Orca, Eider and Shetland Wren: Ultimate Shetland Day 2

It has been a pretty incredible day! When I returned to Shetland, I had hoped that the orca may make a reappearance. They appeared on the shores less than a month after I left last year and put in incredible shows throughout the Autumn and Winter. The great thing about working with Hugh in Shetland is the social media connections on the island linked with wildlife sightings. As exciting wildlife appears, guides and individuals around the island post details. This means that when a pod of orca were first seen off the shores, we very quickly heard about it!

We had just been watching a Red-throated Diver from the car on a small pool very close to the main road. She was out with two small chicks, far off, but wonderful to see through the binoculars and the camera.

We were soon up on the cliffs, binoculars watching a boat off Noss, that had them very close. Despite our best efforts, it was nearly an hour before we spotted them heading toward Mousa.

Hugh’s expert knowledge told us that they were very likely to be heading toward Sumburgh Head. It would take them several hours to get there, so a brief stop for lunch was in order.

A lovely group of Eider and ducklings kept us busy…

 A newly fledged collection of Shetland wrens made for excellent viewing also…

An added bonus for me was to meet Julie Redpath … the talented knitter who made me my beautiful bespoke hat, made in my most favourite colours; browns and greens!

Heading back to Sumburgh, we sat on the top of the hill scanning the horizon for that distinctive fin shape …

Hearing they were getting close, Hugh decided we might have a better chance of a view if we headed just down the coast a bit, so it was back in the minibus for a quick whizz round the corner. He made the right decision, as this was where we got out best views. A shout of excitement alerted us all to the first view. My heart racing, I scanned the edge of the coast. There they were! Powering through the water, the orca pod appeared, quite close to the coastline, below us. The clear waters and their distinctive black and white colouration meant we could even see them under the water! I was torn between watching them and photographing them. I wanted to commit this experience to memory and if you watch the whole experience through the lens, you miss so much!

I took some photographs and then just watched in awe as these magnificent creatures came pass us..

It is difficult to explain how exhilarating it is to see these amazing creatures within the huge expanse of the sea. Their strength and power is what remains with me. This is a pod that were spotted here in Shetland in mid may. The female has a distinctive notches in her fin, making her easily recognisable.

We raced back up to Sumburgh Head just in time to see them pass through again.

My favourite shot?? This one…

To me, this sums up orcas… magnificent creatures powering through the vast expanse of the ocean, free and able to choose their paths through our waters.