Bird Report - March 2015

It was a nice start to the month here at Sunnybank with a Wren and a Robin adding to the usual gang

of feathered residents. In the front field there are still six or seven Blackbirds which I suspect roost in our little group of trees nearby. A Song Thrush in our field on the 18th was a nice sight. I hope it

bursts into song soon and attracts a mate! We also had a Pied Wagtail dropping in on the back lawn

but this only stayed a moment before flying off. This species is now starting to appear in bigger

numbers. I have seen quite a few on the shore at Newark.

I had a walk down the peat road on the 15th, luckily with the binoculars, as I saw a flock of about

300 Geese. These were mostly Pinkfoots with a sprinkling of Greylags among them. A tiny Meadow

Pipit saw on a hydro wire near The Knowes - my first sighting of the season - and a Skylark was

singing overhead.

During my beached birds survey at Newark on March 10th there were 17 Sanderling wheeling

around at the water's edge while further away were 3 Purple Sandpipers and 5 Oystercatchers -

these striking black-and-white waders are back from wintering in the south and there are a lot to be

seen now.

I went to Sandside Bay to do a beached birds survey and noticed a large flock of geese in the field

below 'Creya'. Once again, these were mainly Pinkfoots so I suspect this is the same flock as I saw

down the peat road. As I walked down the track to Sandside there was a loud rustle and a Wood

Pigeon flew out of the willows lining the track.

We have had visits from a Hen Harrier twice in March, firstly on the 19th when one flapped across

the front of the house, then on the 25th when it was in the field. This looked to be the same bird and

I am sure it will be back in a few weeks to pluck young sparrows out of the bushes!

I had another trip to Newark Bay on the 24th when 2 Pied Wagtails brightened up the beach and 20

Twite were in Russell's field as I made my way back along the path. Looking out to sea there was a

male Red-breasted Merganser lazily swimming around. No female to be seen.

Other reports of unusual birds in the parish were:

A Little Gull at Sandside on March 8th.

Also on the 8th there were 2 Mistle Thrushes near the church at Skaill.

Finally, Ian Cunningham reported a Blue Tit on the Rosa Rugosas at the Gloup Visitor Centre garden. I

immediately went to look for this rare (for Orkney) visitor but, alas, the bird had flown. However, Ian

was able to take a photograph of the bird so we are able to take a look at it as it perches high in the


blue tit

Photo of Blue Tit by Ian Cunningham

There will be more visitors passing through now so keep your eyes peeled!

Pauline Wilson