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U3A Birdie Group - September 2018

by Trevor Kay - 12:39 on 22 September 2018

Fearless and defiant in the face of impending Storm Ali, seven brave folk met at the Broch of Gurness to begin a morning of bird watching which, had the weather forecast been accurate, did not seem particularly promising in terms of bird spotting.

However, despite a cool and constant wind, the small band of U3A members left the relative comfort of our cars and began a morning of bird observation. Much to our delight, almost immediately we were treated to a display of adult Gannets diving into the sea in search of fish. A good start to the morning!

Most of the birds we saw were in the vicinity of the Sands of Evie and Aiker Ness. As the weather threatened to become unpleasant, we decided to visit the hide on Burgar Hill. We entered the hide just in time as moments later the rain began to come down. The Burgar Hill lochan proved to be somewhat unproductive apart four or five Greylag geese so we decided to venture down to the RSPB hide at the Loons. We were more fortunate here as we saw mallard in good numbers and they were joined by a single Gadwall. A Grey Heron also made an appearance but at this point the heavens opened and even the ducks made a hasty exit. Storm Ali appeared to have arrived in Orkney. There remained only one thing to do and that was to retreat to the Orkney Brewery where good lunches were enjoyed by all.

Much against expectations we managed to observe 23 different species of birds. These included Shag, Cormorant, Gannet, Pied Wagtail, Great Skua, Greylag, Great Black-backed Gull, Eider, Common Gull, Black-headed Gull, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Grey Heron, Curlew, Swallow, Starling, Meadow Pipit, Woodpigeon, Rock Dove, Merganser, Turnstone, Mallard and Gadwall.

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