Heading North for more Wildlife….. Otter and Shetland Bumble Bee

Heading North to Unst for a few days, we stopped at Toft Ferry point and all got out to have a scan around whilst we waited to board the ferry. The ferry points can often be good places for wildlife, especially as the birds and creatures can be used to human activity, so  are less nervous and flighty. Some guillemot, tern and razorbill bobbed out in the harbour, along with ten merganser further out. Gannets were diving just off the harbour wall… not bad for a ferry terminal!

A call from Tim alerted us to an otter. There, right in the confines of the harbour wall, this otter was hunting. Diving regularly and popping up with food, it gave all of our group a great chance to see their first Shetland otter! It stayed for a few minutes before heading out along the harbour wall, into the open water.


A good start to the day! Then it was off up to Unst to explore what it had to offer us for the next few days. We stopped at various points along the coast, scanning for wildlife and revelling the wonderful views.

The skies were clearing and the sun was coming out as we reached Skaw. This beautiful bay was a great opportunity to get out and have a wander in the warmer, but blustery conditions.

We headed down the beach and around a little rock outcrop, out of the wind, where we found a little sheltered spot with a mini wildlife haven of wild flowers. Campion, lousewort, birdsfoot trefoil, silver weed and others were flowering and I was delighted to spot a Shetland bumble bee! The ‘Shetland Bumblebee’ Bombus muscorum agricolae is a dark-bellied subspecies or possibly a colour variant of the Moss Carder Bee and is one of 4 species of bumble bee found here. The other species are Northern white-tailed, Small heath, and Garden bumble bee.

We set a few trail cams as we came through and headed to our accommodation at Baltasound. With the evening looking bright and blustery, we headed up to the cliffs after supper to get great distant views of Muckle Flugga lighthouse as the sun dipped down to the horizon…