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U3A Birdie Group - April 2019

by Sally Hallam - 13:54 on 23 April 2019
About eight members of the Bird Group met at Kirkwall Bus Station on April 17th to catch the 09:25 bus to Houton. After a very short journey, the group exited the bus at the Foveran to walk back along the coast to Scapa and then on to Kirkwall.
The path passed the restaurant and carried on down to join the coastal path towards Scapa. The sun had disappeared and a fairly stiff cool breeze was blowing so the group was glad of their many layers of clothing. On the plus side the path was dry which made travelling along the narrow cliff path much easier.  An interesting bay with an old stone pier had potential for a photo but the sun was still hiding away. 
Nineteen bird species were seen going along the footpath including a rock pipit and two groups of oystercatchers totalling fifty birds. The sun finally appeared as the group approached Scapa Beach. Rooks, black-headed gulls and eiders were seen on arriving at Scapa, giving a total of 22 species.
After a short rest at the picnic area, the group split into two as some people had follow-on engagements and needed to make their way immediately to Kirkwall along the Crantit Trail. The small ‘splinter” group of Tim and Sally made their way to the pier.
Red Campion in flower was seen on the grassy slopes which seemed a little early. Eight more bird species were added to the list, including swallows (the first seen this year by the splinter group) and about twenty turnstones took off calling loudly. They had been largely hidden against the brown seaweed except for a small show of white plumage. Then a pied wagtail was seen on the sea wall. Back along the Crantit Trail, only a moorhen was seen in the strangely quiet pool. Two jackdaws were added to the list near to the end of the Trail, which gave a total of 30 species at that point. A quick view of the Peedie Sea from the car park opposite Tesco, added mute swans and tufted duck. This made a grand total of 32 bird species seen by the splinter group.
Many thanks to Liz for suggesting this enjoyable and productive walk. Many thanks to Tim for providing the lovely photos.
(For those interested the full list of bird species seen were: pied wagtail, wood pigeon, starling, hooded crow, meadow pipit, blackbird, pheasant, mallard, fulmar, redshank, oystercatcher, rock dove, shag, cormorant, shelduck, skylark, rock pipit, curlew, common gull, rook, black-headed gull, eider, wren, swallow, turnstone, herring gull, long-tailed duck, greylag goose, moorhen, jackdaw, mute swan, tufted duck)

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