Bird Report - April 2019

A Great Northern Diver has graced Deerness with its presence during April; I saw it at Newark on the 2nd and again on the 7th (still in winter plumage) then Ivor and Marlene Rorie spotted it a few days later. While I was admiring the Diver I was also listening to the sound of Skylarks singing while Lapwings displayed and called. A nice sighting was a lone Snow Bunting making its way along the path.

Gerry Cannon was in Deerness on the same day and reports a Jack Snipe, 200+Golden Plovers and no less than 15 Hares!

Around the parish I have noticed quite a number of Meadow Pipits displaying - they fly into the air then dive-bomb down again while singing. I have also seen several pairs of Meadow Pipits and I suspect breeding is well under way for this little bird which is very common in Orkney during the spring and summer.

Meadow Pipit 1

Photo of Meadow Pipit by Ian Cunningham.

Others now back for the summer include Pied Wagtails and Wheatears which are easily seen.

I have enjoyed a nice array of birds at the feeder - Dunnock, Chaffinches - both male and female - Robin and twice have seen 2 Brambling. Greenfinch males are now in breeding plumage so look even more handsome .


Photo of Greenfinch by Ian Cunningham.

On the 5th I had a lovely walk towards East Denwick amongst a cacophony of bird-sound coming from Lapwings, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Oystercatchers, Curlews and Geese. There were 2 Shelducks in one of the small pools. The Coltsfoot flowers were putting on a show but it will be a while before the leaves are out. Driving back I noticed C.100 Oystercatchers in the field adjacent to the Gloup car park.

During my walk I bumped into Ian Cunningham who later reported a Lesser Whitethroat, a ChiffChaff and a Redwing in the East Denwick plantation. He also saw a Goldcrest at the Lighthouse Quarry garden.

No one will be surprised to learn that Swallows are back in Deerness! Early in the month I had reports from Alison and Ernie Skea at Aikerskaill then Marlene Rorie and Nancy Scott.  Now, of course, they are busy building nests in which to raise families before their long trek back to Africa later in the year - what a hard life they have!

Good news also that the Sand Martins are back at Newark, building and reclaiming nests just below Ivor and Marlene's house. It's lovely to see them flying around, seemingly oblivious of folk having strolls along the path. Jill Sutcliffe was watching them catching insects one evening during a walk.  

Another visitor to the parish - Gerry Cannon - was in the Quarry gardens and reported 4 Goldcrests and a Chiffchaff

Pairs of Eider Ducks have been seen a couple of times at the Geo so I wonder if we will be seeing ducklings there again soon?

I am still hoping to hear the sound of Snipe drumming but no luck so far but I am still hopeful that this little wader will put in a performance.

Pauline Wilson