I did call PH to check on the id criteria for Snowy, well, you never know! It flew off very soon after I found it and once I'd counted from the Greeny end (stuffed with birds, as well as the egret there was a Pintail, plenty of Whoopers (29), 11 Shoveler and stacks of other ducks) I drove via Loch of Banks to the Birsay hall which is just in the Palace patch, no joy there though. However, I did manage to add a long distance Long-tailed Duck to the patch year list and there were 7 Slav Grebes and 8 more Whoopers.
I then went to count Sabiston from the Harray end but several phone calls to deal with, picking up younger daughter from ponies and visiting Louise with a broken Honda (magically mended itself) delayed my return to the loch. The light was plenty better from the east end, the large flock of 35 or so crows, including several hybrids was distracting but a happy hour was spent looking through the many duck.
During the taxi duties I managed to rescue this Orkney Vole from the stable's kitten.
By the time I got back to the stables later the wee ****** had caught another one. (Julian Branscombe is speaking on these at the next Field Club meeting, St Magnus Centre, 7.30 p.m. Friday, 28th October - following his article in British Wildlife.)
A very nice thing at the Greeny end of Sabiston was this Eristalis tenax, not a very common thing here, indeed this is the first I've recorded this year.
Check out the broad, black face line, the curved hind tibia, dark front tarsi, the bands of hairs on the eyes and (not illustrated) the blunt ended abdomen. Here's pertinax on the same plant, at the same time for comparison.