Sunday, 13 November 2011

Harray and Scapa

At home this morning I nearly trod on a Woodcock that was hiding in the back bushes. There were plenty of Chaffinch, probably 12 and at least 7 Reed Buntings. A Brambling was heard to call. Fieldfares trickled SE with a 10, a 3 and a 42 and there were a fair few Redwing about, fewer Blackbirds today though. A Sparrowhawk did the drop from the sky trick, I was down the track repairing a hole or two and noticed the Starlings do their protective flock thing, above and behind them a Sparrowhawk was homing in on the trees, she got there and just folded her wings and dropped, levellling out just a foot above the ground to go for the spuggies. A male and a female Hen Harrier came through the garden and just beyond early afternoon. The Tree Sparrow is still here. On The Shunan there were Teal and Wigeon and a good few Lapwings around the periphery.

Scapa Bay from the  pier yesterday morning - the white building to the left is the Scapa distillery, origin of my favourite (but rather expensive) malt.

Scapa this afternoon was stuffed with gulls, many, many more than yesterday morning. I managed to get pretty good views of problem bird number two (the lower pix yesterday). Looks to me like a very pale 1cy Iceland Gull, quite a large one so maybe that's why the legs looked long. No sign of the other bird unfortunately.

Bonus bird was a Great-crested Grebe which I found on the edge of the gull scrum. This is quite an uncommon bird on Orkney, I think this will be just the third record this year. An Orkney tick for me.

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