Tuesday 13 August 2019

Weather. Aye.

By the beginning of August, the two significant annual developments in the Tense Towers garden are the blooming of the red-flowered Crocosmia 'Lucifer' and the formation of seed pods on the widespread and opportunistic Wild Radish. Every year, a couple of Greenfinches will appear to devour the latter, but I was able to capture a photo of one of them on the former.

A warm afternoon early in the month saw us take a trip to Stenness for a walk up Russadale. I had heard reports of Black Darter finally making an appearance elsewhere in the county, so thought this might be a good site to check. We were rewarded for tackling the gentle climb with lovely views north to the Neolithic Heart of Orkney, as well as Blue-tailed and Large Red Damselflies and a pair of Black Darters.

A mating pair of Blue-tailed Damselflies

A female Black Darter

The isthmus (centre) contains the Ness of Brodgar dig, situated between the Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar

Russadale quarry pool

A Meadow Brown butterfly
The following day, Second Born arrived for a week's visit and, as is traditional, the weather deteriorated markedly. Dang. Although the winds were light, this meant that any haar which rolled in off the North Sea tended to hang around.

We visited Stromness and climbed the hill behind the town, but the views back to the harbour were limited. Instead, with the still air, our ears were able to pick up sounds from the streets below, and or noses were tantalised by the smell of baking (from the Stockan's Oatcake factory). Who needs a view?!

This football match appears to be Gulls v Oystercatchers

Still waters in the harbour

Atop Brinkie's Brae

The view back down into Stromness as the haar rolled in again

Common Blue butterfly
One evening, we drove up to Birsay, and pottered across the tidal causeway to the brough. As we began our circumnavigation of the small island, it started to rain, which gradually increased in intensity until it reached the 'no fun at all' level.

A young Wheatear
Towards the end of the week, we ventured to Olav's Wood, sheltering from a strong breeze amongst the trees and bushes. I was hoping to find some Hoverflies (there's not been many about this year), but the few I did see were clinging to vegetation for all they were worth.

Melanostoma scalare (ID'd by LJ)

Windwick Bay

An immature gull sheltering on the rocky shore
When visibility became so bad that I couldn't see any wind turbines to gauge the wind direction, I reverted to that other tried and tested method...

Bovine bottometer.

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