Saturday, 26 July 2014

Red-foot maybe

Just as our guests were disappearing on the Hamnavoe a Red-footed Falcon paid a swift visit to the garden. I looked up and there was a falcon 20ft above my head. No bins and in a moment it was a away, managed to grab the bins and see it as it disappeared over the next door house. It all lasted about 15 seconds. Fortunately Louise saw it too and between us we managed to piece together some sort of description that led to the conclusion that it was a 2cy male. It was subsequently seen, equally briefly, over the Heddle Rd. Unclaimable of course but a cracking bird all the same.

Have been out to look at the Arctic Terns again, and a new total of about 20 chicks, many now fledged. Looking in the sea at Evie many small shoals of sand eels could be seen. Evie was alive with Arctic Terns and Arctic Skuas. Also there was a flock of 65 Sanderling one of which was colour marked. Apparently the colour and ring sequence is not UK so that will be exciting when the info comes back to me.


 Sanderlings

 Cyanea lamarckii

The moth trap is out tonight and I've been mothing a bit. Double Dart, a new macro, but having a go at some micros. Do let me know if I've got any of these wrong please....

Double Dart
I think this is Agriphila straminella

Scoparia subfusca

Notocelia cynobatella


 Udea lutealis
 Lots of these flying around the garden and track just now, they look dark grey from below so they are quite a surprise when the settle. Also on the wing this evening Twin-spot Carpet.

Sat in the Woundwort patch early this evening before the cloud rolled in, it had been sunny in Harray all day and took these:

Eristalis tenax

Episyrphus balteatus

Garden Bumblebee Bombus hortorum

Common Carder Bee Bombus pascuorum

Better finish up with a bird,  juvenile Twite 


 Here's the fog rolling in from Loch of Bosquoy the other evening. The wind got up and the moth catch was disappointing, still this evening so I'm hopeful.



Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Merlin

A nice surprise this evening, venturing out after the rain. Walking down to The Shunan I noticed a pile of Swallows over our neighbours, counting through them I came across the reason for their grouping up as a Merlin was heading into them at high speed. She chased up and stooped once and then more high speed antics before she chased up again and stooped, spiraling into the farm yard. I'm guessing she was successful as she did not re-appear.

Regular Bonxies through the garden at the moment, the last remaining Oystercatchers with chicks are kept busy, their alarming giving early warning of the approaching skua. Moorhen juvs were seen today but the Coot broods seem to have been lost. The Shelduck adults have left with two of the offspring, leaving two. Looking over to Bosquoy there were over 100 dabbling duck this evening so tomorrow morning's mission is to go down early and count them.

A couple of days ago a brief walk to Skiba Geo at Birsay gave these welcome views. Apparently the other colonies across the county have done ok.



Great views to Westray

The moth trap was out again last night, I'm going to make a real effort to ID the more obvious micros, the micro book is on its way.




Rooks and Jackdaws were closing in on the field being harrowed, as were nearly 300 gulls.


The bird crop is a bit overgrown but there's plenty of fodder beet in there.


Some skies from yesterday and today.





Monday, 14 July 2014

Noc clouds

Noctilucent clouds last night, a tick. Here's what they are http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noctilucent_cloud


What about the holiday snaps you might ask? Well, like last year promised but maybe I won't get around to it.

Last night's moths included what I think is Barred Red.

 Barred Red

I have difficuty deciding if these are Small Square Spot or Ingrailed Clay, any help or suggestions gratefully received.

 These first four, Harray, from behind our house last night

 


 These next three, Loch of Boardhouse at about 01:00




This last at Point of Buckquoy, Birsay at about 02:00

Monday, 30 June 2014

Woodchat dip dip

So missed the Palace Woodchat, at least I did ID it from photos. Then tried three times for the one near Stromness and failed three times, so it goes.

Bit of mothing recently and lots of searching for, and proving breeding birds.

 Dusky Brocade I think

 Grey Mountain Carpet

 Narrow-winged Pug

Setaceous Hebrew Character

Corrections to the above if I've got them wrong....

 Agitated Oystercatcher

Same bird, pity the ring is facing the wrong way




Saturday, 14 June 2014

Arctic Terns

Took a bit of a wander around Northside today. There were 65 or so Arctic Terns there including a single 2cy. The Arctics were pretty interested in nesting, there was a fair bit of courtship feeding with sand eels, some birds may have been sitting on nests.

Chatting to folk it seems the sand eels are in, depends whether they stay of course. 




Also of interest were breeding Rockit and Wheatear, breeding Oystercatcher and Lapwing, a passing Whimbrel  and a passing dark phase Arctic Skua.





Back at the ranch an intermedius  Lesser Black-backed Gull was notable.