The common eider, or dunter in Shetland dialect, is one of our most recognisable duck species. Between the distinctive black and white plumage of the males and the unique wedge-shaped beak, they really don’t look like any other species. However, at this time of year, moulting males take on an altogether different appearance that can […]
The northern gannet is the UK’s largest seabird and is, in adult plumage at least, instantly recognisable. Although small numbers can be seen around our coasts in most months of the year, summer is the best time to catch up with them. This is because by June birds are back at their busy clifftop and
This content contains affiliate links to Bookshop.org. When you buy through these links, I may earn an affiliate commission. To celebrate St Patrick’s Day, let me introduce you to some of my favourite places in Ireland: Galway’s islands. Having grown up on the Isle of Wight, islands have always had a special fascination for me.
Eight months or so of living in Shetland is coming to end today. Only ever a temporary home, myself and my partner have made sure to make the most of our brief time living in this amazing archipelago. With some incredible scenery, fantastic wildlife, a vibrant cultural scene and friendly people, Shetland has much to
This content contains affiliate links to Bookshop.org. When you buy through these links, I may earn an affiliate commission. Every summer, UK tabloids set out to demonise the UK’s ‘seagulls’. To these papers, our gulls are aggressive vermin, out to steal our chips and ice creams. For many birdwatchers, though, they are admirable and beautiful
July’s bird of the month is the black guillemot. Non-birders are probably not as familiar with this dapper little auk as its showbiz cousin the puffin. It is probably also less well known than the common guillemot and razorbill due to its much smaller range. However, it is a fascinating seabird and approaches life in
When I first visited Shetland 11 years ago, one of the many highlights was a dusk trip over to the small island of Mousa, an RSPB reserve. Mousa is famous for two things. The first is the most complete Iron Age broch still standing, of which more in a moment. The second claim to fame
My bird of the month for June is a bit of a cheat as I want to talk about a pair of species: Arctic and common terns. These very similar looking summer migrants can be difficult to tell apart without good views. The amalgamation of the two names, ‘commic tern’, can be useful in these