Bird Report - August 2016

The first day of the month found me at Newark Bay with quite a few birds on the wing - 2 Arctic Terns were diving for sand eels and a few Swallows were to be seen. Close into the shore 3 Eider Ducks were busy searching for titbits in the sea. As I walked back along the path I admired the yellow Lady's Bedstraw growing alongside the hedge and spotted a juvenile Pied Wagtail and several Meadow Pipits. There were quite a number of Meadow Brown Butterflies and a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly along the path.

Newark Bay

Photo of Newark Bay by Pauline Wilson.

Arriving back home I was just in time to see a Heron flying over the house - no doubt wondering if we had restocked the fishpond after its last visit!

There was a rarer bird sighted at Lighthouse Corner, namely a Tree Sparrow which are not seen very often in Orkney.

I was driving down our lane on the 5th when 5 Linnets flew ahead of the car. My destination was Newark Bay where I made an approximate count of 200 Common Gulls, also there were 3 Turnstones and a Redshank which was noisily making its presence felt. From Newark I walked on to the picnic table and, on the way back, a Short-eared Owl was perched on a fencepost and I was able to get excellent views of the bird before it flew off.

On the 18th there was a small group of Black-tailed Godwits flying over Deerness and Ian Cunningham managed to get a stunning photograph of the group.

Black tailed Godwit flight 2

Photo of Black-tailed Godwits by Ian Cunningham.

Pied Wagtails seem to be almost everywhere - I saw a group at Newark on the 19th but they are to be easily seen as you drive along in the car. I suspect a lot of these are juveniles and I presume they will be heading off to their winter quarters.

An unusual find at Newark on the 19th was a Sea Urchin washed up on the shore.

sea urchin

Photo of Sea Urchin by Pauline Wilson.

Also August seems to be the month for Jellyfish and there were plenty to be found on this occasion.

At Sunnybank on August 23rd I was pleased to see a Song Thrush at the water drinker. Later that day a male Hen Harrier was chancing his luck in our little plantation but came away with nothing, thankfully for the House Sparrows which roost there.

There are a few migrants to be seen now so I am keeping a keen eye out and was rewarded on the 24th by the sight of a Willow Warbler on a willow bush of all places!

August 30th saw Daisy Aitken and myself taking a run around the parish and how lucky we were to spot a Short-Eared Owl on a fencepost at Seatter. We stopped the car very close to the bird and watched until it decided to fly off into the field. On reaching Halley Road there was a noticeable number of Wheatears flitting along the fence. I would imagine juveniles would be included. This is another species that will be heading off to winter quarters.

One of the regular bird watchers - Morris Rendall - reports recent sightings of migrants in Deerness: 22nd August Pied Flycatcher down the track to Sandside bay and 4 Stonechats along the beach at Halley Willow warblers at East Denwick . 23rd, 2 Pied Flycatchers also Willow Warblers at East Denwick Plantation and about 30 black-tailed Godwits flew over and landed at the ponds at the back of the plantation. Pied Flycatcher at the Lighthouse Quarry Garden

The sound of Greylag Geese has been noticeable recently so 2016 is certainly wearing on.

Pauline Wilson