Sunday 26 March 2017

Lesser Celandine

In the garden this afternoon, playing with the Olympus again. This movie took just over four hours to film.

The quality is far better on Vimeo, try here:

Sunday 19 March 2017


A good tramp around the home patch on Saturday produced nothing new for the year but plenty of interest, a drake Goosander was probably the best bird. In the garden the Chaffinch seems to have gone but there continue to be three Goldfinch.

Our tom cat (neutered) killed two Orkney Voles on Friday, I was not pleased, he rarely seems to touch them, being more interested in larger prey, rabbits often, but today he redeemed himself by doing for a large rat. He doesn't seem very interested in birds, he did catch a feral pigeon the other day though, bring it in the spare bedroom and making a very serious mess.

Today's main activity was to get the greenhouse going. In the process I came across a few things:

Pterostichus melanarius, common here.

Lare Yellow Underwing larvae I reckon, there were two.

 Opinion is that this was Large White, note the parasite's exit(?) hole.

There was an interesting centipede as well which I should have probably bottled, suggested id was Geophilus flavus, certainly a Geophilidae anyway.

Blurry pic as it wouldn't stay still.

So some early tatties are in pots as are some peas. Seed bed ready for salad mix, to be sown tomorrow.

Handy sheltering in the greenhouse as the showers powered through.


Down to the beach with the hound, it was too windy to do much serious birding and I was short of time.

Hound enjoyed the outing anyway, strangely looking remarkably clean, no dead seals or cetaceans to roll in!

We managed to avoid a soaking.

Brough and mini broughs


Sunday 12 March 2017

WeBS - foggy

Rather a poor start to the day but eventually got out to do the WeBS. By the time I got to Sabiston it was just too bright and sorting the duck out was pretty much impossible. However, I did manage to pick out three Black-tailed Godwits from the silhouettes .

The Lesser Scaup was still atLoch of Boardhouse but star bird there was undoubtedly this....

Patch gold, never seen one on the Palace patch before, digiscoped.

Back in Harray I finally managed to find a Short-eared Owl scanning from the Merkister Bay out towards Howaback. In every other year I have seen Short-eared Owl in January, so just two months late. Other observers here are reporting the species as scarce, mostly stoats reducing Orkney Vole populations are being blamed, but there are few stoats in this part of the West Mainland ( with only one confirmed sighting on the patch. Two Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew through Bosquoy on Sunday morning, first of the year.

 This hare was sunbathing at times as I watched him.

Greylags - Pinkies about in some numbers at the moment too.

At Brodgar, Loch of Harray, a stop-off during driving lessons for elder daughter.

 Burn rushing

Merkister, Loch of Harray

Sheds, Loch of Bosquoy

Under the feeders

Reed Bunting

Scathophaga stercoraria, first of the year, Loch of Sabiston.

Sunday 5 March 2017

****** horse ******* box

 Managed to get home in time for a brief walk on Friday afternoon.

Saturday morning and the start of the horsy season, the above mentioned trailer has lain idle round by the shed for some months. I did think to get out early to hitch it up, I had an inkling their might be a slight issue with the brakes, drum brakes.

The carnage does not seem so bad now, dragging it across the grass with one wheel turning did not do the "lawn" a lot of good, or the hard standing for that matter. Took all the wheels off, clobbered the drums with a mallet (carefully), sprayed with mountain bike lubricant and eventually I got all the wheels to go backwards but not forwards. Wheels back on and a bit of forward and back stuff eventually got the brakes to behave, in the nick of time, five minutes to spare....

So there wasn't a lot of birding on Saturday morning, two hours that lot took. A trip to Kirkwall followed as supplies were low, and somewhere in there I wrote a couple more bird report species.

Sunday morning and the Goldfinches were showing well in the garden, they're getting quite tame.

 Starting to sing a little now, there seems to be two males and one female. Also singing this weekend were Skylark, right over the garden and Song Thrush. Lapwings and Curlews are on territory and the many duck species on The Shunan are all pairing off. A record three Pochard were on The Shunan on Sunday afternoon.

Midday Sunday I was patrolling Palace. Dunnock still present and a single Glaucous Gull briefly. Plenty of seals and rabbits with both seal species in the bay or off the Links and assorted colour variations of bunny behind the tea rooms. Brown Hares are much more obvious all over the place. No other birds of note though.

Standard view of the Brough

Dunlin's view of the Brough


The Rooks are showing plenty of interest in the rookery and roosting with Jackdaws most evenings now, shortly the first sticks will be carried.

 Time lapse Sunday evening from the track