May has not been a good month for me. I am sorry for the silence, but for the past 5 weeks I have had a chest infection which will not go. (Yes, doctors etc are involved!)
There have been signs of spring. Some signs, like the lambs. These are pure Shetlands which live free range on West Hill.
The Skuas have also returned. These are large sea birds which breed on the island. The Arctic Skua is the smaller of the two main breeds. It comes in two forms – light phase and dark phase – and both breed here. This is a light phase Arctic Skua on the nest.
The Great Skuas are known locally as Bonxies. They are big birds which prey on smaller ones. One result of this on Flotta is a smaller number of Eider Duck, as the Bonxies devour the chicks. They tend to nest on slight hillocks in the heather.
Towards the end of the month I had people over and we went puffin hunting one evening. Typically the puffins did not cooperate – I saw one disappear into its burrow but by the time I had told folk where to look it had gone! But we did explore some of the WW2 ruins. This is one of the gun emplacements guarding the entrance to Scapa Flow.