Species on the Edge Daily Nature Walk

Where: Meet at the Ring of Brodgar car park

When: Thursday 16th to Sunday 19th May, 7am - 9am

With: Species on the Edge Orkney

Cost: Free 

Booking Required: No, just turn up on the day. 

Contact: For more information email [email protected]   

Join the Species on the Edge Orkney team each day for an early morning walk around the 2km RSPB Brodgar nature reserve footpath to discover this wildlife haven in the heart of Neolithic Orkney.  On a gentle stroll on the grassy path, enjoy wildflowers, babbling curlew, lapwings displaying, buzzing bumblebees, and perhaps even a selkie seal or two!  We will also try some mindfulness to connect us to nature in this special place.  All welcome – anyone under 16 should be accompanied by an adult. 


Hope the Inflatable Whale (Schools Only)

Where: Kirkwall Grammar School

When: Thursday 16th & Friday 17th May 9am - 3pm

With: Whale & Dolphin Conservation

Cost: Free 

Booking Required: NA

Contact: [email protected]

Whale and Dolphin Conservation will be bringing along Hope, an inflatable whale, which measures 13m long and 8m wide, similar to a real-life humpback whale. She also looks like a real-life humpback whale both outside and inside. Going inside Hope gives you the opportunity to learn about the internal anatomy of humpback whales, from breathing to feeding as well as the impact of plastic pollution. These sessions will be available to school groups but Hope will be at the Nature Family Day on Saturday 18th May. 


Sanday Recording with NILPS 

Where: Sanday – venue TBC

When: Friday 17th May All Day

With: NILPS (Northern Isles Landscape Partnership Scheme)

Cost: Free 

Booking Required: No

Contact: [email protected]

A day exploring and recording the wildlife of Sanday – including walks and talks about the Orkney Vole, otters, wildflowers and sanderlings.  More details to follow soon.


Springtime at Onziebust, Egilsay

Where: Onziebust, Egilsay

When: Friday 17th May 9.30am

With: RSPB Scotland

Cost:  Free but donations welcome

Booking Required: Yes, maximum of 12 places available

Contact: Vicky Anderson - [email protected] to reserve your place

Join staff at RSPB Onziebust Farm Nature Reserve for a behind the scenes look at  our nature friendly farming operation on the island of Egilsay.  We will meet at Egilsay pier for a walk through the island to look at breeding waders and how the land is managed for them. With up to 250 pairs of breeding wading birds on the reserve including Teeicks and Whaaps, it’s a springtime wildlife spectacle not to be missed. No dogs. 

The event will involve mainly walking on roads and tracks with hopefully a short walk through fields on rougher ground. At the end of the day, after the event there will probably be a couple of hours spare to explore the rest of the island, eg the east beach and/or St Magnus Church. Bring a packed lunch, hot drinks and plenty of warm and waterproof clothing. 

Please book yourself onto the 0820 ferry from Tingwall and the 1655 return journey.  


Dive into a Seagrass Meadow - Afternoon Snorkel Fully Booked

Where: Morning Stromness Heriot Watt campus, Afternoon Finstown slipway

When: Friday 17th May 09:30am -12pm & 3.30pm – 5.30pm

With: Project Seagrass, Kraken and Seasearch

Cost: Afternoon snorkel (limited to 10 spaces, only open to participants attending the morning session as well): £50pp (all equipment included). The morning session is free (25 spaces).

Booking required: Yes. To register for the free workshop email – [email protected] and to register for the ticketed snorkel session email – [email protected] 

Orkney is home to extensive and abundant seagrass ecosystems, earning it the title - Jewel in the Crown of UK meadows. These fascinating marine plants provide valuable ecosystem services for the marine environment and its surrounding coastal communities.  

Project Seagrass are a science-based charity working globally and with Orkneys communities to research, restore and conserve these vital ecosystems. Seasearch empowers recreational divers and snorkelers to collect information helping to protect the marine environment. Kraken are Orkney’s local dive school and have been delivering SCUBA training and snorkeling sessions on the isles for over 5 years.

On Friday 17th May from 9.30am – 12pm join us for a free, interactive workshop at the Heriot-Watt campus in Stromness. Develop your understanding of Orcadian seagrass ecology and ecosystem services with Project Seagrass and expand your species ID skills with Seasearch on its local inhabitants and the roles they play. 

In the afternoon from 3.30pm – 5.30pm there are 10 spots for a ticketed, guided snorkel with Kraken in the Finstown seagrass meadow. Put your new ID skills from the morning into practice, finding and recording life in the meadow. All snorkelling equipment (including dry suits), expert guiding and insurance are provided by Kraken at a cost of £50 pp. Spaces are limited for this session due to capacity for in-water safety and follows on from participation in the workshop.


Nature Photography Walk on Hoy - FULLY BOOKED

Where: Meet at Moaness Pier, North Hoy

When: Friday 17th May 10.30am

With: Hoy Heritage Centre

Cost: £15 pp includes bus, tea & cake

Booking Required: Yes, places limited to 10

Contact: [email protected] or call 07762570215.

Join photographer Rebecca Marr for a walk from Sandy Loch to Rackwick.

You will be driven to Sandy Loch then a leisurely 2 hour walk through the valley with time at Rackwich beach before being collected and taken to Hoy Heritage Centre for a cup of tea and cake and to peruse the natural history library and before the 4:30pm ferry arriving back in Stromness at 5pm. Bring your own camera or phone and a packed lunch. If you are coming from out with Hoy, take the 10am ferry from Stromness to Moaness (Ferry ticket not included - book through Orkney Ferries) otherwise meet at Moaness Pier at 10:30.


On the Edge at the Ring of Brodgar

Where: Meet in Ring of Brodgar car park    

When: Thursday 16th to Sunday 19th May 1pm  

With: Historic Environment Scotland & Species on the Edge 

Cost: Free event 

Booking required: No, turn up on the day. 

Contact: Historic Environment Scotland - Email: [email protected] 

Join the HES rangers and the Species on the Edge People Engagement Officer to find out about the ring and why it is such an important place for some of Scotland’s most vulnerable species. 


Doodles & Designs Workshop

Where: No 25, Bridge Street, Kirkwall

When: Friday 17th May 1.30pm – 3.30pm

With: Orkney Creative Hub

Cost: £10

Booking Required: Yes via their website www.orkneycreativehub.co.uk

Contact: [email protected]  

Orkney Creative Hub are pleased to support the Orkney Nature Festival 2024. Come along to create your own nature themed project in our groups.  We cover a range of arts and crafts from painting and drawing, using a variety of media, to needle felting and doodling, printing and knitting and crochet. All materials supplied, all skill levels welcome. Young folk under 12 will require an accompanying adult. Look up their website for more details and to book.


Discussion: On Seaweed & other underwater joys

Where: Stromness Community Centre

When: Friday 17th May 7pm

Cost:  £5

Booking Required: Yes, tickets available from 9am on Saturday 11th May www.bit.ly/ONFseaweed

Join Christina Riley (founder of The Nature Library) in conversation with author Amy Liptrot, artist Rebecca Marr and jeweller Alison Moore as they talk about their relationship with the sea, how books and art can take a person underwater, and why it matters to look beneath the surface.  



SMASS Talk (Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme)

Where: Online Talk

When: Friday 17th May 7pm


Cost:  Free 

Booking Required: Yes, https://www.tickettailor.com/events/orkneynaturefestival/1252657

The Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS) aims to provide a systematic and coordinated approach to the surveillance of Scotland’s marine species by collating, analysing and reporting data of all whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans), seals, marine turtles and basking sharks that strand on the Scottish coastline. SMASS records each individual stranding and collects a number of individuals for further examination at necropsy. As well as investigating the cause of death, SMASS collects data and samples from these cases that help address a wide range of scientific and ecological questions.

Investigation of stranded individuals furthermore provides unique insights into causes of death, reproductive patterns, diet and feeding ecology, diseases, environmental contaminant levels, and other aspects of the general health of marine mammal populations. This provides valuable information that can help detect any future outbreaks of disease, unusual mortality events, anthropogenic stressors, and other health issues. It also enables assessment of pressures and threats, and can help monitor the health and status of marine mammal populations around Scotland.

In this talk the team will talk us through the many facets of the research done by SMASS, and highlight how they are using strandings data to inform on health of the living populations of marine mammals around Scotland.


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