Sunday, 16 February 2020

Post Ciara constitutional

After several days of indoor work, the departure of Storm Ciara meant that I could venture outdoors again. An early start saw me slip sliding my way to the van, with the pair of us then tiptoeing into Kirkwall through the first appreciable snow of the Winter here. Two hours later, when the ferry berthed in Westray, it was still very cold, but bright and reasonably calm.

Thankfully, my customer was soon on hand with a warming brew, but he and I quickly realised that I'm not completely over Middlesbrough selling Adama Traore to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

With the task completed, I had a few hours to kill before the return sailing back to Kirkwall, so ventured to Grobust beach to see what was about. The answer was mainly waves, although there were Oystercatchers and Curlews in the fields behind the dunes, and a flock of Purple Sandpipers on the rocky shore.

There was still evidence of the previous night's snow and hail showers...

but this doesn't count.

Did I mention the waves?

As I began the walk back to where I'd left the van, a small movement at my feet caught my eye. There, walking over the accumulated hailstones, was an insect. Despite the cold, it wasn't hampered by lack of mobility. Indeed, I struggled to photograph it, so quick was it to avoid detection.

Whilst waiting for the ferry, I wandered to the breakwater by the pier. A couple of birds were perched on the rocks, and I puzzled over their ID for a while before throwing the question out onto social media.

Ummm, not sure, could be a Cormorant, could be a Shag?

With a steep forehead, this is defo a Shag

The two together, apparently showing a distinct difference in foreheads. However, I wasn't certain that this was enough evidence to make the right hand bird a Cormorant.

Facebook reckoned that it was probably a young Shag (thanks, AF).

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