August 2010

The bird of the year (so far!) turned up at the south end of our island on 5/8 in the form of an Alpine swift.  Only one of just 3 records in Orkney, it was a large and handsome bird, giving close up views of its white belly and chin.

6 crossbills at Rackwick on Hoy and a pure white albino starling on South Walls were also of interest (8/8).

At Cantick Head on South Walls (also 8/8) we had the best ever views of a pair of adult harbour porpoises playing beneath us in the clear sea – we could actually see them swimming underwater, awesome!

Also a large flock of 50 whimbrel overhead at Gerraquoy on 17/8.

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.