With the year on the wane the breeding season is just about over, although we still have young
House-sparrows, Greenfinches and Blackbirds begging for food from their parents. Also, I was
surprised to find part of a house-sparrow eggshell on August 21st which seems quite late. 2014 has
been a good breeding year for the birds as our mixed flock at Sunnybank can testify. A Wren in our
plantation gave added interest.
Easily seen just now are Pied Wagtails - adults and juveniles - which will be moving on for the winter.
(photo of Pied Wagtail by Pauline Wilson). On August 3rd at Newark Bay I watched an adult jump
in the air to catch insects to feed to its offspring. (Daisy Aitken reports there were a number of
this species at the Geo later in the month). Also on this day two Arctic Terns were diving in the sea
searching for sandeels. Four Hooded Crows were in Russell's field so I assumed these were a family
August is the month when Jellyfish appear on our shores and I have seen a couple of the Common
Blue species at Newark - these sting so beware!
A feature of some of my recent walks have been Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies. I saw this brightly-
coloured species down the Gritley track then two at Newark. Another was flying amongst the
flowers down the peat road while, at the same time, a splendid pale grey Hen Harrier was hunting in
On another walk I reached the bottom of the track that leads from opposite Hacco down to the
shore and was lucky to see a Short-eared Owl alight on a fencepost then was even luckier when
another appeared and landed not too far away. I wondered if one was a juvenile on an outing with
On another walk at Newark on August 11th there were 4 Linnets tucking into the burdock in Russell's
field. Overhead flew a party of about 15 Terns - to me they looked a bit bigger than Arctics and could
have been Sandwich Terns but too far away for me to positively identify.
Migrating birds will be thinking of making a move soon. I have seen a Wheatear at Newark and there
were another two on the fence near Ashley Rosie's. Accompanying them were a handful of Meadow
Pipits and, of course, Pied Wagtails.
Swallows are noticeable just now. On a walk to Deerness Stores there were at least 20 flying around
the Eastersands area. Some will have raised 3 broods over the summer so won't be ready to leave
our shores just yet.
Keith Hague is seen regularly spotting birds around the parish and he recently reported some rarer
species: 4 Greenshanks and 4 Ruff at Braebuster Ness , a Stonechat at Halley and 51 Bar-tailed
Godwits at St. Peter's Pool.
With the year wearing on more migrants will be passing through Deerness so look extra carefully in
the bushes for any rarities!