Wednesday 22 October 2014


Great three days on Papay.

Our transport awaits

Once we'd got ourselves sorted, out in the field by 10 and the action commenced. A tristis Chiff in the school garden was a great start. Flocks of Redwings were coming south and with them things of interest, two Lapland Buntings were amongst one of the early flocks. A Blue Tit in the Fuschia of a garden, a Hawfinch with another flock (landed on the dyke but I missed getting pics).

There were very tame Goldcrests at Holland.

In the Quarry Garden, the same or another Hawfinch and there were Blackcaps dotted about.

AL and I headed up the north end where the Redwings and Song Thrushes were streaming in. Ring Ouzels, Jack Snipe, Snow Bunting were added.

I searched the east side and the palette garden as AL sorted the north.


Also a couple of Blackcaps, an elusive and confusing (for me) Willow Warbler, a very elusive bunting sp.

Our transport arrived, the lure of Y-bW perhaps

Time for a boat.

and some washing...

The Holm of Papay

Not much movement on Sunday, a few species were added, but we carelessly lost a crew member as AL flew back.

This colour marked Sanderling has an interesting history, ringed on Sanday in 2011, controlled on North Ron in 2012 and sighted twice in Iceland, back in Sanday and found now on Papay in 2014.

Monday started for me with a seawatch, a Great Northern Diver, an Iceland Gull and troublsome skuas were the highlight. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I'd made a mess of the ID of a pale phase skua that past reasonably close, quite possibly a Pom, but that a dark phase more distant and right at the end of the watch was indeed a Pom (dark phase Poms are uncommon about 8% of the population). I'm out of practice with skuas these days which shows how infrequent they are here other than during the summer, I mostly see them flying around The Shunan.

 Grey Plover

 Hybrid crow

Time for a last bird, rare on Orkney.

All too soon it was time to go, via the shortest, timetabled flight in the UK, around a minute to Westray.

Thursday 16 October 2014

Tristis maybe

Fair contender for tristis this, didn't call of course.....

Blue Tit

I know I said I'd not post but....

Sunday 12 October 2014

Yellow-browed and Firecrest

Yesterday was a good birding day. Still picking up bits and bods from the easterly blow at the beginning of the week, yesterday a Chiffchaff and a Blackcap on the Patch with plenty of Song Thrush still about and a few Brambling and Chaffinch. A text sent me to Kirbuster Farm Museum garden en route to Birsay and thanks to TW a very nice Firecrest which showed well. Interestingly TW and I heard the call quite differently with him hearing the emphasis in the first notes and I hearing the most difference in the last few. An interesting refresher. There was a Grey Wagtail by the garden there too. Then on to Palace where on the path to the Links quickly bumped into a Yellow-browed Warbler which flew across the path in front of us and then performed very nicely in the back garden of the house beyond the burn, calling and showing very well. A couple of Chiffs in the village too. Still wanting a Y-bW for the home patch....

New interests and posting more on Facebook are leading me to conclude that I may well not make further posts here. At any rate I'm going to take a rest. I will post some links to my Flickr site for photographs. Birding news is available on Orkbird2 and on Facebook. I will post links at a later date.

If I blog I want to focus more on corvid behaviour  so there may be further posts on my other blog, which in the past has been rather neglected.

Will update shortly with links.

Monday 6 October 2014

Skeins of pinks

Piles and piles of Pink-feet yesterday, pretty much every minute spent out on the patch and a total of 2140 in 22 skeins. Other good birds were a Green Sand and two Ruff at Harray, a couple of Goldeneye at Howaback and a Ruff and 8 Whoopers at Bosquoy. There was a Merlin first thing at home too.

Bit windy today and not too much birding, still some hovers in the garden.