Bird Report - March 2016

I was driving along the road past St. Peter's Pool early in the month when I saw a female Hen Harrier flying alongside the car and couldn't help but notice a red wing tag. On enquiring about this I found out that the bird is now an old lady of about 12 years.

The next day I took a walk down the track from Hacco to the shore and heard several Skylarks singing away. (There are lots of Skylarks to be heard in the parish just now as they soar high in the sky full of the joys of spring). In the field to the right I counted 300 Pink-footed Geese then saw a Hare ambling across the grass.

Taking a run on the 18th, Daisy Aitken and I counted 40 Fieldfare in the field below Watermoss. These birds will now be on their way to breeding grounds.

Once again a Short-eared Owl has been seen hunting in Little Halley's field - certainly a favourite spot for this popular raptor which seems to be doing well in Orkney just now.

Returning up the track to Hacco on March 31st it was nice to see a flock of Curlews feeding in the field across the road from South Windbreck. Further down a male Pheasant gave out his unmistakeable sound.

March 28th was a lovely day for my beached birds survey at Sandside Bay. On the shore a small group of Ringed Plovers and a single Redshank were searching for food at the water's edge. Three Rock Doves took off and a pair of Mallards flew overhead. I heard a Meadow Pipit calling then shortly afterwards another was giving a fine courtship display as he flew high in the air then fluttered down to earth.

Keen bird-watcher Gerry Cannon did a sweep of the parish on March 10th and reports the following:
Lighthouse Quarry; Greenfinches and Blackbirds; he then went to Mull Head and along the cliffs, round to Skaill and back to Lighthouse Corner reporting the birds he saw along the way: 8 singing Skylarks, 25 Twite, 60+Oystercatchers, 500+Fulmars on cliffs, 100 Guillemots, 15+Razorbills, 1 Great Northern Diver (far out), heard Pinkfooted Geese, 1 Sparrowhawk at the Gloup.

Also at the Gloup, Ian Cunningham had camera to hand when he saw a Wren and managed to take this charming photo of the tiny bird.

DSC 4166 079

Photo - Ian Cunningham