Sunday, 8 July 2012

Day on Hoy

Common Tern

Stromness Farm

Friday I nipped over to Hoy. It was a beautiful sunny day (good job too, I'd forgotten to take my coat) with a nice breeze to keep the midges off. The plan was to look for Stonechat at Rackwick, a bird I haven't seen here for two years now, and then check the two plantations on the north-east side for other interesting things like Coal Tit.

An uneventful crossing, no big fish, cetaceans or juvvy Tysties.

A juvenile Stonechat appeared a shortly after I'd alighted from the minibus at Rackwick. After visiting the beach I then headed for the footpath to walk between the hills to Lodge Plantation. The short length of verge along the road to the footpath produced 12 Common Blue butterflies.

Not much to be seen on the moor but the usual pile of Bonxies bathing at Sandy Loch and also a Common Sandpiper making interesting distress noises there.

Time was short so I headed on to Lodge and across the wet moor where there were some interesting butterflies, I thought Small Heath, but they looked a bit big. Had a feeling I was making a mistake and of course I was, they were Large Heath actually a butterfly tick. A quick skirt around the plantation found only a Siskin, and the dog underwent a transformation when she bathed in one of those red peat ditches, gingery white dog now red setter colour.

Headed for Bu Plantation where there were more Siskin, Spotted Flycatcher, an awkward and elusive, non-calling Phyllos (probably a Chiff), Robins singing x2, Chaffinch singing x4 but no Coal Tit. On the way across the moor and around the plantations there were piles of moths including Silver Y, a likely Northern Eggar, more Common Blues and some large flappy butterflies which never settled (they must have been Meadow Brown but they didn't seem right).

Back to Lodge, now rather bitten (by Clegs), unexpectedly sunburnt (wearing shorts without a thought, doh!), and really very muddy (having helped the dog over and under various fences and stiles). However, at last, a Crossbill and then, having convinced the hound to climb the stile, a familiar call and eventually brief views of an adult Coal Tit.

So the whole expedition was a year listing success (racing JB for the best county list this year), but an entomological disaster as my id skills were proven to be pretty ropey. (Note to self, next sunny day in July take the net and gubbins, prepare by checking what I might be able to find re lepidopterans, give self more time in the best habo.) I had managed Large Red Damselfly along the way though.

Large Red Damselfly

Plenty of comments by fellow ferry passengers that the dog had clearly had a good time, wonder why they were giving me such a wide berth?



Another Small Rivulet from Friday's trap at home

At home today, having recovered somewhat, a Whimbrel on The Shunan, and another brood of Shelducks joined the existing gang, sending the resident dominant male completely apoplectic; a total of 19.

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