A week in Orkney
01st October 2016
Orkney is a fantastic area for birds and the temptation of a visit in the 3rd week of September was that some interesting migrants would turn up. In the end the weather was settled and warm, with winds mainly from the south, and therefore conditions a little benign for huge migrant falls. North Ronaldsay has become one of Scotland's migration hotspots but all I could manage was a day trip on a little 8 seater plane. Nonetheless it was good to see a number of warblers including Yellow-browed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and Blackcap. The highlight was probably several groups of Lapland Buntings and a wandering Osprey. On the return trip we landed at Papa Westray, an experience in itself. Back on mainland Orkney there were huge flocks of Golden Plover, Lapwing, Snipe and Curlew to enjoy. I managed to find another Yellow-Browed Warbler on South Ronaldsay and catch up with a Barred Warbler at Sandside on Deerness. A colour ringed Little Stint at Birsay Bay was another highlight and images of this and several other birds are in the UK Gallery. Orkney has much to offer apart from the sheer volume of birds, and we found the people very friendly, good quality local produce readily availabe, and in comparison to Skye, much more reasonably priced restaurants and better maintained roads!