Well its back to St Kilda for another spring for me as I’m out for a few weeks to cover the start of the season. Flying out on the helicopter it was good to see the familiar outline of Hirta, Boreray and the stacs on the horizon and it felt strangely like meeting an old friend, albeit a large, silent and craggy one. The weather was rather pleasant for the first few days, but the sun soon disappeared behind the ever fluctuating cloud cover. Welcoming the first cruise boat passengers of the season on Friday I inadvertently broke the news to them of the impending Icelandic ash cloud, much to the surprise of those onboard who were in fact completely unaware of any such activity. It’s not often that I am the one delivering the latest headlines to visitors; usually the flow of information around here is ship to shore! Other than a very faint hint of sulphur in the air, there hasn’t been much indication of the intense volcanic activity in the north, and it’s quite easy to remain completely oblivious to recent global events out here.
On the wildlife front, the Puffins have moved back in and the Great Skuas are letting their presence be known, although I think we’ll be free from aerial bombardment for a short while. A lot of the wildlife has kept a low profile over the past couple of days as some severe weather has pounded the archipelago but there have been a few unusual highlights. A flock of 6 Brent geese in the bay slowly expanded to 56 individuals and then suddenly disappeared with the rough conditions while a solitary Black-tailed Godwit appeared, soon to be joined by two companions. We’re coming to that time of year now when all manner of interesting birds can appear in the Village, either stopping to recuperate on their long spring migration or being blown completely off-course, finding St Kilda their only safe haven in miles and miles of open ocean.