Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 2020


There are signs... amongst the day-to-day happenings, there are definitely signs. In Orkney, Autumn is not so much a season, it's the dawning realisation that birds you have been listening to or watching for several months are no longer there. Then, no sooner than that thought has flickered across your mind, the empty skies, fields and bays are filled with different species, a new palette of colours, sights and sounds. And, if you're a leaf, Autumn lasts about 24 hours. Plants don't tend to be sentimental, they can't afford to be. For them, Summer to Winter is like a switch being thrown. This week, many flocks of Pink-footed Geese winged their way south through the scudding Orcadian sky. Energetic V's of "Wink, wink" sounds battling the gusting breeze as they headed for estuaries far from the Arctic Circle. I saw my first Whooper Swans of the Winter, a group of a dozen, counter-intuitively flying north, but I think they were headed for St Peter's Pool

Fast food

At this time of year, the beaches of Orkney can be busy places. B irds which have bred in the Arctic are migrating south for the Winter, and can frequently be seen hungrily foraging amongst the seaweed on the tideline or at the water's edge. Orkney is just a pitstop for these waders, hurriedly fuelling up on countless tiny morsels, before continuing their journeys to warmer climes.   Here's a clip from Skaill beach, following a stake out to allow the birds to walk towards the camera at their ease. The main subject is a Dunlin, with cameos by a Ringed Plover and a Sanderling.

Slow surf

There's much talk at the moment about a second wave of Covid cases. Yesterday I was more concerned with the seventh wave, y'know, the big one that comes along every seventh wave? Standing on the north coast of Birsay, watching the Atlantic rollers come in is spectacular, even on a calm day. But every time I tried to film 'the big one', it always seemed to be absent. Later recourse to the internet revealed the seventh wave thing to be a bit of a myth, as the ocean is too complex, chaotic and complicated for such a simple rule. Apparently, for long distance waves the big one comes along every 12 to 16 waves, so no wonder I got bored and wandered off to film something else. Here's some slo-mo of the surf crashing into the cliffs...

When your hare feels like straw