A week on North Ronaldsay

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28th May 2019


As a migrant hotspot, North Ronaldsay tends to be overshadowed by its neighbour Fair Isle. However, with an active Bird Observatory providing excellent food and accomodation it has much to offer, and is one of the best migration hotspots in Scotland with an impressive and growing species list. You can either visit by regular flights on a small aircraft, or by ferry which operates twice weekly. With no drive-off facilities any vehicles have to be craned off, a highly efficient if slightly nerve racking prospect. We chose to self cater but enjoyed evening meals and company in the Observatory. An efficient WhatsApp system communicates information so there is an opportunity to catch up with any birds caught in nets or traps, or seen in the field. During the week we recorded 88 species including Dotterel, Wood Sandpiper, and a variety of duck species including Pintail, Shoveler and Garganey. Passerine migrants included Wood Warbler, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroats, Brambling, Whinchats, Common Rosefinch and several stunning Bluethroat. Bird of the week for me was an Eastern Subalpine Warbler, which flew through an open door of the lounge bar and was duly caught and ringed - providing a new Scottish tick (see image). An excellent week and there are a number of images on the Gallery. More details of the observatory can be seen athttp://nrbo.org.uk/