Friday, 20 March 2015


Here's the start

A completely brilliant experience, enhanced by all the enthusiasm of everyone at work.

The cloud strangely helped as it filtered the image and made the sky all the more spectacular.

It did go quite dark and the skylarks stopped singing

and the day ended with a quite strong aurora in the sky, no great colours but plenty of brightness and some overhead movement.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Last weekend

Best bird was a Water Rail in a garden at Palace, a patch tick for my coastal spot, I failed to photograph it though, so here's a picture of Palace waves.

Checking back at The Loons on Sunday I failed to see the Bittern again but these were nice...

 Greenland White-fronts, there were 70


Little Grebe

Elsewhere there were 1181 Eider in a flock by the Hatston fish cages.

and time for a boat, Midas II in our garden.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Well, I never expected to see one of these today....

Not on The Shunan unfortunately (where there were 91 Black-headed Gulls, 2 pair of Shoveler and a pair of Pintail) but at The Loons. Thanks to JB for the text (and the impromptu party in The Loons hide).

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Gyr again

Yesterday I'd just got to work when Louise phoned to say she'd seen a raptor by the Shunan, I'd just been watching a Peregrine down there but she described a dark phase Gyr rather well, especially as it was seen without bins. A couple of texts got MR down there who also managed to see the beast, but no photos. Maybe there'll be chances at the weekend....

The Blue-winged Teal showed rather well yesterday morning as well, in very nice light, the reason I'd contacted MR in the first place. Unfortunately a huge wagon arrived with more stones for the track and managed to disturb the quackers as it unloaded, my pics not quite as good as MR would have obtained I suspect.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Bird race round-up

A great day out, good company, great birds.

Managing to get the Blue-winged Teal on the list early on was a good move, it gave excellent views at close range, although one team member seemed to find it hard to get on to it, causing a general degree of panic. A Peregrine proved helpful flushing the duck out of the vegetation, it then conveniently sat in a nearby field. Birsay produced the usual seabirds, Skaill most of the expected ducks,

including the Ring-necked Duck.

but no Green-winged Teal.

Large quantities of bread failed to attract any gull interest, or of interest, at Stromness.

White-billed Diver was located at The Hope.

And I managed to find a cracking boat at Waukmill Bay.

Total 88 with just two team members seeing the Woodcock and general panic ensuing when I almost failed to get on to the SEO.