Wednesday 28 January 2015


Despite the Met Office Yellow warning for snow coming into effect from 08:00 this morning, a part from a few brief sleety showers so far there hasn't been much of the white stuff about.

While sitting in my home office this afternoon finishing off my submission for the Orkney 2014 bird report, I glanced up to see a very pale, very speckled looking female Blackbird having a go at a piece of apple out in the rear part of the garden. Close by was another female Blackbird, for comparison, who was a lot more like you would expect to see.

Grabbing the binoculars for a closer look I had just got focused in on her when another bird walked across behind her. Adjusting the binoculars to see what it was I did a double take as it was none other than our visiting Water Rail. For once the camera was at hand to get some record shots, the quality isn't too good as I was shooting through a dirty window in my haste to catch it on camera before it disappeared.

Water Rail
It stayed out in the open for about five minutes before being spooked and disappearing into cover behind the byre. Hoping it might go round the back of the byre and reappear on the other side I moved to the living room to take up position. After half an hour there was no sign of it but I did see a Sparrowhawk fly across the field and land briefly on one of the fence posts, giving me another new species for the 2015 Burray list.

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