July 2012

The 1st week of July was spent in Shetland, where we were troubled a little by mists

and poor visibility.  We did, however, have a wonderful evening with the storm

petrels on Mousa (4/7); and see several pairs of whooper swans.  Back in Orkney

I’m pleased to report sightings of stonechat (11/7 – they were decimated in our

recent hard winters).  Scottish primroses completed their 2nd flowering; and

harbour porpoises were seen off Hoxa on 18/7.  Interesting birds during the month

included manx shearwater (23/7); grey plover, swift, greenshank & pintail (all

25/7); & golden plover flocking back through (26/7).  We helped ring storm petrels

with the RSPB on 25/7.  But easily the star bird of themonth though was a roller,

present in Finstown from 26/7, the 1st in Orkney since 1966 – some bird!

June 2010

June is just a beautiful month, not least because the sea pinks and squill adorn the cliffs.

Interesting birds have included a Manx shearwater in Scapa Flow (2/6); a summering whooper swan at the Brodgar Pools on 7/6; 2 common sandpipers at Graemeshall Loch on 8/6; and 2 crossbills at Rackwick on Hoy on 10/6.

We have also had stunning close up views of hen harrier, short-eared owl, merlin & peregrine early in the month.

We also opened our cetacean account with a pod of Risso’s dolphins in Birsay Bay on 7/6, and saw 4 harbour porpoises off The Ool on Switha on 10/6.

Rarest sighting of the month was of 2 beetles, too rare to have an English name, Chrysolina intermedia, lovely ladybird-sized beetles with deep red stripes along their lower backs.

Later in the month we saw a pintail with a brood of 5 ducklings (16/6); peregrines with well grown young; and a quail at Marwick on 17/6.

August Highlights 2005

Eight – yes eight – Red-throated divers at less than 100 metres in glorious sunshine, with five in the telescope at once on 7/8 was a glorious sight.

Waders started to come back through, with Sanderling, Whimbrel and Greenshank all seen this month.

A determined wader hunt on 22/8 with a Belgian guest saw Black and Bar-tailed godwits, Ruff, Knot and wonderful views of Snipe and Dunlin, with a delightful adult Pectoral sandpiper (rare American vagrant) the next day.

An impressive southerly blow on 29/8 drove the Manx shearwaters right into Scapa Flow and we were watching Storm petrels at only 100 metres from the Churchill Barriers as they battled against the wind and seas.