Sep 18, 2008


A spin out before the forecast rain produced a few common migrants but nothing spectacular. Stopping at the Stenness stones my attention was taken by half a dozen Skylarks feeding and chasing each other along the loch side. There were a good few Mipits in the air as well.

The tide was well up on the Stenness loch so little was to be seen along the sides. Harray had a few Redshank and young Mute Swans but little else. Moving past Brodgar pools they look in a sorry state It is so long since they held water that the vegetation has sprouted a fine green carpet with no mud to be seen.

Pushing on up the bray half a dozen Wheatears cross my path. I take it as a good omen, but then again any time I see a wheatear I take it as a good omen…its one of my favourites!! Small birds are much in evidence along the field edges and in the air. As I am rolling along there’s not much time for anything more than a cursory glance and a quick guess at an id from the giss. Queena is the next stop This is a bird crop on the brow of a hill just before the Brodgar road meets the Sandwick road. There is a small track you can park on. Here a flock of 30 or 40 Linnets flit about and move across the plants feeding. After a few minutes a far larger mixed flock rise behind them in a ball. The flock rises and falls a couple of times before it descends to feed. They seem mostly Twite by the sound of them but I am sure there are a good few Reed bunting in there from the cries on the wind. This is a nice reliable sight for birds in the winter, its unfortunate though in that its topography makes it the birds difficult to get good views of for ID’s.

Of to the junction and turn left its half a mile to the dam of Rango. The first spits of the forecast rain start to fall now. Off to the south and west the sky is growing ever darker it looks like this could be it. A quick scan shoes bugger all to be seen. I ready the scope and start to head off along the path when 200 or so Widgeon take to the air flying from end to end of the loch before settling for a couple of minutes then taking to the air this time heading in the direction of Harray Loch. I move along the path. There is nothing at all to be seen on or along the loch edge, The view point reveals a far expanse of empty mud totally devoid of any avian presence. A ten minute sit dose not improve things one dot so move off. By the time I reach the bike there is more persistence in the rain. I had been going to head to Skail then home via Voy but its sod that now. I get the oil skins on and beat the retreat. Home for coffee.

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