6/04/2012

St Kilda - Some of its Wildlife

If you haven't read the first post on St Kilda, have a click here

In this post, we'll look at some of the wildlife to be seen and savoured (or avoided) on and around St Kilda.

Gannet, mid-flight




The gannets here are nesting on Boreray.

Boreray, Stac Li and Stac an Armin boast the largest colony of Northern Gannet in the world, with around 60,000 breeding pairs. This was food for the St Kildans, and their men would cross to these rocks to lasso the birds. There is a small bothy still to be seen on Boreray, which the hunters used for shelter whilst on the rock. 



Just in case you don't realise: the Gannet is an adult Guga. You remember the guga, don't you? If not, have a read here.

Here they are, flying high above Boreray. This called for taking frequent cover on the boat.

The gannets nest on Stac Lee and you can see the abundance of their excrement (that's poop to you and me).

When the St Kildans hunted gannets on the precarious ledges on this rock, they'd fill bags which they'd drop down onto waiting boats. They knew nothing of safety ropes, and the 'Elf and Safety folks were not even a twinkle in anyone's eye at this stage. There's the story told of a time when some men came for their gannet hunt, but in the time they were away, disease hit the St Kilda islanders, leaving nobody to come and collect them. Apparently they spent months on the island before being 'rescued'.



Skua


Pictured here on St Kilda, the skua is a very aggressive bird. They are hugely protective of their nests, and  dive-bomb innocent passers-by.


They are not friendly. At all.


Fulmar. These friendly birds (ahem) have a nasty inclination to spit foul-smelling oil at anyone who comes too close.


Puffins. 


Unfortunately I wasn't able to get good photos of them. They really are lovely looking birds, with beautiful, colourful beaks.
Puffins burrow and nest in the ground 


After all these birds, I'm glad to get onto dry land again and show you ...

the St Kilda sheep. 

They are wild Soay sheep, and live on St Kilda to this day, despite the people having left many decades ago. 



Aren't they lovely.



The shed their own wool - you can see the sheep's fleeces here shedding. 


They're hardy beasts ...



On the journey to St Kilda, I saw some porpoises, and often there are dolphins to be seen. All in all, it's a worth while trip to make if wildlife is your interest.

10 comments:

  1. So interesting! I am familiar with the Puffins, but the other birds are new to me. Great photos!

    ReplyDelete
  2. so I assume that salad drenched in Fulmar spit dressing wouldn't be a lovely treat? The pictures are wonderful, and do you feel the place to be rather sad with everyone gone, or perhaps very peaceful? I had the blessings of living in Dublin for 2 years and in England for 3, but the Highlands were very special to me. My mother's Maiden nam was McDonald, and Mcdougall and Mc Callum as well in the maternal side. So I figure I'm half Scottish and a bit of Danish, German, English with a tad of French!!
    Thanks so much for sharing your picturees, Mary Anne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My mother's maiden name was MacDonald too ;)

      Delete
  3. Lovely pictures - I bet you can smell that stac long before you get to it! If the sheep are wild, who tags them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The 'scientific community' takes an interest in them ... St Kilda is a world heritage site, so the welfare of the sheep is studied - population growth or decrease etc.
      Anne :)

      Delete
  4. I feel like I just took the loveliest walk...
    Thanks for the lovely pics!

    Peace, Karen
    http://taytayhser.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lovely pictures! The sheep look especially nice.
    I like the blogs new look!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your photographs are just incredible... So enticing to travel to the far north for a visit... And puffins are so on my must see in my lifetime list!!! Lovely, if not a little crisp!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Is that the same as Bass Rock? We visited there and saw thousands & thousands of gannets when we visited Scotland. And, we saw a few puffins... I didn't get very good photos of them, either. I LOVE that sheep! So cute! We didn't see any of them.

    Love your photos!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wonderful post! Thank you so much for sharing your visit in this three part series. It's been great fun learning about island life. I'm so grateful that I stumbled upon your blog. It is delightful. I've just "liked" you over on facebook, as well. We're homeschoolers, too, though we live landlocked nestled amongst the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, U.S.A.

    Thank God for the opportunity the internet and blogging community offers us.

    May God bless you and your beautiful family.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails