in our garden at one time was five, but we are only establishing our garden. I think next year we could put some apples in the hedge, or other fruit. We are beginning to get more unusual birds now that my husband has made the garden bird friendly. It takes time to establish a garden properly.
I'll leave you with a couple of flower photos that I took in the garden this year. I am no use with flowers but my husband is a green-fingered genius!! I'm so glad!
I'll be back soon. Hopefully by then the sheep shelter will have been put up and I'll have a photo to post.
Take care and come back soon.