Saturday 26 July 2014

Red-foot maybe

Just as our guests were disappearing on the Hamnavoe a Red-footed Falcon paid a swift visit to the garden. I looked up and there was a falcon 20ft above my head. No bins and in a moment it was a away, managed to grab the bins and see it as it disappeared over the next door house. It all lasted about 15 seconds. Fortunately Louise saw it too and between us we managed to piece together some sort of description that led to the conclusion that it was a 2cy male. It was subsequently seen, equally briefly, over the Heddle Rd. Unclaimable of course but a cracking bird all the same.

Have been out to look at the Arctic Terns again, and a new total of about 20 chicks, many now fledged. Looking in the sea at Evie many small shoals of sand eels could be seen. Evie was alive with Arctic Terns and Arctic Skuas. Also there was a flock of 65 Sanderling one of which was colour marked. Apparently the colour and ring sequence is not UK so that will be exciting when the info comes back to me.


 Cyanea lamarckii

The moth trap is out tonight and I've been mothing a bit. Double Dart, a new macro, but having a go at some micros. Do let me know if I've got any of these wrong please....

Double Dart
I think this is Agriphila straminella

Scoparia subfusca

Notocelia cynobatella

 Udea lutealis
 Lots of these flying around the garden and track just now, they look dark grey from below so they are quite a surprise when the settle. Also on the wing this evening Twin-spot Carpet.

Sat in the Woundwort patch early this evening before the cloud rolled in, it had been sunny in Harray all day and took these:

Eristalis pertinax (yellow feet)

Episyrphus balteatus

Garden Bumblebee Bombus hortorum

Common Carder Bee Bombus pascuorum

Better finish up with a bird,  juvenile Twite 

 Here's the fog rolling in from Loch of Bosquoy the other evening. The wind got up and the moth catch was disappointing, still this evening so I'm hopeful.

Wednesday 16 July 2014


A nice surprise this evening, venturing out after the rain. Walking down to The Shunan I noticed a pile of Swallows over our neighbours, counting through them I came across the reason for their grouping up as a Merlin was heading into them at high speed. She chased up and stooped once and then more high speed antics before she chased up again and stooped, spiraling into the farm yard. I'm guessing she was successful as she did not re-appear.

Regular Bonxies through the garden at the moment, the last remaining Oystercatchers with chicks are kept busy, their alarming giving early warning of the approaching skua. Moorhen juvs were seen today but the Coot broods seem to have been lost. The Shelduck adults have left with two of the offspring, leaving two. Looking over to Bosquoy there were over 100 dabbling duck this evening so tomorrow morning's mission is to go down early and count them.

A couple of days ago a brief walk to Skiba Geo at Birsay gave these welcome views. Apparently the other colonies across the county have done ok.

Great views to Westray

The moth trap was out again last night, I'm going to make a real effort to ID the more obvious micros, the micro book is on its way.

Rooks and Jackdaws were closing in on the field being harrowed, as were nearly 300 gulls.

The bird crop is a bit overgrown but there's plenty of fodder beet in there.

Some skies from yesterday and today.

Monday 14 July 2014

Noc clouds

Noctilucent clouds last night, a tick. Here's what they are

What about the holiday snaps you might ask? Well, like last year promised but maybe I won't get around to it.

Last night's moths included what I think is Barred Red.

 Barred Red

I have difficuty deciding if these are Small Square Spot or Ingrailed Clay, any help or suggestions gratefully received.

 These first four, Harray, from behind our house last night


 These next three, Loch of Boardhouse at about 01:00

This last at Point of Buckquoy, Birsay at about 02:00