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Saturday 25 November 2023

Guided Beach Tour!

Banna Minn Beach, West Burra


Sidonie (see yesterday's post) has not had a car for the majority of the time she has been here and hadn't visited the beaches at West Burra yet, so I said earlier in the week I would take her today.  It was chilly with NW winds, but dry, apart from the odd spits of rain and the sun even even came out for a while on and off, not bad for a late November day here!

Meal Beach, West Burra


I had a big flask of tea for us and we picked up some lunch and snacks from Sound Garage on route. We started off at Meal Beach where there were several cars in the car park. Frustrating to find the 'public' loos closed – obviously only open for the tourist season! We ambled down the path and through the gate to the beach, but stayed on the cliff edge and took some pictures of this stunning beach, before heading back to the car. Sidonie was impressed with the views through my Swarovski binoculars! Then headed to Banna Minn Beach. On route we stopped briefly at the pull in area and picnic table opposite Easthouse Croft (renovated croft house and museum) and saw some seals on an island, Ringed Plover, Turnstones, Redshanks, Oystercatcher and on Papil Loch there were several Whooper Swans, Greylag Geese and a good number of duck. Also saw several Redwings in sheep fields on route and some very unusual looking fluffy sheep with black faces – a breed I had not seen here before. Update from several lovely Shetland folk on Facebook, who told me they are Valais Blacknose Sheep, a rare breed from Switzerland.

Great Northern Diver at Banna Minn Beach, West Burra
Banna Minn Beach, West Burra
Sidonie on Banna Minn Beach, West Burra
Valais Blacknose Sheep on West Burra
A rare breed from Switzerland

Parked up for Banna Minn Beach and walked down to enjoy the spectacular views of this tombola. I found two Great Northern Divers here, fairly close inshore and was surprised to see two Goldfinches flying close by and at eye level past me! It seemed to be getting increasingly colder, the longer we were out! Headed back south and had our lunch in the parking area, overlooking St Nininian's Isle. Then went to Maywick Beach, which Sidonie particularly enjoyed seeing, but it was icy cold here, so we didn't stay long! No birds of note, apart from Fulmars sailing round the cliffs.

Maywick Beach, near Bigton 

Had a tour around Levenwick and the gorgeous beach here. Watched lots of black bunnies amongst the usual brown ones on the cliffs beyond the beach and then made our way to end the day at Hoswick Visitor Centre. I knew it closed at 4pm and we got there at just before 3pm – however, the staff seemed reluctant to let us in, as they were putting Christmas Decorations up and said they were closed...... but they did let us in and we had a quick browse round, but neither of us ended up buying anything. Headed back to Lerwick, dropped Sidonie off at her accommodation and I returned home and fell aleep!

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