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John's Mammals 2019

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Old Tuesday 8th October 2019, 21:25   #76
Farnboro John
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No further Orca sightings for us to date. The daily diet mammal-wise is Rabbits, Grey and Common Seals in varying proportions, but today a trip South gave Roy and I decent views of Harbour Porpoises in West Voe, looking from Scatness, in addition.

Bird-wise it's not quite delivering despite seemingly hopeful weather conditions, but what may have been a new Olive-backed Pipit at Sandwick (certainly it was a lot more showy than the Hoswick individual of last week!) gave a photo-opp of sorts this morning.

John

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Harbour Porpoises
Goldcrest
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Old Tuesday 8th October 2019, 21:40   #77
ClarkWGriswold
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Cracking photos John.
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Old Tuesday 8th October 2019, 22:16   #78
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Cracking photos John.
Cheers Rich, the Orcas were amazing, we were lucky to be on hand for them.

John
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Old Thursday 10th October 2019, 09:20   #79
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More good Harbour Porpoise views yesterday near Laxfirth, along with some hauled-out Common Seals. Still no Otters, that's something we miss from Hillswick. Birding a bit uphill and best bird of the day for us only a Pied Flycatcher at Sandgarth.

John
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Old Friday 11th October 2019, 18:45   #80
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Last full day and finally connected with an adult female Otter with two youngsters in tow, just down the road near Bixter. I saw them first while out specifically searching for Otters and later Roy and I had excellent views of the family coming ashore from the voe, playing in a fresh water pool and then the mother trying to return to the voe with her offspring but finding repeatedly that one of them was determined to stay and play in the pool! She and the other juvenile came back several times and eventually the independent-minded one consented to follow his mum.

Both Grey and Common Seals were present in the sea loch and we saw rabbits in several places. I have forgotten to mention that a couple of days ago we saw a Black Rabbit in a colony at Laxfirth: they are quite common on Shetland which has few avian predators for them to worry about.

In between times we had a Yellow-browed Warbler in our local wood and two more over at Aith in Michael's wood, along with an elusive Long-eared Owl.

John
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Old Saturday 12th October 2019, 16:16   #81
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What a cool thread. Thanks for sharing these photos.
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Old Saturday 12th October 2019, 22:44   #82
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Just a few local hares recently

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Old Sunday 13th October 2019, 21:44   #83
Farnboro John
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What a cool thread. Thanks for sharing these photos.
Thank you and welcome! Feel free to add your own contributions: tales of sightings, pictures, sharing hot sites for any species. If wild mammals are your thing you may find mammalwatching.com a useful resource as well, though I think BF has more of a community feel. Quite a few BFers seem to turn up over there...

John
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Old Friday 1st November 2019, 21:32   #84
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Some local Muntjac and Chinese Water Deer from Last Weekend

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Old Friday 1st November 2019, 21:34   #85
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Some small mammal trapping for Mammal week last week only threw down 10 traps one night and got 10 captures, Harvest mouse, common shrew 2x bank vole the rest wood mice

Mark
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Old Thursday 14th November 2019, 21:37   #86
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While travelling for work, and during brief lunch time visits, a Red Squirrel at Vane Farm RSPB (where they are approachable) and Brown Rat at Pennington Flash (where they have sort of over-run the bird feeding station).

Regarding the rats, I have seen one catch an eat a Blue Tit in the past , so hopefully they do not interfere with the vulnerable Willow Tit population.
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Old Thursday 14th November 2019, 22:52   #87
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While travelling for work, and during brief lunch time visits, a Red Squirrel at Vane Farm RSPB (where they are approachable) and Brown Rat at Pennington Flash (where they have sort of over-run the bird feeding station).

Regarding the rats, I have seen one catch an eat a Blue Tit in the past , so hopefully they do not interfere with the vulnerable Willow Tit population.
I've seen them catch Wood Mice and eat them at night as well, they are opportunistic hunters as well as gleaners and scavengers. I suspect they will still be here when the last human turns its toes up.....

John
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Old Monday 25th November 2019, 15:02   #88
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Weasel

Just thought this might be of interest to some readers of this thread.

I very rarely manage to even glimpse a weasel, and I had never managed to photograph one before. I have occasionally had success with stoats (although every close encounter is a rare treat) but never a weasel.

I was therefore very pleased to bump into one at dusk yesterday. It was using a small mammal burrow at the base of a tree stump in an area of recently cleared wooded edge on Therfield Heath, Hertfordshire. It never emerged fully but kept poking its head out of the hole to keep an eye on me. Unfortunately by this stage the light was extremely poor, hence the rather grainy photo. But it is, nevertheless, a photo of a weasel, so I'm pretty chuffed.

I will try to keep an eye on the hole in the next few days in case it turns out to be in regular use, but knowing how awkward these creatures are I won't be holding my breath!

Andy
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Old Monday 25th November 2019, 16:08   #89
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Just thought this might be of interest to some readers of this thread.

I very rarely manage to even glimpse a weasel, and I had never managed to photograph one before. I have occasionally had success with stoats (although every close encounter is a rare treat) but never a weasel.

I was therefore very pleased to bump into one at dusk yesterday. It was using a small mammal burrow at the base of a tree stump in an area of recently cleared wooded edge on Therfield Heath, Hertfordshire. It never emerged fully but kept poking its head out of the hole to keep an eye on me. Unfortunately by this stage the light was extremely poor, hence the rather grainy photo. But it is, nevertheless, a photo of a weasel, so I'm pretty chuffed.

I will try to keep an eye on the hole in the next few days in case it turns out to be in regular use, but knowing how awkward these creatures are I won't be holding my breath!

Andy
I'd be pretty chuffed with that myself, well done! Any useful tips on what you were doing to spot it in the first place?

John
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Old Monday 25th November 2019, 17:09   #90
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I'd be pretty chuffed with that myself, well done! Any useful tips on what you were doing to spot it in the first place?

John
Thanks! Not sure it was much other than good fortune really - I was just walking over to a spot to watch for a local short-eared owl (that frustratingly only seems to appear at dusk) and noticed the movement. It's a path I've walked hundreds of times before, although perhaps less frequently at that time of day. Back in August I did see what I suspected might have been a weasel a couple of hundred yards away from this sighting, but it was the briefest of glimpses out of the corner of my eye and I hadn't seen anything subsequently.

The animal yesterday didn't seem to respond to my attempts at squeaking, rather poking its head back out for a few seconds every couple of minutes to see if I was still there.

I had a quick look this morning but was only able to give it 20 mins or so and unsurprisingly saw nothing. If I do have any further sightings and any pattern emerges I'll post an update!
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Old Tuesday 26th November 2019, 16:51   #91
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Thanks! Not sure it was much other than good fortune really - I was just walking over to a spot to watch for a local short-eared owl (that frustratingly only seems to appear at dusk) and noticed the movement. It's a path I've walked hundreds of times before, although perhaps less frequently at that time of day. Back in August I did see what I suspected might have been a weasel a couple of hundred yards away from this sighting, but it was the briefest of glimpses out of the corner of my eye and I hadn't seen anything subsequently.

The animal yesterday didn't seem to respond to my attempts at squeaking, rather poking its head back out for a few seconds every couple of minutes to see if I was still there.

I had a quick look this morning but was only able to give it 20 mins or so and unsurprisingly saw nothing. If I do have any further sightings and any pattern emerges I'll post an update!
Fingers crossed!

John
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Old Monday 2nd December 2019, 08:02   #92
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Went to Donna Nook Saturday - no issues about parking, a secondary car park had been opened and was completely firm. Loads of locals there, it must be just wildlife people who are being put off. Burger van and portaloos on site, also farm-fresh vegetables on sale and prices not to be sniffed at. Quality and freshness off the chart....

Anyway, we had stunningly good weather and light, mind-boggling numbers of Grey Seals point blank at all ages from newborns to old battle-scarred (and indeed recent battle bloodied) bulls and everything in between. It is a fantastic spectacle with a soundtrack of crooning seal voices and distant thunder of the surf.

There was also a superb Pomarine Skua which was what we actually went for, showing amazingly well. It flew 3 feet over our heads at one point and gave views on the ground between twenty and fifty yards, frequently while wolfing down bits of the seal afterbirths lying about all over the place. There's so much food for it that it will probably stick around for a while yet - in fact it may be almost too fat to fly.

Why is it an adult male? We never heard it singing......

A bunch of Whoopers in-off and a flock of very flighty Twite gave added value.

Cheers

John
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