Bird Report - July 2015

We had a nice sighting at the beginning of the month when on a walk down the track to Sandside Bay; no less than 5 Wrens crossed the path and flew into the bushes - obviously a family group. It is very rare to visit Sandside and not hear or see a Wren, either down by the burn which runs alongside the track or on the beach. It's a tough little cookie and seems unfazed by exposed situations. On the same day there was a Snipe on a fencepost which indicates chicks nearby. It's a pleasure to walk down the track to Sandside just now as there are lots of Wild flowers in bloom and worth the walk just to see them.

(Photo of Early Marsh Orchid at Sandside by Pauline Wilson)

I had a walk down to Dingieshowe and passed the field near the bottom of the hill which had recently been cut for silage. I counted 100 Oystercatchers, several Lapwings, Black-headed Gulls, Common Gulls with Starlings also joining in the frantic dig for food. Just before the car park three small birds flew into view which turned out to be 2 Meadow Pipits and a male Linnet which was sporting a lovely red breast. There were no birds on the beach at Dingieshowe but quite a number of Fulmars were sat on the cliffs in the far distance. I believe they are the last species to leave the breeding cliffs.

Of course, it has been a disastrous year for farmers so a lot of fields remain uncut making bird-spotting more difficult than normal.

No problem on our front lawn though as 3 Oystercatchers were pecking about and a look through the binoculars confirmed that one was a juvenile bird hatched this year. A new species for us at Sunnybank is the Collared Dove and we now regularly have two of these visiting our feeder.

Easily seen just now are Meadow Pipits and Swallows; both species will be feeding young.

On July 19th I had a run to the Gloup Car Park and immediately saw a pair of Linnets, the male's red breast being hard to miss. Two Hooded Crows were on the road and these were being angrily harassed by a Lapwing who obviously had chicks in the nearby field.

Once again, plenty of Meadow Pipits were flying about. I had a sighting of a Pied Wagtail while a Curlew was perched on a fence-post, obviously keeping an eye on a family of chicks.

I had a nice trip with RSPB Orkney to the Holms of Copinsay and Sidney Foubister steered the boat to the best spots to see wildlife. There were Seals a-plenty, posing nicely for our cameras. Quite a number of Puffins came close to our boat and we saw Guillemots, Razorbills, Tysties, Shags, Bonxies, and a few Arctic Terns. It was a fine way to pass a Sunday afternoon.

(Photo of Puffins by Pauline Wilson)

I must say I have not seen one juvenile Blackbird so far this year. I wonder why? Could it be cats? I just don't know. Blackbirds do seem to nest in vulnerable places. Plenty of young Starlings, Sparrows, Greenfinches though so we still have plenty to see when we look out of the back window.

Pauline Wilson