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Showing posts from November, 2020

A mixed bag and a mixed flock

A short break on the Scottish mainland was made possible by the fact that Orkney and the Highlands were both (at time of travelling) in Scottish Tier 1 of the Covid regulations. And in this neck of the woods, the travel restrictions are backed up by the full force of the law. Woods, as well as rivers, were on the agenda, and some calm dry weather helped too. But definitely fleecy trews temperatures. Not long past dawn, the mist is still lifting from the valley of the River Helmsdale Loch Fleet, a rest halt brought about due to a rolling road closure for the transportation of wind turbine blades. Three v-e-r-y long vehicles indeed. Frost on Bramble leaves, near Skelbo Frost on a frond, near Skelbo Tarbat Ness and lighthouse There was much excitement upon spotting this exotic creature. Not many Blue Tits in Orkney Crested Tit. It was very mobile and difficult to photograph... Coal Tit The crispest shot I managed of a Crested Tit. If only it had been looking the other way Another Coal Tit

Work... what is it good for?

A trip to North Ronaldsay with work gave the opportunity for some wildlife watching whilst waiting for the plane back to Kirkwall. On this northernmost of the Orkney islands, it is always time well spent. The reed bed at Bride's Loch was mesmerising Midday light looking across the North Ronaldsay Sound to Sanday One of the many Twite from a large flock which were feeding in the bird crop at the Bird Observatory Admittedly, this one wasn't feeding, it was having a preen The bird crop itself was less colourful than a few months ago, but this Crimson Clover was still strikingly vibrant South Bay towards sunset The Harbour Seals were as inquisitive as ever [Happy sigh]

Cuteness and raucousness

Continuing the Grey Seal theme for just a while longer, here's some footage of a pup taking in its surroundings. Here. And then there's this... which is a very different sort of film of Rooks and Jackdaws coming in to roost for the night.

Mother and child parking

As may have been inferred from the previous post, a recent afternoon was spent on the clifftops of South Ronaldsay, watching the action on the Grey Seal pupping beaches. Well, I say 'beaches', but some of the smaller coves are just covered in boulders, not the easiest thing to navigate for an adult seal, never mind a pup. And a further Well, I say 'action', as most of the activity was snoozing. I think we can forgive the seals that, as it was a lazy Saturday afternoon. There were a few bouts of handbags between mums, as pups moved about and occasionally lost track of which seal was responsible for them. One large male was looking quite smug, presumably having just mated, as his, er…, wares were still on display (photo omitted for decency). Of the 90 odd pups seen at this location, only one was thought to be recently deceased, but it is a fraught time with the Winter storms beginning to roll in, and there's always the possibility of a passing pod of Orca. Bur Wick So

Calibration void if seal broken

This one's a bit of a low and a high...   🙄 It's ok, despite the beach litter, this seal pup was just having a snooze.

Floods of tiers

At the end of last month, putting wildlife-watching to one side for a few days, I travelled south to England for my Dad's funeral. To be fair, my wildlife-watching has much to do with Dad's gentle influence during my formative years, so I don't think he would be too upset to learn that I didn't put it to one side at all.  During the drive from Aberdeen to Middlesbrough, I encountered three Jays, birds which Dad always had a fondness for. At the funeral itself, the trees surrounding St Bede's Chapel were bedecked in Autumnal loveliness and birdsong filled the air. He would've approved. After a small and socially-distanced wake of close family members, I took a walk beside the River Tees at dusk. The colours and reflections were gorgeous, only bettered by finding a Pied Wagtail roost in some trees on the river bank. In all honesty, I think that Dad was a better father than I was a son, and I shall be forever grateful for his setting of a fine example which made me