Bird Report - June 2014
There was a notable sighting in the parish in May - after I had written my report - so I thought it deserved a mention. In the ploughed field at the side of Braemar a small group of Dotterel were spotted and I was able to go along and get a very good view of these striking birds which are occasionally seen on migration through Orkney. These birds always seem to be in ploughed fields, probably as a form of camouflage. Unusually, it is the male bird who takes on responsibility for hatching the eggs.
Photo of Dotterel at Braemar by Ian Cunningham.
Of course, June is all about breeding in the bird world and we have lots of young Starlings, House Sparrows, Blackbirds and Greenfinches just now at Sunnybank.
On a walk down the trail from Hacco to the shore I noted a Meadow Pipit with food in its beak, obviously destined for hungry chicks.
The path down to Sandside is alive with the sounds of Skylarks so these fields must be a favourite nesting place for the breed. Meadow Pipits are common there also.
Just now plenty of Oystercatchers can be seen perched on fence posts, a sure sign that chicks won't be far away. The same goes for Curlews. Lapwings will also have young so listen out for their distinctive call.
Silage is being cut in the parish at present and the newly-cut fields are a magnet for birds such as Gulls, Hooded Crows, Starlings, Oystercatchers.
I was at Sandside Bay on June 14th and was delighted to see a pair of Shelducks with 6 ducklings. Usually you see one parent at either end of a brood to give extra protection from predators.
The following day, again at Sandside, there were Eider females and ducklings swimming along. There should be plenty of sightings of Eiders just now.
I had an enjoyable trip on June 15th with Sidney Foubister to see Puffins at the Holms of Copinsay - lovely to see these birds at close quarters and the nearby Seals were an added bonus.
In the field at the back of Daisy Aitken's house recently I spotted three Linnets - very handsome birds with red markings on the male.
I have just had a report of a breeding pair of Short-eared Owls at Mull Head so keep a look out for these when you next have a walk there.