Saturday 11 November 2017

Autumn colour

Two weeks ago, I journeyed south to Stevenage, in England, for an equipment familiarisation course. It was a ten day training block condensed into 4 days, and was consequently pretty full on. By the end of the fourth day, my head was swirling with information - specifications, procedures, equipment IDs and protocols. Unfortunately, there wasn't the opportunity to take in much wildlife to free my mind, although whilst sat at breakfast in the hotel one morning, a Magpie and a Carrion Crow quartered the car park looking for tasty morsels. The short commute on foot from hotel to training establishment was invariably sunny and dry, so at least I could take in some Autumnal colour. Sadly, after a day in a basement staring at presentations, the return journey back to the hotel was in darkness.

The only other wildlife I can recall was my room mate for the week...

Back in Orkney, the weather wasn't long in reminding me that those four degrees of latitude encompass a broad range of temperatures. Here's a selection of images from the last week.

A mid-morning shower (right) offers a tantalising arc of rainbow (left of centre).

A near-dawn view west prepares us for a roller coaster day of weather with this helping of candy floss.

Late afternoon and a shower tracks its way between Cantick Head lighthouse (left) on South Walls and a WW2 searchlight control tower (right) on Flotta.

Another morning shower, this time of hail, driven on by a gale force westerly. Notice how I stayed indoors for that photo.

And, finally, an afternoon hail shower over Scapa Flow.

Today feels icy and raw, so after a brief sojourn into Kirkwall for lunch, we're now sat snug in our lounge, trying to catch glimpses of the Snipe in the field over the road. They're keeping hunkered down and I don't blame them. Meanwhile, a flock of Redwings are bathing, yes, bathing, in small puddles of water and then sitting on a wire fence to preen. A hardy bunch, those Scandinavian thrushes.


Anonymous said...

Redwing and fieldfare have started trickling back into the fields here in Hampshire. I hear the fieldfare cackling. Not many of them yet though- I assume the mild autumn has kept them east or north. Rotten to be stuck in a basement for a course. I liked your roommate. Cellar spiders we have in profusion here! Lovely photos of Orkney’s capricious weather too.

Imperfect and Tense said...

It's odd. We've seen plenty of Redwing, but I'm fairly sure only the one Fieldfare so far. It's definitely becoming colder (we were comprehensively hailed upon during our morning walk this morning) so I guess the Fieldfares and, hopefully, Waxwings won't be far away. Highlight of the walk was a Sparrowhawk putting a mixed flock of Curlew, Starling and Golden Plover into the air.