October 2018 Bird Report

There were still a lot of Swallows around early in the month, evidence of their breeding success helped by the good weather. On the 1st there was a nice male Stonechat at the East Denwick Plantation. As I drove back from the area I noticed that there were still a lot of Lapwings in the field by the Gloup Car Park - mentioned in last month's report.

I always like to see - and hear- the Whooper Swans so a line of these birds attracted my attention on the 3rd, heading in the direction of St. Peter's Pool.

A 'chuckling' sound made me look up at I walked on the 6th and, sure enough, 2 Fieldfares were flying overhead.

I visited Newark on the 9th where 40 Turnstones were busy searching for food along the shoreline.

October 9th was a beautiful day so I took advantage of this and walked to the Geo. I saw a flash of white as a group of about ome I was pleased to see a Black Cap feeding on apples skewered on the bushes in the back garden. The following day another colourful bird - a male Chaffinch flew down the drive ahead of me.

Early in the morning of the 15th I was invited to accompany one of the RSPB wardens who was ringing birds in the East Denwick Plantation so I had a close up view of all the birds that were netted then ringed. These included Brambling, Chaffinch, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Reed Bunting, Robin, House Sparrow and - my favourite - Mistle Thrush. This bird is larger than the song thrush and lighter in colour.

Mistle Thrush

Photo of Mistle Thrush by Pauline Wilson.

There are a few Redwings around just now visiting for the winter, identified by an eye stripe, red under their wings and slightly smaller than the blackbird.

I was walking past Keith Eunson's field at the end of Halley Road on the 17th and estimated 150 Golden Plovers - another species visiting Orkney at this time of year.

I had another treat on the 20th when 5 Whooper Swans flew right over the back garden, whooping as they went - fabulous!

October 22nd was a stormy day when 3 Greenfinches joined the house sparrows at the feeder. I have not noticed so many greenfinches recently so it was nice to see them.

There was an exciting moment on the 24th when a Merlin - the smallest raptor in Orkney - flew over my small tree plantation scaring the birds as it went! A smart little mover!

On the 28th a Long-eared Owl was reported in the Lighthouse Quarry Garden.

Also on this day you couldn't fail to notice the number of Geese flying around. Jean Corsie and I estimated about 400. They eventually settled on the Links and, looking at them through binoculars, I saw there was also a high number of Whooper  Swans accompanying them.

On the 29th I was driving down the Geo Road when I saw a large group of Whooper Swans in the field at the top. Going home for the camera I was lucky to get a shot of some of these. I counted approximately 50 - what a great sight. The darker birds will be this year's youngsters which would have been born in Scandinavia or Iceland.

Whooper Swans

Photo of Whooper Swans at the Geo Road by Pauline Wilson

 So some birds have left Orkney and others have arrived - migration is indeed fascinating!

Pauline Wilson