Friday 25 October 2019

Monday 21 October 2019


I noticed a post on Orkney Scarce and Rare FB of two Waxwings in Finstown and as I had to go and get shed mending bits thought I'd have a look. Parked car, walked the few steps to opposite Baikie's, could hear Waxwings but not see any, looked back at the car, I'd parked directly below them. 7 at first. Then they flew to a nearby garden, fortunately a colleague's place so a knock on the door got me prime viewing opportunities. 17 seemed to be the top count but I expect there will either be more or none tomorrow. My colleague thought there had been a couple about for a day or so. Also 20 or so Brambling there. (Thanks EH.)

Sunday 20 October 2019


On the way home we "dropped in" to RSPB Forsinard.

 The walk way and tower hide.

We recorded Meadow Pipit, Carrion Crow and Robin. Louise found Common Frog. Two small groups of Red Deer.

Here's one big reason why The Flow is important.

Saturday 19 October 2019


We went to Rogart for a wee "get-away".

Louise found a cottage for us to stay in, it was a good spot. Common Pipistrelle in the garden, 48kHz. My sugar mix didn't work and I hadn't taken a moth trap but I still got a new moth, attracted to the window light, Green-brindled Crescent.

Green-brindled Crescent

Best wildlife moment though (two) was seeing Black Grouse not once but twice on our walk on the Thursday morning. First we flushed two cocks and then half an hour or so later flushed two cocks and a hen, I would think these were all different birds.

We went to Dornoch, a bit of a surprise, a busy place with a nice cafe (Coco Mountain) and some restaurents and pubs. Long sandy beach and interesting looking dunes. Loch Fleet national nature reserve nearby.

 Burn by the cottage.

Dornoch beach.

The statue of the the Duke of Sutherland, George Granville Leveson-Gower, the first Duke of Sutherland, and a landowner who was responsible for brutal Highland Clearances in the 19th century. Known locally as ‘the Mannie’, the sculpture was erected at the summit of Beinn a’ Bhragaigh above Golspie in 1837, following the Duke’s death in 1833. There are mixed views on the Mannie. There have been several attempts, legal and otherwise, to remove it, on one occasion there was an attempt to dynamite it and recently there has been physical damage as folk attempt to destabilise it (so it might not be wise to sit beneagth it). Personally, I take the view that the statue is a reminder of the brutality of Scotland's land owning class towards ordinary folk. The Clearances should not be forgotten.

  Loch Fleet, the Dornoch Firth and the beginnings of Tarbet Ness in the distance, from 
Beinn a’ Bhragaigh.

Quedius, either levicollis or curtipennis I think, although it has been suggested it might be
Ocypus aenocephalus - it didn't do the Ocypus curling thing though when I harrassed it and the pronotum looks too smooth and overall the beetle looked too narrow but I'm very much a learner with Staphys.

 Down in Golspie there were plenty of hovers and Common Wasp on Ivy flowers.

 Vespula vulgaris.

Plenty of Eristalis pertinax and a few Helophilus pendulus as well.

Saturday 12 October 2019


Following up on the very brief sighting a fortnight back I borrowed a bat detector (thanks EH). I walked out of the house with the detector and immediately got a signal. Locating the bats, there were at least two, fiddling about with the wavelength strongest was 48khz, so conclusion was Common Pipistrelle. The Bat Group came up last night and having almost given up we got bat sound again at the same wavelength and one sighting. Could I have missed these for ten years? I think not but I do wonder how long they've been here. Other mammals this week.

Pygmy Shrew found drowned in the pony's water.

Hedgehog, very small juv, by the side of the road as I drove to a meeting in Stromness.

And in the last week the cats have brought in one Wood Mouse and one Orkney Vole.

No new moths but a good selection of late season beasts including a second Red-green Carpet. Small Wainscot, a few Silver Y, a few Brindled Ochre, Brick.

Red-green Carpet

A new lichen for the patch is a dog lichen, Peltigera membranacea.

Peltigera membranacea

Plenty of Redwing about but not anything more interesting until today when a likely exilipes Arctic Redpoll appeared for a second or two before vapourising, I will be searching early the morn.

Thursday 3 October 2019

Three moths

Only three in the trap.

 Brindled Ochre

 Pink-barred Sallow

 Red Sword-grass

Evening sky.

A Merlin hanging around, Redwings in dribs and drabs and flocks of Lapwings - autumn.