We hope this section will carry brief reports of formal and informal Club outings and activities. Please feel free to add comments and information.
Orkney Field Club Weekend in Papay
by Anne - 14:11 on 21 June 2015
Members recently enjoyed an extended visit to Papa Westray, leaving Kirkwall on the early Saturday ferry and meeting up with Papay resident Julian who transported our large bags to Beltane Hostel. He returned to join us for an investigation of Moclett links where we found a profusion of Butterwort (and noted the number of flies trapped therein) and a colony of Adderstongue. Despite the chill wind we enjoyed lunch beside the bluest of blue seas, before heading along the East coast for some more botanising and birding.
There were plenty Tysties and Ringed plovers, Fulmars and Stonechats around as we made our way to St Tredwell’s Loch and Chapel remains. On arrival at our excellent accommodation we set to work identifying specimens with the aid of microscope and Julian’s store of reference books.
We enjoyed a group supper then some members opted to stay behind for more study whilst others set out in the minibus for further exploration. After a look at the lichens at St Boniface Kirk and a walk to the Knap of Howar we headed to Holland Farm to look at the horse-tramp and granary buildings. We returned to the Hostel in full daylight (after 10pm); in time for drinks and to join in a legendary Papay music session.
Sunday dawned cold but dry, so after breakfast we piled into the minibus for the short trip to North Hill. From the bird hide we watched Arctic Skuas then headed along the East coast – away from the prevailing wind. County Recorder John was with us, so we spread out to survey a 1km square, taking in a range of habitat from meadow to maritime heath and wetland. By the end of the day we had found well over 100 different plants, including Mountain Everlasting, some interesting sedges, and a profusion of Scottish primrose. This was a walk of many lunches (some people ate at least 4!) and as well as plants, members explored the shoreline, geology, lichens and insect life.
Some of us posed for a picture near the “Last Great Auk” cairn, noting that it was put in place by Junior Members of Orkney Field Club in 1988. Can anyone remember this – where are you now??
Late afternoon saw us returning to Beltane (for more tea and home-bakes) before visiting the newly-restored Kelp Store and taking a look at Orkney’s only Sandwich Tern colony. However, Sunday was drawing to a close and it was time to leave for the ferry home.
Everyone agreed that despite the lack of warm weather it had been an excellent outing; and one which had enabled us to gain a deeper insight and knowledge of Papay’s varied habitats than a day or half-day visit usually offers. It also seemed as if we had “been on holiday”, and we would like to make this kind of extended trip to other isles or locations in future.
June will be round again - and Papay will still be here, as it is in any other month! I hope we'll see another OFC trip here soon.
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