Bird Report - February 2020

It's not surprising that there were fewer birds to be seen during this month of gales and rain but raptors have featured quite strongly, starting off at the beginning of the month when I spotted a Kestrel hovering above Clarke Ross's house at Newark. A lovely sighting of an unmistakable bird.

Kestrel hover

photo of kestrel hovering by Ian Cunningham

On the 5th a Kestrelflew over Groenvin and up the field. I presumed this would have been the same bird. 

On the 6th I had a report from Kathryn and Jonathan Southerington at the Rocket Hoose of a female Merlin plucking then eating a late lunch just a few yards from their window. What a sight!

Merlin F

photo of Merlin by Ian Cunningham

The very next day I had a glimpse of a Hen Harrier as it flew around a corner of the house before flying off.

To round things off Annalene Delday reported not one but TWO Short-eared Owls perched on nearby fence posts in the Mirkady area. A lovely sight indeed. It's likely they found a good food source! 

(For those interested there is a 'Short-eared owls in Orkney' site on Facebook which posts stunning photos of the birds, so please take a look).

Not a lot more to report - you didn't have far to look to find Geese. On the 24th there were about 70 in one of the fields leading down to Skaill. It was about half-and-half Greylags and Pinkfooteds.

During a walk at Sandside Bay there were no birds to report but heartening to see Celandines in bud by the babbling burn so spring is surely not too far away!

There are quite a number of Pheasants to be seen just now in fields and gardens. Quite a number in the fields by the road leading to Mirkady.

Birds in the garden during February have been my 3 pals the Blackbirds still coming by for grapes; Robins have regularly been investigating the back garden. Of course there has been no shortage of Starlings and House Sparrows not to mention the pesky Rock Doves!

I have had a Dunnock for quite a while now, watching it when I throw feed onto the ground. I was thrilled the other day to see 2 Dunnocks which were sticking closely together so I am hopeful they are a pair. Watch this space!

On the very last day of this short month - though longer this year - I was driving past the Rocket Hoose when I saw a flock of Lapwings in the field. Their distinctive wings quickly identify this species. Yes I think spring is just around the corner!

Pauline Wilson