Happy New Year everyone.
Not the best of starts to the new year as I'm full of cold, so didn't really feel like getting out birding. The year list started with two make Blackbirds chasing each other around the garden just as it was getting daylight. As the sun came up a few House Sparrows appeared on the feeder. There were some Starlings out on the fields along with a couple of Meadow Pipits. The usual Rock Doves also appeared at the feeder, with one pair getting a bit amorous!!
A group of Greylag Geese were seen flying over head and also a couple of Common Gulls.
Looking out towards Echna Bay mid morning showed the large group of Gannets, mainly youngsters, were back in the bay feeding again. I wondered if the recently sighted Hump-backed Whales would put in another appearance today.
Sure enough around lunchtime I got news that the two Hump-backed Whales were still being seen in the Echna Bay area so I decided it was worth popping out to see them. So along with Claire we wrapped up warm and set off in the car to see if we could find them.
We saw a couple of people that we knew who said that the whales had been around earlier but were last seen heading back out into Scapa Flow in the direction of Hunda. So we headed off round the West side of the island to see if we could spot them. There were quite a few cars parked up along the road but no one seemed to be looking in any particular direction. Also there were quite a few cars parked up along the main road near the Fossil Centre but again people seemed more interested in chatting rather than all eyes in a particular direction.
We stopped off in a small lay-by just above Vestlay Banks and had a scan around the bay in front of Hunda and more out into the Flow on the West side of Hunda in case the whales had headed around to the South side of Burray. There was no sign of the whales but I did see a couple of Grey Herons, a couple of Long-tailed Ducks and a Great Northern Diver.
With no sign of the whales we decided to head back to home and about half way along the East/West section of the Littlequoy Road I spotted the two Hump-backed Whales out in the bay so we pulled over to watch them. Also in the bay but a bit closer towards the land was a smaller whale which was probably a Minke Whale.
Couple of record shots was the best I could do.
So not the best bird watching starts to a new year but still worth popping out.
Hopefully there will be an opportunity to get out soon and start the list off properly.
Barrie was also out and about and in addition to the whales and Gannets he also saw Guillemots, Razorbills and Kittiwakes at Echna Bay. His other highlights included Goldfinch, Stonechat, Peregrine, Scaup and Short-eared Owl.
I was a bit distracted by other things during the course of 2015 so didn't keep on top of the blog. However I aim to catch up by providing a monthly round up of sightings around Burray during the the course of 2015 so that there is a complete-ish record of sightings. You will see a load of holding posts ready for me to fill in the details.
Happy New Year to all my followers and I hope you have a great birding year in 2016. My new year's resolution is to try and keep the blog up to date as things appear!!