Holiday Time

It seems a shame such a lovely place has such a quiet group on here, so I thought I'd add a few pictures :-)

It's a long drive from my native Suffolk to the top end of Scotland, but even the trip on the ferry from Thurso to Stromness gives you an indication of what's to come.  We spotted porpoise, Minke whale and numerous seabirds as we braved the so-called sun deck at the back of the boat.  The Old Man of Hoy is well known of course

But you mustn't spend all your time watching the scenery, as Fulmars love to show off their skills flying close to the boat

Indeed, Fulmars seem to be everywhere and their obvious skill at zipping along the cliff edges is amazing to watch

If they're not flying, they're watching others - though care needs to be taken not to get carried away.  This one must have ended up with a painful neck!

When the sun comes out, even the seemingly mundane can be eye catching on the cliffs

Although of course Puffins are what everyone likes to see

Although this one didn't like the attention from photographers!

Razorbills just give you a funny look, wondering why all those strange beings on the cliff edge appear each day pointing & clicking

Away from the cliff edges, you get different birds rummaging around the water's edge.  Lots of these "I think it's a Sanderling" (New species!)

and there are plenty of Ringed Plover too

Little Terns are nesting too - though as always, they sure pick 'em.  The beach is popular with local dog walkers so hardly quiet & isolated, and of course they're nesting OUTSIDE the rope the RSPB chaps had carefully put up to protect them from people unversed in the principles of Schedule 1.  Hey ho!

Day flying moths are flitting around

Though they have to be careful as Skylarks

Meadow Pipits

and even Wheatears are all over the place

Mostly of course, because they have youngsters to feed - this was Wheatear Junior

Right, time for a cup of tea now - more later!

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  • Very nice pictures WJ.

    Jim

    My Pictures

  • In reply to James:

    Cracking photos WJ. Thurso is my home town where I was born and brought up, although moved 10 miles west, 16 years ago. I would have come and waved you onto the ferry, had I known! Orkney is a lovely place, hope you enjoy being there ,look forward to the next selection of photos.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • In reply to Catlady:

    I agree with Jim and Catlady cracking set of photos WJ, look forward to hearing and seeing more of your time on Orkney.

    My Flickr photos

  • In reply to Alan.:

    I bet it was a long drive, too! Some lovely sightings and pics though.

    __________

    Nige   Flickr

  • In reply to Alan.:

    Lovely set of shots, WJ. We’ve been to Orkney perhaps half a dozen times and it’s a wonderful place. The first time we visited it was misty & foggy for the entire week so we had to return the next year to see what it actually looked like.!! :-) We normally get the Ferry from Gills Bay to St Margaret’s Hope, it’s a bit cheaper and shorter, although you wouldn’t get to see the Old Man of Hoy on the crossing.

    My bird photos HERE

  • In reply to Catlady:

    Lynn L said:

    Cracking photos WJ. Thurso is my home town where I was born and brought up, although moved 10 miles west, 16 years ago. I would have come and waved you onto the ferry, had I known! Orkney is a lovely place, hope you enjoy being there ,look forward to the next selection of photos.

    Hahaha! A chap I work with lives in Thurso and he never sees any of the team, living so far away from everyone else.  So I gave him a bell when we arrived and he came to join us for a drink.  Sounds like we could have made it a party!

    Nigel O said:

    I bet it was a long drive, too! 

    Nearly 680 miles over 15 hours.  It's a fair ol' way, but the car's a bit of a mile-muncher :-)

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  • In reply to Paul A:

    Paul A said:

    Lovely set of shots, WJ. We’ve been to Orkney perhaps half a dozen times and it’s a wonderful place. The first time we visited it was misty & foggy for the entire week so we had to return the next year to see what it actually looked like.!! :-) We normally get the Ferry from Gills Bay to St Margaret’s Hope, it’s a bit cheaper and shorter, although you wouldn’t get to see the Old Man of Hoy on the crossing.

    We did look at that choice, but wanted to stay in Thurso the night to say Hi to the chap I work with (as above).  Next time :-)

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  • In reply to Whistling Joe:

    Great set and looking forward to more. I personally find Razorbills deceptive - they seem quite a thickset bird and always seem much bigger than they are - I'm always surprised when I actually see one .

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    Cheers,

    Bob

    My Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bobs_retired_now/

  • In reply to Whistling Joe:

    Whistling Joe said:
    Hahaha! A chap I work with lives in Thurso and he never sees any of the team, living so far away from everyone else.  So I gave him a bell when we arrived and he came to join us for a drink.  Sounds like we could have made it a party!

    We certainly could have, that would have been great.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • In reply to Catlady:

    If you wander inland, you come across the wonderfully named The Loons, which has the ultimate in lazy birding hides - right by the roadside so you step straight from car to hide.  The fresh water pools give you new species to watch, like Mr

    and Mrs Tufted Duck

    A Little Grebe was busy fishing, disappearing off into the reeds every time a catch was made, so I assume there were some youngsters somewhere

    It's not long however, before a Curlew drops in.  Nationally, these birds are in trouble, but up here in Orkney the opposite seems to be true - they're everywhere

    There are no shortage of Oystercatchers either - we've nicknamed them Orkney Pigeons, they're so plentiful on the fields

    They tend to yell at you a lot when you're out walking, clearly unhappy you have the cheek to walk along a path or road (roads are wonderfully quiet by the way, think Orkney 9am = Suffolk 4am and you're not far wrong (and Suffolk's pretty decent for traffic!)).

    These guys shout at you a lot too

    Though Fulmars just shout at each other

    Those quiet roads do mean you need to keep your eyes peeled - random beetles rove the byways

    and Bees enjoy the small flowers on beach-dwelling Oyster plants

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