Puffin with sandeel - pic Sarah SankeyOur 2 family guides have been birdwatching all our lives and are therefore highly experienced birdwatchers.

Guests who stay with us for a week may expect to see around 80-100 species of birds, although please remember that many of the UK mainland species (such as many finches and all but coal tits) are absent in Orkney.  Instead we have island species that are ubiquitous here but rare in a UK setting, such as seabirds and birds of prey.

Migrants are interesting and almost anything can (and does!) turn up – recent rarities on our doorstep have included Varied thrush and Siberian accentor. But don’t be put off by rarities – we’re just as happy with novice birdwatchers and we are pleased to pass on our skills.

Short-eared owl pic Drew Kennedy

Just as a by the way, the record number of species we have seen in a week currently stands at 108 (May 2012, SE Herts RSPB LMG).

A spreadsheet of birds in Orkney is available as a download (Excel .xls file).

spreadsheet of the incidence of all species seen in Orkney in the last ten years may also be downloaded.  My thanks to our son, Sami, for compiling this data which he obtained from the annual Orkney Bird Reports. Although it only shows incidence (and not quantity) it’s a useful picture of what’s common or otherwise in Orkney.

Our guests have also enjoyed relaxing with bonxies, Arctic skuas, ravens, peregrines, hen harriers and short-eared owls overhead! In the big outdoors we can guarantee close up views of Orkney specialities whilst ensuring that the welfare of the birds will always come first.

We visit lots of RSPB reserves and hides. We always visit Westray for its puffins and gannets; and Hoy for its nesting sea-eagles. Even if you don’t want to focus on birdwatching as a holiday – don’t forget to bring your binoculars!

See our Birds Album.

Find out about tours availability and prices on our Tours Availability page.