We discovered a wonderful (and rare) Oysterplant colony on a nearby beach and Red admiral butterflies appeared all over the islands.
On the afternoon of 6/7 we were treated to some gymnastics and blows from a couple of Minke whales who had obviously chased some fish around Grimness headland – quite close in and big animals! In fact up to 4 Minkes fed in this area for several days, thrilling our guests.
On Hoy at St. John’s Head on 13/7 we were treated to a wonderful sight of a family of Peregrine falcons teaching their young how to stoop.
Meanwhile back on the farm a very late Oystercatcher eventually hatched her 3 young on 14/7.
Some mornings are unbeatable – despite the rain on 18/7 we saw a rare White-billed diver (happily in the company of a Great-northern diver for comparison); followed by an otter, always a treat!
Late April and early May 2005 had its attractions such as a great grey shrike locally (20/4) and we watched a beautiful male ring ousel from the conservatory at only 50 metres away (30/4).
Whimbrels passed overhead regularly, and lapwings, curlew and snipe all literally came within inches of our new “hide” (conservatory!).
The seabirds arrived back at the cliffs, and the Scottish primroses (Primula Scotica) had their 1st flowering.
The birds of prey were on form, and we saw hen harrier food passes, five short-eared owls at once, and merlin and peregrine regularly.
Best of all, however, was a pod of 7 Risso’s dolphins, which thrilled our guests for two days (12 & 13/5) as they hunted fish by the # 1 Churchill Barrier. At only 200 metres away or less, their pale scarred bodies could easily be seen, as could their blunt faces and huge dorsal fins, reminiscent of orcas. Wow…………