Aug 31, 2012

Sanderling at Skaill

There have been a lot of Sanderling aroound their usual haunts over the last couple of weeks. These birds are on the beach at Skaill. They were fairly unconcerned with my presence and moved from side to side of me on the last of the disapering sand. Last flock i saw they were in all states of moult but these are nearly all the way to their winter colours, exellent wee birds.

Aug 24, 2012

Starlings rock

I was off to the Broch of Birsay this morning but totaly messed up with the tide and couldent get on!! The trip back produced no birds that i wouldnt have expected so i was feeling a bit bummed with the thought of cutting grass all afternoon. On pulling in and letting the puppy out the air filled with birds! Over the houses were several hundred starlings all in the air engaged in fly catching, what a wonderfull sight!! This something that happens only rarely but they have been going at it for almost an hour. I supose it just gos to show you dont need to travel miles to see things some times its all on your doorstep and from the most unasuming of sources as well!!....Starlings rock!!

Aug 20, 2012

Out west

Out for a quick spin this afternoon first off to the Shunan where a couple of Bartailed godwits stalked about the muddy edges of the island. The whole shore line was fringed with cast feathers that looks like snow in the distance. A Greenshank flew up and over towards Finstown calling. It took a swing to the right and came down about hands with the burn at Bosquoy. The last bird I see as I an about to pull away are three waders, they dive down to the loch but turn and carry on. By now there are four, following with the bins I see they are Dunlin and hear there high piched calls as they to head to Bosquoy. I now head over to Bosquoy my self, thats left on the road and first right. The first thing I see turning in off the main road is a dead bird, A look and I see it is a short eared owl, this is yet another road casualty. They may be here in good numbers this year but the other side of the coin has been some severe attrition on the roads.

Bosquoy its self held nothing unusual, the big greeb flock was there and good flocks of Curlew and Lapwing came in whilst I scoped about. Moving on from there I hit the Loch of banks hide I hadn’t been here for ages and there was a certain air of dereliction starting to settle about the place, There was bugger all to see either as the meadowsweet had grown so much you cant see any water. A spin on from there saw me looking over the loons from the view point, this to was to prove fruitless with no birds at all on any of the muddy pools and the loch side to lost in the haze and glare of the sun. With little to be gained from waiting about I head down the west coast to enjoy the ride to Skaill. Stopping at the north end of the bay the tide is just high enough to stop dog walkers from approaching the last third of the bay. This portion of the shore is absolutely teeming with birds it seems every where you look there are more. The waters edge is dominated by Dunlin ,Sanderling and Ringed plover rushing back and forth, the rocky shore has Turnstones in all states of moult, Redshanks well close in interspersed with Knot. The Knot range from red to grey. Along with hundreds of starlings on the strand line are several family’s of pied wags and a few Wheatears, one a strikingly even colour of brown. Amongst a group of gulls and Oystercatchers a rather striking Blacktailed godwit is probing away. Seeing this it leads me to see another and another till there are ten in all, They are an exellent sight in their breeding plumage. Carefully looking through every thing I dont see anything out of the usual not that you can take such a massive gathering as usual tho. I was counting Sanderling and got in to nearly a hundred before a couple of Bonxies put the whole beach in to the air. When I lost count I was less than half way through!! All in all it made for an entertaining hours watching and a nice relaxed ride home!


The last few days have seen a continental wind-flow bringing good falls of migrating birds to the east side. I haven’t really been out on the hunt but I did manage a couple of lifers with a Wood warbler in full and glorious colour on saturday and a redbacked shrike on sunday.Fairly chuffed i was!!

Aug 3, 2012

Common Crane

A good day today as I have just ticked Common crane. This bird was posted on the Orkney bird group on facebook last night . At the time it was just for an ID as the bird was on a farm and far from the road and turning there is an issue. This morning it was visible from the road at the North west end of Swanny loch tho. We located it by the booming calls coming through the mist and managed to get some distant views. I do wonder if this was or should I say is the Tufta bird of a couple of weeks ago. Looking back the cranes that were about Stromness a while ago seemed to stay about for ages, cropping up over and over in different places. Could be this is the same sort of loitering. Im just glad to have had a chance to have one in the scope whilst it did its stuff for an hour on and off…..A very nice big bird!!