Sunday 29 March 2020

Bunting high and low

I am reading a book about local history at the moment, Sheena Wenham's 'A More Enterprising Spirit - The Parish and People of Holm in 18th Century Orkney'. Perhaps that is why I found myself looking at a late 19th Century map of the area (or at least pre-World War 1), and pondering about a milestone shown adjacent to St Nicholas Kirk, the one on our daily circuit.

Now, readers with sharp eyes and even keener memories, may recall a photo similar to this one from 25th December last year:

showing a stone embedded in the sea wall opposite the kirk. Today, although it was nowhere near as pleasant to be out, I paid a bit more attention to this particular stone.

It's a tough ask of a lump of sandstone to spend 120-150 years being battered by the North Sea without showing some signs of weathering. Is that the remains of a carved '8', do you think? My guess at how long the stone has been there was vaguely informed by an article on the web which stated that roads in the county were built in the latter half of the 19th Century.

It wasn't a day for photography, or even hanging about, as a brisk westerly was bringing wintry showers in off the Atlantic. However, whilst we pottered back up the hill towards home, we kept or eyes peeled for some Reed Buntings, which we think are back on territory in the reed-lined ditches hereabouts. They are not particularly spectacular looking or sounding birds (perhaps not even to each other), but they are being rather skulky and flighty, which has only served to heighten our interest. Perhaps not evolution's finest hour, then.

Anyway, today we managed to see at least one female, perched briefly on a fence, and at least one male, hopping about in a ditch bottom, out of the weather and searching for food.

I took countless images of the male, and this was the 'best' of the lot, the others being either out of focus, obscured by vegetation or [sigh] out of shot.

Returning briefly to the milestone theme, there is a further stone which I could visit on my allowed daily perambulation, but please try to contain your excitement at this thrilling prospect!


Katie (Nature ID) said...

Directly from your site, there are several grey circles, some look distorted as if they were stretched or squished. The white bar is still horizontal.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Aha, hadn't spotted this one, many thanks! On it...