Sunday 27 March 2016

The weather passed.

And so I ventured out with Louise and the hound mid afternoon. Not much to report but the sun is coming out now in the early evening and the wind has died away to nothing.

In the evening a Goldcrest singing from the garden, that's never happened before.

Looking across the plough from the back of the house

Starling on next-door's weather vane

Five this afternoon on their way now

There were a pile of Pink-feet in the fields across the road.

A sure sign of spring, territorial Common Gulls

...and yellow time is beginning


I really don't like this changing the clocks business, it's rubbish! It throws me out for a day at least. It is a sign that the year is moving on, you wouldn't guess it today with a blow gusting close to 60mph. I'll avoid going out until it eases.

Can barely see the niger feeder.

It has been calm recently, so calm yesterday that it was worth a stop to look into Kirkwall Bay from west of Hatston. Viewing opportunities have been improved here recently with the construction of new roads to extend the industrial estate but the best viewing point is still the slightly difficult to access gateway to the west. 38 Great Northerns, 6 Velvet Scoter, 4 Slav Grebes were the highlights though a beefy young Peregrine tried to steal the show. Pied Wags and Mepit could all be heard from the surrounding fields, a sign that spring really is here.

The previous weekend Mollie, Liam and I walked up to Russadale Quarry after nosing around Happy Valley. There were signs of spring, more Goldcrests at Happy Valley, having found two in the garden the previous day, a flowering primrose, Robins singing. Coming back down from the quarry there were a pair of Stonechats.


 Oh no!


Friday 25 March 2016

Only on Orkney...

Louise was in the kitchen and the dog was outside sitting under the front kitchen window. Something caught Louise's eye and then she heard a high pitched cry as well, on the kitchen window ledge, with the dog a couple of feet below, was a Hen Harrier trying to take a bird. Today I've noticed that the male Blackbird that is paired and seems to have established a territory at the front of the house is tail-less. This is the Blackbird with a singe white outer tail feather on the right (which obviously is now no longer visible). So I suspect this was the very lucky escapee, I've heard Blackbirds make a terrible high pitched squeak when taken by a Sproghawk in the past.

Sunday 13 March 2016

Bird race

Bit of research yesterday, actually was more interested in the waves.

Marwick swell

We couldn't find the Snow Buntings so we went for a cuppa.

Early this morn I did go out and find a few things, these Whoopers were back on The Shunan.

On Loch of Sabiston there were 6 Blackwits and 4 Pintail, tricky species to get here. I watched a Grey Heron catch an Eel too (nice iRecord that). On Loch of Banks this Otter was feeding not far from the road.

Once the race was started we did ok with Mealy Redpoll in Finstown, Green-winged Teal, Black-necked Grebe and Smew at Skaill and an Orkney tick for me of Avocet at Loch of Tankerness. 93 was our best total to date, and although I saw Hen Harrier early on, during the race period we strangely did not see one. Only scraped Greenfinch by the skin of our teeth as well.

Monday 7 March 2016

A few birds of interest and an aurora

Finally connected with the Green-winged Teal on Loch of Skaill but for some reason couldn't find either the Smew or the B-n Grebe but maybe they weren't there.... seen today though. However, there was a smart adult Iceland Gull.

Interesting behaviour, Goldeneye and Pochard taking advantage of a Whooper stirring the food up off the bottom, I've some movie of this which I'll try and post later.

These were just off the beach....

Much of today was spent making a log store for all the wood we've been given, however, in the afternoon I did venture out. Really pleased to find an American Wigeon in amongst a large flock of Wigeon near the Ring of Brodgar.

Smart aurora this evening.