Anyway back to my journey this morning. Caught the 9.15am bus to Grutness Pier. On route I saw a Hooded Crow, starlings, oystercatchers, house sparrows, lapwings, swallow. The bus driver was one of the grumpiest men I have ever met! I got up and started to walk up the aisle of the bus to get ready to get my bag off the luggage rack and I got shouted at loudly to SIT DOWN, can you please sit down, SIT DOWN!!!! The bus driver spoke to me like I was age 5, horrible man.
I was just about first in the queue for the Good Shepherd! The skies looked a little brighter now as though the sun might break out. I met a lovely couple called Barry and Cheryl who were also staying in the South Light (Cheryl was uncanningly a double of my youngest sister Vivien, the same age and almost the same birthday! An Artic Skua chasing an Arctic Tern almost collided with us in the battle! There were 7 people in all on the boat today, us three and a another couple with 2 little boys who were taking their car across to Fair isle for 3 days.
Got MY seat on the Good Shepherd - laying down with eyes shut, head on pillow in the middle of the bench seat that runs along the back behind all the main seats in the cabin. It was amazingly the best crossing I have had! In fact I even took a video with my coolpix, three quarters way through the journey!
On arrival at North Haven, I started to smile with joy, it was stunning sunshine and blue skies and the water was glittering - it was awesome to be back. Josie met us on the quayside and took us back to South Light.
Wow!!!! My room is awesome, all white walls, a double bed all for me, excellent, a desk and chair, an armchair. My bedside table is an very old singer sewing machine set into a table with wrought iron legs. No wardrobe in room but huge underbed draws. I have two windows, both sea views - what more can you ask for!
Breakfast is served at 8.30am, lunch 1.00pm, dinner 7pm.
Because the observatory is not open yet, I didn't think 'trap rounds' at 7am would still be carried out for guests, especially if you are not staying at the obs, but the good news they are! We meet at 'The Chalet' at 7am each morning. So I am intending (note I say intending!) to be there tomorrow. Dave who does the cooking here, introduced me to Jack Ashton-Booth, AW who was walking past and I swopped mobile no with him to get any news of rares while I am here, really nice young lad. Jack told me there were two Red backed shrikes, one at the 'Chalet' area along with a skulky Marsh Warbler, RBS at 'Meadow Burn' a Pied fly at the obs. and several spotted flycatchers about and he had just had a pintail by the shore near my room! He very kindly said he would contact me if anything good turned up. South easterlies today!
It was around 2.45pm when I arrived at South Light and was determined to unpack first, which I had to really, as needed to get camera etc out. Hung up damp washing, which wasn't too bad after all. Left the house at 5.30pm just took SLR and bins and walked along the road towards Stackhoull Stores (shop) and as far as 'The Chalet' which is where Richard (birder I met) said there was a very skulking Marsh Warbler and then back along the road past the School/Hall. Birds seen: lots of wheatears, house martin, house sparrow, arctic skuas, lapwings, a single snip, meadow pipits. Played a singing marsh warbler from iphone, but no luck! and one sign of any RBS's. Only just made it back in time for dinner at 7pm.
Evening meal was to die for: cauliflower soup with grated cheese, with crusty home-made bread to start. Main course was vegetable/bean dish (for me) with spaghetti, more cheese, salad. Dessert was the best EVER chocolate pudding, sauce and ice cream I have EVER tasted! My waistline has expanded already! Will be wearing smallest fitting trousers tomorrow, as certainly won't get in them by the end of the two weeks! At the table including Cheryl and Barry were 'Richard' who I met earlier (he is staying at The Puffin) and Paul French and wife/girlfriend/partner Agi (Agi works for RSPB) and 20 month year old son. Paul said he had had a female Rosefinch near Barkland only a short while ago! Paul also said tomorrow just be pretty good, as south easterly and rain, wicked!!!!
Was going to go out this evening to watch puffins, but very tired and decided to write early and then retire early.
Northlink Ferry Reception, Aberdeen
From the Aberdeen to Lerwick Ferry - Friday 28th Evening
Lobsters arriving at Grutness Harbour, bound for Spain!
The Good Shepherd just arrived at Grutness Pier - Saturday morning, 29th May
Video below, taken with Nikon Coolpix is of the cabin of the Good Shepherd and looking out of the porthole!