Sunday, 7 February 2016

Spring! (Some birds think it is....)

The evening air is no longer silent, or at best the silence broken by a cohort of Greylag overhead. Oystercatchers have returned to inland Orkney and their calls persist from dusk through the night. It has become one of my favourite sounds, full of hope.

Shelduck also think that Spring is here, with drakes on Bosquoy and The Shunan this weekend, a pair at Palace. The Coot invasion has continued, from one last weekend there are now nine on The Shunan and the fifty or so on Bosquoy are full of aggression towards each other, their loud calls shouted all around the loch.

It will be some months til the first Swallow though.

The Old Nisthouse patch produced some good things this weekend. A couple of evening walks at Bosquoy and Fulmar, Woodcock, Little Grebe, Pink-footed Goose and Peregrine all joined the list. Up at the house there were great views of Hen Harrier, wing tip inches from our bedroom window, Sparrowhawk, straight towards me as I drank tea in the kitchen and two Kestrels late afternoon today. Also of note Ruff x3 in amongst the roosting waders at Bosquoy and a drake Goosander there on Saturday evening.

Plenty of Grey Heron around on both patches, not quite matching Louise's four the other day though. Snipe were present, flushed a couple of times and calling overhead in the dark as I walked back home this evening.

Also hard to avoid Whooper and Mute Swans. The Mutes on The Shunan look as though they might be setting up shop for the spring. These were photographed on nearby Harray though.

 And some Whoopers that were with them.

Late in the afternoon these Whoopers were on Bosquoy.

More late afternoon images from Loch of Bosquoy.

Not so much on the coast, a smart male Hen Harrier being the highlight.

Common Seal, as usual confiding

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