Sunday, 16 April 2017

A splendiferous Sunday

With only one free day available over the Easter weekend, we were fortunate that Sunday was dry and bright. This gave us an opportunity to head across Orkney to look for some Springtime wildlife.

Our first port of call was Marwick Bay on the west coast. We walked south for about half a mile to some old fishermen's huts, where boats and equipment used to be safely stored above the high water mark.

As we returned to the car park, a Wheatear was flitting to and fro along the rocky shore and a skein of Pink-footed geese flew over our heads.

A little further inland, we tarried for a while in the bird hide at The Loons RSPB reserve. This was probably our most productive visit ever.

We saw our first Little Grebes and Shovelers for the year, and had smashing views of Gadwall, Teal and Reed bunting.

On the way home, we stopped off in Finstown and wandered into Binscarth Wood. The air was full of bird song from Wrens, Robins, Chaffinches and, another first for the year, Willow Warblers. The banks alongside the footpath were thronging with white Ramsons, yellow Lesser Celandine, Pink Purslane and a few early Bluebells.

The invasive Salmonberry was trying hard to recover its reputation by being the flower of choice for bumblebees. I managed to capture an image of this one, possibly a queen Buff-tailed bumblebee, with my phone. I'm not sure I could have done any better with my DSLR.

Then it was back home for that other traditional Spring activity... the first cut of the lawn. With the added responsibilty of being very careful to mow around at least some of the patches of Celandines.


Mark said...

do you get the 'bombus distinguendus' commonly known as the 'great yellow' Bumble Bee on Orkney? I know it has been spotted on some inner Hebs tho I've never seen one btw just got back from NW Highlands yet again and saw many Red Squirells.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Hi, Mark. Yes, we do have the Great yellow bumblebee in Orkney. I am going to make a concerted effort to look for more bumbles this year. We have about 12 species in Orkney, so even I should be able to cope with that! The local recorder confirmed my guess on the blog was correct. He also mentioned that the mites are passengers, not parasites. They drop off when the queen establishes a nest and scavenge amongst the debris of the nest.