I've not been as good at keeping this blog up to date as I had planned so far this year so I must do better.
There have been plenty of Meadow Pipits around for the last 2-3 weeks and numbers of Wheatear have also been building up. A ringing session here last week resulted in 17 Meadow Pipits being ringed and also a Rock Pipit. See here for full details An Orkney Ringer - Home Ground.
Unlike a lot of other places in Orkney which have seen increasing numbers over the last few weeks, here up at the home site there haven't been any Pied Wagtails apart from one last week although I have seen quite a few down in the village.
A quick trip down to Littlequoy Farm during the week to check out a small pool for the possibility of some wader ringing only produced 8 Redshank and 21 Ringed Plover. The pool itself was bone dry, which according to the farmer is quite unusual. Maybe the storms over the next few days will start filling it up again.
There is a flock of 200+ Golden Plover that have been moving around the fields around the home site over the last couple of weeks.
Echnaloch has seen increasing numbers of Greylag Geese in the evenings and these are now being joined by an increasing number of ducks so I'll have to pop down there some time and see what's about.
The young Mute Swan is still on the loch with its parents. In previous years a pair of Mute Swans have always nested very close to the main road. This year there was no sign of them and nobody I talked to was very sure what had happened. Several scans around the shore of the loch throughout the summer didn't show any signs of them having set up a nest elsewhere so it was presumed that possibly one of the swans had died and the other swan had not found a new mate.
Then late in the summer a single youngster was seen on the loch with two adults. This raised a number of questions. Was this the original pair with a new nest concealed from view? Was it a new pair with a nest concealed from view? Why was there only one chick? Usually the resident pair had produced around 5-6 chicks a season of which 3-4 had survived. Had there been more chicks that had perished at an early stage? Had the eggs been predated because of the new nest location? Who knows. We will have to wait until next year to see if the same pair will nest again and if the nest can be located and observed.
Back at home I spotted a Robin in the garden yesterday afternoon. This was the first one for this year and comes about a month earlier than the one seen here last year. Will it stick around for the winter or is it just passing through? Last year the Robin only stuck around for a fortnight before it disappeared.
I also had the first sighting of our frog in the new pond since we filled it with water and introduced it to its refurbished home.