Wednesday, 6 July 2011

A quickie from Orkney

Well here we are half way through our week long trip down south and I must admit I quite like what I've seen so far of the islands. The trip down on the ferry was great, flat calm and clear skies all the way. Arriving in Kirkwall around 11pm, we soon found the youth hostel where we were going to be staying for the night.

The following day we took a slow drive over to west Mainland to Skail House which would be our base for the week. The house is the former home of the person (whose name escapes me right now) who discovered the nearby site of Skara Brae which is an ancient site - 3000 years bc - and is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland - as is the flat in which we are staying.

My main interest in coming to the islands was obviously birds - or more precisely two species, and they are Short-eared Owl and Hen Harrier. Orkney is a stronghold for both species and for Hen Harrier it is one of the very few places that they are thriving. Over the last 4 days or so, I've been going out early morning and evening and have had Harriers every time - some have been very close. A male Hen Harrier in flight has to be one of the most beautiful and graceful birds we have here and should be extremely proud of them. During the last two days the wind has now picked up which seems to have grounded the SEOs. I'll do another update later



MarkW said...

Glad to hear you enjoying the hols. The last time I saw a male hen harrier was when taxying on the runway of Kirkwall airport. It is good to hear of somewhere they are doing well.

robbieb said...

Hi Mark, it's been a real treat to go out every day and see harriers and seo's. Was out this morning at 5am and saw 3 seo's and 4, possibly 5 harriers. Magic !