Bird Report - July 2017
Pied Wagtails and a few Wheatears are now being seen in the parish along with lots of Meadow Pipits which appear to have had a successful breeding season. Here at Sunnybank the House Sparrows and Starlings have also notched up breeding success as I don't recall seeing so many young of these species before. Our Wren must have found pastures new for, in spite of the male building a splendid nest, this has not been deemed suitable.
Nancy Scott reports Swallows and House Martins once again and there is a family of Swallows next door to us in Phil Longley's garage at Eastbank.
We had a pile of feathers underneath the wall, a sure sign of a Sparrowhawk devouring its catch. One less baby sparrow I am afraid!
Another raptor, this time a male Hen Harrier, keeps paying us a visit; I have seen him on three occasions the last of which saw him being chased off by one of Phil's Swallows!
I had a walk to the Brough of Deerness on July 11th, spotting Swallows in the Gloup, an Arctic Skua flying over the Gloup car park and a Snipe perched on a fencepost - chicks nearby. Further along my walk I heard one of my favourite sounds - a Snipe drumming. There were Meadow Brown butterflies and lovely small Blue Butterflies and the Grass of Parnassus was in flower – lovely.
Another walk, this time to the Coventanters Memorial then around the coast and back up to the car park.
(Photo showing Covenanters Memorial in distance by Pauline Wilson)
Along the way I counted no less than 22 flower species - Tormentil, Angelica, Meadowsweet, Sorrel, Hawkweed, Clover, Forget-me Not, Willowherb, Buttercup, late-flowering Marsh Orchid, Marsh Cinquefoil, Sneezewort, Purple and Yellow Vetch, Bell Heather, Ragged Robin, Ragwort, Lousewort, Mayweed, Self Heal, Bright Eyes, Mimulus. What a tally!
(photo of Angelica, with Tormentil and Meadowsweet in the background).
Once again there were Meadow Brown & Blue Butterflies and Seals were hauled out down by the shore. Not too many birds around but an unusual sighting was a male Chaffinch, lots of Meadow Pipits, two Arctic Terns, many sounds of Curlews, and a lot of Oystercatchers. There were Shags & Razorbills down on the rocks.
I had a final walk of July on the 30th, this time to the Point of Ayre which is a lovely spot that escapes the tourists on a fine sunny day! On reaching my destination I enjoyed a cup of coffee while watching Cormorants, Shags and two mystery birds which I eventually identified as juvenile Black Guillemots, the giveaway clue being their bright red/orange legs.
We are lucky in Deerness that there are so many beautiful places to explore.