Sunday, 14 April 2013


A walk on the moor on Thursday showed the impact of the previous few days of fine weather with plenty of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits on territory, Lapwing and Curlew displaying and on territory and plenty of pairs of Greylags carving out seasonal homes. A Redwing and a small flock of Fieldfare were also present, on their way north presumably. The evening finally produced the rather overdue Black-tailed Godwit on The Shunan as well as a roost of 31 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Jackdaw tracking in the evening, whilst not conclusive, pretty much demonstrated that the population breeding on the Mar Wick cliffs roost in our rookery. Jackdaws being surprisingly difficult to track as they fly low and fast in the dusk heading for the roost.

On Friday the feeders were visited very briefly by two male Siskins (there have been a few elsewhere in recent days). The Black-tailed Godwit continued to be present on The Shunan. The highlight though was AL's excellent talk at the joint RSPB/OFC meeting in the evening, all about the Orkney geese. AL's neck collar scheme (orange, three capital letters in black) have shown that the "feral" Orkney population, whilst generally staying within a few klicks of home, have within their number a few travellers. A few seem to be migrating to Norfolk annually, one of which overshot last year and ended up staying on Faroe for the breeding season (it's a young, non-breeder), currently back in Norfolk. Greylag Goose is a controversial bird on Orkney as the winter and "feral" populations have both exploded over the last 30 years. As 6 Greylags = one sheep in pasture consumption.. They also damage barley and neeps crops.

An early start yesterday found me on The Brough of Birsay, on a rising tide to make it more interesting. A rather rapid tour of the island found the usual suspects and it was only when I was approaching the causeway to leave that first a Bonxie cruised by and then a Wheatear appeared on the beach. In Palace more migrants were to be found in the shape of a Robin and a Chaffinch. Seawatching from Pt of Buckquoy produced several hundred Greylags heading north, three more Bonxies and 2 Puffins. A Carrion Crow came south with  Hoodies from the Brough and the same or another came south at Buckquoy. Subsequently there were two on The Links, all of these were given reasonable scrutiny and none showed grey feathers.

An unusual visitor just outside the front view from the kitchen window.

South-easterly gale overnight with rain, now calm and damp, should really find me in the field...

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