Wednesday, 22 October 2014


Great three days on Papay.

Our transport awaits

Once we'd got ourselves sorted, out in the field by 10 and the action commenced. A tristis Chiff in the school garden was a great start. Flocks of Redwings were coming south and with them things of interest, two Lapland Buntings were amongst one of the early flocks. A Blue Tit in the Fuschia of a garden, a Hawfinch with another flock (landed on the dyke but I missed getting pics).

There were very tame Goldcrests at Holland.

In the Quarry Garden, the same or another Hawfinch and there were Blackcaps dotted about.

AL and I headed up the north end where the Redwings and Song Thrushes were streaming in. Ring Ouzels, Jack Snipe, Snow Bunting were added.

I searched the east side and the palette garden as AL sorted the north.


Also a couple of Blackcaps, an elusive and confusing (for me) Willow Warbler, a very elusive bunting sp.

Our transport arrived, the lure of Y-bW perhaps

Time for a boat.

and some washing...

The Holm of Papay

Not much movement on Sunday, a few species were added, but we carelessly lost a crew member as AL flew back.

This colour marked Sanderling has an interesting history, ringed on Sanday in 2011, controlled on North Ron in 2012 and sighted twice in Iceland, back in Sanday and found now on Papay in 2014.

Monday started for me with a seawatch, a Great Northern Diver, an Iceland Gull and troublsome skuas were the highlight. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I'd made a mess of the ID of a pale phase skua that past reasonably close, quite possibly a Pom, but that a dark phase more distant and right at the end of the watch was indeed a Pom (dark phase Poms are uncommon about 8% of the population). I'm out of practice with skuas these days which shows how infrequent they are here other than during the summer, I mostly see them flying around The Shunan.

 Grey Plover

 Hybrid crow

Time for a last bird, rare on Orkney.

All too soon it was time to go, via the shortest, timetabled flight in the UK, around a minute to Westray.


Nick Carter said...

Never mind the birds, where on earth did you get that car??

Alastair said...

A-ha!!! Cool eh? It's an arts project and functional transport, what more could a man desire? (Ok, it's a knackered Mondeo, wipers a bit crock and it's not keen on up-hill, except in reverse, but the windows do all go up and down, mostly.)

Nick Carter said...

Reminds me of a taxi we once had in The Gambia!

unclefish said...

Thoroughly enjoyed reading that! All very nostalgic. Papay has oodles of potential for migrant hunting. Just the right amount of cover.

Alastair said...

Loved our few days there, itching to get back....