Monday, October 09, 2006

111 species of Birds seen, including a walk by the Abernethy Forest with an excursion or two inside!!

Swallows still fact we saw some Swallows but not as many on North Ron!!
Best though were the Siskins...the adult males so bright I wished I had my sunglasses with me!! Oh and the fly-over me Wryneck!!
30 Robins reminded me of the migrants that arrive from Scandanavia each year! They are more orange!!

We travelled north on Saturday to Gills Bay to catch the ferry to St Margarets Hope.
On route we sea watched...Gannets, Fulmars, Kittiwakes and Gulls(various)...Guillemots, Razorbills and Puffins (3) they apparently leave here later than elsewhere.
Sooty and Manx Shearwaters....but no Leach's Petrel which would have been lovely, but several Stormies attempted to make up for their absence!

We travelled through Scapa Flow....the sea was almost flat calm --not not what we really wanted for sea watching!!
Sunday- we birded on Mainland- went all over!!

Highlight for me was watching well I'll come to that - perhaps you can guess?

Mist, wind and rain. Hallo Orkney!

Off to RSPB The Loons- Coot, Mallard,Gadwall,Shoveler,Wigeon and Teal. Fly over Grey Heron ...then......HEN HARRIER!!! Flying low and hunting.
Happy? I was very happy!! Well we watched the Harrier for ages!! I watched it for some more.Then we all had to look again as a Male HH flew as well!! What a little stunner!!

(When we were on the Ferry - Mike had spotted a HH at a great distance- I saw a BoP flying but until I saw it briefly in my bins I couldn't have been certain it was a HH!!- now I could see it through my new glasses!!)

I saw HH every day except Tuesday...but on Wednesday we saw 2 juveniles, to make up I expect!!

We actually saw HH every day except Tuesday
We had lunch over looking Birsay Bay....real cliffs.

I say that because the Orkney's are relatively flat, so hills look huge...but these cliffs are real cliffs!

We witnessed a Bonxie (Great Skua) knock a Gull out of the air into the sea, attempt to drown it for fun...and then fly away leaving a very weak gull to be finished off by a Greater Black Backed Gull.(eaten I mean)

Later that day we were at Stromness harbour (we all decided we liked Stromness) and A Bonxie flew really close to Denis (more about him later),but I decided he (Bonxie) was put off attacking Denis by - the Pom-
on Mike's hat!!
We had absolutely close up views of Bonxies....they are really big!!
Have a look at this!!

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