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Showing posts from December, 2020

The translocation of spiders

Orcadian weather is often in stark contrast to that being experienced further south in the UK. Whilst this often means that whatever our weather is, it is horizontal, today was the happy exception to the rule, with horizon to horizon sunshine and scarcely a breath of wind. It was freezing, mind, but hey, we'll take that. As it happened, I spent the day moving business premises: packing, dismantling, driving, mantling and unpacking. Repeat. Given the nature of dusty corners, and the nooks and crannies of garages, this was really just an exercise in spider translocation. However, come sunset, I was ready to call it a day and spend the last of the sun's daily spectacle with a camera in hand. Rose-coloured spectacles not necessary.

Festive frippery

Living on the shores of Scapa Flow, it is quite possible that on Christmas Day I did see three ships, but I wasn't counting. Although there were two visitors to the garden, they definitely weren't Turtle Doves, but they were welcome all the same. A pair of Song Thrushes were spotted rootling through the veg patch Boxing Day morning was spent tidying an outbuilding, appropriately enough collapsing umpteen cardboard boxes to be recycled. Midst the bruck, this Angle Shades moth was found, resting on a plastic bag. Looking at the Butterfly Conservation website, it appears that this moth doesn't overwinter as an adult. The moth obviously hadn't read the latest guidance. As we enter another chapter of lockdown, this time in the depths of Winter, please remember to look after 'your' wildlife. And 'your' wildlife will look after you.

A Winter miscellany

It's been a while, huh? I'm afraid the wildlife watching has been a bit thin on the ground of late but, by way of a catch up, here's a few things from the last week or so. Whilst sorting through some books, I came across this vade mecum or pocket companion from 1777.  This passage about Scotland was written 174 years after the Union of the Crowns and 70 years after the Act of Union... Modern historians seem to be still arguing over the identity of the first King of Scotland, although mainly around when exactly the kingdom came into existence. Some say it was Kenneth 1 (Kenneth MacAlpin),  whose reign began in 843. Others reckon it was Constantin 1 in around 862. Whichever, Google was a long way off in 1777, so I think I can allow this old list to have its own opinion.  Weirdly, it is also available  online , so someone in 1777 was actually w-a-y ahead of their time! Last weekend, a short walk around Hobbister at dusk (3pm-ish) produced a few lovely skyscapes. Sadly, over t

Winter light

A walk from the outskirts of Kirkwall into the centre of town allowed an appreciation of the low sun on a Winter's day in Orkney. The walk, which began in the early afternoon, was about four and a half miles and ended after sunset. This suggests that the pace was very slow, but although there were frequent tops for photography, the real reason was the limited daylight at 59 degrees North. Gorse all aglow At the Peedie Sea, there were several Long-tailed Ducks, a Winter speciality in these parts This one's a male And this is a female A male Red-breasted Merganser in Kirkwall Bay More Long-tailed Ducks The Peedie Sea is effectively the town duck pond Kirkwall Marina The return trip was much gloomier, so consequently there weren't any photos of the walk home.