Bird Report - April 2017
It was a nice start to the month when a Siskin took the opportunity to feed on peanuts in the back garden. Better still, another Siskin was pecking at seed right in front of the back door and obligingly posed for my camera.
Photo of Siskin taken by Pauline Wilson.
Bramblings have also brightened up my day with two separate birds visiting Sunnybank.
Mary Wylie reported another colourful bird - a Goldfinch was on her sunflower seed feeder.
Also vying for most colourful bird of the month was the Robin which paid a visit to us on the 3rd.
I was walking along the main road near home on the 18th when I saw 2 Linnets landing on the fence. Always nice to see these little birds, the males of this species can also be very colourful.
I was alerted by a familiar sound on the 27th and looked skywards to see about 50 Golden Plovers flying over, calling as they went.
Bird watcher Ian Cunningham was at Sandside Bay on the 14th and, after seeing a few Redwings, he was rewarded by the sight of a Ring Ouzel in the field. I was at Sandside on the same day but missed this bird unfortunately.
Nest Building/breeding is now going on in earnest. We have Starlings, House Sparrows, Greenfinches, Blackbirds and the Wren seems to be making progress on moving a partner into the elaborate nest he has built in our byre.
Soon the Swallows and House Martins will be arriving and seeking somewhere to raise their families. Nancy Scott will be hoping to see the House Martins back again as they are very entertaining to watch as they fly back and forth to the nest prior to the youngsters also taking to the wing. Waders, too, will probably have young by now and it is lovely to see the Lapwings calling and diving as they protect their young. We have an Oystercatcher back in our field but I fear the dead bird I found last year (ringed near Morecambe) may have been the mate to this one so I hope it is able to pair up again.
We took a short walk at Dingieshowe recently and admired the Primroses and Bluebells which lined our path.
It was a shock to wake up to snow near the end of April! I presume it was a shock for the birds also.
Gerry Cannon caught a surprised Oystercatcher trying to feed amongst the white stuff! Luckily a thaw quickly set in so it was a crisis averted!
Photo of Oystercatcher by Gerry Cannon.
Ian Cunningham again ventured into Deerness on the 30th and was thrilled to see a group of Sandwich Terns. Less common in Orkney than the Arctic Terns which are being seen now, the Sandwich Tern has longer feathers on its topknot and has a yellow tip to its black bill resembling butter (hence Sandwich Tern).
Photo of Sandwich Tern by Ian Cunningham
Pied Wagtails, Meadow Pipits and Wheatears should be easy to see now but May heralds the arrival of migrants as they pass through the county en route to their breeding grounds.
Plenty to tempt us out and about!