May 2012

The Spring passage began with whimbrels and sandwich terns going through on 1/5.

Great views in brilliant sunshine on 4/5 of 2 pairs of hen harrier, an Iceland gull, and red-throated diver.

Our swallows finally made it back very late on 7/5, along with our first sighting for the year of a queen great yellow bumblebee (we saw another on 23/5).

Some super migrants on 9/5: male pied flycatcher (female on 24/5) and white-billed diver (also on 17/5); with the Arctic terns arriving back at last.

SE Herts RSPB LMG had a great week in mid May, smashing our week’s record with 108 species, adding more on North Ronaldsay!  They saw migrants such as wryneck, red-breasted flycatcher, red-backed shrike and rustic bunting.

Other unusual birds for May included little egret and a calling corncrake (17/5 ++); a crossbill (18/5); and redstart (20/5).

Quite exceptionally, Scapa Flow held a humpback whale on 18/5 and a sperm whale on 19/5.

We also saw the 1st basking shark of the season on Westray on 20/5.

Flycatchers were around late in the month (spotted on 21 & 24/5; and pied on 24/5); a whitethroat (23/5); red-backed shrike (23/5); and a cuckoo at last (27/5).

We saw the month out with good views of a Minke whale in the Stronsay Firth (30/5).

August 2006

We took most of the month “off” to visit the British Birdwatching Fair (BBF) at Rutland, and to get some big outdoor jobs done on our new peedie barn self-catering, such as installing the solar panel and septic tank.

We are taking bookings shortly for April 2007 onwards.

It was great to meet so many people at the BBF, and for the many folk who participated in our Highland Park quiz, the correct answer to the question “How many species of seabirds breed in Orkney?” was 21 (source Seabird 2000 survey), as follows: fulmar; storm petrel; gannet; cormorant; shag; Arctic skua; bonxie; black-headed gull; common gull; LBB gull; herring gull; GBB gull; kittiwake; Sandwich tern; common tern; Arctic tern; little tern; guillemot; razorbill; tystie; and puffin.