Sunday, 26 February 2017


A few decent birds with the Lesser Scaup back on Loch of Boardhouse and a Fulmar watched from the kitchen window. Three Goldfinches were on the feeders. Star bird though was the Grey Wagtail that flew down the burn in Palace village, over my head and towards the sea.


Rooks at the rookery yesterday

Lesser Celadine just in flower


Friday, 17 February 2017

Olymus Tough TG-4

Got a bit carried away and treated myself to one of these (am currently selling my GoPro on Ebay to fund it).
Why? Brilliant macro capability, can be used underwater to 15m, very good low light capability and is tough as old boot. Messing about with it today also found it works pretty well for digiscoping too.

 Ellen's birthday cake

 Close up


Stacked focus close

Garden croci in the wind

Fish eye view Loch of Bosquoy

Digiscoped gulls Loch of Bosquoy

Good news today is that the Fiesta is back. With luck I haven't permanently damaged the engine by driving it around without coolant in it, ooops. Water pump blew. Hopefully the head gasket is ok. 

A few new things for the year today, Buzzard, Skylarks and a huge female Sparrowhawk that really got me going for a bit.

The following pix are with the Canon.

Whoopers on Bosquoy, four flew in to join the loan 2cy

Stonechat, the female of the pair at Bosquoy

Wren singing by our gate

Sad news yesterday, Eric Meek died in Aberdeen hospital. Eric was taken ill on Sunday and never regained consciousness. Eric did much to introduce us to Orkney when we arrived here. Eric also introduced me to the delights of the 16 year old Scapa, good man. I'll not forget the day the Sandhill Crane was put out on the bird alert text system here. I was in a meeting and my phone was buzzing every few minutes, fortunately we finished  with light available and I leapt in to the car to head from Stromness to South Ronaldsay. As can be imagined I was in a bit of a hurry and was toeing it a bit. Over the Barriers I checked my mirror and this blue Vauxhall was trying to overtake me, Mr Meek was apparently keen to get Sandhill Crane on his Orkney list. Eric did a huge amount to protect habitats and birds on Orkney in his role with RSPB, this did not necessarily enamour him to some local farmers and I am aware he had times in the job that were pretty extreme. Eric's perseverance and resilience has preserved much of wild Orkney, a true champion for wildlife, good bloke and excellent birder.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Harrier stuff

Eighth time lucky.... finally managed to connect with the likely Pallid Harrier at Mill Dam of Rango. Watched it preening for 20 minutes in the afternoon sunshine, of course the moment I went for the camera it flew. Just didn't get enough on it to claim it. Unstreaked, rich rufous brown below. On the ground looked slight, difficult to judge that in flight, didn't get the primary tip count and thought the wings looked much broader in the hand than a Monty (as they should), but did look bulkier and broader than the North Ron bird I found a few years ago.

Before this Cora had unfortunately flushed the young male Hen Harrier off a kill at Palace. I'm not great at raptors but I'd guess this bird is a 3cy. Here's some pics anyway.

Also at Palace a Carrion Crow.

At home Woodpigeons have built up to five, there was a Shelduck on The Shunan, two Siskin and a Goldfinch on the feeders, indicate spring is on the way. Record totals of 18 Shoveler and 26 Coot on The Shunan were the other highlights.